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The Ice at Canalside ends successful season

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Wed, Mar 16th 2016 04:20 pm

More than 75,000 took advantage of the ice in 2015-16

Following its most successful season to date, the Ice at Canalside presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is now closed for on-ice activities for the season.

Numbers were up across the board on the ice in 2015-16, with more than 70,000 skaters, more than 4,000 people going for a spin on the ice bikes and 2,800 taking their turn at curling presented by Catholic Health.

While the site remains open, skating and other activities on the ice will no longer be available as the site transitions to the summer season. The water-filled canals and associated activities, like paddle and peddle boats, "Sail the Canal" remote sailboat rentals and Blue Bikes presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, will open in mid-May.

"The Ice at Canalside topped its numbers by more than 20,000 over last season, which demonstrates not only that its popularity continues to soar, but that Buffalo loves to celebrate its winter on the waterfront," said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. President Robert Gioia. "Now, as we transition from ice to water, we can look forward to an exciting summer season knowing we had an enormously successful winter season."

For those looking to be in the know about what is new and exciting at Canalside this summer, patrons are now able to sign up at www.CanalsideBuffalo.com for Canalside's new email newsletter, "Canalside Connect, Your Connection to Our Waterfront!" Finishing touches are being put on the free Thursday Canalside Concert Series lineup, which will be announced in early May; the Queen City Bike Ferry will have a new Outer Harbor landing; the wooden boardwalk extension will be unveiled; and favorites such as festivals, activities for children, arts and culture, fitness and more, will be returning.

While Canalside is looking forward to the summer season, the 2015-16 season won't be one that will soon be forgotten. The Ice gained national exposure with a visit from Katie Couric and her Yahoo News segment on Buffalo, "Cities Rising: Rebuilding America"; a mention of Canalside on CNN Travel's list of "16 Things to See & Do in the U.S. in 2016"; and About.com's "26 places to go in 2016."

Highlights of the season included:

  • Opening a month earlier than last season.
  • Addition of the winter pavilion presented by Cricket Wireless, which featured dozen of musician performances and satisfied many hungry patrons.
  • Opening of the warming tent for skaters and spectators to escape the cold.
  • Thousands of attendees at the fifth annual holiday celebration and tree lighting.
  • 609 pounds of donated food for the Food Bank of WNY during Canalside's Food Bank promotion, which offered $1 off skating if someone brought a nonperishable item in the month of December.
  • First ever "Chillabration" weekend (Jan. 15-18) where Canalside attempted to break the longest ice line, hosted a bonspiel tournament presented by Catholic Health and featured amusement rides presented by the Greater Buffalo Honda Dealership, ice sculptures and more.
  • Collaboration with local businesses on Buffalo Winter Weekends.
  • Special events for Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and various theme skates.

Canalside is situated on 21 historic acres along downtown Buffalo's emerging waterfront on the Buffalo River. It earns its name from its storied past, when the Erie Canal Harbor was built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. Until five years ago, the land was barren and inaccessible, but the area has been reclaimed by the state's ECHDC and developed with millions of dollars in public and private investment. For more information, visit www.canalsidebuffalo.com.

For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.

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