Boat will take passengers on historic tours of Buffalo's waterfront
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. announced the christening Friday of the Harbor Queen, a new double-decker tour boat docked at Canalside. The newly built, multi-hulled boat is the latest to be added to the fleet of Buffalo River History Tours, and will carry passengers on daily, informative 90-minute narrated tours of Buffalo's waterfront.
"History is at the heart of Canalside, so we are pleased to have a new, enjoyable way for people to learn about Buffalo's fascinating past," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "The addition of the Harbor Queen also frees up the other tour boat to help out with the bike ferry service to the Outer Harbor when needed.
"Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo has provided the leadership needed to capitalize on Buffalo's extraordinary waterfront and the new boat gives Western New Yorkers yet another way to experience our greatest natural asset."
Following the christening by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the boat welcomed passengers for its first tour.
The Harbor Queen, which was built in Florida this past winter, is a custom design vessel that is 63 feet long and 24 feet wide with two outboard engines. The top speed of the vessel is around 28 knots. The ferry can carry up to 149 passengers, triple the capacity of the other tour boat in Buffalo River History Tour's fleet.
Passengers will board the ferry from the dock on the Central Wharf at Canalside. The narrated tour allows riders to see the historic landmarks up close, including the grain elevators, and learn more about the waterway system that made Buffalo one of the most populated and prosperous cities in the country at the turn of the past century. The tours also provide unique views of the skyline and information about the shipping that still occurs on the river.
The Harbor Queen is operated by the Hilliman family. It joins the Hilliman's fleet of boats that include the Spirit of Buffalo sailing ship, the River Queen and the Queen City Bike Ferry.
"The Buffalo tour boat business is booming," said Capt. Rich Hilliman of Buffalo History River Tours. "Our tours are often sold-out, because people are anxious to be on the water and learn about Buffalo from an angle that they've likely never seen before. We look forward to welcoming new visitors and our return customers on board."
Tickets can be purchased online at buffaloriverhistorytours.com or from the kiosk on the Central Wharf at Canalside.
For more information on the Harbor Queen and other activities at Canalside, visit www.canalsidebuffalo.com.