Opening builds on success of last winter with more activities and amenities
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) will open The Ice at Canalside presented by BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York, the official health plan of Canalside, at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23. This year, ice bumper cars have been added to the ice activities, along with skating, curling and ice bikes.
"Every Western New Yorker's holiday plans should include a visit to the Ice at Canalside," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "Skaters and rinkside visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere, the warm winter lodge and a wide variety of food and beverage choices. We encourage families to come make some holiday memories at Canalside."
The Ice, created under the leadership of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, provides visitors with a skating surface that is bigger than two NHL rinks, with three unique bridges, and more than 20,000 square feet of pedestrian towpaths.
With several construction projects underway, Be Our Guest Ltd wants to remind visitors the Honda Winter Pavilion, located directly next to the ice, is the main entrance point to the skate rentals and admission. It provides a warm, covered area that speeds up the process of admission, renting skates, safety waivers and storing personal belongings in lockers. The Ice at Canalside also features a new ice layout with curling, presented by Chiampou Travis Besaw and Kershner LLP, relocating back to the side of Explore & More where it has been in years past. The new layout allows the new ice bumper cars to have a designated space underneath the bridge. The public skating surface, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, has been reduced slightly due to the new activities.
The food and beverage kiosk will serve as the main food and beverage area featuring a new menu focusing on hot winter treats, including homemade soup, hot pretzels, La Nova pizza, and McCullagh coffee and hot chocolate. Visitors will be able to enjoy their food and beverages while overlooking the ice.
"We are always looking for the next big trend and we feel we've hit a homerun with the new ice bumper cars," Canalside Management Group President Jon Dandes said. "We strive to enhance the guest experience, provide outstanding customer service, and ensure that the Ice at Canalside offers something for everyone."
"BlueCross BlueShield is excited to kick off our fifth season as the official health plan of Canalside," said Julie R. Snyder, vice president, corporate relations, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. "This season there will be a variety of themed skating sessions and healthy winter activities every day, for every age group to join in and get healthy."
The season kicks off with the Canalside holiday celebration and tree lighting on Friday, Nov. 30. The Ice at Canalside will open at 3 p.m., and festivities will start at 5:30 p.m. with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Activities will include live music, carolers, Santa visit, free children's activities and on-ice figure skating performance.
More information on the schedule of events, parking and updates can be found at http://www.canalsidebuffalo.com
. Visitors can take the NFTA Metro Rail to the Erie Canal Harbor Station stop; parking is available in adjacent parking ramps and lots.
Hours of Operation
- 3-7 p.m.: Wednesday/Thursday
- 3-10 p.m.: Friday
- 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Saturday
- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Sunday
•Note: Hours may change during school breaks and on holidays, as well as during inclement weather. Visit Canalside's website
, Instagram and Twitter
accounts for the most up-to-date hours.
- Ice admission, adult (13-plus) - $6
- Ice admission, child (6-12), military - $4
- BCBS ice admission - $5
- Skate rental - $4
- BCBS skate rental - $3
- Season pass, single - $59*
- Season pass, family of four - $139*
- Curling - $10 per person weekdays, $15 per person weekends and holidays
- Ice bumper cars - $7 for 7 minutes
- Locker rental - $1