Maid of the Mist out after 165 years
Hornblower Canada Company will replace Maid of the Mist as the the boat tour operator at the base of the falls.
The Niagara Parks Commission announced Wednesday afternoon that Hornblower, whose American parent operation runs boat tours to the Statue of Liberty in New York and Alcatraz in San Francisco, was selected for a 30-year lease worth an estimated $500 million in revenue to the Ontario government agency.
"This marks the beginning of a new era for all of us and it continues to build on what the Niagara Parks is all about," NPC chairwoman Janice Thomson said.
The commission followed a "fair and equitable process" to pick a company to run boat tours on the Niagara River, area MPP Kim Craitor said in a press release Wednesday afternoon.
The announcement settled questions about the future of the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., which has provided tours from the Canadian side of the Niagara River since 1846.
Since 2009, the NPC has been going through a government-ordered competitive bidding process to pick a boat tour provider after private-sector companies complained that the commission tried to extend its contract with the Maid of the Mist without inviting bids from other companies.
In April 2010, 11 companies, including the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Alcatraz Media Inc., registered as being interested in participating in the bidding process. Interested companies were given until Jan. 31, 2011, to submit bids, including their preferred start dates of either May 1, 2012, 2013 or 2014.