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April 20, 2013

Maid of the Mist sets sail for another season


Tonawanda News — This year marks the Maid of the Mist’s 176th season. In 2014, the company will lose the rights to launch its boats from the Canadian side when Hornblower Cruises of California takes over under a new agreement with the Niagara Parks Commission in Ontario. 

“It’s so sad,” said Arsenauld who works on the Canadian side. “I love it here. That’s why I keep coming back. It’s a happy place, everyone is always smiling and you get to meet people from all over the world, and of course the Falls are beautiful.

“I’d like to get a job with Hornblower. I haven’t applied yet, but I’ll put in an application and see what happens.”

The Maid of the Mist Corp. is in the process of building a new boat storage facility on the American side of the Niagara Gorge. The controversial project has been met with resistance from Hornblower and the Niagara Preservation Group, a local non-profit group that initiated legal action in an effort to stop the project which it considers inappropriate and a potential threat to the historic site of the old Schoellkopf power plant. 

Maid officials, who struck an agreement for the development of the new boat storage facility with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are confident the company will be able to continue to operate beyond this year once the new facility is in place on the American side of . They expressed confidence Friday that the historic attraction will remain alive and in operation for years to come. 

“They’re building a dry dock on the American side, right over there,” said Rod MacDonald, Captain of Maid of the Mist VII, as he pointed across the river to the site of the old Schoellkopf power station. “Starting next winter the boats will be housed there.”

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