NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Niagara Falls attraction is offering free rides to celebrate the end of another season, but there will be no more seasons like this one.
On Friday, the lines were long as people waited for their chance to get up close to the roaring Falls. Not only is it their last chance to catch a glimpse this season, but for the Maid of the Mist, it's the end of an era.
Tourists and locals alike stood wrapped in blue ponchos, clutching their cameras, as they packed the Maid of the Mist tour boat. Nearly four decades after their honeymoon, Margie Arthurs and her husband Pat returned to the Canadian falls. It's like nothing has changed, except they learned the iconic tour boats will no longer run on the Canadian side of the border.
Pat said, "They told us yesterday that on the Canadian side, Maid of the Mist is no longer going to function, it'll be a new name. We came to this side and said Maid of the Mist would continue. We said, 'Perfect. That's tradition; that's history.'"
Boat tours from the Canadian side of the falls have stopped for good. Next year, Hornblower Cruiselines will be operating from the Canadian side, creating some competition for the New York-run Maid of the Mist.
Spokesman Kevin Keenan said, "It's a time to look forward, it really is a time to look forward."
Keenan is the spokesman for the Glynn family, who owns Maid of the Mist. He said smaller boats, no longer in use, will be retired. But bigger 600-passenger boats have been repainted and rebranded, including "Maid of the Mist" now prominently displayed on the sides.
"It certainly makes it easier to see from the top of the gorge on both sides. It becomes a floating representation and it's easy for people to see, so it's part of the strategic marketing plan for the Maid of the Mist," Keenan said.
The long-standing company is doing all it can to keep its legacy alive.
Keenan said, "It's still going to be here. So you know, it'll be one less real great attraction to the [Canadian] falls."
Hornblower Cruiselines is likely to ask the public to name its three new boats. They'll be catamaran-style with indoor viewing areas.
If you'd like to take a free ride on the Maid of the Mist, you have one day left to do so. Their last day of operation is Saturday, October 26.
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
A second arrest has now been made in connection to a suspected meth lab on Saunders Settlement Road in Cambria.
Cold and breezy with snow increasing in coverage into the overnight hours.
The Erie County Water Authority is warning the public about people posing as water meter service workers.
A City of Buffalo employee who was arrested over the weekend on animal cruelty charges says he did nothing wrong.
A Salamanca man has been charged with DWI after a traffic accident in the Town of Little Valley Saturday.