BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Ice skating at Canalside has officially opened for the season.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation says there are a number of improvements this year. These include a bigger warming tent and a Canalside Winter Pavilion, a heated hub for food and merchandise vendors.
The skating surface at Canalside is larger than two NHL rinks and has three unique bridges. More than 20,000 square feet of pedestrian towpaths are included as well.
“We talk about making incremental improvements to Canalside but this year we outdid ourselves making a huge leap with scores of new amenities and activities at The Ice,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia. “With the new Winter Pavilion, improved warming tent, more activities and food choices, paired with extended hours, this winter season will be exceptional.”
Ice skating is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursdays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving), 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
- Ice Admission, Adult (13+) – $6.00
- Ice Admission, Child (6-12) – $4.00
- BCBS Ice Admission – $5.00
- Skate Rental – $4.00
- Season Pass, Single – $36.00*
- Season Pass, Family of 4 – $99.00*
- Curling – $15 per person
*Season pass holders gain access to to perks like deals at a variety of Canalside district businesses.
“We are ready to skate again!” said Julie R. Snyder, Vice President, Corporate Relations of BlueCross BlueShield of WNY. “We view this partnership with Canalside as a way to encourage everyone to stay active and healthy this winter season.” Through that partnership, BlueCross BlueShield members can get discounted rental and admission rates. BlueCross BlueShield of WNY is also pushing to get more people to take advantage of the ice by offering a Suit Skate program, which will allow professionals in the area to hit the ice during their lunch breaks.
The Ice at Canalside offers opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels to get out and skate. For example, SABAH is bringing its adaptive hockey program to Canalside this season to teach people with developmental disabilities the basics.
And, beginner skaters of all ages can take advantage of skating lessons through Skate Great, which offers group rates on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.
Of course, if you’re not a big skater, you can still get out on the ice thanks to the Ice Bikes of Buffalo. The woman who invented the ice bikes, Lisa Florczak, is also working on a prototype now for an attachment that would allow the ice biker to bring a small child along. Florczak was trying her new invention out Monday morning ahead of the first open skate of the season. “Season two, we’re hopeful that it’s going to be even bigger and better than season one,” she said.
A lot of other vendors also have high hopes for this season, from carriage drivers who started giving horse-drawn carriage tours of the area in February to the history tour guide to the owner of BuffaLove Apparel, Patty Watson, who is selling BuffaLove and Canalside merchandise inside the Winter Pavilion this season. “We’ve got these beautiful state of the art attractions, and we are lucky and blessed, and it’s been a lot of hard work to get here. And I think now’s the time where we enjoy,” Watson said.
To check out a schedule of events and programs at Canalside this winter, go to the Canalside website: https://www.canalsidebuffalo.com/
A big kick off celebration, complete with a tree lighting ceremony, will be held December 4.