The best New Year’s Eve concert in Canada this year is just a short drive away in Niagara Falls, so here’s some info you’ll want to be aware of.
First, if you haven’t booked your hotel room yet there are still many available. The Fallsview area – the tourist district right at the top of the Falls area, overlooking Queen Victoria Park – has lots of the best places to choose from.
This year’s free concert at the Falls is headlined by Canadian music legend Burton Cummings and his slew of hits from his years as a solo performer and before that as front man for the Guess Who.
Two great Juno Award-winning bands – Walk Off The Earth, and The Sheepdogs – are also on the bill, as is top Niagara band Avenue Inn.
The best way to get around the Falls area while you’re here is to leave your vehicle at your hotel and hop on a WEGO bus, one of the tourist transporters that drive on a loop all through the area.
If you’re walking from your Fallsview hotel room, be sure to ride the Falls Incline Railway down the escarpment to the park. You’ll save yourself a lot of walking, and have a beautiful view of the lit-up Horseshoe Falls on your way down and up. The round-trip only costs $5.50 a person.
The Niagara Parks Commission, which controls the whole waterfront area, has a few tips for visitors on the night of Dec. 31. First, designate a meeting place for your family and friends to gather. The park can be a pretty busy place that night, so pre-arrange a spot where you’ll get together before and after the show, especially if you have kids with you.
Dress for the weather: It can be cold at the falls at midnight, so protect your hands, feet and ears.
Niagara Parks is providing two warm-up stations for people to use, in two heated WEGO buses that will be parked in front of Queen Victoria Place, across from the concert site.
There will be lots of food and beverages available that night, including a licensed area, and security and police crews will be on hand to make sure everyone stays safe.
If you drive to the park, one option for parking is to use the Falls parking lot across from the Table Rock Welcome Centre, right on the Niagara Parkway. It is big with plenty of spots, but don’t wait too late to get your vehicle there.
Parking for the night costs $20 per vehicle.
And drivers, be aware of some road closures due to the pedestrian traffic.
Clifton Hill will be closed to all vehicles starting at 10 p.m.; on Murray Hill, westbound lanes leading away from Queen Victoria Park will be closed to vehicles starting at 3 p.m. that day, while the eastbound lanes heading toward the falls will close at 7:30 p.m. As well, the Niagara Parkway and River Road will be closed to all vehicles, including WEGO buses, as of 8 p.m. Please note these are estimated time frames, if traffic becomes congested these times may be altered accordingly.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds, as you’ll see when you get here. Best advice if you like to walk: park at the hotel and walk or take the Incline Railway.