Niagara Entertainment Centre

Less than a year from now, a big, new chapter in Niagara Falls’ history as a centre that provides entertainment for people from around the world will take another step forward.

Construction on a new 5,000-seat theatre to host live concerts and stage productions is well underway and the venue is expected to open in June 2019.

A spider’s web of girders marks the sky across from the Niagara Fallsview Casino, next to the Hilton Hotel, as workers continue to build the structure that will eventually replace the much smaller Avalon Theatre inside the casino.

During a groundbreaking ceremony last year, Hospitality Resorts Inc. president Joe Dicosimo said the city is “positioned now, working together, to become the entertainment capital of Canada.”

Taking into account all the other major sights and sites in Niagara Falls – two casinos, Marineland, several indoor waterparks, the famous Clifton Hill plus the falls themselves and the beautiful waterfront land open to the public – Dicosimo might be right on the mark.

“With the world-famous falls behind us, known all over the world, the convention centre (and) all the great attractions that we built up over the years, this is the missing link,” he was quoted as saying in the Niagara Falls Review.

With capacity in the new venue for 5,000, Niagara Falls will regularly attract the same big names other casinos in Windsor and Rama get and tickets will be easier for everyone to get.

Although it’s being built across the street from the casino, it will be attached via an enclosed pedestrian walkway.

To build the Niagara Entertainment Centre, it’s expected to require 4,000 tonnes of steel, two tower cranes and about 550 days of work in total.

Architect Guela Solow-Ruda told the Review “the lobby will have a beautiful art piece which will emulate the falls on the inside of the building, and that will act as a kind of guide or wayfinding tool throughout the facility.”

Niagara Falls residents are anxious to find out what big name might be booked for opening night to officially launch the new $132-million theatre.

Coincidentally, Ontario Lottery and Gaming is expected to announce a new operator for both Niagara Falls casinos sometime this summer.