Niagara Falls vs. Niagara Falls

10 Jun

As opposed to the usual long-winded fare found here, this post will be rather short and sweet.  A quick comparison between two cities, their economic development strategies and the results.

Niagara Falls, Ontario


Here is a copy of their Regional Development Business Plan

Today, a new development project was announced for the Canadian city.

Prominent hotelier and developer Tony Zappitelli and his Romzap company, has unveiled plans for three high-rise hotels along Stanley Avenue. The tallest of the three towers could be 57-stories, with a 42-story and 32-story hotel also in the mix. Condominiums or apartments may replace some of the hotel rooms, depending on future developments, Zappitelli said.

Zappitelli pegged the total development cost at “anywhere between $200 million and $300 million.” The project will be privately funded.

Niagara Falls, NY


Here is a copy of the Niagara Falls, NY business webpage.  I’d link to their comprehensive city or regional plan, but there really isn’t one.

Here’s the latest development news out of Niagara Falls, NY

The icy white stuff, which Niagara residents too often begrudge for being excessive in this part of the world, has became the hottest new thing in a tourist city short on family attractions.

It was media day Wednesday and Snow Park Niagara Falls opened its doors so that members of the news media and others involved in the park construction could test out the new attractions.

Under a sunny sky on a perfect 70-degree day, young and old were in shorts and T-shirts to sample the tubing hill, skating rink and snow play area.

While the snow park is a kitschy idea that will probably be popular, I thought the juxtaposition of these two stories coming out on the same day was pretty startling.

Must be tough to do business in that overtaxed nightmare of a socialist country over there in Canada, eh?

2 Responses to “Niagara Falls vs. Niagara Falls”

  1. dave-in-rocha June 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm #


    While I’m positive that the top-down planning in Ontario (and lack thereof in NY) has a role to play in the stark difference between your two pictures, I can’t help but think about the circumstantial differences that are beyond anyone’s influence. Mainly, I have to wonder about how much of NF, Ontario’s success is the product of the fact that it’s an hour drive from Canada’s largest city. The lack of a passport check to get to NF means that it’s an attractive getaway spot for millions of people in the Horseshoe. That it contains a world wonder and nice scenery (and nearby wineries and a renowned theatre festival) is why all the action started there, but it seems to now have it’s own life as a destination as well (with all the casinos, might it be Canada’s own Vegas-lite?).

    Contrast that scenario with the US side. There you have a smallish city that’s the little-brother of a shrinking, rust-belt city that’s the butt end of a million jokes. The first comparable I can come up with is Flint, MI. Really, the actual falls are the only difference between NF, NY and Flint. Now one could argue very well that the presence of the falls are reason enough to have a bunch of glitzy hotels, but it seems to be an uphill battle to get over the Flintiness of the city.

    In all, on one hand you have a darling getaway destination for the biggest population centre of a entire nation, while on the other you have a decaying industrial town that’s nearby a semi-decaying industrial town. Other than one shared aspect (which, again, *should* make all the difference) it’s apples and oranges to me.

  2. Buzzcut June 19, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    I just went to Niagara Falls Ontario with the family. First time I’ve been there in 10 years. Holy shit, what a difference!

    To be fair, NFO is nice on the one main drag. Get a block or two away from the strip, and its not so nice a place. And the casinos are now obviously the key to everything.

    And we ALL know the REAL key to NFO’s success: 19 year old drinking age and fully nudity in the strip clubs ;). That’s why I went there back in the day.

    Sadly, I didn’t get around to taking my boys for their first trip to Sundowners. 😉 Of course, my buddy, who introduced me to SD back in the day, put it best when he said, “why would you want to start them out at the best?”.

    And Niagara Falls, NY? The casino is really nice. And the park at the falls is beautiful, as always. Spent half a day there.

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