We’re all aware that Buffalo is now seriously kick a** in warmer months. If you’re not, you should browse this site more often. There’s never been so much to do, from free to inexpensive to “who cares, it’s worth it” – there’s literally something for everyone. But one season of fun does not a great city make. The true test of our newly found awesomeness is seeing what Buffalo can do during the blistering cold fronts coming off the lake and between the weeks where feet of snow barricade us inside for days at a time. The time has come to show the world (and ourselves) that Buffalo is awesome year round.
Sure, we’re minutes from great skiing and snow boarding, ice fishing is a favorite past time and a trip to Ellicottville is a perfect weekend getaway. But it can be hard to find simpler, less expensive entertainment come cold season. Toasty restaurants and even toastier bars are always an option, but shopping before and after is somewhat (read: drastically) less appealing. Sitting by the water or a day in the park is pretty much out of the question. Moving around is a must.
This is where The Ice at Canalside comes in. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and team has been hard at work on the latest Canalside project for years. I like to call it Canalside: Winter Edition. It’s opening to the public on Thursday, December 18, 2014 and promises to keep us out and about despite chilly weather. The new canal shaped ice rink, which will transform into shallow waterways come warmer months, is another way to enjoy the waterfront in the dead of winter.
The Grand Opening & Holiday Celebration event at The Ice at Canalside presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will showcase some awesome ice programs and events that will be offered to the public all winter long, including:
- Ice Bikes of Buffalo
- Curling with Rock Solid Productions
- Broom Ball with Game On! Sports and Healthy Buffalo
- Learn to Skate with Skate Great
- Pond Hockey with Hasek’s Heroes
- Community Skating with Gliding Stars Adaptive Skating
- Speed Skating with Buffalo Speed Skating
If you can’t find something that piques your interest, can you call yourself a true Buffalonian? I’m only kidding. Of course the cold doesn’t excite everyone. For those people, cozy up in a warming tent with a hot beverage or admire the beautiful architectural and holiday lighting next to the scattered warmers among the beautiful canal bridges.
The celebration begins at 5:00 pm with an acoustic performance by Neon Trees who will preform at Alternative Buffalo‘s sold out Kerfuffle Before Christmas at First Niagara Center later in the evening.
Canalside Buffalo is offering free open skate to the public from 6:15 until 9pm at the grand opening event, and vendors will fill the marketplace huts along the ice with local artisan products and goods for last minute shopping.
The celebration, at the former site of Buffalo Memorial Auditorium (Aud), will end with professional figure skating by Carly Donowick courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, a ribbon cutting, a holiday tree lighting sponsored by First Niagara Bank, Santa Claus in the house and fireworks!
Throughout the winter, Buffalonians can look forward to approachable curling games, instructor and equipment included for $15 an hour, open skate seven days a week, broom ball and pond hokey games and Ice Bike rentals and an Artisan Market in the Winter Village on weekends. You can even skate past center ice of the old Aud. Better yet, stand on the logo marking the spot and take a selfie. You certainly won’t be the only one.
The space is truly one of a kind. I think it’s safe to say the sight of the progress made at the center of our city will warm even the coldest Buffalonian’s heart. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bass Pro Shops for bailing. We owe you one.
For more information on weekly activities, events and things to do at our very own winter village, visit canalsidebuffalo.com.
Winter Open Skate Details:
Saturday 10am – 10pm, Sunday 12pm – 8pm, Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7pm
Hours vary slightly during holidays/school breaks. Check out the Canalside Event Calendar for exact times each day.
– Ages 13 and over: $5
– Ages 6-12: $3
– Ages 5 and under: Free
Skate Rentals: $3
Skate Sharpening: $4
Winter Curling Details:
2 curling lanes available to reserve during open skate hours, other days/times may be available for reservations – contact Canalside!
– Cost: $15 per person for one hour (minimum of 4 people, max of 10 people)
– Includes: Instructor and all the equipment you will need (stones, grippers & sliders, brushes)
For reservations, call 716-574-1537 or email [email protected] (use subject line “Curling”). Walk-ups will be accommodated based on availability.
Winter Artisan Market Details:
Artisans and merchants will be set up Thursdays-Sundays throughout the winter season (up to 5 local vendors, numbers may vary) will be set up in the Winter Village, next to the ice bike rentals.
Schedule: Thursday and Friday from 2:00pm – 8:00pm, every Saturday from 11:00am – 5:00pm, and every Sunday from 12:00 – 6:00pm
Ice Bike Rental Details:
Ride a bike while on the surface of The Ice!
– Stable unit
– Pedal and steer your way around the rink in the same manner as you would if you were going for a traditional bike ride
– Designed and manufactured locally and cannot be found anywhere else
– Rental rate: $10 per person for 30 minutes, plus tax.
*Details from Canalside’s Event Calendar