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February 22, 2012

First competitive bid process since boat tours of the Falls began

Niagara Falls, Canada (February 22, 2012) – The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) announced today that it has selected Hornblower Canada, Co., an international maritime company, for the 30-year lease and operation of the boat tour in the Niagara Falls Gorge. Hornblower was selected from bids submitted on January 31, 2011 in response to an RFP issued by NPC.

The announcement, made by NPC Commission Chair Janice Thomson, comes after a highly competitive process to determine the best operator for the service.

Hornblower Canada, Co.’s parent company is based in San Francisco, CA, and has over 30 years of experience operating in waters around the world. It currently operates the two largest ferry concessions for the National Park Service in the United States. It operates the ferries to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and ferries to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York Harbor. It also offers charter yachts and dining cruises in nine cities around the United States. Other Hornblower affiliates operate over 100 vessels globally in various types of service.

“Hornblower is proud to have been awarded the contract by Niagara Parks Commission to provide boat tour service in the Niagara Falls Gorge,” said Terry MacRae, CEO and Chairman of Hornblower. “We look forward to becoming part of the community and working with the NPC to create a positive and memorable experience for the millions of visitors to Niagara Falls. We will work with the NPC to ensure a smooth transition and will be sharing more information in the coming months.”

Hornblower’s proposal offered the NPC a guaranteed rent in excess of $60 million for the first five years. In accordance with the terms of the RFP, Hornblower proposed a modest price increase, graduated over time, yet continuing to be affordable to all visitors and families. In addition, Hornblower plans to introduce a new, modern ticketing system; create inviting entry and boarding areas; build new vessels with more available viewing space and multi-lingual audio options; and establish a visitor’s center and private event space at the water’s edge.

Operations are slated to begin in the Spring of 2014. Hornblower will finalize vessel design and begin vessel construction and facilities permitting and planning immediately. The search for Hornblower’s Niagara Falls senior management will also begin in early 2012. Additional positions will be filled as necessary from the talented employee resources within the community. The estimated employee count when fully operational is 200.

More information and images are available at