Canalside: The Ice Rink!

Oh, we are back! The beauty of a new computer! You can blog once more! Thank you to everyone who has been following along on our Instagram & Twitter accounts! You guys rock! We feel everything should end with an exclamation point right now! Our first post back? Our goosebump-inducing Canalside Ice Rink opener- what better than to get back in to things with Buffalo’s newest destination??

Canalside Ice Rink (photo by Insta user: @jordanschneider1
Canalside Ice Rink (photo by Insta user: @jordanschneider1

On Thursday 12/18/14, we were a handful of the lucky people who were able to experience the NEW Canalside Ice Rink in downtown Buffalo! You guys…you MUST go. Watching this once-Aud-then-grass-and-dirt site transform in the past 2 years has been quite the experience. Finally, Buffalo has another family, friends, and tourist destination to enjoy!

We were part of a sponsor team which means we were fortunate to get there and ‘Rush the Ice’ before the public could. As you know, we make our city life at the Hotel Lafayette and we love to walk or use the subway whenever we can in order to promote the city and its offerings. So we walked to Canalside in the early evening and met up with a few sponsor colleagues. Upon arrival, we beamed with excitement to see the massive transformation. You watch it unfold for months, but seeing the finished project at the end is always a surprise and incredibly rewarding.

The Ice at Canalside is huge and it is BEAUTIFUL. Being the former Erie Canal and old Aud- the bridges are up, the ice is down, and the waterfront has open a new chapter on Buffalo development. Decorated with lit pine swags along the bridges, a Christmas tree (sponsored by First Niagara), a Winter Cafe stocked with hot chocolate, popcorn, and warm pretzels…a skate rental ‘crate’ with fresh out-of-the-box skates (same building idea of reused shipping containers at Dog E Style), the summer Canalside Adirondack chairs sprawled through out so you can prep yourself, modern tables and chairs adorn one bridge, food trucks lined up, and Larkinville’s Market Stalls loaded with local vendors sprinkled the entire ice rink area. Heated stone walkways, a rubbery surface along the perimeter (so you can walk in your skates), heaters, and speakers pumping out holiday music filled the space. This being opening night, the crowd was trickling in for a couple hours before the big countdown!

The Zamboni clearing way in prep for the evening
The Zamboni clearing way in prep for the evening

With brief speeches, a holiday set performance by Neon Trees atop the Commerical St. Bridge, and demos by speed skaters, the Ice Bikes, and figure skaters- the time came! We ice-skate-stomped on to the rink among the first small crowd allowed on the ice as part of the lead sponsors. EVERYONE was smiling and laughing, hooting and hollering! Little hockey kids zipping by, couples holding hands trying not to fall, Mom’s with their cameras on the rails, old-school men skating with swagger, and hundreds watching on the sidelines- waiting to let loose in the rink. There was a wild rush we felt once we stepped on the ice- here we were- the original Erie Canal once stood here…the Aud (demolished in 2009) was once here <<and you can see the exact spot on the ice rink where an emblem is placed>>…to see so many people from all over WNY (and further!) here to enjoy DOWNTOWN left us with tons of cheesy warm & fuzzy feelings.

With being on the ice for only 10 minutes, a wild and gorgeous fireworks display shot off to the north of the rink. It was literally a constant ‘finale’ for minutes on end- hey, someone hire this guy for the 4th. People stopped mid-skate to watch. It was probably one of the best fireworks displays we have seen- ever. We kid you not. It was the perfect opening to the new rink and yet another surge of the city.

Thursday was an open skate- and free!- and anyone from age 2 to 102 could be found on the rink. Scattered among the skaters were some ice-bikers (the same fellas that bring you water bikes are now bringing you ice bikes to rent on the rink). We congratulated guy birds’ colleague (part owner of the water & ice bikes) on his new endeavor.

Ice bikes for rent at Canalside
Ice bikes for rent at Canalside

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After skating for a good half hour, we hopped off the rink and walked across the street to the new Tim Hortons (located on the corner of the new Harborcenter), which was packed with people of all ages. Knowing (716) would be totally nuts (we were right), we hopped on the subway and got of to walk on to Chippewa and grab a a bite at The Lodge (gimme that Fish Taco). <<and here is to hoping the Liberty Hound will coincide more winter hours now?>> We didn’t stop talking about the evening and how excited we were to see OTHER PEOPLE excited about the city. The only thing is- the city has been revitalizing over the past two years. The rink isn’t the beginning- it’s another milestone of awesomeness and excitement for downtown. Congratulations to Canalside, its sponsors, and all of the workers to make this rink happen! (And thanks to Bass Pro Shops who ditched us a few years ago muahaha!)

waiting to get ice skates
waiting to get ice skates

With a surface LARGER than Rockefeller Center in NYC, the new Ice at Canalside is huge and you don’t have to wait long to get on (if there is a line). With music filling the air, there is something magical you feel while gliding around and seeing new development everywhere in downtown. We can’t wait to bring our families and friends to show it off (and to keep changing their minds about downtown!!). If there is ANYTHING you must do this winter in Buffalo- make sure you head to Canalside to skate your cares away!

DETAILS:

Canalside Buffalo // Ice at Canalside

44 Prime St. Buffalo, NY 14202

canalsidebuffalo.com

(click above for the ice rink times & details!)

TICKETS: 13 & up: $5 // ages 6-12: $3 // 5 & under: free!

SKATE RENTALS: $3

HOW TO GET HERE:

you can drive in and park in surrounding streets and lots (check Canalside website!)

OR we suggest if you’re a northtowner or above, park at UB on Main St. and take the subway in! The last stop drops you off at Canalside- no hassels!

OK, I’M DONE AND NOW I’M HUNGRY:

(716): 7 Scott St. —> right across the street from the Ice 716.855.4716

Tim Horton’s: 100 Washington St. —> right across from the Ice

Liberty Hound: 1 Naval Park Cove —> literally right behind the rink; only seasonal hours in winter 716.845.9173

Lagerhaus 95: 95 Perry St. —> walkable from the rink; awesome African Peanut soup & beer 716.200.1798

Iron Works: 49 Illinois St. —> walkable from the rink; often has live music 716.200.1893

The Archer: 268 Main St. —> get on the FREE subway and get off at Seneca, it’s right in front of you 716.768.4661

coming soon in 2015 : Pizza Plant

anxious ^ pumped up- people wait to get on the ice (scene from Winterfest, Jan. 2015)
anxious ^ pumped up- people wait to get on the ice (scene from Winterfest, Jan. 2015)
get on it!!
get on it!!
you & your buds can reserve slots to go curling! check out the website for details
you & your buds can reserve slots to go curling! check out the website for details

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