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It Happens on the Boulevard!
Maid of the Mist will operate in 2012
After threatening to keep its boats out of the water, the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. says it will operate this year.

Maid of the Mist lost the bid to operate the tours in the future when the NPC signed a 30-year lease agreement with Hornblower Canada Company two weeks ago. The deal, which starts in 2014, is worth around $500 million, which the parks commission said is $300 million more than what Maid of the Mist would have paid them based on their current month-to-month contract.

In it's announcement Tuesday, Maid of the Mist said it will open the 2012 season on April 12 – three weeks earlier than last year. Unseasonably warm temperatures and ice-free conditions on Lake Erie have allowed the early start to the company's 166th season.

The company is expected to offer tours on both sides of the river in 2012 and 2013, but Hornblower will take over the boat tours on the Canadian side starting in the spring of 2014. The Maid of the Mist still has a long-term lease to run boat tours on the U.S.-side, but it currently stores its boats on Canadian docks in the winter.

Hornblower owner Terry MacRae said he will talk with Maids officials about the situation, but seemed cold to the idea when asked about it just after being awarded the lease.

“We support New York state having a boat tour attraction … but I think it will be complicated to have two operators in the gorge,” he said.

Maid of the Mist officials turned down requests for interviews and said they wouldn't comment to the media.

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