Arts & Culture


The Ice at Canalside is now open for the season

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Canalside Management Group (CMG) invites the public to its eighth Annual Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting at Canalside from 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 30.  This year’s celebration takes place at The Ice at Canalside presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. The celebration will feature live music, children’s activities, local food vendors, an on-ice skating performance and more. The evening’s highlights are the lighting of the beautiful Canalside holiday tree and a visit from Santa Claus, both courtesy of Manpower Group and Mayer Brothers.

“As a Western New Yorker, I know that the best part of Canalside is that it is a year-round destination, with activities for every season,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The holiday season is indeed a very special time at Canalside, with the ice rink open for skating and winter sports, the holiday artisan market, and the tree glowing bright on our magnificent waterfront. I look forward to another great winter season at Canalside, and I can’t wait to put on the skates and try out the ice.” ?

“The holidays are a time when Canalside truly shines,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “On behalf of Governor Cuomo, I invite visitors from near and far to enjoy all our waterfront has to offer during the beautiful winter season.”

“Holiday fun for the whole family is a fast-growing tradition at Canalside,” said Rich Entertainment President Jon Dandes.  “The waterfront comes alive with activity each winter as skaters circle the ice, music fills the air and thousands of lights create a winter

wonderland in the heart of Buffalo.”

Santa Claus will arrive at the corner of Marine Drive and Main Street at approximately 6 p.m. to light the tree and will stay on site for visits with good little boys and girls until 9 p.m.  The 45-foot Canalside Holiday Tree will be lit at approximately 6:30 p.m.  It will be decorated with more than 6,000 lights along with gold, silver, white and blue ornaments.  The tree will be surrounded by a festive holiday landscape that will create a picture-perfect setting for skaters and others looking to enjoy the season.  A variety of food and beverages will also be available for purchase from local food vendors.

“Skating at Canalside has become a beloved winter tradition here in Western New York,” said Julie R. Snyder, Vice President, Corporate Relations, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We are thrilled to welcome our community back to the Ice as we kick-off our fifth season as the official health plan of the Ice at Canalside.”

Open ice skating will be available until 10 p.m.  The cost is $6 for ages 13 plus, $4 for ages 6-12 and free for 5 and under.  Skate rental is $4.  Ice Bumper Cars can be rented for $7 for 7 minutes. Those who bring a new winter clothing item for the Buffalo City Mission will receive a $1 discount on skate admission.

More information on the schedule of events, parking and updates can be found at  Visitors are encouraged to take the NFTA Metro Rail to the Erie Canal Harbor Station stop. Parking is also available in adjacent parking ramps and lots surrounding Canalside and the KeyBank Center.

The Ice, created under the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, provides visitors with a skating surface that is bigger than two NHL rinks, with three unique bridges, and more than 20,000 square feet of pedestrian towpaths.  This season winter visitors once again be able to enjoy curling, ice bikes and other winter activities.

Ice at Canalside Hours of Operation for 2018-2019 season:

  • 3 to 7 p.m.: Wednesday/Thursday
  • 3 to 10 p.m.: Friday
  • 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Saturday
  • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Sunday

Rates for the 2018-2019 season:

  • Ice Admission, Adult (13+) – $6.00
  • Ice Admission, Child (6-12) – $4.00
  • BCBS Ice Admission – $5.00
  • Skate Rental – $4.00
  • Season Pass, Single – $59.00*
  • Season Pass, Family of 4 – $139.00*
  • Curling – $10-$15 per person – depending on time


*BlueCross BlueShield members can receive $1 off admission and skate rentals by showing their insurance card.

**Please note hours may change during school breaks and on holidays, as well as during inclement weather.  Visit Canalside’s website or facebook and twitter accounts for the most up-to-date hours.**

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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