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Canadian leaders approve Wallenda tightrope walk over the Falls

Nik Wallenda
Photo from Nik Wallenda’s Website
Nik Wallenda

Nik Wallenda will be allowed to walk a tightrope from the United States to Canada this summer. 

The Niagara Parks Commission has approved a request by the professional tightrope walker.

Wallenda has proposed to walk across the Niagara Gorge on an 1,800 foot tightrope. 

The Commission did an about face from two months ago after initially denying Wallenda's walk.

“This decision was approved in part in recognition of the role that stunting has played in the history and promotion of Niagara Falls. We have made it clear that this is a very unique one-time situation. It’s not an every day activity and will not be allowed to become an every day activity,” said Janice Thomson, chair of the Niagara Parks Commission.

Under the motion approved by the NPC Board, consideration could be given to a professional performer’s stunting proposal such as this, only once every 20 years.

The approval is in principle and depends on an agreement being successfully negotiated with the NPC and Wallenda that includes obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals.  An agreement is expected to be reached between the two parties by March 31.

Today, Senator George D. Maziarz (R, I –Newfane) and Assemblymen John D. Ceretto (R, I – Lewiston)  and Dennis H. Gabryszak (D – Cheektowaga) praised the Canadian Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) for their decision to grant permission to Nik Wallenda to traverse the Niagara Gorge on a high wire. The parties will now enter into negotiations to address safety measures, financial issues, and logistics of the walk.

Previous legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the New York State Legislature in June of 2011 and was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last September.  

The Canadian approval now sets the stage for an event that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region this summer.

Maziarz, Ceretto, and Gabryszak lent significant support to Wallenda in his attempts to win support among Canadian officials in the Parks Commission, the Ministry of Tourism and Parliament.

“Today is a great day for the Niagara region on both sides of the border,” said Maziarz. “A premiere event by a true professional like Nik Wallenda will attract tourists on an international level. I congratulate the Niagara Parks Commission for their careful study and recognizing the tremendous benefit to the region this will be.”

“Nik Wallenda is a professional and the Parks Commission recognized that,” said Ceretto. “I am thrilled that Nik will be traversing the gorge, in marketing this walk, Nik will be a tremendous ambassador for the city and will present the region to the world.”

“I am pleased to hear that the Niagara Parks Commission gave Nik Wallenda and his team the green light,” Gabryszak said. “We are one step closer to watching Nik fulfill his dream of traversing the gorge. This is an exciting moment for everyone who has worked hard make this happen.”

The legislation states that Wallenda has one year to complete the walk from the time Governor Cuomo signed the bill in September.