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Canalside ice rinks opening to the public

Chris Caya/WBFO news

After years of planning and effort, the redevelopment of Buffalo's waterfront reaches another milestone Thursday night with the grand opening of the "Ice at Canalside."

The site where Memorial Auditorium once stood is finally joining the rest of Canalside complete with walkways, benches, pedestrian bridges, and canals frozen over for ice skating.

"It's about the equivalent of two and a half ice skating pads, professional ice skating pads," said Tom Dee, Erie Canal Harbor Corporation President. "Obviously it's vast. And it's incredibly impressive."

Dee said there is even a logo marking where center ice was in the old Aud.   

"It lets everybody who remembers Memorial Auditorium and how great it was to come back and say, 'Oh, I remember Gilbert Perreault, and Rick Martin and the French Connection," said Dee.

Along with ice skating, Dee said there's also several historic elements. And tonight's grand opening he says is also a holiday kickoff.

"We have a nice Christmas tree...we'll have decorations. We'll have fireworks. We'll have music."  

Dee said there will also be food trucks and a visit from Santa Claus. The celebration runs from 5-9 p.m. at Canalside.