Erie Canal Harbor Development CorporationFamily-friendly Season Opening Celebration planned for Friday evening

Visit for skating hours, venue and event details

See photos of The Ice at Canalside here

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Be Our Guest, Ltd. will open The Ice at Canalside, presented by BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. A family-friendly Season Opening Celebration is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22, starting at 5 p.m.  This season marks the return of Ice favorites, including skating, curling, ice bikes, ice bumper cars and more. New this year: six-person heated igloos available to rent. Skaters will also be able to warm up and get a snack at the new Explore & More-The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum Low Bridge Café, presented by M&T Bank.

“Opening the Ice at Canalside is a special way to kick off the winter and holiday season each year,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia.  “Skaters and rink side visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere, the new Low Bridge Café and a wide variety of food and beverage choices. We encourage families to come make some holiday memories at Canalside.”

The Ice, open since 2014 with the support 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. 

Friday’s Canalside Season Opening Celebration presented by Citizen’s Bank begins with the opening of Ice at Canalside at 1 p.m., followed by the start of festivities at 5 p.m.  Celebration highlights include: a DJ performance from 5 to 10 p.m.; Happy Hour at the Low Bridge Café from 5 to 7 p.m.; a visit from Santa Claus from 5 to 9 p.m.; “Snow Sisters” from Dream Is a Wish Entertainment from 6 to 9 p.m.; and fireworks at 7:15 p.m.  In addition, there will be BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York giveaways, free hot chocolate vouchers for the first 500 visitors, free hot dog vouchers for the first 100 visitors and an on-ice performance.  For more information on the Season Opening Celebration, visit

Once again, the Honda Winter Pavilion, located directly next to the Ice, is the main entrance point for skate rentals and admission.  It provides a warm, covered area where visitors can pay admission, rent skates, complete safety waivers and rent storage lockers. All guests entering the ice must complete an ice waiver, which can also be done ahead of time on Curlinginterested parties can reserve lane time at—is located next to Explore & More, as in years past, and the Ice Bumper Cars have a designated space underneath the Roswell Park Bridge of Hope.

The Snack Shack at the Ice will serve as another of the food and beverage areas, featuring a menu with hot winter treats, movie theater candy and McCullagh coffee and hot chocolate. The new heated igloos, seating up to six people, are available to book at and include skating/rentals/hot beverages and food options. The Low Bridge Café at Explore & More will be open during the open skate hours from Nov. 20 to March 1, serving hot food and featuring happy hour specials.

Returning programs this year include Skate Great Learn to Skate, GameOn Leagues, Healthy Buffalo Broomball, and the Community Skate program sponsored by The Skaters Edge Boutique, Sled Hockey Foundation. Curling is sponsored by Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Bumper Cars is sponsored by West Herr Collision Centers. Other scheduled events include: a menorah lighting on Dec. 22; Gliding Stars on Feb. 8; Silent Disco on Jan 31, Feb. 7, 14 and 28; Fearless February Skate with BCBS on TBD; November Project workout on TBD; and Backyard Classic from Feb. 21-23.

“As the official health plan of Canalside, BlueCross BlueShield is excited to kick off another fearless winter season,” said Julie R. Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.  “The Ice at Canalside has become a beloved tradition in Western New York and we’re looking forward to sharing this one-of-a-kind skating experience with our community again this year.”

Visitors can take the NFTA Metro Rail to the Erie Canal Harbor Station stop; parking is available in adjacent parking ramps and lots.

Hours of Operation:

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

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


  • Ice Admission, Adult (13+): $6*
  • Ice Admission, Child (6-12), Military: $4*
  • Ice Admission, Child (5 and under): Free
  • Skate Rental (sizes: youth 7-adult 14): $4* (**$5 during special holiday hours, Dec. 24-Jan.1, Feb. 14, Feb.18-24)
  • Training walker: $2
  • Penguin Skate Aid: $6
  • Season Pass, Single: $59**
  • Season Pass, Family of 4: $139**
  • Curling: $10 per person weekdays, $15 per person weekends and holidays
  • Ice Bumper Cars: $7 for 7 minutes
  • Locker Rental - $1

*Show your BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York membership card for $1 off skate admission and $1 off skate rental.

** BlueCross BlueShield members will receive $10 off their INDIVIDUAL season pass, or $19 off their FAMILY season pass, with promo code. Members may go to your BlueCross BlueShield Discount Page to access code.

About Canalside
Canalside is a growing regional destination and entertainment district, situated on 21 historic acres along downtown Buffalo’s emerging waterfront on the Buffalo River. Canalside earns its name from its storied past, when the Erie Canal Harbor was built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. Until five years ago, the land was barren and inaccessible, but the area has been reclaimed by the state’s Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and developed with millions of dollars in public and private investment. With more than 1,000 yearly events and nearly 1 million annual visitors, Canalside is fast becoming the go-to place for in- and out-of-towners of all ages to learn, play and relax.



Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | | (716) 846-8309

Laura Magee (ECHDC) | | (716) 846-8239