The newest entertainment centre at an Ontario casino celebrated its grand opening on the weekend with a sold-out performance from legendary singer/songwriter, Billy Joel.
Finally, five years after construction began, Fallsview Casino’s 5,000 seat, $130 million OLG Stage officially opened. And who better to kick things off than a six-time Grammy Award winner.
Piano man sets theatre on right path after lengthy delay
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, who’s held the title since 2010, told the Hamilton Spectator that feasibility testing for the project commenced 12 years ago. Ultimately, the study revealed that Niagara’s tourism scene would benefit greatly from the addition of a major theatre.
And so, the wheels started to turn… slowly.
Initial projections from 2018 had the 18,580-square-metre facility opening on April 2, 2020. Country music star Brad Paisley was penciled in as the headliner.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas, delaying the opening for an additional three years.
The reopening process didn’t exactly go smoothly either. “Operational requirements,” including fine tuning the acoustics, prompted the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission to postpone and cancel a slew of shows in early 2022.
But even in times of uncertainty, spirits remained high. And on Feb. 25, those who stuck around during trying times were reminded why it was all worth it.
“If Billy Joel himself is christening this theatre, then the future truly is bright for Fallsview in Niagara,” Jody Madigan, chief operating officer of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, told The Spectator.
World-class venue provides community with significant attraction
Saturday’s celebration proved to be special for two reasons:
- It symbolized 12-plus years of hard work; and
- Served as a potential harbinger of what’s to come.
As a result, Diodati sees the OLG stage as a considerable draw for both tourists and locals.
“This will be a benefit to our tourists, this will appeal to our American friends and it will be a bonus for the people who live here,” he said.
Part of what makes the state-of-the-art theatre so enticing, is each seat’s proximity to the stage. The Fallsview’s website promises spectators will never be more than 150 feet away from the entertainment.
That pledge was verified in a recent post from BlogTO.
“Architects designed the multi-tiered space, which features two levels of orchestra seating and upper and lower balconies so that every single chair is no more than 150 feet from the stage,” said Becky Robertston, who wrote the column.
“A sawtooth seating arrangement also provides consistently good sightlines throughout the venue, and two 30-by-18-foot screens flanking the stage ensure you don’t miss a thing.”
It’s been a meticulous process to get to this point. But the early reviews have been music to Diodati’s ears. He said a world-class entertainment venue had been missing from Niagara Falls’ list of amenities.
More can’t-miss events coming to Ontario casinos
From concerts to stand-up comedy, the hits just keep on coming.
Big names are scheduled for the upcoming months at three of the Ontario’s largest casinos: Casino Rama, Caesars Windsor, and Fallsview Casino Resort.
Specifically at the OLG Stage, upcoming events include:
- Impractical Jokers — March 9, 8 p.m.
- Bret Michaels — March 18, 8 p.m.
- Aaron Kwok — March 20, 8:30 p.m.
- Pitbull — April 8, 9 p.m.
- Terry Fator — April 13, 8:30 p.m.
- Dane Cook — April 15, 9 p.m.
- Carly Pearce — April 22, 8 p.m.
- Billy Idol — May 5, 8 p.m.
- Kevin Hart — May 19 and 20, 9 p.m.
- Cheap Trick — May 27, 8 p.m.
- Daughtry — June 21, 8:30 p.m.
- Santana — June 24, 8 p.m.
- John Fogerty — June 30, 8 p.m.
- Steve Miller Band — July 8, 9 p.m.
- Gabriel Iglesias — Aug. 11, 8 p.m.
- Kane Brown — Aug. 19, 8 p.m.
- Rod Stewart — Sept. 2, 8 p.m.
- Kenny Loggins — Sept. 8, 9 p.m.