NIAGARA FALLS – After making some changes in management, the International Sand Sculpture Exhibition in Niagara Falls is finally ready for business.
Friday, Aug. 9 is the date that was given on Tuesday after Alexey Glukhov, president of V2 Niagara Inc., stopped in for a brief visit at the Centre St. exhibition to check on its progress.
“Just one more step and we will be open,” said Glukhov, speaking through a Russian interpreter. “To be 100% sure, we will open next Friday.”
The new attraction is located in the former Niagara Falls Memorial Arena, within walking distance of Clifton Hill.
It features 25 statutory figures, architectural elements, portraits and landmarks carved by 17 of the world’s top sand sculptors.
Some of the sculptures are seven metres tall, depicting key figures and events from the War of 1812.
The exhibition area is more than 16,000-square-feet and the exhibits required about 6.6-million pounds of sand (three-million kilograms).
The exhibition was scheduled to open at various times last year. In March, hundreds of locals turned out to preview the exhibition for free, but the official opening date was pushed back because some details still needed to be worked out.
“It was hard for us to prepare everything on time. We didn’t have the right management, but finally we have a good team now, I’m happy and we are ready to open,” said Glukhov.
V2 Niagara Inc. purchased the arena from the city for $1 million in January 2012. It put a further $2 million into its facelift. Walls and floors have been replaced with sepia-toned tiles and designs. The arena’s problematic ceiling has been repaired, and the exterior’s drab grey has been replaced with sandy brown.
Glukhov said this exhibition was created so that Canadians could not only learn more about this part of their history, but as a way to attract more tourists to Niagara Falls.
Visitors who have already been inside the former hockey arena have been quite impressed by what they have seen. Many can’t believe the workmanship and detail that has gone into creating the sculptures.
“This is just the beginning. We have many new ideas that we want to try and do in the future,” said Rafael Islamov, vice-president of the firm.
By The Numbers
16,000: Square-feet exhibition area
6.6: Million pounds of sand