Half-hour hovercraft from Toronto to Niagara planned for next summer

Sep 14 2022, 4:04 pm

Torontonians may have a fast, environmentally-friendly new way to visit Niagara Falls next summer.

Hoverlink Ontario is launching a rapid transit hovercraft service between Toronto and the Niagara Region in the summer of 2023.

The first of its kind in North America, the service will whisk passengers across Lake Ontario in just 30 minutes, a trip that can take up to three hours by car.

Travelling between Ontario Place in Toronto and Port Weller in St. Catharines, the hovercrafts will operate 365 days a year with up to 48 crossings per day.

Passengers will be able to bring bikes, strollers, and even kayaks aboard the hovercrafts, and they’ll be met with electric shuttle buses upon arrival at the Port Weller terminal.

Pricing will be “comparable to existing public transit options” between Toronto and Niagara, Hoverlink said. Single-use, multi-trip, student, and off-peak fares will be offered.

Toronto and Niagara Region are about to get a whole lot closer,” said Chris Morgan, founder and CEO of Hoverlink Ontario.

“We cannot wait to finally provide a fast, reliable, and sustainable transportation solution that connects tourists and commuters in only 30 minutes.”

Described as “riding on air,” each hovercraft holds up to 180 passengers in a climate-controlled cabin. They can move across land, ice, and water, and in “virtually all” weather conditions and temperatures.

With the capacity to transport more than 3,000,000 passengers per year, the service will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking thousands of cars off the road each day.

The hovercraft’s position as an environmentally-friendly transit option is furthered by its “surprisingly quiet” design. According to Hoverlink, they make less noise than a standard dishwasher and will have no direct impact on marine life or waterfront residents. They also run on low-emission Tier 3 engines that reduce 98% of airborne toxins.

A similar service was proposed in 2017, but it faced issues getting approved by the City of Toronto. The man behind the project, Bruno Caciagli, ideated a high-speed ferry service to the region in 2021 but was met with similar hurdles.

Hovercrafts, which are used by the Canadian Coast Guard, operate by blowing a large volume of air below their hull. Said air is slightly above atmospheric pressure, which lifts the craft into a “hover” above the water. They leave no wake in their wake.

Hoverlink said it has worked with all levels of government and consulted with more than 300 stakeholders throughout the Golden Horseshoe in an effort to ensure the service’s feasibility and success. The company is now at the “final stages” of launch.

“Hoverlink’s hovercraft service will unite families to sporting events, theatre, concerts, adult gaming, and one of the natural wonders of the world in 30 minutes,” said Michael “Pinball” Clemons, who sits on the Board of Directors at Hoverlink Ontario.

“Hoverlink is changing the game.”

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