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Casino Tower
Casino Tower, Hard Rock Cafe.jpg
Former names Oneida Tower, Kodak Tower
General information
Status Standing but no public access
Location 5705 Falls Ave
Niagara Falls, Ontario
L2E 6T3
Completed June 1964
Height 108 m (355 ft)
Technical details
Structural system Open Steel Truss
Design and construction
Architect Alan R. Moody

The Casino Tower, formerly known as the Oneida Tower and Kodak Tower, is a 355-foot-tall open steel tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Designed by the architect Alan R. Moody, it was built in a matter of six months by Frankel Steel Company of Toronto in the busy tourist season of 1964.

In 1974, the Oneida Tower became known as the Niagara Tower and Plaza Limited. In 1985, this tower became the centre piece of the Maple Leaf Village Shopping Complex under the name of "Kodak Tower".

The tower received a new look to reflect its more upscale surroundings, although there is no public access. It is now simply known as the "Casino Tower", and is being used as a large sign for the casino.


Oneida Community

The Oneida Community was established in 1848 at Oneida, New York by John Humphrey Noyes. This was perhaps the first communal community established in North America. In 1877, a segment of this community began making and selling iron spoons in order to make a living. In 1880, this Oneida Community broke apart. A segment of the Oneida's continued to manufacture spoons. This segment of this community under the leadership of John Noyes and his ancestors established the Oneida Silversmith Factory in Niagara Falls in 1926. They owned a large tract of land along the north side of Clifton Hill where they built a manufacturing business including offices and a factory.

Kodak Tower

Kodak Tower, Niagara Falls, Ontario 1989
Kodak Tower, 1989

In 1974, Oneida relocated their offices and York Hannover Developments and Worst holdings invested $26 million in the creation of an amusement park concept after the site was cleared. Its initial annual payroll was $3 million. The park pre-dated by two years the opening of Canada's Wonderland, presumed at that point to cost $105 million when completed.

The three-story complex of Maple Leaf Village was constructed around the tower. It boasted a multi-screen movie theatre, numerous attractions (through the years: That's Incredible! museum and the Elvis Presley Museum were here), countless souvenir and apparel stores, Lillie Langtry's tavern and club and, in later years, the first locale for the Canadian comedy cabaret, Yuk-Yuk's. On the north side of the property was a carnival midway, complete with "North America's Largest" Ferris wheel which, along with the tower (now called the Kodak Tower) dominating the northern tourist skyline.

As part of the Clifton Hill tourist area, the facility was well received and attracted crowds for years. Eventually, however, the novelty began to wear thin as shops folded and main tenants relocated to other locations with more suitable infrastructure.

Admission costs to the Kodak Tower were eliminated for a few years, until unsafe conditions closed the tower altogether in the early 1990s. At the end of the 1992 season, the amusement park closed down. In early spring of 1993 the Ferris wheel was dismantled and shipped to Asia for use there.

By January 1994, only a dozen shops remained in operation throughout the sprawling three-story structure. Redevelopment of the property was necessary, as many more shops were preferring on-street access in the burgeoning tourist area. The Maple Leaf Village Mall closed for the last time on February 1, 1995.

Casino Niagara

Casino Niagara, which is a government-owned casino, opened in the building on December 7, 1996; it is still in operation today.

The site was intended to be a temporary site, but the new site was filled by the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. The site remained open as a permanent installation and the tower was given white panelling to reflect its more upscale surroundings and large red capital letters spelling out C-A-S-I-N-O were placed vertically on the side of the tower, which are lit up at night. However, there is no public access as it is deemed unsafe. The tower today is considered an eyesore by locals and is in poor condition. Deterioration is visible under the outer panelling to the steel trusses, as they have turned from white to brown from rust. There are no plans to reopen the tower to public.

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