Lonely Planet Writer

A Mario Kart-inspired racetrack will launch next year at Niagara Falls

Fans of vintage gaming will be delighted to hear that a real-life Mario Kart-inspired racetrack is set to launch next year at Niagara Falls. According to Clifton Hill, the entertainment park beside the iconic attraction, ‘Niagara Speedway’ will be “a marriage of traditional go-karts with the added fun and excitement of an elevated coaster-styled track. Drivers get to test their driving skills along the straightaway, negotiate hair-pin turns, and climb the elevated ramp as they head for the checkered flag.”

Niagara Speedway will be a Mario Kart-style racetrack. Image by Clifton Hill

The thrilling ride has been met with much excitement by Mario Kart fans, eager to experience a real-life version of this much-loved retro game. Clifton Hill subtly confirmed the connection by including a cheeky #mariokart hashtag in a recent Instagram post introducing the project. The attraction will be up and running next spring. “It looks like we’re going to finish construction this fall, and hopefully in October do all our testing,” says Harry Oakes, president of HOCO Limited, who owns and operates attractions, restaurants and shops on the south side of Clifton Hill. “We’ll shut down for the winter, and then we’re looking to launch in the spring, as soon as the weather breaks.”

The attraction is due to open to the public next year. Image by Clifton Hill

Oakes is confident this new ride (the biggest of its kind in Canada) will be a unique and thrilling experience. “It’s like go-karts on steroids”, he says. “You drive on a road course for a portion of the race and then spiral up to about 40 feet, and then come down a long hill – kind of like the way a wooden coaster would be.”

Fans of Mario Kart will love this new attraction in Niagara Falls. Image by Clifton Hill

The new ride is part of a ten-acre redevelopment project at Clifton Hill that’s been going on since 2015. Already completed projects include “an updated and renovated Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, a completely gutted and revamped Kelsey’s Restaurant which now includes the addition of a much larger, covered outdoor entertainment patio, an expanded SkyWheel pedestrian plaza, adding a Zombie Attack multi-sensory attraction created by TrioTech, new concessions stands, and the expanded 700-car parking lot (with an additional entrance/exit off Victoria Avenue). This project will enhance the Clifton Hill entertainment experience and entertainment experience, maintaining the long-term business vitality of Clifton Hill; “Street of Fun by the Falls!”