Branding Buffalo as one of nation's 'winter capitals'

Jan 12, 2016

Consider it an exercise in positive thinking. Look out your window. If you see blowing snow and other wintry scenes, repeat these words: “Buffalo winter weekends.”

A group of downtown planners, tourism officials and representatives from some local attractions are launching a campaign to brand Buffalo as “one of the nation’s winter capitals.” A web site urges people to

Credit Avery Schneider/WBFO

celebrate winter “with ice, excitement and illumination and includes a video that showcases many downtown activities.

Robert Gioia, chairman of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. insists that the collaborative promotion isn’t a matter of making lemonade out of frozen lemons.

“I would characterize it this way: we do have winter months. Some of them are a little bit harsher than others. But so do other communities. And other communities like Ottawa, Berlin [and other cities] throughout the world enjoy the outdoors and can do it during not only warm, balmy days, but also on snowy days.”

Gioia’s agency has teamed up with Canalside, HarborCenter, Riverworks, Larkinville, Visit Buffalo Niagara and other entities to promote the region’s diverse menu of winter activities.

“Whether you want to exercise, ice bike, ice skate, watch a hockey game, just enjoy the outdoors – go see the curling at Riverworks and the like, we would say you can certainly do it all in downtown Buffalo,” he said.

Gioia noted that efforts have been underway for some time to brand downtown as a year-round destination.