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Niagara Region 'proactively' declares state of emergency ahead of total solar eclipse

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Niagara Region says it has declared a state of emergency “out of an abundance of caution” as it prepares for an influx of visitors for next month’s total solar eclipse.

In a news release, the region said the state of emergency is a proactive step to ensure it is prepared to accommodate the “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

“Declaring a State of Emergency under the (Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act) strengthens the tools the Region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise,” the release read.

Niagara Falls has been identified as one of the best places in the world to watch the solar eclipse on April 8 since it is located in the path of totality.

“On April 8, the spotlight will be on Niagara as thousands of visitors join us to share in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and we will be ready to shine,” Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley said in a statement accompanying the release.

“I would like to thank all of our local governments, first responders, and community organizations who have been working together diligently to make sure our community is able to offer a safe and unforgettable experience, both for our visitors, and for all those who call Niagara home.”

The mayor of Niagara Falls, Jim Diodati, previously said up to one million visitors are expected to come to the city to watch the eclipse.

He said the last event to draw a massive crowd to the city was 12 years ago, when about 150,000 people watched Nik Wallenda cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

Next month’s event has caused hotel prices to skyrocket, with some establishments charging upwards of $1,000 or more per night for a room around the date of the eclipse.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Diodati said earlier this month. “We are trying to prepare for the biggest event in the history of the city by far.” 

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