David Adames is the new CEO of Niagara Parks
The Niagara Parks Commission, now lead by new Chair, Sandie Bellows, and vice-chair, April Jeffs can add CEO David Adames, to its leadership team. Adames becomes just the 12th CEO to serve in the Commission’s top administrative position since its inception in 1885.
The organization’s new leader is not new to the Niagara Parks however. He joined the organization in 2013, as Senior Director of Business Development. Adames then assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2016 and Acting CEO in October 2018.
Adames isn’t wasting any time identifying top strategic priorities and working towards accomplishing those goals with enthusiasm. “It’s one of the most spectacular parks in the world and international visitors know Niagara Parks more than many other places in Canada,” said Adames. He identified the adaptive reuse of the power-plants as a top priority for the organization. Talks of repurposing the former power plants-began in 2015.
Maintaining a balance of being good environmental stewards while providing entertainment and activities for millions of visitors will also be a priority. Adames spoke of partnering with Brock, the Ministry of Environment, Conversation and Parks as well as Environment Canada for projects like wetland restoration and protection of endangered species. Also on the to-do list is a revised master plan for the botanical gardens.
On the entertainment side of things, Adames said he and his team are looking at developing a signature event strategy. “The events could be run by third parties or be our own events. Niagara Parks is a great gathering place.” He said the Parks will continue to work with the city of Niagara Falls and local business partners to grow and improve the annual New Year’s Eve concert as well. “That will be part of an overall music strategy where we could do concerts throughout the year and it would culminate into the big New Year’s concert.”
Another big piece of the puzzle for Niagara Parks is athletic competitions like marathons, cycling races and triathlons. There are several that currently take place on Parks property and are attended by thousands of athletes from around the world. Sport tourism is a big industry and Niagara Parks has a lot of experience hosting such events. “We are also looking forward to being a key part of the Canada Summer games. We will be hosting golf at Legends as well as hosting the cultural celebrations,” Adames said.
Having the support of a “great new Board” will be key in accomplishing the many priorities set out by management said Adames. “”We have a new Chair in Sandie Bellows who is a lifelong Niagara resident and all about community which is great.”
Bellows said she is confident that Adames will continue to inspire and engage both the Board and the staff, “as we work together as a team to achieve the Commission’s overall goals.”
Adames’ background prior to his arrival at Niagara Parks includes time spent as the President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and as the Executive Director at Tourism Hamilton. He currently serves on several tourism boards, including Niagara Falls Tourism, the Tourism Partnership of Niagara and is the Chair of the Winter Festival of Lights Board.
Adames succeeds Reegan McCullough, who announced his resignation in October 2018, after having accepted the position of CAO of Sturgeon County, in his home province of Alberta.
Niagara Parks has remained a self-financed agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, entrusted to preserve and protect the land surrounding Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. Today, Niagara Parks manages gardens, a horticulture school, recreation, golf courses, restaurants, heritage and historic sites, gift shops and, of course, Niagara Falls.