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Friday, April 19, 2024
Ross’s Ramblings: Open or closed? What’s up with Family Day in NOTL?
Ten-year-old Maansi and eight-year-old Maanak Gandhi-Malhotra enjoy some sibling bonding during the Family Day skating at the Meridian Credit Union Arena. JULIA SACCO

We haven’t really figured out Family Day, have we?

As I rambled a few years ago, I hope the decision-makers will finally decide if Family Day is a holiday or not.

As much as I try not to look over the shoulders of our leaders, sometimes I just have to offer my observations.  I don’t pretend to be an expert — and I’m just asking.

“Hey, it’s a statutory holiday and we have families, too.” That’s a common reply when I mention my Family Day concern to government employees here in Niagara.

Just last week, confusion and disappointment reigned supreme on our streets.

Family Day, a statutory holiday in only five of Canada’s 10 provinces, is meant to be an opportunity for people to enjoy time with their loved ones. A pure idea, except that we can’t all have our cake and eat it, too.

What a great chance for families to visit our wonderful public library and community centre. Special events could be planned. It’s a great initiative, except that these two town gems are closed for Family Day.

In the olden days, when I worked in Huntsville and Cape Cod and Nantucket, we knew we would have to work on the summer long weekends. Because that’s when the customers would want to do business with us.

In our wonderful wee town, it would not be hard to find a few employees to cover the statutory holiday and keep the town amenities open for taxpayer enjoyment.

But even the provincially owned LCBOs were closed on Family Day. Shouldn’t they be trying to make sales on a busy day, to boost income and reduce our taxes?

Who was open on Family Day? Some of our truly great businesses have figured out that if the sidewalks are busy with tourists and locals, they should be open for business.

Melissa and Robert Achal at NEOB Lavender made good sales, as did Kim Gauld at the Sunset Grill.

And I finally learned why the Sunset Grill, primarily a breakfast spot, isn’t called the Sunrise Grill. Strangely, because Don Henley had a bestselling song called (down at the) “Sunset Grill.”  Weird?

I also learned why the Sunset Grill proudly uses small eggs. It’s apparently a fact that smaller egg yolks have less water to evaporate and better omelettes result. Can it be true? We can learn so much, just by askin’.

Butler’s Sports Bar was open to serve breakfast, and the attentive and fast walking Darla delivered many plates of fresh eggs and real, diner-style home fries to families enjoying the day.

Back down on Queen Street, Athina and Johnny Paraskevopoulos fed lots of customers at Gyros on the Lake. Their staff were busy and happy to be getting a good day of work during the slow month of February.

And on the north side of our pretty main drag, just before 10 a.m., and you can set your watch by Mira and Tolis Karpetas opening the doors to Nikolas Men’s Apparel.

Then, true to their European heritage, they swept the sidewalks and picked up any litter. I don’t know how to say it in Greek, but “if you are open for business, be open for business.”

The Olde Angel Inn and the Irish Harp welcomed good crowds and made visitors happy. In fact, both sold lots of food and drink on Family Day.

I have rambled enough about Family Day and understand that every business has different customer targets and business strategies. Having said that, wouldn’t it be much more tourist-friendly if a decision was made to keep Niagara-on-the-Lake open on Family Day?

Just up the river, the Niagara Parks Commission is open for business. With ringing cash registers. Its parking lots are full and their employees seem happy.

I don’t like confusion. In the future, will Family Day be a statutory holiday?

I spend lots of time on Queen Street and find it difficult to explain to visitors that we cannot decide whether we are truly a tourism-oriented community.

Well, the wineries have made the commitment and the accommodation sector needs the extra night with occupied rooms. So, let’s synergize.

Business was picking up on Family Day 2024 for the hard-working crews at Miller Waste Systems. Their big trucks hustled around town reminding us to Box It. Bin It. Sort It.

I’ll bet Ontario’s ski resorts were open. In NOTL, if we are open for business, let’s be open for business.

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