Not that many years ago, it seemed that Niagara-on-the-Lake’s idea of decorating Queen Street for the festive season was to spend 20 bucks on white lights at Canadian Tire or Penners.
Improvements have been made thanks to the efforts of many people and now our hearts can swell with pride and Christmas spirit.
Well done, neighbours. I spend a lot of time downtown and can report that visitors from near and far are into the holiday spirit as they stroll, meander and shuffle along our sidewalks.
As a well-traveled and peripatetic observer of our world, I can confidently say the block between King and Regent streets, on the south side, is becoming a world-class retail mixture. It looks good and the variety of storefronts really shows well.
Hatleys on the corner leads us to the Little Blue House, then Firehall Flame, both indoors and on the patio.
Then wee Gyros on the Lake, which could be in the Plaka in Athens. Its spanakopita is the perfect spinach snack, conjuring up the image of the Parthenon on the Acropolis and Syntagma Square.
The Owl and Pussycat shop has a unique facade, including the pineapple promising hospitality.
Reiner’s Originals sells unique ottomans and then Father Christmas welcomes us to the amazing and seasonal Just Christmas store.
NEOB Lavender uses olfactory marketing to entice us into their store and Beau Chapeau’s window displays cause many passersbys to not just pass by. People love trying on hats.
Cow’s and Cool as a Moose may seem a bit over the top, but their products and service successfully satisfy so many tourists. Their classy shopping bags make a statement as happy tourists continue down the sidewalk.
Just across Regent Street is the very busy Sunset Grill, though I would have thought a breakfast eatery would have been named Sunrise Grill. Should we thank the Eagles or Don Henley for this curious subtlety?
The north side of Queen Street also has some stores that catch attention. Bobbo Tea delights snack seekers and the FatFace boutique is uniquely named. I guess the name could have been more sassy if another body part had been used in the name.
The street lighting team has really upped its game, and storefronts and Christmas trees are more gaily decorated every day. Hopefully this year’s tree by the cenotaph will do our town proud after a rather weak effort last year.
Hats off to the McArthur family for their creative work at the old Court House. So many visitors are stopping to take group and family souvenir photos, which will market Niagara-on-the-Lake around North America and the world.
And, don’t forget to mail your letter to Santa Claus, with a convenient red mailbox in front of the Court House. Which Canada Post bureaucrat came up with the wonderful postal code for Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole? H0H0H0, indeed.
The weather, as you all know, will be perfect for Christmas shopping, so give yourselves a treat by spending some time enjoying the ambience of downtown NOTL over the next few weeks.
Ho ho ho, and we’ll see you downtown this Christmas season. Take out your earbuds, pocket your mobile devices and enjoy the precious moments.
It really is a multisensory experience, with so many people being so downright nice to each other.
How fortunate we are to live here … in 2023.
Say a quiet prayer for people in other parts of the world who are suffering, in many cases through no fault of their own.