Downtown Halifax looks to attract customers this Christmas season
Dartmouth Crossing is a shopping hot spot, Mic Mac Mall, thanks in part to the rebirth of Woody the Talking Christmas Tree, is enjoying a bustling holiday rebirth, and it seems the Halifax Shopping Centre is always busy, too.
So how, in this competitive landscape can downtown Halifax attract customers?
"We are all ready to go with the Evergreen Festival," said Paul MacKinnon from the Downtown Halifax Business Commission.
MacKinnon said an outdoor festival-like atmosphere is likely to draw a variety of people and shoppers to the area. He believes the downtown core is primed to come alive in the coming weeks. He is also keeping a close eye on the renovation of Spring Garden Road.
"What’s good for Spring Garden Road is good for downtown, and vice versa," said MacKinnon.
Kurt Bulger said his Spring Garden Road business is doing roughly 65 per cent of normal pre-pandemic business expectations.
"It is better than we hoped for," said Bulger.
Bulger said the pathway to prosperity for Spring Garden Road merchants has not been an easy one to navigate in his opinion.
"Bike lanes. They got rid of parking. They changed the parking rules. They increased the parking rates," he added.
Bulger is confident the massive renovation of Spring Garden Road will dramatically improve the area. However, he questions the timing.
"They did everything they could to make it more difficult to shop downtown during the pandemic."
Shopper Amy Tannenbaum agreed and said blocked off walkways make it difficult to shop.
"If I’m going somewhere, I need to go around a few times because I’m going the wrong way," said Tannenbaum.
MacKinnon admits it is not easy for pedestrians in places. However, he adds, the notion that there is not enough parking is pure fiction.
"It is a perception. There are 6000 parking spaces downtown," said MacKinnon.
MacKinnon wants people to spread the word and flock to downtown Halifax during the upcoming holiday season.