Family Fun and Innovation in Downtown Fort William
THUNDER BAY – Victoria Avenue East in the heart of downtown Fort William came alive today. Live music, street theatre, art, and community groups came together to take back the streets and share that the area is coming back.
The Fort William Urban Park pilot project launched today on Victoria Avenue East.
Victoria Avenue was closed to pedestrian traffic between Brodie Street and May Street from 11AM to 3PM.
The block was filled with community partner booths, local businesses, vendors, live entertainment and activities for families to find out about activities in the city.
“The Fort William Business Improvement Area [BIA] is excited to launch the Fort William Urban Park because it provides us an opportunity to meet a number of our objectives,” said Kristina Belanger, Coordinator for the Fort William BIA. “Our goal with the event is to draw more people to our neighbourhood and in turn promote the individual businesses, as well as the business community as a whole. We hope that the event serves as a way to engage our members with each other, and with the people who come out to enjoy the festivities.”
The Fort William Urban Park animated the space in the downtown area, it gave people and businesses the opportunity to connect with other community members through a positive social activity, and to increase community inclusion and safety.
This event is modeled after a similar initiative that has been happening in the Downtown Timmins BIA for the last seven summers, where a couple of blocks within its downtown core are closed to vehicular traffic and made into a pedestrian-friendly area from Wednesday to Friday each week.
“Not only has the Timmins BIA seen traffic to the downtown increase significantly and businesses thrive as a result of this initiative, but they have also seen decreases in crime and disorder issues in the neighbourhood,” said Lee-Ann Chevrette, Coordinator of the Crime Prevention Council.
The Fort William Urban Park is a partnership initiative between the Fort William BIA, Thunder Bay Drug Strategy, Crime Prevention Council, South Core Public Safety Task Force, The HUB Bazaar and Victoriaville Mall.