THUNDER BAY – After the storm comes the calm. Tonight, in the downtown Fort William Business District the outside is echoing with the church bells chiming. Inside the Victoriaville Centre, the sounds of Christmas, along with the jolly old elf, Saint Nicholas are soothing a large audience of people. Over in Paterson Park the beautiful lights on the Christmas tree are lit.
From the lighting of the tree in Paterson Park, to the soft clip clop of the horses taking people for rides, the feeling in the area is one of joy and contentment. There is also the honest excitement as youngsters await their turn on Santa’s knee.
Rather than the frenzy of stampeding shoppers anxious to get a deal on the latest game, or toy, or gadget, in the downtown core tonight, it is far more relaxed, and far, dare one say it, more fun?
This is the kind of atmosphere that almost takes you back in time to a gentler era.
There is something special, almost like a small town in the area tonight. That mood is one that with luck will remain in place through the Christmas season. The shops and merchants in the area are for the most part not open tonight, they are sharing Christmas cheer as friends and neighbours.
In an era where many worry about the fate of small business in our community, and express concern about the impact of big chains and big box stores, this kind of approach is one that we should all encourage and support. Many people have expressed that ‘Thunder Bay is the world’s biggest town or the world’s smallest city’ – that is not meant as an insult, it is one of the pluses that often I think many people striving to save a loonie or two on their shopping forget.
It is the something we should all be striving for in the hustle and bustle of life today, to stop, step back and slow down.
Tonight, that is the feeling in the downtown south core of Thunder Bay. May it last forever.
Content and News Director