On Saturday, September 3rd, 2022 the much loved Downtown Block Party returned Downtown St. Catharines for its second year, bringing hundreds of families and music lovers in to the heart of the city.
This year featured 3 stages providing Downtown with a spectrum of sound along with vendor markets, games, dance lessons and various amenities including the Niagara Region’s free Water Wagon.
Visitors enjoyed a day of nonstop music, dancing, local dining and shopping.
Additionally, Downtown’s Market St. Catharines hosted a free youth basketball tournament along with YG Ballers and saw a great turn out of youth that came to play in the streets.
“It’s great to see our businesses working together to bring these initiatives downtown.” said SCDA executive director Rachel Braithwaite. “Our business owners go above and beyond, often putting in long hours, sharing skills and resources, to ensure everyone has a wonderful experience downtown and wants to come back.”
“We are proud to support our businesses and seeing the community fill the streets and support them in return shows how special downtown is,” she said.
The day was sprinkled with fun surprises including a dance-off between Downtown mascots Niagara Grape & Wine Festival‘s Gabby the Grape, Bones of the Niagara IceDogs, and Phil the Bag from Community Cares St. Catharines + Thorold.
After the dance-off visitors were invited in to the street for salsa and bachata lessons by Jaguar Dance Company.
“It brought so much joy to see the downtown streets filled with so many people from our community, so much diversity, it felt like there was something for everybody.” said Natasha Bell who hosted the Black Owned 905 Vendor Market. “Living in this city my entire life I do not ever recall being exposed to so much culture in our downtown. It felt great, it really felt like home.”
“Living in this city my entire life I do not ever recall being exposed to so much culture in our downtown. It felt great, it really felt like home.” – Natasha Bell, Owner of Black Owned 905
Sarah Yurkiw, owner of Ruby Red Beautiful and Chair of the SCDA played a huge part in helping plan and support the James Street Market and Queen Street Stage.
“The Downtown Block Party was such a unifying event for our community. It was incredible to see so many people coming together to enjoy the day.” Sarah recalls. “So many amazing local businesses got involved and our vendor community had a wonderful day on the promenade. We had so many performers who are both local and based in other areas of Southern Ontario. So many incredibly talented acts took the stage for everyone to enjoy. “
The Downtown Block Party closed with an awesome set by CBC Music’s ODARIO performing on the Bond Street Stage with thanks to the Niagara Artists Centre.
It was the perfect way to end the night with everyone dancing together in the streets.
The Downtown Block Party is made possible by its BIA members, Board of Directors, Events Committees, volunteers, partners, and sponsors.
Thank you to our stage partners The Particle Sound, Ruby Red Beautiful, and the Niagara Artists Centre for creating a spectrum of sound through Downtown.
Thank you to Niagara’s 97.7 HTZ FM & Move 105.7 for your partnership and MC’ing our stages and to the Merchant Ale House and Wandering Spirits Coffee for being our hospitality sponsors.
Thank you to Decew Brewing Co. for their sponsorship and presence at our event!
This event is made possible financially with thanks to the city of St. Catharines, province of Ontario and the Niagara Tourism Fund.
The Downtown Promenade is a series of pedestrianized streets through-out Downtown St. Catharines on Fridays from 4PM-11PM and Saturdays from 10AM – 11PM that will continue until October 1st.
Make sure to come back to check out our After Parade Party, a Caribbean-themed dance party and vendor fair after the Niagara Grape & Wine Parade on Saturday, September 24th!
On Saturday, October 1st we celebrate our last day of the Downtown Promenade with Engage Every Age – an event geared towards all generations and will feature Blues, Brews & Burgers, hosted by The Works with proceeds from the event enabling The RRPC Innovation Foundation to provide support for a safe day space, with increased access to free mental health counselling with no waitlist for youth across the Niagara Region.
You can learn more about events downtown here!