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  • Writer's pictureJen Bedard

Why Downtown St. Catharines is The New Place To Be

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

The past two decades have seen a flurry of developmental activities in Downtown, St, Catharines. Money has poured in from public and private investments, leading to a building and business boom that is making it a top destination for residents and visitors alike. The new, revived Downtown has enough attractions to embrace visitors through all hours of the day and night.

The infrastructure of the city has improved greatly after some one-way streets were converted into two-ways. This allows for a better flow of traffic and makes the city easier to explore, whereas previously people just passed through. Nestled between 12 Mile Creek and the two major highways, Downtown is easy to access, while the city also has ample parking facilities. Street parking downtown is free after 6PM on weekdays and all day on the weekends (with a few exceptions) and the whole of St. Catharines is serviced by buses and the central bus terminal is located downtown, but it is considered to be a very “walkable” city.

Brock University’s Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts and the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre are venues that feature several of the performing and visual arts in the city. The Meridian Centre seats 5,300 spectators for sporting events and concerts and is home to the Niagara IceDogs, and the Niagara River Lions.

The retailers, restaurants, galleries, and cafes of the area offer unique concepts and attract people from the surrounding neighbourhoods and towns to Downtown St. Catharines. The Farmers Market is popular with residents and visitors where an abundance of locally grown fresh produce can be seen and purchased.

A number of the Downtown streets have houses with character. Their architectural styles, colours and fixtures vary according to the time they were built and many have beautiful hand-crafted finishes. Yates Street in the Heritage district was once a thriving canal-side village, this was where the original Welland Canal was built, and has many stately Victorian homes.

Other areas with historic homes and architecturally beautiful buildings are Montebello Place, Queen Street, James Street, Gerrard and Beecher Streets (popular with newcomers to the Downtown area). There are also a number of developments going up in several downtown areas.

Home options range from high-end housing, condo developments, retirement communities and student housing and the real estate market has boomed in recent years. The populations of 5,000 swells to 11,000 during the day as people come into the city to work or shop.

Montebello Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1887, the designer of Central Park in New York, is in the heart of the downtown and hosts several events through the year but is a quiet place to enjoy a walk or a picnic. It is the hub of the Niagara Wine Festival held every September and wines can be sampled and purchased. The city also hosts a Grape and Wine street parade in its honour.

The city offers many employment opportunities and attracts many professional people who also seek office space and investment opportunities.

St. Catharines has enjoyed increased real estate activity in 2019 with listings and sales increasing slightly. The average home price has increased from approximately C$360,000 to approximately C$420,000

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