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2014-08-23 at 19:33

Westfort Street Fair has 'immense' impact on area businesses

By Matt Vis,
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THUNDER BAY -- For more than 30 years the Westfort Street Fair has been a way for residents from all over the city to meet a vibrant southside neighbourhood.

The tradition sees no signs of slowing down, as people flocked to Frederica Street Saturday afternoon for the 32nd edition of the popular gathering.

Organizer Jack Moro said the street fair typically sees as many as 5,000 to 7,000 people visit the business district, providing a substantial boost to the area businesses.

“The impact is immense,” Moro said. “You get them in the stores, they’ve maybe not been to our area, and we make friends and create relationships and help people with great bargains at times.”

Many of the shops featured sidewalk specials to entice shoppers and give them an opportunity to meet with the various business owners.

The street fair gives people from outside Westfort who don’t come down too often get a taste of what the area has to offer.

That is the case for Kelly Polowski, a north side resident who makes a point of coming down to Westfort for the street fair every year.

She said she knows she is not the only one who comes by for a visit.

“It brings a lot of Port Arthur people over to this side of town,” she said.

Moro said organizers try to make the street fair as family friendly as possible and bring in a wide array of children’s activities and family food.

It seems to be working, as there were many families with young children taking in all of the festivities.

Along with her husband, Polowski attended the fair with her two daughters Sophia and Alexa.

In addition to helping the individual businesses, the traffic also has a positive impact on the neighbourhood as a whole.

Moro said the street fair serves as a way to get some extra money to revitalize the Westfort business area, as well as raise money for local charities and organizations.

“It’s helping refurbish the area and creates a lot of attractions. We put up new garbage receptacles, do new improvements to the area, we give back to the West Thunder Community Centre and things like that,” he said.

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TBAY Opinion says:
I am a big fan of Westfort. It has kept its identity and spirit through-out the years.
8/24/2014 8:25:32 AM
progress now says:
I couldn't agree more.

And it has managed to do it while being the red headed stepchild of the city. If it had a fraction of the attention of the waterfront district/business district/entertainment district (just other ways of saying downtown PA), there is no telling what a really interesting place it could be to, as the city likes to say - live, work and play.

City admin just isn't wired that way...

If it keeps going the way it is though, it may become the real success story of Thunder Bay precisely because the city kept its "healing hands" off of it.

Westfort Village has fantastic potential and I see great things in its future.

Ah but first...that council.
8/24/2014 9:33:46 PM
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