Land Use Tour – Downtown St. Catharines – Revitalization Corridor
This tour will take you to St. Paul Street in the downtown core of St. Catharines – the largest city in the Niagara Region.
St. Catharines is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal, a shipping artery that allows vessels to travel between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with an altitude change of 326 feet over the 27 mile route. The first Welland Canal was constructed from 1824 to 1833 and established St. Catharines as the manufacturing and commercial hub of Niagara. The canal has had four different routes and the canal as it exists today follows the City’s eastern boundary with four of the locks located within St. Catharines. However, the route of the first Welland Canal lies just behind what is now known as St. Paul Street, the main commercial artery of the downtown.
Starting in 2006 the City of St. Catharines embarked on a significant revitalization of its downtown which included numerous infrastructure investments and the transformation of the former canal lands lying between the downtown core and Highway 406.
This tour will visit the state of the art First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, owned and operated by the City, which includes three performance halls and a Film House bringing international and local performing artists to Niagara, and the complementary Brock University Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Centre. Both facilities opened in 2015 as a unique partnership to bring a new vitality to the downtown core. The Performing Arts Centre at street level is new construction, however the University refurbished as part of its campus a123 year old former manufacturing /textile mill known as the Canada Hair Cloth Building preserving part of the unique industrial heritage of this area. Only a few short blocks away, also accessible to pedestrians from St. Paul Street and built on the site of the former canal, is the City’s new 5,300 seat spectator facility the Meridian Centre which opened in 2014, home to the Niagara IceDogs an Ontario Hockey League team and host to concerts and special events.
Representatives of the City’s Economic Development team will be joining the tour and will provide a brief presentation concerning these revitalization projects and the impact they have had for our downtown core, and will be available to answer your questions. Also joining us will be external legal counsel for the City who will talk to the expropriation process that was used to acquire the Canada Hair Cloth building and adjoining lands for this redevelopment.
AND, there is BEER. Downtown St. Catharines is also a stop on Niagara’s new AleTrail celebrating our local craft breweries. (We aren’t just about the wine!) At the conclusion of the tour and presentations the Performing Arts Centre we will have complementary tasting for us of three local brews.