Day trip to St. Catharines

November 30th, 2011

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Yesterday we left the city to visit my parents. On the way there we stopped by Rise Above for some lunch, a vegan cafe/bakery/restaurant that my brother has been raving about. It was nice coming back home to see some life injected back into the old stomping grounds. I’ve always had long conversations about how to resurrect these beautiful downtown areas, and my big idea is to take over an entire block of real estate with a group of other young entrepreneurs offering something unique, and instantly creating a destination area worth visiting.

I’ve seen a lot of singular business with good potential have to close down because of little foot traffic, so it makes a lot of sense to create a reason for people to spend an afternoon or night in one central area. This could start with a manageable 3 businesses, most of the buildings in these areas are beautiful and the rents are very low. Investing a bit of money to the interior, branding, and signage are all key to the success of the business and branding the neighborhood. It doesn’t take too long to instill a sense of pride in the community if you simply bring the area back to it’s former glory, and give people something to be proud of.

Rise Above is positively setting the tone for the potential in this area so hopefully we’ll see other interesting new businesses follow suit.

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Now back to our lunch! The menu is comprised of an enticing collection of vegan comfort foods. They also had their daily soup, market sandwich, and pizza of the day.

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I ordered the special which was a chana masala wrap with a green salad.

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Juli got the potato/broccoli/vegan cheese ball with a side of oven cooked root vegetables.

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The inside is so nice, it really shows the potential for the rest of the interiors on the street.

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The Donuts looked delicious, but we had to pass since my mom had already promised to make us a batch for dessert.

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After lunch we took a walk down St. Paul St. to scope out any other new gems in the neighborhood.

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There are still too many vacancies though, which is a shame since it’s an interesting street!

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We walked by a recently cleared area and it turns out they are planning to build a performing arts center designed by Diamond and Schmidt architects. This could be the very thing that this downtown area needs! It will bring out so many people, and before and after concerts people are going to want to go out for dinner and have drinks.

Really looking forward to seeing what it looks like when it’s finished.

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And then a foggy ride to mom and dad’s for dinner!

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