Thanks to Garth Brooks - great weekend downtown

There is always a great energy that you feel on days of Ti-Cats home games. People in bars and restaurants before games, or the great camaraderie on the Ti-Cats shuttle busses coming into the stadium area from Dundas and up on the mountain. Never mind the great scenes in the area of the stadium with the tailgaters.

It's too bad there is rarely something to fill the void in the city in the Cats off season. The Bulldogs - so far - help a tiny bit downtown - as restaurants will get a bit busy game nights - but that impact is limited.

This weekend however - a GREAT weekend for downtown Hamilton because of the 5 Garth Brooks shows. Every single hotel room downtown sold out - even had to send some of the Syrian refugees who were still being housed in the downtown hotels to St Catharines hotels for the weekend.

The result - a great vibrant scene all weekend long. Jackson Square was busy yesterday - and every bar and restaurant within walking distance has been doing great business. The scene last night and downtown traffic jams - especially between last nights two shows was crazy. So happy for downtown businesses who got a much needed boost this weekend.

This the scene around 10:30 PM last night from my balcony looking east from Queen Street.

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Great to see the dowtown so alive on a Saturday night! Hopefully we continue to see great weekends downtown like this more often in the future.

Slowly but surely downtown is getting better. A few weeks ago there was the good news that a Mac/IBM joint venture woud be taking over 3-4 floors of Stelco Tower. That's fantastic.

And here more on the positive Garth Brooks impact. Boy it sure would be nice if we could get more regular big crowds for things happening at First Ontario Centre. It would be SO GOOD for local business. Saturday night in particular with back to back shows meaning 35,000+ downtown that evening.

There is a video of the scenes to go with the story at this link.

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Brooks performed two shows in Hamilton Saturday night, filling parking lots and restaurants to capacity before the early performance at 7:00 and promising an interesting change before the 10:30 show as 18,000 fans tried to exit the arena while another 18,000 tried to get in.
"There were huge lines, but everything was really well organized," she said.

Fans started streaming downtown as early as 5:30 for the first performance, quickly overflowing all the parking lots around the arena. A spot under Jackson Square was going for $30 for the evening — if any had been available. By 5:30 the "lot full" sign was out.

It was the same story for the lots at Bay and Market streets and at Main and Bay by the new Homewood Suites hotel.

Those with strong legs quickly filled up the on-street spots as far south as Bold Street.

The HSR helped to ease some of the traffic congestion by running special shuttle busses from Limeridge Mall, Eastgate Square and University Plaza. Rides downtown cost $10. HSR services were also extended for the evening.

Core Entertainment, operator of FirstOntario Centre, helped by urging concertgoers to consider carpooling or transit options. The company even posted parking and transit information on its website.

Restaurant seats right around the arena were even scarcer than parking spots. A quick survey of the Anchor Bar, Honest Lawyer and The Works burger bar found wait times of up to 45 minutes at 6:15.

Would be so good to see more of these kinds of crowds downtown.

I agree TPat.. although I rarely go downtown I do see improvements everytime I do

Here are some photos

Wow - the last time I saw crowds like that in Hamilton was for the Walmart Black Friday sales................... :smiley:

Nah.. First day of roll up the rim at Timmy's

Thousands downtown again on this chilly morning. Unreal how many are out there running in the Around the Bay Road race on such a cold day. At least they squeezed the race in in a sunny gap between yesterday's snow and the storm moving in later today.

They look like an army of ants from my balcony on Queen Steet.

I ran the Around the Bay Race a couple of years ago when it was Minus 7 and the winds blowing in off the Lake made it feel like 30 BELOW!! I've run it too during mild spells but it always seems to be windy and cold on that day.
Lots of out of towners come in and stay in local hotels, any event like this is good for the hotel business especially this time of year.