Queen’s & KEDCO look at improving downtown night economy

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Downtown Kingston’s “night time economy” is a pretty good one for bars and restaurants.
But is there more that businesses and tourism promoters can be doing … to attract people when the sun goes down?
Queen’s university and KEDCO are trying to answer that question.
As Darryn Davis explains, they’re looking at ways of expanding the night-time economy to more than just merchants.

Queen’s student Amanda Maracle has a new project — how to build up the downtown’s night time economy.
She’s part of a group called the “Phd to Community Initiative”
“The idea was that we get a bunch of Phd students from different disciplines together and we have them tackle problems that community members bring to us.”
They’re working on a report with recommendations for Kingston’s economic development office.
The report involves consulting with young professionals and downtown business owners through focus groups later this week. “What do you think are the barriers to improving the night economy in Kingston? What kind of resources or supports do you need in place in order for you to want to be engaged in this kind of thing.”
Minotaur games on Princess street has already expanded its hours — staying open until nine on most nights.
“I think critical mass is important.
people know that if they come to the spot there’ll be enough people open after six that it’s worth their while. ”
“Another one of the goals of developing the downtown night time economy is the social atmosphere.
It’s believed that if there are enough events taking place it could help retain young professionals as they graduate from university or college. ”
Maracle says they’ve also been researching what other cities have done… like opening a night time market or bazaar.
“And it caters more towards like arts, entertainment and music and stuff like that.”
KEDCO says retention of graduates is essential for the city’s long term growth and sustainability.
“By the year 2025 there are going to be more jobs than people in this community so we really need to look at all aspects of people attraction.”
David Dossett, who owns the Martello Alley gallery, likes the concept of developing more social venues and events downtown …. particularly when tourism slows in the winter.
“Go to places like Montreal and Quebec City they celebrate the winter and in the evening because that’s when you get the prettiest views of the outdoor activities.”
The Kingston night economy report should be finished in april — providing some new insight and ideas to get more people out, when the sun goes down.
Darryn Davis CKWS news Kingston.

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