Bringing Port Dalhousie back to life

The historic village of Port Dalhousie, once neglected, is being revitalized.

By mid-2013, Port Dalhousie’s cherished heritage district was at its lowest point in its long history. The condo tower development, which the OMB approved in 2009 despite objections from City Council and an overwhelming majority of the residents, were in limbo. The developer demolished the historic Port Mansion and then purchased a number of other heritage buildings, closed the existing businesses and left them empty. Port was a dead village.

In December 2013, the Port Dalhousie Conservancy, a volunteer community organization held a public meeting to seek community input. The meeting was extremely well-attended and the feedback was presented to City Council which took action by enforcing the City Property Standards By-Law on the vacant buildings. Volunteers also formed a Renaissance Committee to develop action plans to resuscitate Port. These action plans were well-received by the City and a Port Dalhousie Beautification and Works Committee (BWC) was formed in 2014 to spearhead implementation.

Since then, the BWC, with the support of City, Regional and Federal governments, and the Port Dalhousie Business Association (PDBA) has spearheaded a number of projects that have radically improved the looks of Port and the feelings of our residents. These include: flower pots in key locations on the main roads; repair of the retaining wall at Lock and Main Streets; upgrading of the Henley Grandstand entrance and; creation of a new park next to Lincoln Fabrics. In addition, new businesses have opened including Acqua Restaurant and Balzac’s Coffee and, two local entrepreneurs are restoring the historic Lion’s Hotel with new businesses scheduled to open there before year end.

While the tower project is still in limbo, the village has improved dramatically and progress should continue. I have been a volunteer with the Port Dalhousie Conservancy, Renaissance Committee and BWC. Now, as a City Councillor, I also represent the City on the PDBA board and work towards enhancing the business climate and attracting new businesses. Port is definitely coming back to life.

N. Carlos Garcia is a Councillor Ward 6 Port Dalhousie

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2 thoughts on “Bringing Port Dalhousie back to life

  1. I love to read about Port Dalhousie especially when there is a positive spin. I moved here in 2013 from Burlington as I got a job in St. Catharines, and I’ve loved living in Port since April of that year. I came to learn in short order (and realized it very quickly by the rundown buildings in Port’s core) that I had come at a low point. My landlord in on a member of the conservency and brought me up to speed. The thing that has made me most angry is that the developers have been enabled (yes enabled, not allowed) to hold this community hostage, running businesses out by creating so much uncertainty, pitting resident against resident on both sides of the condo issue. The decline has made this part of town a sad tragedy, and the closing of the pier this spring did not help things. I am thrilled to see the new businesses opening this year, and look forward to those pending. I am happy and lucky to live here and can’t wait to see it thrive again. My biggest wish is that the condo NEVER happens… wrong place, wrong time, wrong community….

    I want to give you some constructive feedback as a 50 year old and a person who creates presentations for a living. Your grey text/font is lovely but difficult to read. Consider that there are a lot of older folks in the community (as of 2013 the AVERAGE age in St. Catharines was 53…that means there are LOTS of old folks. Consider that I am only 50 and have hard time seeing this… I spend a huge amount of time online for work and leisure, but I kinda give up quickly if I can’t read an article or a web page is busy, even though I usually have my display on HUGE setting.. Make it easy for us… If you darken it, they will read… :)

    Thanks for your great articles…
    Chris Mc, Port Dalhousie

  2. I love to read about Port Dalhousie especially when there is a positive spin. I moved here in 2013 from Burlington as I got a job in St. Catharines, and I’ve loved living in Port since April of that year. I came to learn in short order (and realized it very quickly by the rundown buildings in Port’s core) that I had come at a low point. My landlord is a member of the conservancy and brought me up to speed. The thing that has made me most angry is that the developers have been enabled (yes enabled, not allowed) to hold this community hostage, running businesses out by creating so much uncertainty, pitting resident against resident on both sides of the condo issue. The decline has made this part of town a sad tragedy, and the closing of the pier this spring did not help things. I am thrilled to see the new businesses opening this year, and look forward to those pending. I am happy and lucky to live here and can’t wait to see it thrive again. My biggest wish is that the condo NEVER happens… wrong place, wrong time, wrong community….

    BTW- I want to give you some constructive feedback as a 50 year old and a person who creates presentations for a living. Your grey text/font is lovely but difficult to read. Consider that there are a lot of older folks in the community (as of 2013 the AVERAGE age in St. Catharines was 53…that means there are LOTS of old folks. Consider that I am only 50 and have hard time seeing this… I spend a huge amount of time online for work and leisure, but I kinda give up quickly if I can’t read an article or a web page is busy, even though I usually have my display on HUGE setting.. Make it easy for us… If you darken it, they will read… :)

    Thanks for your great articles…
    Chris Mc, Port Dalhousie

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