The fall season is now upon us, and as Niagara residents know, the turn of the season comes the annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. The event has grown into a region-wide celebration, with many local events being for the festival. One of those events that occurred in downtown St. Catharines this past week was a storefront window display competition. This was the third year the event was held in association with the Grape and Wine Festival. Businesses who chose to participate were asked to create a window display that incorporated the elements of the Grape and Wine festival celebrations.
Although all was done in good spirits, the event was in fact a competition between stores to see who could create the best display. A panel of judges examined all participating storefronts on Sunday, after which they chose a winner. There was also a People’s Choice Award, for which the public could vote on their favourite storefront on a survey on Facebook.
A number of businesses in the downtown core took part in the event. One of these businesses was The Watering Can Flower Market. The store first arrived in downtown St. Catharines in 1996 and has become a popular floral provider. They have a large European influence but make sure to add their own creative flare to every arrangement.
This creativity was evident in the window displays they created for the competition. The storefront has two large windows, both of which were designed and dressed beautifully by Creative Director at The Watering Can Flower Market, Martin Flynn. He drew inspiration from local product and fall festivities, particularly the Grape and Wine Festival. The displays also referenced Canada’s 150th birthday. One window was designed to feature white wine, and the other, red wine. Both windows featured beautiful, locally sourced flora in fall shades such as purple and burgundy. The displays also featured locally grown grapes as well wine made at wineries in the Niagara region.
This was the first year that The Watering Can Flower Market has participated in the window display competition, although this hasn’t prevented them from being noticed. They were leading the people’s choice vote online for the majority of the week, although Pocket CHANGE pulled ahead by just a few votes to steal the win at the end of the week.
When asked why they chose to participate this year, Flynn gave a number of reasons: “We’ve been [in downtown St. Catharines] for 20 years,” he said. “It’s a way to be a part of the community.”
He also mentioned that events such as the window competition helps to draw people into the core of downtown and encourages the public to check out some of the new stores and businesses.
The public has seemed to appreciate the event. Flynn mentioned that he has noticed more people spending time downtown, whether that be checking out some of the local shops or eating at one of many unique restaurants.
Other stores participating in the event included Pocket CHANGE, a local shop selling products from artisans around the world and the winners of the people’s choice vote; Sandercott and Evans Opticians, an optometrist located downtown on James Street; and Niagara Artists Center, a not-for-profit center to showcase local artists’ work.