Connecting Community: Queen Street Virtual Market

At its core a community is designed to be supportive. A community is more than a group of people, it’s a form of love and appreciation whose goal is to fulfill the lives of the people in it through connection, kindness and a sense of belonging. One of the strongest communities that you’ll find in Niagara is the one that I’m proud to call home, Queen Street in Niagara Falls.

Queen Street is home to a vibrant commercial/entertainment scene. Its storefronts are full of amazing cafés, bars, restaurants, antique shops, dance studios, art galleries and so much more. It’s a street fueled by a fantastic combination of eccentricity and togetherness. Unfortunately for Queen Street, and all of Niagara Falls, the pandemic has brought everything to a screeching halt. Tourism has proven to be a dead industry in the face of an epidemic, and though the businesses on Queen Street are doing their best to work with these changes, the negative effect COVID-19’s had on the local economy has been huge.

Tourism has been the economic backbone of Niagara Falls for decades, and in these times of uncertainty, that income is going to take a massive hit. If you have the means to lend a hand and help keep local businesses afloat please do so, we’re in a situation where a little will go a long way. Thankfully the Queen Street community has been moving forward with initiatives to keep things as stable as we can.

This Friday (May 29th,) the official Queen Street Instagram page (@queenstniagara) will be hosting the “Queen Street Virtual Market”, where they’ll be giving away over $500 worth of gift cards for Queen Street businesses. Be sure to tune in from 12:00 to 1:30PM to see what kind of businesses this wonderful community has to offer and to have the chance of winning some great prizes.

The event will be hosted by the always delightful Matt Guarasci, (founder of the local management company Invittco) on behalf of the Queen Street BIA. Matt’s done a lot of great work in the Niagara Region including an upcoming fundraiser this Thursday for Project Share, “Message for Meals”; an already sold out event that’s raised over $1000!

One of the best ways to offset the damage done by the absence of tourism is to promote these wonderful businesses throughout the region. If you have any interest in art, meeting people, learning new skills or eating tasty food, the businesses of Queen Street have you covered, and as everything begins slowly opening up again, promoting and supporting small business will become more and more important.

If you don’t have any money available, that’s okay! You can still make just as big of a difference by getting the names of the businesses you love out there. Share their posts on social media, invite people to like their Facebook pages, engage in discussion in local groups and forums, and of course, be sure to tune in to their online events. Learn all about the who’s, what’s and where’s of Queen Street on this Friday’s Virtual Market!

If you have an interest in helping support Niagara businesses, artists and more, be sure to follow Mainly Niagara (@mainlyniagara) for all sorts of information on what’s happening on our community!

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful week and see you on Instagram on the 29th between 12-1:30pm!

Eric Upper is a writer, community activist, mental health advocate and a feature blogger for Mainly Niagara. You can reach him through Instagram at: @brain.hugs.