I promised I would start talking more about the positive things going on around town, and this sure is one of them. This gets me more excited about the state of our city more than the MTS Centre, the Hydro office, CKY News, and the Library (how many years does a reno job take?) combined. It is something I have never seen in my lifetime. It is something that five decades of studies, schemes and scams tried (and subsequently failed) to do: It is the restoration and re-use of an old building on North Main Street.
Above the restored Norman's Meats shopfront, which will soon serve as offices and galleries, will be rental units for artists who work in the area.
Up the street, the fixed-up Main level of the Occidental Hotel serves as a great music venue. Meanwhile, across the street, on a nice row of late Victorian and Romanesque buildings, a group of kids have opened up a bike repair shop.
Together, visionary property owners and the creative young can do much more to enhance urban districts than even the most well-studied and well-funded revitalization plans.