Sunday, March 27, 2005

Go get stuffed London

Ah, sorry to rain on your parade, but, ah, there's to be no parade in London - but thanks for the use of your $42 million arena.

The committee organizing the Memorial Cup is trying to "maximize dollars" by holding a ticketed opening ceremony at the John Labatt Centre instead of a free parade, a prominent downtown business leader argues. "The Memorial Cup is supposed to be a community event. We've lost track of that," Lindsey Elwood, who chairs the downtown Business Improvement Area, said yesterday.

The committee's efforts to boost its profits take away from the community's involvement and "have left the business community out in the cold," he said.

"It looks like the spinoffs are going to disappear," Elwood said. "They should live up to their commitments."
. . .
The BIA, with MainStreet London, paid $37,000 to be a Cup sponsor, based on a plan that's changed, Elwood said -- something he said was "inappropriate."
Get the feeling you've just been fucked? Hope you at least got a kiss first.
. . . The committee organizing the Memorial Cup in London confirmed this week it has pulled back on several promises, including the downtown parade and a "virtual" beer garden at 15 bars.

Bar owners likely will be angry the beer garden will be held in the John Labatt Centre parking lot, Polhill said.
No doubt.

Now there will be even less parking at the venue where this is to take place, forcing an even greater parking crunch downtown, where there is already a shortage anytime the JLC opens its doors. The bar owners (and other businesses who are suppose to benefit from this event) will have to watch from their empty windows as the JLC patrons, who are in town for the JLC's self-contained little party, take all available parking from their regular customers.

"Why have a parade?" Whiffen said. "They can come to the opening ceremonies in the arena and see it. There are 9,090 seats."
"Let them eat cake."

Besides, you don't want the rest of Canada to see all the empty storefronts downtown which suggest "London is crumbling down"? The shame! I guess these guys must have taken a look at potential parade routes and come to their senses.

"The cost of having a parade is about $40,000," he said. "It's easy to say, in theory, 'Let's have a parade,' but the cost is significant and if you have rain, you've done it for nothing."

And if you have a major event downtown from which the local businesses are isolated, well then, "you've done it for nothing."

I am waiting for the council to suggest they - Opps, I mean we - pay for the parade. Don't want the rest of Canada to think London is full of cheapskates who have a budget to stick to or anything, do we?
Whiffen said a "climate- controlled" arena is a better option because it guarantees a good event.
Of course, no one will admit to noticing the ever threatening ominous "Black Cloud of London" which hangs over the city - outsiders remain baffled by Londoners who insist they don't know anything about this large mass hovering over our fair city.
He added the organizing committee had never agreed to have a parade.
. . .
If the City of London wants to host a Memorial Cup parade and underwrite the cost of it, we'd be delighted to have their support," he said, noting there will be many free events going on outside the arena.
. . .
Regardless, Miller said, the hockey tournament will be good for downtown businesses because there still will be a lot of traffic, a sentiment echoed by MainStreet London manager Janette MacDonald.

Forgive me for raining on your parade, but it usually follows that "a lot of traffic" means no parking. And that's not good for business. I bet Masonville will be booming that weekend.
"I think the parade will happen on its own when the Knights win," she said. "It'll be a huge success for downtown London. It'll be Christmas in May."
Don't you dare start messing with Christmas, it's fine just where it is.

I seem to recall downtown businesses were to receive spinoffs from having this oversize cooler downtown as well. So why do they continue to close as fast as ever?

For that matter, why do I have to walk further and further into the "Market" in order to buy veggies from fewer and fewer vendors? I didn't think it was intended to be an oversized flower/gift shop/bistro, but by all accounts that is what it is becoming. Is that because hockey fans from the suburbs shop at their own local grocery stores and have no use in one located beside a downtown arena with parking issues? Perhaps even the locals are tired of fighting crowds of hockey moms and Metallica fans in order to buy some spinach?

1 Comment:

Mike said...

"Besides, you don't want the rest of Canada to see all the empty storefronts downtown which suggest "London is crumbling down"? "

Yeah! The JLC is London's Potemkin Village.