Serena Ryder and Steven Page shine a bright light on Galt and the future of the Gaslight District
All the stops were pulled out on September 16th for a free community event. Branded Day In The District, the family friendly event was created to officially introduce the public to The Gaslight District and all its possibilities. On a gorgeous weekend the event took place at what was previously the Southworks Outlet Mall on Grand Avenue with the backdrop of fragmented ruins and centuries-old structures providing the ultimate environment.
A Day In The District shined brightly to ignite community excitement and powerfully showcased a real-time vision of what is possible for the future $120 million-plus redevelopment before the shovel hits the ground. With 3 main stages, vendors, food and craft demonstrations, local artists and a selection of food and beverage trucks, one couldn’t possibly take in all the great acts that played out over the course of the 8 hours of festivities.
The crowds came by the thousands to absorb the bold new vision in Galt, generating a kind of bustling beauty all around. The public response was tremendous with the square reaching capacity into the early afternoon.
Throughout the day, Gaslight Square was buzzing with the sounds of local musicians, artists and performers showcasing their musical, creative and culinary talents. Balloon characters greeted the smiling faces of children, who had been transformed with colourful painted palettes upon their cheeks. Fresh and unique experiences were curated to encourage community engagement. A larger than life mural dubbed The Happening involved attendees hurling paint soaked sponges at a blank canvas, creating an abstract masterpiece that would surely impress Jackson Pollock. This was a creative and collaborative experience to demonstrate that beautiful things can happen when a community comes together, and for this reason the piece was kept to be put on display.
There was also a public paint studio where budding artists got to take home their canvas creation, a free local food market, cooking demonstrations with renowned Chef D, as well as pop-up art displays and history galleries.
LOCAL TALENT PROVES TOP-NOTCH
The main stage crowd had plenty of music to move their feet to with a musical line-up that filled the square with energy. Headliners included the distinctive pop sounds of Steven Page (formerly of Barenaked Ladies) and listeners were treated to the mellow musings and infectious rock rifts of Serena Ryder. These Canadian talent sensations ignited the crowd and night air so that even those that couldn’t get in enjoyed the sounds filling Galt. There’s something pretty endearing about watching internationally renowned artists perform an arsenal of songs in a small local venue. The energy was palpable. The headliners provoked the kind of reactions of auditorium venues, creating genuinely lovely moments throughout crowd-pleasing sets.
APPLAUDING A POSITIVE RESPONSE
The response was overwhelming. Not only did the festivities draw massive crowds to take in the newly curated vision of a thriving urban environment to live, work and play, it also set a new and impressive condominium sales record for Waterloo Region. The Presentation Centre for the future Gaslight Condos was beautifully crafted to mirror the vibe and energy of an old-world European square. The culmination of old meets new materials echoed the intentions of what this project is expected to become. During a three-day period more than 90 per cent of the Gaslight District’s 20-storey condominium tower’s 197 impressive residential suites were pre-sold.
The reaction reached beyond just condo sales. All of Galt was alive during the entirety of the day. Local businesses buzzed with excitement as many came to explore the community of Galt. The potential of the future fueled inside residents and owners alike, and the transformation alluded to a flourishing destination.
Speaking to the potential of the Gaslight District, President of HIP Developments, Scott Higgins said, “This place was the engine of growth for downtown Galt. For a while it was a retail establishment, which was great, but we want to turn it back into that engine that fosters the next bit of prosperity for the City of Cambridge.”