Walk this way to Open Air Dunlop

'This will be the summer of hope'

Pedestrian power has taken over part of the downtown core in Barrie.

Open Air Dunlop takes place on Saturday, effectively shutting off vehicular traffic between Mulcaster Street and the Five Points intersection, and allowing the public to walk, cycle and rollerblade their way to check out the many restaurants and stores the downtown has to offer.

City councillor and Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA) chairperson Sergio Morales says this is the summer of hope for local businesses in the wake of the pandemic.

“This will be the summer of hope for a lot of downtown businesses. I am happy to see a lot of businesses pivoting their business model to really integrate pedestrian traffic into their operation.”

The BIA and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit have worked together to ensure all restrictions on public gatherings are followed.

The BIA has set aside 15 days for Open Air Dunlop this summer.

The $60,000 cost for the road closures will be covered by the city.

Open Air Dunlop was launched as a pilot project last year as part of the economic recovery plan.

“Open Air Dunlop 2020 was considered a success with 80% of businesses seeing an increase in foot traffic in their business and 70% of businesses indicating increased sales,” according to a staff report.

Councillor Keenan Aylwin, whose ward includes the downtown, says he is excited about the opportunity Open Air Dunlop presents to the entire city.

“We know our downtown has been struggling over the past year, like businesses everywhere. I think downtown Barrie can be a key part of our city’s economic recovery.”