How Local Businesses are Impacted by The Supercrawl Cancellation

By: Rya Buckley, September 24, 2020

The cancellation of Hamilton’s signature festival is negatively impacting businesses on and off James Street North

Nothing brings Hamilton together like Supercrawl. The September festival on James Street North features numerous performances, fashion shows, art installations, food trucks and more. It is an opportunity for Hamilton to show off its artists and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Supercrawl’s organizers announced in June that the 2020 event would be cancelled.

When Hamilton’s steel industry collapsed in 2008, Hamilton’s artists and entrepreneurs were credited with revamping Hamilton’s image and economy. As empty buildings became galleries, restaurants, studios and shops, art crawls emerged. Supercrawl, derived from these monthly art crawls, arrived as a celebration of this revival.

Since its inception in 2009, Supercrawl has grown from a one-day event attended by a few thousand people to a weekend-long celebration that draws about 250,000 people annually. The multi-arts festival is a major tourism event in Ontario that has an economic impact of over $2,000,000.

Every year, businesses on James Street North prepare themselves for this influx of customers by extending hours, increasing stock and putting on sales. Business owners often gain new customers during Supercrawl and see some of their highest sales of the year.

Priya Mohan is the owner of Sari Knot Sari, a sustainable and fair trade clothing line. As her store is located on James Street North, she has been directly impacted by the art crawl and Supercrawl cancellations.

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