Let It Glow

Submitted ByCity of St. Catharines

The holiday season has different meanings to different cultures. It is a celebration of love, family and faith. One of the key pieces that the many celebrations share is light, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Lunar New Year to name a few. With diversity and inclusion as the focus, the City of St. Catharines launched Let it Glow- A Celebration of Light. This 6-week, self guided, festival included eleven interactive installationactivation sites across two core tourism districts in the city: downtown and the waterfront community of Port Dalhousie. Working with local restaurants and shops, dining packages and holiday gift-giving guides encouraged visitors to make stops between the installations to shop, dine and explore.

Let it Glow- A Celebration of Light also provided opportunities for the arts community as well as several community and cultural groups. Programming featured members of the Niagara Regional Native Centre, local dance troops and musicians. A holiday vendor market was coordinated by Black Owned 905.

A key piece component of Let it Glow- A Celebration of Light was the “HUMANITY” art installation commissioned by Masai Ujiri, vice-chairman and president of the Toronto Raptors and Giants of Africa co-founder. The piece is about humanity, aiming to recognize the need for people to come together to reject hatred and injustice. Working with the Niagara Artist Centre and ramm Design, “HUMANITY” was installed in Montebello Park and stayed beyond the end date of the program.

Purpose of Project (including anticipated outcomes)

The goal in creating Let It Glow was to create an event that goes beyond COVID-19. In 2022, objectives included:

  1. Increase destination awareness of assets and businesses that drive tourism efforts. The initiative also builds recognition of the City’s diversity by building stronger connections with equity-seeking groups.
  2. Increase tourism revenue by creating opportunities for area businesses, local organizations, community groups, arts and culture groups, hospitality partners and retailers through exposure to visitors encouraged to spend the day exploring St. Catharines and indulging in the diverse culinary scene.

Target Audience (demographics)

  • Residents of St. Catharines and Niagara Region
  • Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton-Oakville corridor

Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives
Let It Glow was promoted through traditional and digital channels, including website and social media, radio advertising, bus shelter signage, and media relations, with a high-level call to action to visit lovestc.ca for complete details. The Let It Glow webpage was the most-viewed page and had the most conversions (clicks) on loveSTC.ca in 2022.

Through Let It Glow, visitors were encouraged to dine, shop and explore the key tourism areas. In downtown alone, the outdoor festival supported the retention of existing jobs at 514 businesses employing 7,168 people, including important jobs in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors.

In 2022, Let it Glow succeeded in providing positive economic impact for the community by supporting the tourism and hospitality sector, creating inclusive, diverse, and equitable opportunities, strengthening partnerships, broadening audience and market reach. The success of Let It Glow contributes to the City’s goal of St. Catharines becoming a truly unforgettable tourism destination.

Total Attendance: 13,000
Social Media Engagement: 103,461 Impressions
Website Views: 13,727
Community Partners: 32
Tourist Spending: $162,000