How Tourism Hamilton Hurts Art Crawl By Removing Food Trucks

Food trucks used to be part of Hamilton's biggest unorganized gathering, the monthly 2nd Friday art crawl on James Street North.

The City's Tourism Office allowed food trucks to set up on James Street in front of their Lister Block offices.

Tourism Hamilton put an end to allowing food trucks a couple of years ago, to support the sports bar the City leases space to in the Lister Block.

It must be stressed that the City did this of their own initiative, and not at the request of the sports bar.

Removing food trucks doesn't achieve the City's narrow goal; and may have the opposite effect of that narrow goal.

Someone who is grabbing food at a food truck is not doing so in place of a sit down dinner in a sports bar. They cater to completely different desires, people who wish to have a sit down dinner will find a place to eat. Food trucks may become an alternative for people who do not wish to wait for a seat as restaurants are full capacity during Art Crawl.

People who walk to the food trucks, after not finding a table, are an opportunity for the City's favoured restaurant -- they are at the door, and ready to be attracted by a great menu.

Not only is Tourism Hamilton not achieving it's goal, it's also harming Art Crawl.

I really noticed this in July, without the food trucks to anchor the south end of James Street North, Art Crawl crowds are now stopping at Wilson Street, instead of King William. Thankfully, for the restaurants on King William, they've created a destination of themselves, and are not hurt by the constraining of Art Crawl. For the small galleries and shops south of Wilson, the loss of crowds is a problem.

Downtown Hamilton's Gore Park is a jewel, with the beautifully restored fountain. We need to connect Art Crawl to Gore Park.

It's time for Tourism Hamilton to allow food trucks again.