Written by Shawna O’Neill
Our former Mayor, now Senator — Bernadette Clement — took to the streets of the DBIA this week where she was greeted with several waves of ‘hello’.
“I like that it takes me a long time to walk up the blocks,” said Clement, basking in the DBIA’s friendly atmosphere. “I have to stop and chat, I have to wave at a bus driver, firefighters who are going by…just because there are so many people who want to chat here. That’s the definition of Cornwall.”
Still mourning her Mayoral position within the city, but excited for new opportunities at the Senate, Clement expressed her belief that it’s the people of Cornwall that makes our area so special. After thinking about our DBIA merchants, Clement said they are among some of the most interesting people in the city.
“Entrepreneurs, to me, are like artists,” she said with excitement. “They are people with very interesting backgrounds who want to do things in their own way, in their own unique style. They are always very connected to community and do more than just their business. They are also connected to other businesses and want them to do well.”
Clement has seen many initiatives that prove the success of the DBIA’s people and their local partnerships. She praised events like the upcoming Cornwall Art Walk and Shop the Blocks (supported by the DBIA) around the holidays.
“I really enjoy the Art Walk; that was a great success last summer. It really brought people downtown, people who were not used to coming downtown, and it felt like even more of a destination. Because there was a blend of artists, and food, and just generally a great atmosphere,” she said. “Downtown is also great at Christmastime because there is always a focus on celebration, local shopping and creating an atmosphere of giving. It’s a favourite place to be at a favourite time of year.”
One of Clement’s favourite things to do in the DBIA is attend a patio.
“I have been on all of the patios downtown for dinner, for lunch,” she said. “In the summertime, especially during the pandemic, there was a development around patio life and I enjoyed and continue to enjoy all of the patios downtown.”
Overall, Clement believes that the DBIA is attracting locals and tourists alike as it is likely host to an enjoyable experience.
“We have leaned into redefining ourselves as a city and a lot of that definition has to do with the St. Lawrence River and our downtowns (the DBIA and Le Village),” said Clement. “So those are things that make us unique. The downtown has a more fun feel and there is definitely more diversity of options. You can sit on a patio, shop for jewellery, shop for clothing, have popcorn…there’s a growing diversity of things to do.”
“Every downtown is special and that is how people will remember cities. They will remember the feel that they get when they are downtown…our two downtowns are definitely my favourite places in the city,” she added.