What is Hamilton Day? The Great Depression-era event is back; here’s how to celebrate like it’s 1931

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Published October 14, 2021 at 12:00 am

Welcome sign at Vintage Charm on Locke Street in Hamilton. 90 years later, Hamilton Day is back and scheduled for Nov. 20, 2021. Patrons are encouraged to support local businesses. (Photo by Anthony Urciuoli)

In 1931, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce held an event called Hamilton Day. During the depths of the Great Depression, the Chamber was looking for a way to boost the local economy by encouraging residents to shop and dine locally.

90 years later, Hamilton Day is back.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, local residents are being asked to earmark  Nov. 20, 2021, as a day for the patronization of local businesses.

“What once was a day to ‘Banish that tiresome word, depression’, this year we will set out to ‘Banish that tiresome word, pandemic’,” says Keanin Loomis, President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “Hamilton Day will inject much-needed dollars into our local economy and reignite community pride.”

The Chamber is inviting local independent businesses to participate in Hamilton Day. For patrons, this is another opportunity to support local businesses.

The organization is also reminding residents that Hamilton Day is not a festival-style event.

“As we continue to navigate COVID-19, supporting local through delivery and curbside pick-up are still feasible options,” reads an official media release. “Patrons and businesses are reminded that if supporting local in person, please continue to follow operational restrictions such as maintaining distance between other patrons, wearing a mask, adhere to capacity limits, and having respect and patience for small business staff.”

The Chamber selected the tail end of November for Hamilton Day with the hopes that it will change buying habits around the holiday season.

“Let’s not forget about our community’s small independent business owners who have proven to be resilient through the pandemic,” says Loomis. “On November 20th, show your favourite local spots some love.”

Both businesses and patrons can visit HamiltonDay.ca to download a marketing toolkit prepared by the Chamber. It includes posters, social media graphics and other interactive assets.

“With what has been one of the most difficult times for our business community, I am grateful to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for leading this initiative that champions Hamilton’s small businesses,” said Jason Thorne, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development at the City of Hamilton.

“On Hamilton Day, I encourage community members to show some “local love” by supporting our local businesses and discover what makes our city the best place to live, work, play and shop.”

Hamilton Day is a partnership with the Stoney Creek & Flamborough Chambers of Commerce and Hamilton’s Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). The Chambers received funding through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Network’s partnership with the Government of Canada’s ‘Shop Local’ initiative – an investment of $33 million across Canada to encourage Canadians to shop local.

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