Does the downtown core look any better this Christmas - you be the judge.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 12, 2014



Donna Zaffino has been a Gazette reader for some time. She is a frequent commenter and can be, how shall I put this, direct at times. We love her for that.

When we did the piece a few days ago on the contest the Burlington Downtown Business Association was holding for the best dressed window Zaffino agreed with the position we took and said she would make a point of looking at the windows to see how the retailers did this year.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Mirellas BEST

Zaffino thought the use of Christmas tree branches was attractive and innovative – very much in the season.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Anise Apothecary

Zaffino thought this was one of the best windows this year.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Son of a Peach

Son of a Peach, a pizza locale took over their part of Pine Street with traditional lights and Christmas wreaths

BDBA Xmas 2014 Dickens

Dickens really upped their game this year. At night the decorating they did along with their neighbour makes that part of Elizabeth Street look quite festive.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Burlington Tourist office

This pathetic store front is that of the city’s Tourism office. Have you ever seen two more limp Christmas wreaths in your life. Sure make you want to visit this city.


The look and feel of a street are probably more important than the products that are on sale in the stores.  People are impacted by what they see and that impact determines what they do.  If a street is bright and cheerful people feel bright and cheerful.

If a street is decorated during a festive season people pick up the spirit if that season.

Here is Zaffino`s report: “I walked around downtown taking photos of the business that are participating in the contest.

I was not terribly impressed with any of the displays, especially any of the clothiers.

There were a few around that aren’t in the contest that may have been better.

I am not sure if Different Drummer is participating or not. Both nights I didn’t see anything. Maybe I show up after Ian turns off the display. I tried on Tuesday around 6:30 and again tonight.

There are only three windows that stood out for me and have stayed in my imagination. They are Mirella’s, The Olive Oil Dispensary and Anise Apothecary.

1) Mirella’s for the creativity of using cedar boughs as flared skirts on their mannequins.

2) The Olive Dispensary for the vibrant colours and of course the classic little train set.

3) Anise Apothecary for simplicity and the soft blues and white. Nature helped it along today by covering their little evergreens under the window in snow.

I think Wardel’s Insurance was nice but I can’t remember what it looked like nor what the theme was. I recall that it was bright and stood out from a street view.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Works

The Works decided to focus on just their window this year. Last year the wrapped the store like a Christmas gift box. Given their position on Brant – a stronger message was better

BDBA Xmas 2014 Rahoons

Rayhoon used a nicely decorated Christmas tree they brought in and electric lights to give both their restaurant and Village Square a solid holiday feeling.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Bushs Mens wear

Given the position this retailer commands on Brant Street a little more imagination would have made a big difference.

BDBA Xmas 2014 Brant Foundation

Both the city and the Hospital Foundation did such poor job of creating a sense of season with their store fronts.

I wasn’t able to photograph three businesses. Black Pearl, Omega and Deeth and Co. I won’t be able to get them until Saturday.

I’d like to take pictures of places that weren’t on the contest list who did some really nice work.  Look for more from me later in the week.

Thanks for the assignment it was fun.

Related articles:

2013: Retailers forget that it is Christmas

BDBA works to make store fronts more festive.


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5 comments to Does the downtown core look any better this Christmas – you be the judge.

  • Centerline

    I agree with John above, If the City went overboard they would be accused of wasteful and frivolous spending on a Christian holiday.

  • John Skardzius

    So, the city, which is regularly, justifiably chastised for misguided spending, is now castigated for being modest in its acknowledgment of a religious occasion with their tourist facing office? That office should focus on its mandate. Every penny counts.

  • Through you to Donna Zaffino, Kudos on a job well done! Keep up the good work!Readers, Listen to Donna!

  • tenni

    Donna Zaffino thank you for taking the time and effort to examine the downtown’s Christmas decorations!