The Bell Lightbox is also a giant money box
The numbers are in. Not surprisingly, credit card spending was up in the Entertainment District, while Yorkville saw a slight decrease during TIFF, but it doesn’t necessarily mean Yorkville is officially dead. The Globe reports (yes, the paper has a non-redesign story today) that credit card purchases at restaurants and bars went up 9.1 per cent on King West while going down 5.2 per cent in Yorkville. The same pattern applies to retail stores.
From our TIFF experience, it’s not just the fact that the Lightbox is awesome in its own right, but the move to centralize the festival made King West that much busier. Beside the Lightbox is the Hyatt Regency, where TIFF organizers had their headquarters and press conferences took place. The Lightbox is also a five-minute walk from the Roy Thomson Hall, where the big galas were held, so the public (and press) could screen a movie, gawk at celebrities and grab lunch within a two-block radius. We bet half of O&B Canteen’s earnings came from the international media alone.
It’s premature to call King West the new Yorkville, considering the celebrity spottings that continue to happen north of Bloor. The real question is whether the Lightbox can maintain the momentum months after the red carpet has been rolled up and put into storage.