ANTIGONISH: As the province entered into Phase 2 of its re-opening plan, the Mayor of the Town of Antigonish says she couldn’t be happier people are out and about again, walking the streets, and dining out at local establishments.

“It’s kind of nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel that we are starting to get back to normal,” Laurie Boucher told The Reporter. “People are enjoying the social interaction and actually seeing and talking to people. We know that social interaction is essential for mental health.”

With provincial restrictions eased slightly, she indicated people in the town are feeling more at ease and commends the people in both the town and county for being resilient throughout the past 15 months.

“Overall, the people in our community are very excited to start to be out and about (and) to start to eat out again,” Boucher said, “And I remind everybody to shop local and to make sure we patronize our downtown core and James Street business district.”

During the town’s regular monthly council meeting on June 21, senior staff indicated, while physical space is limited throughout the town, numerous establishments have taken advantage by creating or adding onto their existing outdoor areas.

“On College Street we have the Town House, who added to their patio this year. On the East end of Main Street we have the Main Street Café, which has a very large patio that they put in last year,” Boucher said. “Go up to the West end we have Gabrieau’s Bistro, Little Christo’s, and across the road from us at Spindrift Oak Manor, they are in the process of installing a rooftop patio.”

The mayor highlighted if more patio space in Antigonish is one of the consequences of COVID, it’s pretty nice.

“There is nothing better on a nice sunny afternoon than walking down Main Street and being able to stop in for a nice meal at one of the many fine restaurants,” Boucher said.

In addition to the downtown establishments, a couple of new faces have and are set to add into the mix with the micro-breweries Candid Brewing Company and Spindrift Oak Manor tapping into the scene, along with The Grind House, Antigonish’s newest café and wellness studio.

“We’re pretty excited on the developments that are happening downtown, the two micro-breweries and café are exciting, it just brings a small town vibe to our area,” Boucher said. “If these companies didn’t think we didn’t have enough people to patronize them and make them a success they wouldn’t be here. I do believe our community will support these new establishments and it’s exciting to see so much development downtown.”