Sidewalk Sale – 2018

With the weather heating up now that we are heading into August, on Thursday most of the downtown merchants in Cobourg put their wares out on the sidewalk – well really on the road – and invited customers.  It is an annual 4 day event with Saturday being the big day with a Sandcastle Festival but I checked it out on a quieter day – today, Friday.  Although the forecast said it might rain, merchants had their stuff out in the open – they would  be busy protecting them if it actually rained although some did have canopies.  As well as shoes, clothes and DVDs, there was also furniture, paintings, jewelry and more.  There were also some booths unrelated to King Street vendors as well as playgrounds for kids and a climbing wall for anyone.  And of course there were food vendors although restaurants with air conditioning would have been popular.

To make sure people knew about the Sandcastle Festival, there were a couple of simple sandcastles right on the road outside Victoria Hall.  Hopefully there is some way to do the reverse – that is, tell people coming to the Sandcastle festival that they should visit downtown.

On Saturday at 11:00, Rob Franklin will entertain with his 20 minute play about James Cockburn – it will be in front of Victoria Hall.  If you miss it, it will be repeated at the Sifton-Cook centre on Monday at 11:00 am.

I created the video below – it’s basically what I saw when I strolled down King street.

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Full credit to the group that has organized and executed the Beach Bar initiative….cold drinks, a few snacks, entertainment and a place to sit and people watch. This is a must have every year going forward!

Wally Keeler

hear hear

Lydia Smith

Miscellaneous Musings:
Great job on the video, John! It’s the next best thing to being there.
I love the sandcastles in front of Victoria Hall. Congratulations to whoever had that idea.
I love the Scotiabank sign in front of Vic. Hall too. Bright colours/flamingo really give a feel good beach feel.
It did not seem to me that many people had bags of stuff they bought. Does DBIA/Town have a way to quantify that? Just curious.

Walter L. Luedtke

The DBIA/Town apparently is tackling the tourist/ bag issue by assembling a task force and hiring consultants.
Among the options are strolling ‘bag monitors’, closed-circuit surveillance cameras with facial recognition software and/or airport-style security checks at both ends of King street where bags will be counted and x-rayed.
No monitors who are even distantly related to Town Councillors and Staff will be hired.
Looking forward to the report.


How about drones?

Waterfront Owner

I just returned from the beach and believe most of Toronto and surrounding area are today, here in Cobourg. Great for tourists. It has been mentioned in the past of having an entry fee to go on the beach….Cobourg residents exempt. As a tax payer l believe some of my monies pay for clean up as well as other expenses incurred by these beachcombers. I have had mixed feelings concerning imposing this fee but do think it about time to consider


I had that very same thought go through my head today. I spent exactly ten minutes on the beach then got on my bike and headed home! What a crowd and what a mess.


Washrooms or lack of are a concern while observing the immense crowds today. I refuse to bring my grandchildren to our beach, blue flag or not, and that is just a shame.

Wally Keeler

There’s lots of porta-potties available. Even so, there is often a line-up for washrooms. Perhaps more porta potties should be deployed if that is your only issue.


Thanks Wally, I am only aware of the washroom behind the canteen, didn’t see any porta potties while strolling the beach today. I know for Canada Day and rib fest there is not an issue.


365 days in a year and the complainers, of course, focus on ONE day. ONE!

At best the beach is like this 2 weekends in the year. Get over it.

It’s not costing you anything either. The parking meters are exploding with cash today, they will more than enough pay for any cleanup or whatever else you can find to complain about.

Wally Keeler

The line-up suggests that not enough were put out for this weekend. There was a line-up at the new washroom at the Marina, so, yes there seemed not quite enough.

Wally Keeler

My son and the Filipino half of his family just arrived this afternoon. I parked my little e-scooter in a spot downtown early morning to occupy a space for him and family from Cambridge ON. Got $20 bucks for the service. My first direct revenue from ‘tourists’. So I am an enabler of “what a mess” and FEEL GOOD about it.

Yes, what a crowd. Often in my childhood there would be family reunions in the park on extended weekends. Lots of blankets and picnic tables laden with food. Children frolicking on dangerous playground equipment. There was the catchment area of Northumberland county. It was all so comfortably white-skinned; I enjoyed those wonderful times. Nowadays I am happy to see so many ethnicities integrating in Victoria Park. There are very few times in a year when I can chat up other people other than my white-skinned neighbours.


How many tourists did you see making a purchase at a downtown shop?

Wally Keeler

I didn’t see any of them buying furniture, nor household appliances, nor a tailored suit, neither a bed nor automobile. I make purchases downtown every day. I got your concern covered. Next?


Considering the number of vacant stores you haven’t been making sufficient purchases!

I repeat, did you see any tourists making a purchase other than furniture, household appliances, tailored suit, bed or automobile? Your lack of a serious answer to a serious question implies that tourists are only an inconvenience to the residents and not a benefit to downtown merchants.

Wally Keeler

I have video proof that tourists buy stuff in Cobourg. Go to YouTube and search them yourself. Yes, I saw lots of tourists lining up at two ice cream parlours, keeping them in business for another year, with lots of student workers there earning their tuition. I went to the Blue Box and it was packed with tourists. I saw tourists going in and out of the Sub Shop, and perhaps they frequented other establishments. I saw tourists lined up at the canteen, and supporting students earning their income. Yep, I saw a lot of tourists buying stuff. My son and his family of visited, bought a bunch of groceries to take with them to Peterborough the following day. The Town did a survey a few months back that determined that 20,000 extra feet walked on the main street during the months of July August. Only a stupid individual would suggest that none of those 20,000 spent money down town. It’s up to the downtown entrepreneurs to bring those 20,000 into their store. “Your lack of a serious answer to a serious question implies that tourists are only an inconvenience to the residents and not a benefit to downtown merchants.”… Read more »

Wally Keeler

“...implies that tourists are only an inconvenience to the residents...”

What a stupid supposition. The majority of residents of Cobourg do not regard tourists as inconvenient — only the miserable grumps who desire a gated geezer ghetto think tourists are inconvenient. The recent waterfront survey also stated that the majority of Cobourg business regard tourists as a net benefit to Cobourg.

You, Dubious, are a lonely whiner in the background seeking attention with your pathetic rejection of tourists.

Rusty Brown

“Nobody goes there any more – it’s too crowded”.
– Yogi Berra

manfred s

THAT is priceless! Laughed til I collapsed. It’s so appropriate.

Rusty Brown

Those are all potential customers and each is thinking “…gee, I could sure use a … about now.” Anyone who can figure out what that need is and fill it should do very well.

manfred s

we’ll, actually Rusty, from over 40 years of hands-on personal experience, while the vast majority may indeed be potential customers, the Sidewalk Sale has for many, many years, boiled down to a meandering stroll repeatedly up and down King Street for something to do on a usually hot and sometimes wet long weekend. The shopping aspect is limited and basically comes down to impulse buys and the ubiquitous consumption of mostly ‘fairground’ foods. Unfortunately, as years passed, boredom became the defacto offering and things like music, kids attractions, street artistry and the like were re-introduced to fight that. Today, it feels like a shadow of itself and that’s too bad because a lot of work goes into putting that event on the street. I think the underlying circumstances and commercial environment have changed the appeal of the event because what used to be the prime driver of the event, slashed pricing on past-their-prime goods, has been depreciated by that being available all year and in many of the clearance-type stores and in the big boxes. As an entertainment venue it will continue to draw a crowd of sorts, albeit a crowd with a different motive and not shopping as the… Read more »

Rusty Brown

My comment was actually in reply to: “…I just returned from the beach and believe most of Toronto and surrounding area are today, here in Cobourg.” Seems to me like a big opportunity there that is being missed.
I have the same perception of the street sale. Other than a $3. hoodie or a $1. T-shirt with weird logos or such, I see nothing there to tempt me to spend.


Great opportunity to hire local students to sell wristbands!

Recover some of the costs, and provide employment for local youth.

Win/Win for the taxpayers!


It is never a “win” when government squanders taxes on business ventures that are not even intended to benefit most residents.

Wally Keeler

Took a tour and noticed that Albert Street is lathered with PARKING signs $20 all day parking. Some lots will rake in thousands and others a few hundred. Lots of cars in the Marina lot. All $$$$ from tourists wanting to see the Sandcastle event. Lots of pilgrim parents pulling wagons, coloured inflatables and children in tow heading to the centre of the community. For the first time this year, the beach will be fully packed. Lots of pilgrims strolling through the downtown, whole gaggles of Asians walking past the cop shop where whiners claim overwhelming pooch poop smells. Have a great day Cobourg.