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Buffalo Loves Canada

We’re constantly exploring our relationship with Canada and its potential. Our connection with Hamilton (article of interest), Toronto and beyond, remains a relatively untapped resource, and there are individuals and organizations in Buffalo that would like to see a stronger bond when it comes to strengthening the region through the building of partnerships. 
Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) has been exploring some of the ways that Canada can influence Buffalo and vice versa. One of the tools that some say might benefit the relationship is branding. Could a branding campaign be instrumental in forging closer ties with our Canadian counterparts? “We are trying to accomplish a number of things,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President & CEO Visit Buffalo Niagara. “One is to show appreciation to Canadians that are coming here to visit and to create a more welcoming environment for these visitors.  In shopping alone, Canadians pumped over 930 million in our economy.  Our hope there is that local businesses will work with us and embrace the use of this mark (see lead image) for themselves, it’s a simple “Thank you” gesture to express our appreciation.   
“We also want to grow visitation and spending among Canadians and we will use this mark in our advertising and marketing efforts, and we hope our partners will as well,  so that we have a unified brand that identifies the region as a great place to have fun.   
“Finally, there is an internal campaign aspect to this as well, so that Buffalonians can embrace this emotional connection with our neighbors.  We have better shopping options, better flight options, and our sports teams enjoy better attendance because of Canadians – simply put, Buffalo is enriched because of our geography.  The population of the GTA and Southern Ontario is growing, and we are going to grow with it.”
After years of hoping that we would recognize the untapped potential that our Canadian neighbors offer, it’s good to see groups like Visit Buffalo Niagara exploring the vast potential at our doorstep. After all, Canada is Buffalo’s low hanging fruit when it comes to tourism. Currently VBN is looking for ways to best utilize the new ‘Buffalo Loves Canada’ mark, and is asking local businesses to embrace it, and the public “How might you use it?”

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Marty Biniasz

    I am continually amazed how little people in Buffalo know, or care, about the massive development taking place in the GTA and the Niagara Region. I have found the “Toronto News For Buffalo” Facebook page a good resource for news/info & events from TO, Hamilton, St. Catharines and Niagara.

  • buffloonitick

    give all of the Canadians a refridgerator magnet that has a picture of Urkel on it.

  • Meliq

    I absolutely love Canada! It’s funny b/c I was in Toronto last weekend and a woman told me she loves coming here for the shopping, that there is “so much variety”. I laughed b/c I go to Toronto for the same thing–the ethnic diversity, vast array of restaurants, the independent shops on Queen St. and Danforth, not to mention Chinatown and Kensington Village. I’m so over Target/Walmart and Elmwood/Hertal but they think it’s great-I guess it’s all relative. Check out for ideas of what to do and places to go.

  • burbsarenotbuffalo

    Buffalo Loves Canada seems a bit of a generalization. Maybe when they learn to drive and stop leaving piles of used clothing, wrappers and boxes in our parking lots, more of Buffalo would love Canada.

  • LouisTully

    Most people in Buffalo don’t know what’s going on in their own town; they’re supposed to know about what’s happening in Toronto?

  • msakalau

    I just moved to Toronto recently, after living in Buffalo for 2 years for school. When I tell people about Buffalo, everyone quickly refers to the shopping outlets and the Bills, which are clearly not in Buffalo!
    It’s actually pretty interesting, because there are a lot of Torontonians I have met and talked with that are getting sick of Toronto. The crazy amount of development really sucks the soul out of historic neighborhoods and puts a strain on community identity. I think this is one of Toronto’s major problems, and as rent and property values continue to rise (the bubble is going to pop any moment) creative and young people keep getting pushed out. Hamilton has become a popular spot, but I honestly believe Buffalo has way more untapped potential.
    I am a booster for Buffalo, and when I show friends and colleagues just what is in your city, they are surprised and shocked. Buying a house for 16k! That’s just unheard of anywhere around here in Southern Ontario.
    It’s like the best kept secret and I can reassure you that if Buffalo markets itself well to younger professionals, such as myself, it could really attract businesses and professionals from north the border.

  • gearbm95

    Every Canadian I encounter seem to have a very pessimistic/sad view of Buffalo. All they know/care about is the Galleria and the Outlets. They don’t care about anything else because whatever else we offer, Toronto does as well, and usually better.
    Canadians that I encounter on a daily basis at the retail locations around Buffalo are some of the rudest, most disrepectful people you will find. I know not everyone from Toronto is like this having been there many times, however, their elitist attitudes and disrespectful actiosn when visiting WNY are getting to be ridiculous.

  • Thumbs

    “It’s like the best kept secret and I can reassure you that if Buffalo markets itself well to younger professionals, such as myself, it could really attract businesses and professionals from north the border.”
    Says the person who just moved out of Buffalo?

  • Polonia

    Buffalo does not love Canada. We are the nerdy kid who loves being made fun of by the rich kids because they are paying attention to us. Canadians, in a very generalization sort of way, are schmucks and they piss everyone the f*ck off.

  • Move Along Plz

    I can assure you that they account for nearly all car accidents on any given day, especially weekends!!

  • New2Buffalo

    Well if we had a nice modern mall in downtown with the same variety/quality of shops the galleria has you wouldn’t be hearing about the outlets and the galleria. I really am confused why there hasn’t been any investment into making a slick modern mall in downtown Buffalo considering its much closer proximity to Canada than the Galleria Mall. All the suburban spawl and suburban folks in WNY that are scared of downtown will continue to support the Galleria, meanwhile the city folk and our $$$ spending Canuck friends would support the slick new(or maybe completely remodeled in a big way Main Place) mall in downtown.
    Another alternative would be to take over a certain street in downtown and make it the fashion district. Kind of like a mini 5th Avenue(NYC) featuring some of the same and some more varieties of clothing stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Lucky Brand, Gap, etc… whatever people wear these days. It would be sick if it was all located on Main St. Mix fashion with the “entertainment district”. Canadians and anyone with a pulse would flock to this option just off the Peace Bridge crossing over driving into suburbia to the Galleria or the Outlets.
    I recently went shopping at IKEA in Canada… still love the store(used to shop there all the time in California) but this was not as pleasant an experience for us US folks we ended up paying thier 13% sales tax. Ugh. I understand why they all flock over here to shop.

  • No_Illusions

    Yeah, but we already tried that. We tried putting in a pedestrian mall as well. Neither thing has worked.
    The question is how do we get stores to open down there in the first place. Stores don’t want to open if their is no foot traffic. But there is no foot traffic since there are only a few stores and stores that you can find anywhere.
    This is why having a major anchor such as Bass Pro, Ikea, or even a destination supermarket like Whole Foods or Trader Joes makes sense. These are stores people are willing to travel to. Once they are there and generate sufficient foot traffic your other standard stores will follow suit. It doesn’t even have to be any of those big boxes I listed above(in part because its unrealistic), all you need is something that is unique that will draw shoppers.
    Downtown already has great restaurants, bars, and theaters, but re-developing the area for commerce naturally is a very slow process. This is why many people are pushing for more residential units. At least that way the demand for stores is almost entirely supported by the local population without having to rely on people coming in from the suburbs, other areas of the city, or outside the region.
    The only reason why the Galleria was able to grow so big so fast was mainly due to its location in a heavily populated middle class suburb. Currently that demography is only in limited numbers around downtown.

  • Magnum

    Your comment demonstrates how silly this idea really is. Marketing 101: It is pointless to brand something that brings little value. An image of a Buffalo and maple leaf will mean nada to Canadians. This positive vibe the head of VBN hopes to generate will translate into zero action by our neighbors to the North. Please do not spend any more tax payer money on this campaign.
    If you want to brand something, how about getting local business to accept Canadian currency. Now you have given Canadians something tangible. Canada takes our currency, yet we don’t take theirs. After turning away their funny money for years, the feel good vibe you so desire could be had by a bit of acceptance.
    As long as the Canadian dollar is strong, retail sales will grow without any branding. How will this branding campaign benefit Buffalo if the US dollar strengthens?

  • James

    Visit Buffalo Niagara says “Spring is in full swing and Buffalo is in full bloom!” Hope VBN’s “Buffalo Loves Canada” Mark will bloom. Thanks for the Article.
    Mirch Masala

  • James

    Visit Buffalo Niagara says “Spring is in full swing and Buffalo is in full bloom!” Hope VBN’s “Buffalo Loves Canada” Mark will bloom. Thanks for the Article.
    Mirch Masala