The Irish Harp is no longer just one of the best spots in town to get a pint of Guinness and share your deep and divinely justified love of the Dubliners.
The Harp hosted a scavenger hunt on Sunday, June 12, to promote Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses and owner Jovi Joki hopes it morphs into an annual, or even biannual, tradition of NOTL businesses helping NOTL businesses.
“People loved it and they want to do it again. Some even requested a list of all the businesses that were involved because they were so impressed with their products,” Joki said in an interview on Monday.
“I didn’t speak to one table that wasn’t having a great time,” said Leo O’Toole, assistant general manager.
Joki began recruiting businesses for the gathering at a job fair hosted by the NOTL Chamber of Commerce last month.
Thirty businesses from across NOTL participated, giving away some of their merchandise as prizes and having scavenger hunters perform challenges or solve clues that related to their business.
“Doing jumping jacks and reciting ‘Exercise? No! Accessorize!’ Little fun things like that. One had them going to Inniskillin Wines to find out when they were formed,” said O’Toole.
Another challenge had hunters go to the Butterfly Gallery on Queen Street and report back what the heart sign says.
And The Lake Report could tell you what that is but in the spirit of the game why not go and check it out yourself?
Beyond giving local businesses free advertising and exposure — something Joki strongly believes in — she also said it was a great way for NOTL enterprises to network with each other.
She hopes the hunt can be held again in the fall, but there is no guarantee at this point. She is, however, looking forward to organizing it again next year with more NOTL businesses involved.
“You’re getting free advertisement from people who maybe have never even heard of your business before. We’re doing all the work. All you have to do is put your name forward,” O’Toole said.
Some made it a family affair.
“One table sitting here was actually a family. Mom, dad, son and daughter — eight and nine years of age. So, it was a family event,” he said.
Among the many donations from local businesses there were $100 gift cards to Irish Design, Ara on the Lake and Glamour Jewellery, certificates for Sentineal Carriages, BeauChapeau Hat Shop, gift baskets from Nolaa’s Gluten-free, Keto and Vegan Eatery, Cheese Secrets and many others.
Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report