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ECMAs mean big business for Downtown Halifax

By Joe Thomson May 3, 2023 | 9:17 AM

The ECMAs are here, and they’re bringing a wave of economic opportunity with them.

The yearly music festival gets started in Halifax today. Thursday night, the best musical talent the East Coast has to offer will gather at the Scotiabank Centre for the official awards show, but live performances, meet and greets, industry panels and much more will be taking place across the city all the way through Sunday.

As with most major events like this, members of the Halifax business community are bracing for an influx of customer traffic, busyness, and perhaps most importantly, cash.

Paul MacKinnon, CEO of the downtown Halifax Business Commission, says that they are forecasting roughly $6 million dollars in revenue generated from the ECMAs.

“It’s all about having people coming downtown, and just mingling with other people, creating a real sense of vibrancy here,” said MacKinnon.

MacKinnon says that bringing back that vibrancy to the downtown core is one of the main focuses for the DHBC. In the years since the Covid-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors, it has been difficult for them to recover due to les people being downtown on a daily basis.

In the pre-pandemic days, MacKinnon says that he would sometimes hear feedback from business owners that big events like these are actually hurtful to some businesses.

“There were businesses that would say, ‘I find when there’s events downtown my regular customers don’t like coming down,’ when there’s tall ships or the Bluenose marathon or something,” said MacKinnon. “I don’t hear anyone talking about that now.”

MacKinnon says that events like thee have become much more important to bringing back that vibrancy that businesses are able to thrive off of. We saw it this winter, with the World Juniors sending the city into a frenzy and later with the USports men’s basketball championships generating some real buzz.

The more people that Halifax can get downtown, the better, says MacKinnon.

For a full list of ECMA events, check out their website.


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