Northbridge revival cause for celebration

Aimee Johns (second from right) and other Northbridge enthusiasts look forward to O-Day.
Aimee Johns (second from right) and other Northbridge enthusiasts look forward to O-Day.

‘A lot of people would walk past and say, ‘Oh, why did you open in Northbridge?” Johns told Western Suburbs Weekly.

‘That has obviously changed a lot ” to the extent of ‘Why wouldn’t you open in Northbridge?’.’

The once-maligned inner-city entertainment hub has undergone a major revival in recent years, with a collective of offbeat boutiques, bars and galleries moving into the now sought-after neighbourhood.

Coinciding with the area’s evolution is the third edition of Northbridge O-Day, an annual event offering a bumper program packed with more than 100 free family-friendly attractions.

Johns, owner of The Butcher Shop on William Street and a chairperson for not-for-profit organisation OnWilliam Collective, said the inaugural 2011 event was designed to coincide with the opening of the State Theatre Centre of WA, and to highlight the various Perth Cultural Centre institutions.

Last year, it expanded to include the Northbridge Piazza, while this year’s model has seen a sprawling network of small businesses get involved as a result of OnWilliam coming on board with the City of Perth and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

Visitors can enjoy designer markets, food stalls, workshops and various activities, such as a hunt for a free magnet set.

The official program wraps up at 5pm, but a host of after-parties designed to keep people in the area after dark will take place at The Bird, Universal Bar and Rooftop Movies, which will screen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in keeping with the event’s back-to-school theme.

Johns said organisers hoped the event would attract more than 10,000 people, up from last year’s 6000 patrons, and were considering introducing a road closure on William Street next year to curb traffic.

Buoyed by the success of Northbridge’s rejuvenation, she believed there was scope for yet more growth and redevelopment in the area.

‘There are still new buildings getting built, a lot of renewal and more spaces getting used, such as back-lane spaces and odd little pockets that haven’t been used before, so I believe there’s still a lot more to go.’