Once upon a time, the City was a place where people only went for work.
A place that was busy with workers from Monday to Friday, but which people then left to go home, or to go and enjoy themselves somewhere else.
If you walked through the Square Mile on a Saturday or Sunday, it could resemble a ghost town.
But if you come here this weekend, you will find the very opposite.
We are building on the great work we have already done, and giving people a new and remarkable reason to step foot within the Square Mile.
That’s just what our Destination City programme will deliver.
Our annual investment of £2.5 million will stimulate a post-COVID recovery and revitalise our streets and businesses as more people return to the City.
In fact, this Saturday October 15 is the starting pistol on the type of fun and activity that this investment will bring.
Our first Destination City spectacular event, called The Golden Key, will run from midday to sunset. It will transform the Square Mile with over 200 performers and 30 theatre companies in a giant extravaganza of fun. All for free, all for everyone.
Our historic sites – like St. Paul’s Churchyard, Guildhall, and London Wall – will be unrecognisable, hosting exciting street festivals with breath-taking performances.
There will be circus performers, storytellers, and interactive theatre.
It will be as if the carnival has come to town, with giant puppets towering over you, while acrobats, contemporary dancers, and jugglers perform for the crowds.
You can enjoy musical acts spanning the rich folk tunes of Eastern Europe, to pulsating rhythms from Africa and Cuba, celebrating the City’s internationalism and diversity.
And the prize of a golden key awaits those who manage to crack the riddles and rhymes of a City-wide mass treasure hunt.
All this will culminate with a thrilling ‘fire finale’ with flaming beacons and a fire garden.
The Golden Key will be one of a series of such events, using the Elizabeth Line’s new access to the City to encourage visitors from across the capital and beyond to come and see the magic.
We are already expecting tens of thousands to attend – which will be a huge opportunity for our residents, cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants.
This type of activity is something which matters greatly to me.
It’s all part of a series of greater investments that the City Corporation is making, like financially supporting Crossrail, trialling a City-wide 5G pilot with a full roll-out for all residents by the end of next year, and working with leading experts to revitalise our retail offer to those who live and work here.
Having been an elected Member of the City of London Corporation for almost 10 years – and a worker in the City for much longer – I know that there is great potential here.
By working in partnership with our residents and businesses, that is potential that we are going to untap. And that will be the Golden Key to our success.