Calling All Visionaries!

The Main Street Pedestrian Mall a few months before being destroyed by fire in 2007.

For quite some time now, residents and visitors alike have bemoaned the lack of a vibrant, attractive public space on Wasaga Beach’s Main Street. And so, this Thursday, November 29, 2012, citizens, community leaders, and municipal staff of Wasaga Beach will come together to participate in a public workshop to discuss the possibility of creating a public event space around the Main Street Pedestrian Mall at Beach Area One.

  • What:  Main Street Pedestrian Mall Visioning Project
  • Who:  Hosted by 8-80 Cities, for anyone with an interest in public space and transforming the Main Street Pedestrian Mall into a more vibrant and healthier place
  • When:  Thursday, November 29, 2012, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Where: Banquet Hall, Wasaga Stars Arena, 425 River Road West, Wasaga Beach, ON

Strong winds after 1 a.m. contributed to the devastation

The timing of this visioning process is appropriate, as it was 5 years ago, on November 30, 2007, that a major fire destroyed between 50 to 70% of the main street pedestrian mall, including 17 businesses and 5 apartments. The fire was fuelled by very strong winds, eventually turning it into one of the biggest and most disastrous fires ever in Wasaga Beach history.

One of the previous visions for tourism at Wasaga Beach’s main end

Plans to rebuild the beach front included shopping, an indoor/outdoor theme park and monorail service.

Despite the major fire, the beach and the remaining businesses reopened the following summer, though the residents and visitors of Wasaga Beach commented that the old arcade and various dingy shops would be thoroughly missed and media reports labelled the event “the end of an era“.

The proposed development came to an abrupt end when the Blue Beach Corporation declared bankruptcy in 2010. The Town of Wasaga Beach worked out a plan to help the remaining businesses open for the season but the plans for hotels, theme parks and a monorail all ended and have not been revived.

Out of the fiery destruction of all those “historic” shops must come something inspired! Such was the impetus for the upcoming Pedestrian Mall visioning project, a workshop where participants will brainstorm around the question:  How can we create a vibrant pedestrian space at Beach Area One?

In 2011, the Wasaga Beach community determined that one of the key principles to revitalization of the Main Beach Area was the establishment of a public square which could be used year-round as a gathering place and to program special community events. The Town was successful in receiving a grant through the “Make a Place for People” project, which is an Ontario Trillium Fund program administered through 8-80 Cities, a non-profit group that promotes active transportation and vibrant public spaces, and will be facilitating the workshop.

The purpose of the program is to lead the community in a design and visioning process on a smaller scale to create a vibrant and healthy public space at Beach Area One at the Main Street Pedestrian Mall. Anyone with an interest in public space and transforming the Main Street Pedestrian Mall into a more vibrant and healthier place is encouraged to come out to the public workshop, which will run from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Thursday, November 29, 2012 and be held at the Banquet Hall, Wasaga Stars Arena, 425 River Road West.

For more information, please contact Nathan Wukasch, Planner, Town of Wasaga Beach at (705) 429-3847 or email