Waterfront – Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, The Blue Mountains & Meaford
The Town of Collingwood’s waterfront stretches 50 kilometres on Georgian Bay. The waterfront has a rich history of ship building from the 1880’s until 1986 and grain service to Collingwood Terminals until 1993. After the shipyards closed, Collingwood’s economy shifted from industry to tourism. Today, the waterfront connects a vibrant downtown, harbour, trails and year round outdoor activities, contributing to a high quality of life for residents and visitors.
The Town of Collingwood along with extensive input by residents and user groups created The Waterfront Master Plan in 2016, providing a 5 phase, long-term vision for the waterfront. The Waterfront Master Plan seeks to enhance public access to the waterfront and rejuvenate public spaces through a long-term implementation plan.
The following key priorities were ranked in order of importance through the first online survey by more than 750 respondents in Collingwood. These priorities have guided the development of the Master Plan.
1. Cycling and walking connections
2. Public facilities supporting outdoor recreation (e.g. washrooms, pavilions, etc)
3. Environmental and ecological health
4. Activities and play areas for kids
5. Arts and culture (e.g. theatre, music, events, festivals etc)
6. High quality, mixed-use development (e.g. restaurant, residential, commercial development, etc)
7. Non-motorized boating opportunities
8. Winter activities (e.g. winter festivals, skating, etc)
9. Celebrating Collingwood’s history
10. Motorized boating opportunities
Links & Resources
Wasaga Beach Waterfront
Wasaga Beach is situated on Georgian Bay, along the longest freshwater beach in the world and the Nottawasaga River. The beaches are part of the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. Popular as a summer holiday destination for many years, it had a reputation as a party town. On November 30, 2007, a major fire destroyed 90 per cent of the buildings along the street mall in the Beach One area. Due to a reduction in the number of tourists after the fire, in March 2017, the town passed its Downtown Development Master Plan, a 20-year strategy with a view to reinventing the town as a vibrant community and to attract permanent and seasonal residents as well as visitors and tourists.
The Downtown Development Master Plan (DDMP) aims to bring the Beach District into the “entertainment activity centre” of Wasaga Beach offering family attractions and recreation year-round. Beachfront plans include a beach boardwalk, a Festival Square “event plaza,” an “entertainment zone,” a “resort residential zone,” and boutique hotels.
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains waterfront is a mix of residential dwellings and public parks and beaches. The public portions of shoreline include Northwinds Beach, Craigleith Provincial Park, Delphi Point, Council Beach, Peasemarsh Beach, Bayview Park, Thornbury Harbour, Little River Beach Park, Lions Park and Lora Bay Park.
Thornbury Harbour offers a marina, public park space and walkways and is a popular destination in summer for jumping off the pier. A Harbour Master Plan aimed to draw visitors from the downtown to the harbour, will focus on beautifying the area surrounding the harbour and adding additional parking.
Delphi Beach, across from Georgian Peaks is designated by UNESCO as environmentally significant due to the large fossil beds on the shale beach. The town is working on a waterfront master plan for Delphi and Peaks Bay to protect these natural treasures.
Meaford’s waterfront is largely public space including a full service marina, Coast Guard station, parks and beaches and waterfront camping at Memorial Park. Meaford completed a Waterfront Strategy & Master Plan in 2014, which covers the open space and harbour lands. The long term plan includes a $4.6-million Harbour Village concept, featuring shops, restaurants, inns, studios and art galleries that would encourage more tourism and economic development.