A new archway will lead the way to Collingwood’s downtown.
During Monday’s corporate and community services standing committee, councillors received an update on the installation to be taking place in Collingwood’s downtown, which will alert those visiting Collingwood to the exact location of Collingwood’s downtown and harbourfront heritage districts.
“This year, hopefully we’ll be moving forward with the archway installation,” said Susan Nicholson, general manager of Collingwood’s downtown BIA told committee members on Monday.
According to a previously procured wayfinding study and plan, Collingwood’s downtown is not easy for newcomers to find.
“It noted that the highway that runs through Collingwood – Highway 26 – is a liability. The vibrant retail area is not visible to someone driving along Highway 26 and it would be very easy for a traveller to stop in at places on First St. and think they’ve seen the entire community,” said Nicholson.
The study suggested adding a downtown gateway at the north and south ends of Hurontario Street.
“This makes it a celebration and an announcement that you’ve reached something special,” said Nicholson.
According to the 2022 draft BIA budget, $140,000 would be transferred from the BIA reserves to pay for the arch, however the budget notes that the BIA has also applied for grants to cover the cost. The BIA budget is funded by a levy placed on the property taxes of each business owner within the designated boundaries.
The archway will be erected at the corner of First and Hurontario Streets facing north and south to welcome visitors. During her presentation, Nicholson noted that plaques will be affixed to the bases on either side; one explaining background on the downtown BIA and businesses, and the other explaining historic downtown elements.
The north-facing side of the sign will read “Historic Downtown Collingwood,” while the south-facing side will read “Historic Harbourfront Collingwood.”
Nicholson said getting the archway approved has been “a long process,” noting that the Collingwood Heritage Committee has given their approval for the design. The design was proposed by a committee, which included members from the Collingwood Museum, BIA business and committee members and the heritage committee.
“We worked very hard to come up with a design that we think is amazing and will certainly serve as a gateway to our downtown,” said Nicholson. “It is currently in the hands of the contractor to come up with the engineering drawings so we can get final approval and a building permit.”
Engineering drawings are expected back in March or April, and Nicholson said she’s hoping the archway will be in place by early or mid-summer.