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Downtown Tomorrow Plan vision closer to reality

Posted on Friday December 01, 2017
Preferred Development Concept
The preferred development concept supported in principle by Orillia City Council at a special meeting on Dec. 1, 2017, includes a mixed-use concept plan for residential and commercial units along Mississaga St. E. and includes the extension of Coldwater St. to Centennial Dr.

The vision for the future of Orillia’s downtown waterfront is one step closer to reality.

At a special meeting on Dec. 1, 2017, Council supported in principle a development scenario for 70 Front St. N. which would intensify the number of people living and working in the downtown core. The mixed-use concept plan includes residential and commercial units along Mississaga St. E. and includes the extension of Coldwater St. to Centennial Dr.

The preferred development concept selected by Council (see rendering) would include approximately 12 live/work units, 55 townhomes, 17 single-detached homes, and over 54,000 square feet of residential condominiums. This development would have the capacity to add hundreds of new residents to the downtown core, while accommodating over 12 new commercial businesses. 

“This Council is committed to connecting our downtown to our waterfront by implementing the vision of the Downtown Tomorrow Plan,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “We are very excited to support a concept plan which is achievable within the next five years and would add vibrancy to the heart of the City. A revitalized downtown waterfront will transform the area; bringing in new residents to the downtown, creating jobs, boosting tourism and increasing the City’s tax base.”

In 2012, the City adopted the Downtown Tomorrow Plan, a visionary document which set out a plan to revitalize the downtown, in part, by improving the connections between Orillia’s downtown and waterfront. This plan identified a number of initiatives which could be implemented in order to achieve a vibrant and bustling downtown core and increase the amount of people living and working within the area.

In accordance with this plan, the City purchased 70 Front St. N. (Metro Plaza) in 2016 to facilitate the extension of Coldwater St. to Centennial Dr. The City could have sold the surplus lands through a land sale, however, as the property was strategically located in the downtown core, Council decided to maximize the City’s investment and better control the future development by undertaking a development analysis.

The City’s Waterfront Working Group, consisting of four members of Council and City staff from various departments has been working closely with Leith Moore, of Waverley Projects Inc. on the development analysis and concept.

“During the development analysis, the market sounding revealed considerable untapped interest within the external development community, particularly given the demonstrated interest of the City in leading with both pre-zoning and infrastructure enhancements,” said Moore. “The external market was previously unaware of such potential within the Orillia area.” 

The development concept sets out a master plan that takes into consideration a number of studies of the downtown and waterfront area that included extensive public consultation including the Port of Orillia Area Public Realm Plan, the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan and the Downtown Tomorrow Plan.

“This plan represents what the community has asked for through numerous rounds of downtown consultation,” said Coun. Tim Lauer, Chair of the Waterfront Working Group. “The concept plan would ensure year-round activity in the City’s core, provide new business for existing stores, services and restaurants and will improve the look of the waterfront area, benefiting both residents and visitors to Orillia.”

With a preferred development concept selected, City staff will undertake a detailed analysis for implementation including timelines and budget requirements to provide to Council in early 2018. As Council does not intend for the City to be the developer of this site but would like to ensure the spirit of the concept is kept, a Request for Proposals process is likely to be utilized to find a qualified developer. 

Information on the preferred development concept and the Downtown Tomorrow Plan can be found on the City’s website at

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Mayor Steve Clarke
City of Orillia

Coun. Tim Lauer
Ward 4 Councillor

Melissa Gowanlock
Manager of Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)

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