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September 10, 2010

Perspectives on North Bay

As communities grow their downtown core sometimes becomes neglected from a heritage perspective. I am as attracted like most people to the local mall(s) but as an historian I am drawn downtown like a magnet looking for vestiges of the past and various other cultural activities Two or three times a week I drive 50km from home to North Bay with a list of things to do and usually end up on Main Street in the bookstores, museum, galleries, restaurants, waterfront, etc. My writing reflects this interest. I wrote last week about the art gallery changes on Main Street. Today I will talk about some of the things that draw me and perhaps you there and elsewhere in North Bay and make the trip worthwhile.

A recent article in the Nugget reported on the pleasure, economy, community support, and convenience of STAYCATIONS – a holiday at home for local residents

Physical Changes Downtown

The city, the businesses and the Downtown Improvement Association have made and are making remarkable changes downtown. Main Street has been improved in recent years and there is ongoing work being done. The incredible improvements in the plaza by the Pro Cathedral with the new islands, lights and cobblestones have been touted as a forerunner of changes at the waterfront.

Part of Waterfront Development North Bay

The waterfront with the restored CPR station museum, the underpass, the waterfront, and nearby carousels and mini train foreshadows pending changes. 6.6 million dollars have been set aside by the city to move toward the completion by 2011 of the 33 acre master plan for the waterfronts’ redevelopment. The Heritage North Bay committee will oversee a clock tower, water features, carousels, gardens and pavilions, etc. A Civic Square will be established in front of the Museum. Mayor Vic Fideli calls the project a textbook model and a showcase second to none.

Haunted Downtown Hikes

The Discovery North Bay Museum’s Hike based on carefully researched stories from the downtown and led by museum staff is an interesting event for young and old. For an hour or more you get to see 22 historical buildings and hear about their history. Fall tours in September-October leave the museum at 7pm every Saturday. Private tours are also available on request for a minimal charge. There is a special tour on Halloween night. (476-2323).

Part of Walking Tour Downtown North Bay

North Bay Tourist Destination

Community Voices along with 12000 copies in North Bay goes free to thousands of households in the area from Temiscaming Quebec to South River to Mattawa and Sturgeon Falls . For people in this larger area you not only have the downtown area to consider. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for details on the wider North Bay Area. Google Wikipedia North Bay for information( including a note on the waterfront). The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce is at Seymour and the Bypass and has lots of information.705 4728480

North Bay has a slogan “Just North enough to be Perfect”. One could also add “Just South enough to be Perfect” for those living to the north of North Bay. Whatever your interest – food, accommodation, art, theatre, music, history, North Bay has it.

A few footnotes for those with special interests. I mentioned the relocation of some of North Bay’s Art Galleries last week. Since then I have noted that artist, photographer and green store owner Liz Lott is relocating her Boutique to 154 Main Street West in mid September. There will be a shop and studio. She will be joined by designer Katie Bevan. Liz will keep her Snapdragon photo studio and photo gallery at 170 Main Street.

Independent bookstores are critical to life in towns and North Bay is no exception. Gulliver’s Books & Toys has provided books and magazines in North Bay for 24 years. There are over 500 independent bookstores across Canada. Independent’s Day will be celebrated at Gulliver’s on Saturday October 16th. Drop in and meet some authors etc. 157 Main St W. Used books are also available in several locations including the remarkable Allison the Bookman at 342 Main St. E. North Bay.

North Bay has several remarkable parks, the Chief Commanda Cruise Ship, and many other interesting things to see. Plan a Staycation or vacation soon.

Heritage Perspective Home Page

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