The successful transformation of Kenora from industry town to tourism hub required years of conscientious consultation, and an appreciation of the central role the local landscape plays in the “Wilderness City’s” identity. The downtown redevelopments were realized through meticulously conceived planning and design stages, each bolder than the last.
Kenora’s Downtown Revitalization celebrates both the attractive, historic buildings, and the natural beauty of the surroundings and waterfront area. All major public open spaces were re-imagined with upgraded materials, accessibility, and programming. Projects ranged from traffic calming elements such as the introduction of a roundabout to civic spaces and an impressive performance venue.
Kenora’s Main Street is now a welcoming, quaint and vibrant commercial street. Pedestrian amenities abound and include an accessible link to the waterfront from the main commercial street resulting in improved pedestrian connectivity in the downtown.
The waterfront draws visitors and the community to engage with the lake, while also providing a covered multi-functional amenity space for both special events and general community use. Special details include a sweeping boardwalk that cantilevers over the water’s edge and a permanent tensile fabric structure. The tensile structure is home to the weekly farmer’s market and provides a host of new programming opportunities for the waterfront attracting interest from a number of tradeshows and performers that previously would have by-passed Kenora.
The Kenora Downtown Revitalization is the recipient of a 2012 Regional Award for design from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.