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Communities of Opportunity: Kenora

This city in northwestern Ontario has invested millions into its infrastructure over the last several years.

The City of Kenora is located in the Heart of the continent, on the Canadian Shield, in the Northwest corner of Ontario. It is just 50 km from the Manitoba border and 2 hours from Winnipeg and right on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is perched on the north shore of Lake of the Woods and its 14,522 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. It is that iconic image of Canada painted by the Group of Seven — the granite, the pines, and the water.

Kenora has a population of 15,100 with a service area of approximately 25,000. In the summer months, it is cottage country for Manitoba and the mid-west U.S. states, and the population doubles, drawn to this water-based playground.

Recently rebranded as ‘North America’s Premier Boating Destination’ the City of Kenora has put an emphasis on expanding the tourism industry in Kenora. Since 2006, almost $30 million in public sector investment has been made in major capital projects to build Kenora’s tourism infrastructure, along with $61 million in private sector investment between 2007 and 2012. Major projects undertaken during this period include:

  • $13.5 million on the revitalization of Kenora’s downtown infrastructure and streetscape;
  • $7 million on Kenora gateway signage and Highway 17 infrastructure;
  • $6.6 million spent constructing the Whitecap Pavilion and Lake of the Woods Pedestrian Plaza;
  • $3.1 million spent on constructing the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre.

In addition, the Kenora Airport Authority has broken ground on a new airport terminal over this past summer. The $8-million project started in June and is expected to be completed in 2018. The project will also include realignment of the apron to improve access to the terminal and accommodate larger aircrafts.

Along with millions in public and private sector investment in tourism infrastructure, the City of Kenora has established three Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) that aim to spur growth and economic diversification. The purpose of a CIP is to establish a program for municipal financial incentives to encourage the rehabilitation and improvement of private lands and to coordinate public and private works in a manner that will make the most efficient use of public infrastructure.

The City of Kenora has recently undertaken expansion to its three CIPs, which provide grants and incentives for development in particular project areas throughout the municipality including the Harbourtown Centre, the former Mill Site and the neighbourhood of Keewatin. A variety of assistance is available through these programs including, but not limited to, grants for housing development, façade improvement, landscaping, incremental taxation, accessibility and permit fees.

Between 2007 and 2017, $691,692 in public sector funds have leveraged over $1.6 million in private investment. 

For information, please contact Megan Dokuchie at 807-467-2127 or, or visit