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Communities on the Move: Callander soliciting development ideas for new waterfront attraction

'Waterfront Place' concept features a mixed-use development concept on Lake Nipissing

With 300 feet of prized, undeveloped waterfront frontage on Lake Nipissing, the Municipality of Callander is putting the call out to developers for ideas on how to “transform” this piece of township property.

The community of 3,900 residents, south of North Bay, is inviting developers to submit Letters of Interest to form a public-private partnership for a “Community Hub”-themed development on a 3.4-acre parcel of land.

Dubbed “Waterfront Place,” the municipality is open to a mixed-use development on the wooded property that was acquired from a private developer about eight years ago. 

The call went out June 1. The deadline to submit letters of interest is month’s end.

As part of the next stage in its ongoing downtown and waterfront revitalization effort, the township wants to develop the space into an active, recreational “gathering place” on Callander Bay that will attract residents and tourism daytrippers.

Situated at the end of Lansdowne Street, near the boat launch, the property has access to power and municipal services.

Some accommodations must be taken into account, the township said in its information package to developers. A sliver of the property is being set aside for a proposed multifunctional library that must be incorporated into any site design..

The municipality said it’s receptive to proposals for a mixed-use commercial and retail development, no more than three storeys high. 

The ground floor space should accommodate uses like coffee houses, restaurants and small boutique stores with some kind of short-stay accommodation, office or rental housing space on the the upper floors. 

Some on-site “experiences,” like a farmers market or pop-up market, would help round out their vision.

Mayor Rob Noon said they envision the kind of development that fits the relaxed, family-oriented nature of Callander. 

“Every time I have a meeting with our residents they don’t want to lose that small town feel,” he said.

“We have an idea in our mind, but we want to know what developers can see and what they bring to the table.”

As a bedroom community for North Bay, a big part of Callander’s appeal is its folksy, country-style living and its quaint Main Street adorned with flower plants, banners and populated with boutique stores. The main beach in the middle of town at Centennial Park is a popular summertime draw.

The Community Hub concept would provide a new four-season recreational attraction to a peaceful community where business activity often rolls up by 9:30 in the evening, Noon said. 

“Waterfront Place” is the next step in Callander’s decade-long planning process to revitalize the downtown and upgrade the waterfront.

Noon said once they shortlist the submissions, they’ll likely invite some developers to town for a site tour.

For qualified developers to obtain an information package, email Ashley Bilodeau, senior municipal director, at

The deadline to submit Letters of Interest to Bilodeau is June 30 at 2 p.m.

The municipality said it will hold interviews with those developers that have expressed an interest and will assist them in gathering the necessary information to develop a quotation for the proposed work.