Downtown Huntsville is known for its vibrant cottage country living and is currently booming with new residential and commercial developmental projects to keep up with the continuous growth Huntsville is experiencing.
“We have a vibrant downtown now, we are probably about 95 percent full capacity downtown and we only have a couple of vacancies. We are the fastest growing town in Muskoka, and we have a lot going on,” says Karin Terziano, the Mayor of Huntsville who has been serving for twelve years.
Improving the downtown core, the Town of Huntsville has recently completed its streetscape program, for residents and tourists making it a more accessible and enjoyable environment. The project took two years and has recently been completed.
“We just did a two-year full streetscape project, so we have a brand-new downtown. It runs the full length of our downtown core, and it was necessitated because infrastructure such as water pipes needed replacements so we kind of piggybacked on that and did a full street improvement project. So, we have all new sidewalks, accessible entrances to retail stores, new trees, new park benches, and more. Our downtown is looking sparkling, “says Terziano.
Huntsville Place Mall will also be undergoing major renovations said Terziano. After renovations customers can expect the mall to be updated inside and out. Two of the main renovations will be to add outside entrances to each of the bigger stores, and to move in Giant Tiger. The Giant Tiger will be located beside Winners, have its own entrance, and will be opening in June of 2023. Terziano said the renovations of the mall should be completed by the end of the year.
Huntsville will also be adding a second mall outside of the downtown core which has already started construction and should be open to the public in two years. The mall is going to include a grocery store, restaurants, and retail stores. Terziano said there has been no news yet of which retail stores residents should be expecting.
Next, will be to fill in the five percent remaining for retail spaces, including a corner lot that is available.
“We have a large corner lot where we had a fire numerous years ago and the building burnt down and the property is under new ownership and we expect a new build going on there which will have a commercial first floor retail space in it, not sure how quickly that is going to happen but that is on the horizon,” says Terziano.
Localized Retail Shops
Downtown Huntsville retail contains mostly localized stores which is geared for the cottage lifestyle such as Wolfe Co Apparel, Reflections of Muskoka, Algonquin Outfitters, Muskoka Bear Wear, an around the year Christmas store Christmas Tyme, the Nutty Chocolatier, Artisans of Muskoka, and more.
We were able to speak to the owner of Artisans of Muskoka, a store representing artists from all over Canada.
Opening in 1993, the store sells products made in Canada and currently represents over 150 artists and is growing.
“We began the store in 1993 and we are going on 29 years and when we first started the store,” says Brigitte Grima, the owner of Artisans of Muskoka. “I represent artists from right across Canada, not just Muskoka and probably 95% of what I sell is made right here in Canada. It is a lot of work, but it is very gratifying, and I find local people and my customers in general are great and friendly. I am also very well supported by locals, and I couldn’t survive without them.”
Customers can find a variety of products including clothing, tableware, and decorations – but everything is mostly geared towards cottage living.
With very few vacancies left in the downtown core of Huntsville, Terziano said everything is looking good and is excited to see the future developments.
“We are booming right now. We have more going than ever before and we can barely keep up with the building permits and the developments that are going on right now. Everything that is happening downtown Huntsville right now is all good and with our complete redevelopment of downtown and the fact that we have very few vacancies, I am hoping to see the corner lot in Huntsville get developed and we also have a development that is going on just outside of our downtown as well.”