Collingwood Arts Centre Feasibility Study

Since February of 2021, the Parks, Recreation & Culture Department has been working with Nordicity Group Ltd. in partnership with Giaimo Architects to conduct an Arts Centre Feasibility Study (CACF) for the Town of Collingwood. 

The study is being completed in phases as outlined, below.

Phase 1


The purpose of this phase was to evaluate the needs of the arts and cultural sectors in the community, and to determine if and to what degree an arts and cultural centre would be feasible in Collingwood.

Scope of Work

The process included a market and audience assessment, stakeholder and public consultation, a design and location analysis, and finally, recommendations on financing and governance. The Phase 1 final report was presented at the Strategic Initiatives Committee (SIC) meeting on October 4th and at the Council meeting on October 18th.


The results of the Phase 1 study suggest that there is indeed demand for an arts and culture centre in Collingwood and that it would be feasible, “provided certain design, development, and start-up conditions can be met and the overall implementation executed capably”. Nordicity advises that “success depends on many factors from ensuring continued community buy-in, strong leadership particularly related to market attraction, programming and promotions, as well as a commitment from the Town towards the annual subsidy.”

Phase 2


Building on the findings of Phase 1, Phase 2 had the following objectives:

  • Validate the feasibility of the new arts facilities, including the market, operational, financial, economic, fundraising, and social-impact aspects that would underline a recommendation on size and seating capacity.
  • Assess the feasibility of a short list of sites and recommend a single site that Council would put forth for any further consultation deemed to be required.
  • Determine the target arts disciplines that would be served by the facility, which would include space for a live performance theatre/music and dance, and public galleries and exhibition space for the visual arts.

Scope of Work

  • Interviews with anticipated primary user groups/disciplines to test and rationalize the operating model developed in Phase 1 to validate local market take-up assumptions
  • Research on recently established and longer standing venues to test assumptions about revenues to be generated by touring acts; research included interviews of venue operators, tour promoters, and representatives of touring performers
  • Research in collaboration with Town staff on locational challenges and opportunities related to the short list of identified potential locations
  • Development of architectural rationale and spatial analysis, based on best practices for public space design
  • Research of planning, engineering, servicing, or other challenges and opportunities related to potential sites in collaboration with Town staff
  • Conducting an economic impact assessment of the value of the outside visitors attracted to Collingwood - based on the outputs generated through the TRIEM modelling tool
  • Determining high level capital cost estimates for the recommended site and facility
  • Development and presentation of a final report including the location, size, and composition of an Arts and Culture Centre in Collingwood


The Phase 2 report was presented to the Corporate & Community Services Standing Committee at its April 3rd meeting and made the following recommendations regarding size, scope, and site for a potential Arts Centre in Collingwood.


The research supports an overall preference towards having a smaller ~400 seat main performance facility.


The community re-affirmed the need to have the following kinds of spaces in the facility:

  • Public gathering areas
  • Front-of-house
  • Theatre 1 (higher capacity, fixed seating)
  • Theatre 2 (smaller capacity, flexible seating)
  • Administration
  • Theatre support spaces (green rooms, dressing rooms, etc.)
  • Studios/Classrooms
  • Additional office and catering spaces
  • Retails and market spaces


The six short-listed sites from Phase 1 were assessed and studied by Giaimo through a site selection evaluation framework. Based on this, the short-list was narrowed to two potential sites that both meet the needs of the size, scope, and vision for a new arts centre. These are:

  • 48 Ste. Marie St – a new 45,000 sq.ft. arts centre constructed on 35,000 sq.ft of parking lot in Downtown Collingwood.
  • Collingwood Terminals Redevelopment – a new 45,000 sq.ft. arts centre integrated with the larger Grain Terminal Redevelopment project currently underway by Streetcar Developments Inc. and Dream Unlimited Inc.

While the initial intention of the Phase 2 study was to recommend one final site, Giaimo determined that both sites offer feasible, non-comparable approaches, and as such recommended that both be considered further in consultation with Streetcar, the Town, stakeholders, and the public to determine which approach is preferred. 

Given this, staff recommended extending the consulting contract with Nordicity & Giaimo to engage in additional site discussions with Streetcar Developments Inc. and to facilitate further public consultation with respect to the two recommended site options. This recommendation was defeated in favour of focusing solely on the 48 Ste. Marie Street site (or comparable downtown parking lot if deemed necessary) with direction for staff to report back to Council with plans for proceeding to Phase 3 of the project. Council ratified this decision at its April 17th meeting.

Phase 3 | Pending

Proposed Objectives

Facility design for more accurate costing and shovel-readiness, timeline estimates, contingency planning for displaced community services, funding acquisition and fundraising. Staff have always considered that this will require a consultation approach possibly using as many as two vendors (design/build and fundraising) and a consultant Project Manager, as this is beyond the scope and capacity of staff resources.

The objectives proposed in Phase 3 are intended to yield additional, more precise data that Council will require to make further decisions with respect to pursuing an Arts Centre.

Project Documents

Phase 1 Final Report as delivered by Nordicity
Phase 1 Staff Report that accompanied the report to the SIC
Phase 1 Presentation provided by Nordicity, also presented at the SIC meeting 
Phase 2 Collingwood Arts Centre Feasibility Study | Staff Report & Final Report
Phase 2 Presentation provided by Nordicity & Giaimo, also presented at the CCS meeting (coming soon)

Public Engagement

Watch for upcoming Public Engagement Opportunities here or via Engage Collingwood.