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Town of Minto
Size Matters, We Do Small . . . Well!
Town of Minto, ON, Canada
Town of Minto
Situated in northern Wellington County, the Town of Minto covers 300 km2 and is home to just over 9000 residents within its settlement areas of Harriston, Palmerston, Clifford and rural areas. Noted as being the town “Where Your Family Belongs”, Minto endures the draw to the many larger urban centres within an hour’s drive. None the less, it has dramatically transformed its communities through a series of community improvement initiatives including streetscapes, commemorative spaces, parks, gateway signage, and façade programs for its downtown areas.
At a time where economic development was in its infancy for most Ontario rural communities, Minto became a trailblazer, embracing potential and opportunity for the physical appearance and promotion of its communities. Following in the footsteps of OMAFRA’s early Main Street pilots, Minto retained SKA (now pl.ural) to facilitate community engagement and “game plan” preparation for each of its communities. Fifteen years later, the Town of Minto has emerged as an example of how to engage, plan, pace, and leverage funding support (and community support) for strategic improvements to its “place” – as a result, it’s physical appearance, user experience, and desirability have all increased.
Minto’s continual efforts with its communities encouraged private investment including the creation of new businesses and improvements to existing business, created new jobs and retained existing ones, and ultimately improved the aesthetics of its downtowns encouraging residents, businesses and guests to “stop, shop and stay”, in Minto. Generally, in the last decade and choreographed through SKA’s plans, satisfaction with the downtowns’ business climate has increased significantly, the majority of businesses expanded and/or made physical improvements to their buildings, vacancies dropped and employment increased. Amazingly, the Town saw a leverage ratio of almost 3x private investment for each dollar it spent in support of community improvement – surely positioning Minto as a desirable place to be – testimony that communities, working with realistic game plans, can effectively improve their place, regardless of size.
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