Town of Penetanguishene: Urban Design Guidelines

Municipal Profile

Located just 90 minutes north of Toronto in Central Ontario, the region of Huronia and the Town of Penetanguishene is ideally situated on the southern tip of beautiful Georgian Bay. Huronia is fortunate to have a rich history which encompasses four founding cultures, as well as a connection to nature and the outdoors that make the location a great place to live. Penetanguishene is a bilingual community of approximately 9,600 residents offering a unique combination of lifestyle and business opportunities.

Project Name and Description

The Town of Penetanguishene developed Community Development standards to guide future development within the Town. The Community Design Manual (CDM) outlines design standards, and provides solutions on planning issues. The CDM provides guidance on development projects to ensure they are:

  • of high quality;
  • pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal and interconnected;
  • include the integration of the natural and built environment, and
  • provide adequate public facilities and infrastructure.

The CDM applies to all projects which are subject to review and planning approval by the municipality. Community design involves the careful combination of the many different elements that make up urban areas. For the Town’s manual, the focus areas are categorized by:

  • context & character,
  • blocks & streets,
  • subdivisions & lots,
  • site layout & landscaping,
  • buildings, and
  • active transportation.

By having these guidelines in place through the manual, the Town has been able to clearly communicate the expected style and form of these elements. Any development or developer also has a clear guide of the expectations, so it limits the staff and council time required for plan review and approvals.

Project Contact(s)

Kris Murphy, Planning and Community Services Administrative Support Person

Town of Penetanguishene

T. 705-549-7453


Project Lead

Cambium Environmental, Barrie Office

74 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1009

Barrie, ON


Date of Completion/Implementation

January 14, 2014

Project Goal

Overall, the project was completed to encourage the design and development of a complete, effective and sustainable built environment consistent with the community’s character and vision for its future. Within the Planning & Community Development objectives as part of the Town’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, with this project contributing to the following priorities:

  • ·Implement the recommendations set out in the Town’s Growth Management Strategy to promote planned growth,
  • ·Support the Town’s Downtown Improvement Area through appropriate programs and partnerships and to revitalize the Town’s downtown area through ongoing funding to enhance infrastructure (streetlights, sidewalks, signage, planters, etc.) and streetscaping (benches, banners, flower baskets, garbage/recycling bins, etc.), and
  • ·Promote environmental integrity & protection, community well-being and economic prosperity through participation in Sustainable Severn Sound.

Other Guiding Documents

Town’s Growth Management Strategy

List of Key Stakeholders

  • Larger community
  • External developers and planners

As part of the community engagement process, the Town hosted a free workshop with Dan Burden, Project for Public Places and Rob Voigt, a Registered Professional Planner with over 17 years of experience in Canada and the US, with a specialization in citizen engagement, healthy community design, and active transportation. The workshop involved a morning and afternoon ‘walkabout’, in which attendees looked into the streetscapes and the importance of good design decisions in a community.


What was your municipalities’ main reason for moving this project forward? Who was the biggest champion for the project?)

Features of the built environment (the buildings, streets, neighborhoods, parks, and trails) are created by the decisions and choices of the community and the municipalities which serve them. High quality community design standards can set a positive direction for new developments, shared spaces, neighbourhoods and streets, and ensure these areas meet the requests set by the community, while also providing a set of guidelines which can support changes or recommendations by the Town staff and Council to preserve and protect the key features and character of the community.

Financial Considerations

What was the cost of the project? How was the project funded? Internally or externally? If externally, where was the support acquired (i.e., grant program, community donations, multiple methods)?

Project Impact (Summary)

Why should other municipalities adopt/implement a similar practice?

A community’s health and long-term economic viability is influenced by land use, urban form and community design. The guidelines were designed to inform the municipality, the community, and those interested in developing areas within the Town how to better plan and design so that the risks and costs of improper design, preventable diseases and injuries are minimized through changes to the built landscape that result in:

  • streets, paths and trails that are well-connected, maintained and able to safely accommodate different modes of transportation,
  • neighbourhoods that are safe, accessible, aesthetically-pleasing, and well-serviced, and
  • natural environments that are resilient and well-managed, and are better connected to where people live and work.

The guidelines also determine the scale and design of sidewalks and roads and how they are managed for various uses (e.g., narrower streets, traffic signaling and calming designs that regulate speed and volume); street networks that support and balance a variety of transport modes (e.g., public transit, walking, cycling and motorized vehicles.

Municipal Contact Information

The Corporation of the Town of Penetanguishene
10 Robert Street West, P.O. Box 5009
Penetanguishene, ON
L9M 2G2
P: 705.549.7453

Document Link or Attachment

Town of Penetanguishene, Urban Design Guidelines

Additional Resources

Community Design Manual Backgrounder

Type of Case Study

☐Education and Outreach

☒Policy Adjustment or Development

☐Partnerships & Collaboration

☒Enforcements & Incentives

☒Implementation of Programs & Services

☒Facilities & Infrastructure Improvements

Website: Visit Site


10 Robert Street West, P.O. Box 5009
Penetanguishene, Ontario, L9M 2G2