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County of Bruce: Cultural Strategies and Revitalization

Population: 66,102

Rural communities taking initiative in regards downtown revitalization and civic beautification. 

  • The main innovative initiative is ‘Spruce the Bruce’, which is based on the four pillars of downtown development, mainstreet programme from the University of Maryland.

  • Being a smaller government Bruce County decided to take this approach rather than hiring a consultant to produce a design document. 

Official Plan Policy Local Official Plans.

2. The local Of cial Plans for Primary Urban Communities shall contain, as a minimum, general development and land use policies dealing with the following issues:
i) The Natural and Built Environment;

ii) Community Improvement;

iii) Municipal Services;
iv) Heritage Resources;
v) Transportation;

vi) Economic Development; and
vii) Their share of the total future overall County growth projection. 

Innovative Features 

Spruce the Bruce

  • This initiative entailed creating a design toolkit that is four pages long.

  • This toolkit guides towns and hamlets by asking the community what their unique selling feature is, what makes them different how they want to market themselves.

  • Some of the other elements that the programme focuses on are economic development, community marketing, and brand reinforcement. 

Key Lessons and Tools
  • Start small and practical and then grow the initiaitves upon further support.

  • Projects that address multiple needs are often more politically supportable.

  • Focus on implementation and follow-through.

  • Measure results and get the results out to the public 


Chris LaForest, Director of Planning


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