Greater Napanee is a town of 15,000 located in Eastern Ontario about halfway between Belleville and Kingston and just at the edge of Prince Edward County. The downtown has a very strong heritage stock bookended by a former Carnegie Library and the former world-renowned Gibbard’s Furniture factory. It has a strong thriving cultural and heritage community, and a forward-looking town administration and council.
Greater Napanee’s cultural community is not well organized which is partly a result of the town’s amalgamation in 1998. The half dozen former communities have very different needs and identities. In addition, there is some feeling amongst the “rural” communities about the lack of resources in their areas and their perception that resources are being centred in the “urban” centre of the old town of Napanee. The organization of the cultural community to become more effective in both the provision of services and as an economic development tool was of paramount importance to the Town.
In addition to sussing out the needs and desires of the residents, we completed a six step mapping exercise, held Greater Napanee from the Heart and Sidewalk Talks events along with the more typical interviews and workshops.
The project concluded with a Cultural Summit, which has spawned an arts and culture council, invigorated council and staff engagement, and a number of other spin-off projects.