Get to the Heart–Go Downtown

At the heart of any small town is its downtown business community. In some places, it can be a pretty sad place to be, as much of the business might have been drawn away to the larger mall or Big Box stores usually located closer to the highway or on the outskirts of town, which means a lot of folks never even make it into the downtown core.

While Napanee has a vibrant  business community in its “north end”, the heart, to me, is downtown.

If you haven’t visited Downtown Napanee for a while, it’s time you did. There is such an array of stores offering just about everything you need. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashions, something good to eat, or just somewhere to sit with a cup of coffee and chat with a friend, you’ll find it downtown. There’s even a health and fitness studio in case you enjoyed a few too many sweets over the holidays and those new clothes don’t fit as well as they should. There are also places to chill out with some yoga, and a centre to take care of your health. The Napanee Community Health Centre’s new home is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2016.

The Downtown Napanee Business Association (BIA) works hard all year to make Downtown Napanee “the place to be.” Judging from the crowds that has turned out to some of these events, the hard work has been appreciated.

During the year, there are many events and attractions supported by the BIA, including:

The Hometown Market (an initiative of the Town of Greater Napanee)

The Scarecrow Festival

Shop the Neighbourhood


The Downtown Shopping Party (started by and organized by Cat and Jefta Monster, Starlet Boutique.) 

The next event will be the Winter Chill Festival that is actually moving uptown this year to the Strathcona Paper Centre. It is being held on Feb 15, to coincide with Family Day, so there will be one great day of indoor and outdoor activities. Here’s a link for  more details.  

The most noticeable attraction downtown right now is The Big Bright Light Show that is done in partnership with the Town of Greater Napanee, the downtown merchants and the BIA. 



Photo, Courtesy of Kathy Medd,Downtown Napanee BIA

In addition to the stores being lit up, there are also lights along the river at Springside Park.  This year’s show has been expanded so that even more of our downtown core is lit up, including lights along the river at Springside Park.  Of course, since it’s not on until later in the day, you’ll want to head down early to make sure you can visit the stores while they are open—although some stores have had extended hours, and many are open on Thursday evenings until 8 pm.

The BIA is mandated by the Town of Greater Napanee to promote and encourage local businesses by attracting the residents and visitors to the areas shops, other attractions and enterprises, by means of beautification, revitalization and special promotions.” (From the BIA website) You can learn more about the workings of the BIA by contacting its administrator, Kathy Medd by email, or by giving her a call at (613) 354-9508. You could drop into the office in the Napanee Business Centre at 47 Dundas Street E., but Kathy is often out meeting with the local business owners or promoting the latest activity.

If it’s been a while since you’ve visited Downtown Napanee, don’t you think it’s time you headed back?


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2 Responses to Get to the Heart–Go Downtown

  1. I am proud of our downtown businesses. Not only do the shops offer great products or services but also are friendly. Being addressed by name when you enter a shop makes me feel so welcome. I will be sure to check out the Chill Fest in January. Happy New Year Christine.


  2. Thanks, Lillie. I love being recognized by the store owners and staff too, and having great conversations with them. It does make you feel more welcome. The Chill Fest has been moved to Family Day in February and the indoor and outdoor activities will all be at the arena.


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