Let’s talk North Bay, Ontario. It’s a pretty town, there’s no denying that: surrounded by lakes, all the hikes you can dream of, and a copious amount of wildlife, North Bay is Northern Ontario at its finest.
But there’s a reason why many artists flock to the city to create their work. Whether they’re writers, painters, drawers, or musicians, North Bay inspires them all. Let’s explore what makes North Bay a northeastern art hub through highlighting some of the best spots around the area. Or should we say, the 10 epic creative spots in North Bay.
Whether you’re inspired by the eccentric decor, the quirky artwork adorning the walls, or even just how picture-perfect the food itself is, this vegan diner is a hub for North Bay’s art community. Enjoy breakfast here in the morning or a picture perfect lunch to charge up your creative engines in order to properly begin your day in the Bay.
2. Duchesnay Falls
When taking a hike to the top of the falls, you may see artists painting, photographers setting up for a shoot, or videographers filming. No matter the art form, Duchesnay Falls calls to them all. Nestled just off the highway and connected with the Nipissing University and Canadore College trails, Duchesnay Falls is an easy access trail system. The beauty of the falls has inspired countless creatives over the years, making it one of North Bay’s most photographed locations.
3. Laurier Woods - Forest Talk Radio
The Provincial Award winning Forest Talk Radio takes the everyday hiker on an interactive storytelling journey through the woods. As you walk through the Laurier Woods in North Bay, the Forest Talk Radio app connects with the GPS on your smartphone. This triggers “storytelling trees” to talk in your headphones to you when you’re standing in front of them. Experience the Northern Ontario landscape through a creative and innovative means while admiring the winding trail and various beaver ponds that call Laurier Woods their home.
New to the Bay, The Social Cafe is not just a place to get great local coffee. Located conveniently in the downtown area and open later for events like poetry slams and art shows, and also equipped with a variety of board games, adding The Social Cafe into a destination on your trip is a must.
With constant rotating exhibitions, the WKP Kennedy Gallery always has something fresh in its two gallery spaces. Their permanent collection features work from the Group of Seven, and is a time-capsule for Northern Ontario historical art pieces. A must-see on your visit to the area, the WKP Kennedy Gallery is located inside North Bay’s arts centre, the Capitol Centre.
Canada’s first ever artist-run centre, the White Water Gallery may just be an essential stop on your trip. Make attending one of the abundances of art workshops or unique events that occur in the gallery a must-do for a creative experience on your visit. Located conveniently in downtown North Bay, the White Water Gallery also offers free professional arts training opportunities through Art Fix, an art collective that holds workshops in the gallery.
You may spot someone working away behind their laptop on their next novel, with a freshly roasted coffee at their side, inside of Twiggs Coffee Shop. One of North Bay’s most prominent coffee shops, with new locations sprouting up all over Ontario, Twiggs offers a diverse breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for all of your travelling needs. The atmosphere of the North Bay locations is relaxed, with low lighting and a real coffeehouse vibe that inspires every visitor. Whether you’re just stopping in to grab a coffee in the morning or bringing your sketchbook to work on in the evenings, Twiggs is a must-visit for everyone new to the town.
8. Sweetman’s Garden
A secret even to most locals, the hidden garden of North Bay is a hidden gem. If your trip to visit North Bay falls in the summertime, this community-run garden is a must-see. A backdrop for stunning photographs, the diverse flowers and art installations of the garden make for a beautiful reason to come to North Bay. Sitting at the corner of Cormack and McIntyre streets since the early 1960s, this garden has serious history.
Having just celebrated its 90th anniversary, the Capitol Centre is the city’s long-standing entertainment venue featuring musicals, live comedy, concerts & family shows. Having hosted distinguished acts such as Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, and the Second City comedy act, the Capitol Centre alone is a great reason to visit North Bay. The historic theatre was built in the 1920s and has remained a staple in the community ever since.
10. A walk through Downtown North Bay
Historic Downtown North Bay holds many of the creative spots mentioned above, so it only makes sense that taking the time to leisurely stroll through the downtown core makes the list. With the North Bay Farmers Market on Saturdays in the summer, you can devote an entire day in the Bay to just wandering around Downtown. Plastered with murals, graffiti-filled alleys, and home to most of North Bay’s art galleries, Downtown North Bay is the perfect grand finale for the 10 most epic creative spots in North Bay.