6 Reasons We Love Downtown North Bay

Only about a 3.5-hour drive from Toronto or Ottawa, North Bay is anchored by a vibrant downtown area that is bursting with entrepreneurial spirit and has no shortage of unique places to visit. Downtown North Bay is also the setting for a number of events all year round, including Mayhem on Main, Downtown Gallery Hops, and the Old Fashioned Christmas Walk. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to do a little urban-exploring of your own to uncover even more downtown gems. To whet your appetite, we’ve compiled a list of six great downtown hot spots.

1. Cecil’s Brewhouse and Kitchen

Cecils copy

Legend has it that Cecil Shamus Fitzgerald, a bear-wrestling, bare-knuckle boxing Irishman, founded Cecil's Brewhouse and Kitchen at the corner of Main and Wyld in his quest to bring the world’s best ales and eats to North Bay locals and visitors. After you’ve enjoyed a mouth-watering meal at Cecil’s, you’ll likely agree that he was successful! Brand new this summer, Cecil’s has started brewing their very own beer in-house. You can even watch all the brewing artistry happen right before your eyes behind a glass enclosure in the centre of the restaurant!

2. Capitol Centre

Capitol Centre from StagePhoto courtesy of the Capitol Centre

For good times down on Main Street, check out the Capitol Centre, the hub for arts and entertainment in North Bay. This 932-seat venue is host to live performances by the North Bay Symphony, international musical acts and Broadway shows, to workshops and movies. Walking into the building from the Main Street entrance, you’ll see the WKP Kennedy Gallery with its ever-changing exhibits featuring the finest works of  historical and contemporary northern, Canadian, and international visual artists.

3. Opera Bakery Café

Opera Bakery Cafe 1

Satisfy your sweet tooth or take a relaxing break from all of your urban exploration at the Opera Bakery Café on Main Street. The interior of this café is rich in beautiful original architectural details, and of course sugary treats and savoury eats. We’ve heard that owner Keira makes the best brownies, so give them a try while you enjoy your surroundings, and don’t be shy to strike up a conversation about the building’s history as a former watchmaker’s store!

4. Northern Tikes Indoor Playground

Northern Tikes

If you’re visiting the area with kids in tow and you’re looking for some safe fun, your little ones will be ecstatic about a visit to Northern Tikes Indoor Playground in downtown North Bay. Whether you’re trying to escape the heat or some less-than-ideal weather conditions, Northern Tikes offers a massive play structure for the kids to burn some energy. They also have a convenient snack bar if you need a quick food fix!

5. Tiny Italy

Tiny Italy FoodTiny Italy's Meatball Panini

If you’re looking for BIG authentic Italian taste, visit Tiny Italy on Wyld Street. This trendy little spot is home to the very first outdoor patio of its kind in the City’s downtown, with plenty of seating spread out onto a newly-built platform that pours out over the sidewalk. Enjoy a delicious meal while enjoying the fresh air and a little people-watching – because come on, who isn’t guilty of that every now and then?

6. Discovery North Bay Museum

 Discovery NB Gift Shop

Located in the historic Canadian Pacific train station, Discovery North Bay Museum always has something intriguing on exhibit. There is also a permanent, suspended model train that chugs its way throughout the main floor of the museum, sometimes surprising guests as it rumbles through tunnels in the walls overhead. The museum also offers Haunted Downtown Hikes where you’ll learn about the ghostly history of the museum itself as well as other downtown locations. Visit the gift shop and take home a souvenir from your visit to North Bay!

So, the next time you’re in North Bay, or even just passing through on your way to your Northeastern Ontario vacation destination, be sure to stop and discover why we love downtown North Bay!

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