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Here's how Wasaga Beach intends to put the town 'back on the map'

In Wasaga Beach, tourism is everything, which is why after four years, the town is reopening Beach Drive to inject some life into the waterfront.

"At the end of the day, it's about putting Wasaga Beach back on the map. It's about creating a world-class destination as we were for many years and getting this area redeveloped which should've been done a long time ago, but we're here now and going to do that," said Wasaga Beach Mayor Brian Smith.

Beach Drive remains closed between 2nd and 3rd Street for a temporary amphitheatre being made out of recycled stone from the wall that was built to keep water away from the storefronts.

The amphitheatre will now host several summer activities.

"High-level performers and bands. Just really good energy. I think the beach kind of sells itself, but to have these top-notch performers on the beachfront with us, it's just a fun place to be," said Candice Grisbrook, the Wasaga Beach senior special events coordinator.

"Now that everything is opening up, it's a totally different experience," said one local worker.

The town hopes these attractions and a busy summer schedule will benefit local businesses with all their land holdings and shops fully rented for the summer.

"We make custom t-shirts. We sell literally everything. Floaties, women's bikinis. Now that everything is reopening, everything is going to be way busier, and that's definitely a lot more business for us," explained one local business owner.

Some residents believe there is still much more work to be done before Wasaga Beach is once again thriving, but they hope this summer can officially kickstart a return to normalcy.

"A return to what this beach was. If they bring the car shows back, the bike shows, the food trucks, the fair opens up a little longer. Try to put a little more supervision on the beach itself," said a Wasaga Beach resident.

Now with bigger crowds comes more demand for parking.

The town has increased the cost of parking for visitors but says it's still some of the cheapest in the region on top of another change.

"This year, we made parking for full-time residents free, which has never been the case before, and so we're giving back to our community and still inviting our guests to come and enjoy our wonderful beach," said Smith.

And after a four-year hiatus, the Wasaga Beach Brewing Company will reopen a beach bar with a new 53-foot trailer with food and live music overlooking the beachfront.

The town also wants to crack down on large and disruptive unlicensed gatherings that have become a trend in the community in recent summers.

"It creates an issue for our bylaw. It creates an issue for the OPP, for emergency vehicles, and for the citizens. More importantly, the full-time citizens who live here wanting to just go home," said Smith. Top Stories

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