Downtown Sudbury is undergoing a rebranding campaign, which can be reviewed in an article that appeared in the Sudbury Star (Click Here).



Ever since amalgamation took place on January 1, 2001, it seems as if the movement to develop and improve Downtown Sudbury has taken on a new life. 

Prior to amalgamation, the six outlying communities could care less about Downtown Sudbury. They were more interested in developing 'Downtown Capreol', 'Downtown Lively', 'Downtown Chelmsford', and, yes, 'Downtown Valley East'.

When we were governed by Regional Government and had our own Town Council, efforts were made to develop the commercial area of Val Caron which at one time seemed destined to take on the distinction of being called “downtown” Valley East.  We even had our own Economic Development Committee.

After amalgamation, however, all efforts to promote development in Val Caron and indeed, in all of Valley East, were left up to the forces of nature. In other words - it was the marketplace which would determine where development will happen.

There are some very vocal lobby groups, including the City of Greater Sudbury, spending a lot of money and energy trying to convince everyone who will listen of the value of a strong downtown core. The Downtown Businesses have initiated a Business Improvement Plan whereby they pay extra tax dollars to enhance the downtown core. They are to be commended by that commitment and should be allowed to do whatever they can to promote their downtown.

People in Valley East do not completely disagree with all of the rhetoric about the importance of a strong downtown core in the City of Greater Sudbury; however, there are several major issues to which many local residents take exception.


For example, it has been argued that downtown Sudbury is the city's historical, cultural and spiritual centre. That may be the case for "Old Sudbury", but it is not the case in each of the outlying communities, many of which can also lay the same claim.

There is a proud tradition in Valley East, which celebrated its Centennial recently. Valley East, and more specifically, each of the smaller components of Valley East, namely, Val Caron, Blezard Valley, McCrea Heights, Guiletteville, Val Therese, and Hanmer, each have their own "historic and cultural" centres. Long-time residents of these communities are wondering why downtown Sudbury should receive any more consideration than their own. The history of the outlying communities is just as strong and the heritage means just as much.

So while downtown Sudbury may have been the core of the former city of Sudbury prior to amalgamation, just because all of the outlying towns were amalgamated into one large City of Greater Sudbury, Valley East did not all of a sudden lose its tradion and cultural nor its history. The "downtown" sections of Valley East did not all of a sudden fall off the map. In fact, since 2001, so much effort has been made by our leaders to focus on the development of the "downtown" of old Sudbury, that the outlying "downtowns" have been neglected. That will stop once I am elected to represent Ward 5.

A great deal has been invested in developing the core areas of Valley East. In fact, just as much has been invested in these areas as in Sudbury. It makes no sense to simply abandon the momentum which had been growing up until amalgamation.

Residents of Valley East are wondering when our local leadership will accept the fact that society has changed. People no longer want to live downtown. Valley East is the fastest growing segment of the City of Greater Sudbury. Retail growth is on the outskirts, around shopping centres where there is free parking and it is easier to get around. Downtown Sudbury may be fine for government offices and small retail stores, but the general public has spoken. They would rather live far away from the downtown Sudbury core, and they would rather shop far away from the downtown Sudbury core. They do not want to drive and fight for parking in downtown Sudbury.

Downtown Sudbury will survive if left on its own. There are a lot of offices located in the downtown section. It will do fine, but it certainly does not deserve the attention it is getting from the City officials.

If the City of Greater Sudbury is going to grow and prosper in future decades, then we must help places like Valley East, Capreol, Rayside Balfour, Walden, and Nickel Centre develop their own distinguishable sense of identity. People coming in to the area accept these as separate communities. They want to live in these separate and distinct communities. 

Candidates running in Wards that are contained in the outlying communities, such as Wards 5, 6 and 7, will have to show constituents that they are going to support and initiate efforts which will be designed to promote more than just downtown Sudbury. They are going to have to convince voters that downtown Valley East and downtown Capreol will also be given a high priority in the next three years.

This is not a matter of people in Valley East failing to accept amalgamation. It is about a proud community wanting to hang on to the traditions that were so instrumental in making the region of Sudbury so strong in the first place. It makes more sense to have solid, developing "downtowns" in all of the outlying communities in order to make the entire City of Greater Sudbury stronger and more viable. Our community has definitely changed since 2001, but we are not dead. We need a representative on Council who is going to fight for the revival of Valley East, not its continued assimilation into "old Sudbury". A stronger Valley East will make the entire City of Greater Sudbury that much better. We don't need to be reborn. We just need to get up off the ground and keep on running in the race.


From the Google Earth image below you can see that Valley East has what we would consider to be two downtown regions. The Power Centre at the corner of Regional Road 80 and Elmview Drive is the location for a number of community activities as well as the location of one of the largest indoor malls in the City of Greater Sudbury, the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. More businesses are developing in this part of the community, including a new McDonalds Restaurant, a new St. Louis Bar and Grill and in the near future we exptect to see a new hotel built in this area.

The Second downtown is in Val Caron, which contains the largest and longest concentration of businesses in the community and which at one time was considered as downtown Valley East.


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