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Businesses in Smiths Falls Welcome the End of a "Night and Day" Downtown Renovation

Scott Mousseau, manager of Vintage Barber Shop and Tattoo in Smiths Falls, Ont., says the reconstruction of the town's main downtown thoroughfare has made a 'world of difference' for some local business owners.
Scott Mousseau, Manager of Vintage Barber Shop and Tattoo in Smiths Falls, ont., Says the Reconstruction of the Town's Main Downtown Thoroughfare Has Made a 'World of Difference' for Some Local Business Owners.

A fully separated bike path and a new lighting part of the redesigned core

Business owners in Smiths Falls, Ontario are welcoming the end of construction on the town's main thoroughfare in eastern Ontario.

The reconstruction of Beckwith Street North between Russell Street and Elmsley Street North was part of a larger construction project which ran from April to October this year.

The renovation, now complete, included the addition of a fully separated cycle lane, LED street lighting, three lanes for traffic and two more for parallel parking.

"It's amazing that we had the chance to scrub the downtown a little bit and restore some of the architecture that Eastern Ontario is known for," said Scott Mousseau, manager of Vintage Barber Shop and Tattoo.

"It's made a big difference for some of the new businesses," added Mousseau, who also sits on the board of the Downtown Smiths Falls Business Association.

Another board member, Christin Storms, owns one such new business — arts and crafts store The Craft Witch.

Storms opened while construction was underway and said her optimistic customers would be drawn to the restored street, which she described as "night and day" from what it was before.

“It needed revitalization,” Storms said. "It needed a new breath of fresh air downtown, some life and some light," she said.

'Definitely worth it'

The construction projects join other similar projects in nearby Eastern Ontario cities. The Red Fox Restaurant and Tavern in a historic stone building in nearby Perth, for example, was restored in 2021.

Despite the challenges that come with months of construction, some business owners said CBC's approach during construction was well managed.

Mousseau said that even though there were times when his barber shop couldn't open, he believes the overall benefit of the construction was "totally worth it."

Amy Rensby, owner of C'est Tout Bakery, said that while her shop had its best financial year during construction, she was glad it was coming to an end.

"It's great to see it finally coming to fruition," Rensby said.