Enterprise Centre

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Open Monday to Friday


Town of Collingwood

Doing Business in the Town of Collingwood

The Town of Collingwood staff and Council support and welcome entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community.  Small businesses create an economic environment that is strong and diversified – providing our community with opportunities and choices.  The economic and social contributions of small business in Collingwood are significant, exciting and growing.  We welcome your queries and would be happy to assist your business venture in any way that we can.

Please find below a summary of the areas that you will need to consider when starting a new business in Collingwood.  For additional information and assistance contact the Small Business Enterprise Centre.

Municipal Licensing

The Town of Collingwood does require licenses and/or permits for specific businesses or business activities in the community.  These include:

Business Licences (By-law 2010-064, as amended):

  • Auctioneer
  • Sales of Fireworks
  • Taxi and Limousine Operations
  • Second Hand Goods
  • Food Vendor
  • Transient Sales
  • Buskers

Individuals wishing to operate one of these businesses or related activities need to obtain a license or permit from the Town and renew the license on an annual basis.  The requirements and fees for business licences are outlined in Business Licensing By-law 2010-064. Please note that by-laws may be amended by Council and it is recommended that you contact the Clerk’s Department at 705-445-1030 ext. 3294 to obtain the most recent version of the by-law and for additional information about the business licencing.

Zoning by-laws

The Town of Collingwood’s Zoning By-Law controls the use of land in Collingwood, including where building and other structures can be located, what types of buildings are allowed and how they can be used, lot sizes, parking, setbacks, etc.   It is important to ensure that the proposed use of your property, specifically the type of business operation, is allowed by the zoning bylaw.

Rules for home-based businesses are also outlined in the Zoning By-law under section 4.39.  The By-law includes information on the types of business that are permitted, the amount and type of space that can be used for the business and storage of business-related items, and the number of employees allowed.   You may also be allowed to have your business in an accessory building.  Please review this by-law if you considering running a business from your home.

Contact the Planning Department at 705-445-1290 for additional information about zoning by-law and to determine if your business activity is permitted in the location you are considering. Building Services will help with signage for your home-based business.

Building Permits

You will need a building permit for your business from the Town of Collingwood if you plan on constructing a new building for your business, renovating and/or making changes to your building, installing plumbing, making changes to the sewage system, and building a deck.

You can apply for a building permit through Building Department at the Town at 445-1030. It is recommended that you contact the Building Department to discuss requirements, obtain advice, and review the application process.

Change-Of-Use Permits

If you change the way you use all or part of the building where you are operating your business, you may need a change of use permit, even if you’re not planning any construction.  Contact the Building Department for additional information.


The Town of Collingwood regulates the size, location and display of signage for businesses in the community.  If your business is located in the heritage district, you will also need to be aware of additional rules include colour registrations, etc.  Rules for signage are outlined in the Signage By-law maintained by the Building Department.  The purpose of this By-law is to coordinate the type, placement, and scale of signs within the different land-use zones and to recognize the commercial communication requirements of all-sectors of the business community.

You must obtain a permit from the Town before changing or installing a sign for your business, including an a-frame sign.  Contact the Building Department at 445-1030 for additional information or to obtain a permit.

Patio and Merchandise Display By-law

Proprietors are allowed to operate a patio, café and/or merchandise area along the sidewalk within the Downtown BIA.  A business is permitted to locate a sidewalk patio along the curbside or the storefront. Businesses are also provided with the opportunity to operate a sidewalk patio, café and/or merchandise area at the same time as long as an unobstructed pedestrian walkway of 2 metres is maintained along the sidewalk.

If you plan on operating a patio or merchandise area, you must enter into an encroachment agreement with the Town.  The agreement outlines the type of use and is valid for the life of that business or until otherwise terminated by the Town or business ( as opposed to having to obtain a license each year). A onetime encroachment agreement fee is required for all new patios, cafés and/or merchandise areas, with a nominal annual renewal fee.

The following forms will be required:

  • Completed application form
  • Drawing of proposed encroachment (details of drawing provided in Schedule of By-law No. 2011-030)
  • Encroachment application fee for each of the types of encroachments being applied for
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Signed Encroachment Agreement


Please visit www.collingwood.ca/node/4133 for further information.  All applications are to be returned to Building Services for review and approval.

Collingwood Downtown BIA

Collingwood Downtown is a not-for-profit organization established for the main purpose of revitalizing the central business district of the Town of Collingwood. The organization is designated as a Business Improvement Area (BIA) through the Ontario Municipal Act and a town of Collingwood bylaw originally enacted in 1977.  The BIA manages the Collingwood Farmer’s Market, hosts and promotes a number of events in the community, and implements programs and initiatives for the beautification of downtown Collingwood.

The BIA is funded by a levy placed on the property taxes of each owner within the designated boundaries. The budget is presented to the general membership each year for discussion and approved by Council.

If you are considering running a business in downtown Collingwood, it is important to communicate with the landowner or the BIA directly to understand how the levy will be paid.   The BIA also welcomes volunteer, business and community participation in all areas of the association and has a number of committees that would benefit greatly from input from local businesses.  For additional information visit the Collingwood Downtown website.

Click here for the data report from the County of Simcoe Economic Development Office: Town of Collingwood 2018 Data