Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I've known about this area since I was a kid. My dad, brother and I would head out there smelting every spring. It is probably why I started getting a taste for coffee at the age of seven. We'd head out there on a Saturday night around 11 pm, flashlights, thermos, buckets and nets in hand to jostle among the hundreds of other anglers to catch those tasty little silver fish that, when cleaned, rolled in egg, milk and flour and pan fried, remain one of my favorite local meals to this day. Pair it with a fresh baguette, a bottle of Pelee Island Pinot Grigio (www.peleeisland.com) and good friends and you've found heaven on earth.
Getting back to the story at hand, the 5 acre area, as great as it is, is not very well known or travelled to and unfortunately some of the people who do know about it, have used it as a garbage dump and location for amorous encounters for decades.
The Thunder Bay Steelhead Association wants to make this area more usable by the public and has announced an ambitious and commendable effort to clean up the property, replant some of the native plant species, connect to the Boulevard Lake trail system and make this a place more people visit and enjoy. Apart from smelting expeditions, its long been a great place to watch massive grain ships from around the world load up at Viterra C Terminal, watch vessels in drydock at Lakehead Marine, kayak, fish and just watch the wildlife, that on land included deer and in the water, ducks, geese and a host of other bird species. Its a great location to take a coffee, sit on the shore and watch Thunder Bay's industrial engine tick away to the spectacular backdrop on the Big Lake. Getting more people to visit the site also has the added effect of more eyes keeping dumpers away.
June 6-7 is clean up day and the Steel Head Association is looking for volunteers to help out. I for one will be out there and I encourage others in the community to join in as well. It takes all of us to keep Thunder Bay clean, green and beautiful.
For more information on volunteering for the clean up, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.northshoresteelhead.com.
While there today for a workshop, I had the pleasure to catch up on things with the Marketing Director, Alastair MacKay, who introduced me to "The Waking Giant" a children's book produced by the Gallery's Art Access program. I knew of the project and had a chance over a year ago to see the individual prints on display at the gallery. The project was born out of the attention provided to the Sleeping Giant 2 years ago in CBC's Seven Wonders of Canada contest and has now been produced in a limited print run book that is suitable for children in grades 1-3. The artwork is great and the story, of the Giant waking up to stretch, is fun.
The book is available for purchase at the Gallery's gift shop, a great little gem in itself that features unique jewellery, books and other items. In this day of promoting sustainability in the tourism industry, their new reusable shopping and gift bags make a great statement and promote the Gallery.The Gallery is an attraction everyone in the local tourism industry should visit-and revisit regularly. Its a great place to take family and Friends and to recommend to visitors. It represents the cultural fabric of our community and makes a great destination year around. Getting there is easy. Just take Sibley Drive off Balmoral Ave or the college's main entrance off Golf Links Road.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore new theories behind some of the world’s most fascinating mysteries and historical enigmas. The conference program includes speakers, panel discussions, workshops and presentations by international writers, theorists and researchers. The program will also highlight the City of Thunder Bay and will include exciting social networking opportunities.
What does that mean? Passports. Canadian residents travelling into the United States by road crossing will now be required to have a valid passport or accepted registered secure smart driver's licence to enter the United States. U.S. residents will require the same to re-enter the United States.
The date has been pushed back a couple of times and there had been hope that the new Democratic government would scrap the initiative altogether. The new regulation will undoubtedly have a short and medium term effect on border communities the most where casual day traffic will decline in both directions. However, in communities where residents depend on goods, services and employment across the border, they are more likely to get their documents.
We are entering a new era and the passport requirement will soon reach a point of equilibrium. I liken them to a flu shot in that it is a little inconvenient to go and get the application, a pic taken and a witness's signature. However, once you get one, they're one of the best documents to have. Recent increases in the numbers of both Canadian and U.S. residents applying for passports is an encouraging sign that people are getting them.
And who is getting them? People who travel is the obvious answer but more specifically, educated and avid experience seekers and these are the clients we want to market to anyway. The person who never leaves their sofa to get a passport is also the person no amount of marketing is going to likely encourage travel.
So what can you do to ensure your U.S. clients are getting their passport?
- Send them the information on the Canadian AND U.S. requirements when they inquire or book their vacations. The Canadian Border Services Agency is always more than pleased to supply tourism partners with the forms they need.
- Send clients the link to the U.S. and Canadian Border agency websites or better yet, put the links on your websites. They are listed here.
- Read up on the regulations so you can at least answer basic questions your clients may have.
- Offer a travel discount up to the equivalent value of their passport fee.
- Grand Portage Lodge and Casino has taken things one step further. They have been hosting a number of sessions and taking Canadian resident's passport photos for them. Imagine booths at U.S. sports shows with passport information and photographer on the ready to make people's processes a little easier. I am not sure what the legality is of doing this in the U.S. but its worth getting the information on and reporting back on it here.
Monday, May 25, 2009
photo courtesy of MEUP
Today's opening exchange rate on U.S. cuurency is 88.5 cents U.S. per Canadian dollar or $1.125 CDN to $1 U.S.D.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Ontario Parks - Marketing and NHE Assistant (Park Ranger) 2009
Summer Experience Position # SEP_N43542
Start Date: TBD (approx. 7-14 weeks TBD)
· Candidates must meet SEP general and age program eligibility requirements.
· Based out of the Northwest Zone office of Ontario Parks under the general supervision of Zone Manager and working with the NW Zone Marketing /NHE Specialist.
· 8 hours per day, 40.00 hours per week, $9.50/hr
· You may be required to wear an Ontario Parks uniform (will be supplied as required). You will be required to maintain a neat and clean appearance at all time. Hair colour must be natural and jewellery must be tasteful and appropriate. Proper office attire is required.
· Should safety work boots (green patch) be required – this is the responsibility of the employee to provide.
Duties Will Include:
As a member of the Ontario Parks Northwest Zone team, under the general supervision of the Zone Manager you will provide assistance to the Marketing/NHE Specialist in undertaking marketing and Natural Heritage Education projects. The position will require office work, day field trips and possibly overnight, extended field trips in the outdoors i.e. camping.
Background knowledge and related experience with Ontario Parks, parks, tourism, marketing, special events planning and delivery, resource management and outdoor recreation or related
· Knowledge of tourism and recreation industry, visitor demographics and research techniques
· Knowledge of natural sciences (i.e. flora, fauna, geology), ecosystems and cultural history of the Northwest Region and parks
· Knowledge of, and ability to use personal computers including word-processing, record-keeping, Internet and electronic mail software applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, other, photographic software)
· Good presentation, leadership, organizational, interpersonal, computer skills and oral and written communication skills. Data entry and statistical analysis skills. Research and report writing skills.
· Working knowledge in camping, orienteering and practices/techniques of outdoor living. Outdoor skills and work experience preferred. Hiking, backpacking, canoe tripping, kayaking, camping and wilderness trip planning skills an asset.
· Valid Class "G" Driver’s License an asset. Valid First Aid Certificate an asset.
· Ability to lift materials and supplies up to approximately 40 lbs.
· Ability to work independently and part of a team follow and carry out instructions.
· Ability to work flexible hours, shifts, and weekends and in inclement weather (rain, bugs).
· Working knowledge of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and those regulations made under the Act that applies to the workplace and the work being performed.
For more information contact:
Barb Rees, Natural Heritage Education/Marketing Specialist
Ontario Parks - Northwest Zone at 807-475-1482.
Resumes can be emailed to Barb.Rees@Ontario.ca no later then 1 p.m. on Wed. May 27, 2009
Please indicate: Marketing/NHE Assistant Position in Subject line of email.
A total of 1064 visitors registered at the center in April and while that was down 94 persons from 2008, the center was closed on April 1 for a snow storm and on Easter Monday as part of our restructuring plan to reallocate staffing to keep the Pagoda center open longer during summer months. When these dates were accounted for as their daily average visitation, the numbers are pretty much only 10 visitors off from the previous year.
Canadian Visitors totaled 900 or 78% of visitors and included the following
- Ontario - 64%
- Manitoba - 11%
- BC - 8%
- Saskatchewan - 7%
- Alberta - 4%
- Quebec - 2%
Overseas traffic, at 46 visitors, made up 4% of total traffic to the center.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The City's exciting new waterfront development program at Prince Arthur's Landing is an important step forward in moving our community's reputation as a great outdoor city and hence our tourism economy forward. Connecting people and the downtown to the water is essential to making our city more vibrant. Understandably, a project of this investment level and magnitude does not evolve without its detractors. We're not alone. Every city undergoing a fundamental shift in its economy goes through these discussions and debates.
Providing the community the opportunity to understand what's happening within the tourism industry is an imperative part of the transparency process. Recently an open house was hosted to inform the community of the design details and environmental assessment process. The unique part of the session was that it was broadcast live on streaming video. Morvision's Paul Morallee (http://www.morvision.on.ca/) teamed up with James Murray of NetNewsLedger (http://www.netnewsledger.com/) to broadcast the entire session on the web and post participant workbooks for interested individuals to fill in and email back to the City. Hats off to these two gents, who are huge supporters of the City and have been incredibly helpful to us in getting the tourism message out during my time here.
I had a chance to check out Paul's set up earlier that evening and its slick and compact. Camera, laptop, wireless transmitter and brackets and bracing (manufactured by Thunder Bay's own Cinevate no less) make for a set up that's relatively easy to set up, move and store.Utilizing this technology is simple and has countless applications in reaching industry partners effectively, on their time and turf. This isn't new technology but recent local partnerships are making it more available to wider audiences and providing new opportunities to share and inform in real time. For more information, visit http://www.netnewsledger.com/ or www.morvision.on.ca
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- The program is open to residents of Northern Ontario who intend to start a new full time business in the region.
- The program provides conditional contribution of up to 50% of eligible costs up to a limit of $125 000.
- The business must create new full time employment opportunities.
- The applicant must make a cash contribution of 10% of the conditional grant.
- Total federal and Provincial financial support must not be greater than 75%
- Eligible costs at the 50% threshold include capital and leasehold improvements.
- Marketing costs up to 20% of the total project cost.
- Cannot be utilized to expand an existing business similar to an existing one owned by the applicant or family members.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
The Province has been quick to begin unveiling some of the recommendations already, with the notable inclusion of $40 million in the 2010 budget towards regional tourism marketing. That $40 million, as you may recall, is the net from a proposed Province wide destination marketing fee being proposed. Essentially, every accommodation provider in the Province will collect a hotel room levy, with the proceeds reinvested back in the industry. While it is estimated that $100 million could be collected, retailers collecting the new tax are expected to be able to apply input tax credits, meaning that they will get back what they pay out for supplies. This is an exciting time for the future of the tourism industry in the Province but some tough decisions must be made to move us collectively forward.
The Province is currently undertaking a series of consultations across Ontario to get input into the proposed new Tourism Destination Marketing and Management regions with their own organizational structures . Two of these DMMOs have been proposed for Northern Ontario - northeast and northwest - and as you can imagine, this is creating quite a lot of spirited discussion. To that end, its imperative that the industry provide their feedback into the proposal and help craft destination management zones that are effective and make sense.
I encourage industry representatives to submit their input to Rob Ballantyne at the Ministry of Tourism by emailing your constructive and creative suggestions to him at email@example.com. To help you craft your submission, follow the following questions that have been posed at the various input sessions.
Determining criteria for regional boundaries resulting in successful regional tourism management
Think about: A region being destinations that work together
Question 1: What criteria should be used to determine regional boundaries?
Iconic attractions within an area
A well established brand
Tourism travel patterns
Minimum level of tourism activity
The potential for travel packaging
Question 2: How should the boundaries be drawn and who should draw them?
Whether you have suggestions for specific boundaries
Question 3: How should the name of each region be decided?
What the process should involve
The people / organizations who should be involved
Describing roles and responsibilities of a Destination Marketing and Management Organization
Question 1: What should DMMOs do?
Leadership and coordination
Marketing and packaging
Quality of service/experience
Investment and product development
Question 2: How should DMMOs be organized?
What is needed to put them in place
The appropriate governance model (e.g.
board structure, partnerships, success
Question 3: How would the DMMO work with others involved in tourism?
Ministry of Tourism
Other levels of government
Question 4: The 2009 Ontario Budget announced funding for tourism regions. What factors should be considered in distributing the funding?
What is needed to become sustainable
The expectations of DMMOs that receive funding
Other sources of funding
How existing partnerships can be further
How to move forward to establish a DMMO in this area
Question 1: What challenges or issues would have to be addressed?
Question 2: What are the strengths you have to build on in your area?