Fort William Historical Park has been recognized by its peers in the Ministry of Tourism for noteworthy efforts in increasing cross-border visits from the United States.
The Fort received the Discovery Award for Innovative Risk Taker thanks to the opening of the Fort William Historical Park Canada Gateway Centre in Grand Marais, Minnesota earlier this summer.
The Discovery Awards identify and recognize excellence in public service within the Ministry of Tourism. Awards in six categories were presented at the Ministry’s Staff Day in Toronto earlier this month.
On hand to receive the award as team members were General Manager Sergio Buonocore, Manager of Marketing and Customer Service Doug Stanton, Historical Operations Manager Peter Boyle, and Business Services Manager Sandei Beattie. Fellow award winners absent for the ceremony were Corporate Development Officer Chris Ficek and Collections Team Leader Shawn Patterson.
The Canada Gateway Centre represents a partnership between the Fort and American entrepreneur David Parsons of Parsons Management, who also operates the Grand Marais Inn. The grand opening occurred May 27th, 2009. The initiative is designed to encourage U.S. travellers passing through Grand Marais to visit the Fort, Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario. Grand Marais was targeted due to high tourist traffic during the summer and its relatively close proximity to Thunder Bay.
General Manager Buonocore says that the Gateway Centre is a unique initiative and that the Discovery Award represents hard work by all Fort staff. “There’s no other initiative like this in the Ministry of Tourism,” says Mr. Buonocore. “And the Discovery Award is a reflection of the ongoing team effort by the entire Fort staff.”
The Centre is contributing to increases in revenue (29%) and attendance (40%) for FWHP 2009 to date, compared to the similar calendar period in 2008.