September 2021: Connect with Tourism at Ontario’s Highlands’ OH! Tourism Summit and AGM

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. – African Proverb

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s that connections are important. Connections to people. Connections to the land. Connections to our community. There are so many quotes that talk about how we are all stronger when we foster those important connections.

The connections in our lives sustain us; they provide us with a reason for being, they ground us in place, in time, and in our community.

Helen Keller said it so beautifully: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

It’s the discussion of connections and all that they have brought to us in the past year and a half that led us to settle on the theme of connections for this year’s OH! Tourism Summit and Annual General Meeting (AGM). This event is a chance to not only make connections with other tourism leaders and stakeholders in your community, but also to learn more about OHTO’s ongoing Connections campaign and our journey towards responsible tourism.

Join us on Wednesday, October 20 for a virtual three-hour conference to explore what our connections are through responsible tourism – to ourselves, to our community, and to our region. This year’s event is completely free to attend! A Zoom link will be sent to registrants prior to the event.

The theme of connections will be evident in every aspect of this year’s program, from the keynote speaker, Dr. Johnathon Day, an expert in sustainable tourism and responsible travel, to a live authentic Indigenous experience with Chantel Chadwick, along with a mindful moment from Creekside Yoga.

New this year is the OH! Tourism Summit Experience Package (exciting!). Participants who register by Friday, Oct. 8 will receive an exclusive “Experience Package” packed with lots of fun stuff you’ll be able to use during the event itself.

This year’s event will answer questions like how can we use connections to create a better tourism experience? What role does responsible tourism play in an enlightened tourism community? And come to that, what exactly is responsible tourism, anyway?

Find out the answers to these questions, and more, at the OH! Tourism Summit and AGM on Oct. 20. Come join the thought leaders in tourism in Ontario from Ontario’s Highlands’ regions of the Ottawa Valley, Lanark County, Haliburton County, Hastings County, Frontenac County, and Lennox & Addington and be in the know for what’s coming in tourism in 2022.

This is a chance to be inspired – and to inspire! Let’s work together to grow tourism in Ontario’s Highlands. Visit www.comewander.ca/oh-tourism-summit for more information about the event and if you’re ready to register, click here.

We’ll ‘connect’ with you all on Wednesday, Oct. 20!

Yours in tourism,

Kasey Rogerson
Industry Support Coordinator

Meet the 2020-21 OHTO Board of Directors

The Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) has been making a name for itself over the past decade, supporting tourism in the region through creative content marketing and helping tourism operators to prioritize and focus on the right communications to capture their audiences.

Of course, whenever there are great things being accomplished there are usually great people in the background guiding the direction of the organization. At OHTO, those people are the OHTO board of directors – eight people who dedicate their time and energy to guiding OHTO’s tourism growth and direction now and in the future.

These are the tourism operators or the municipal or county staff who live and work in your communities, all of whom are doing their best to support tourism and growth in Ontario’s Highlands. These dedicated folks meet once a month to discuss the challenges that face the industry in Ontario and the rapidly evolving tourism landscape. As a governance board, the board oversees and guides the big picture strategy and policies for OHTO.

These are the people working for you, behind the scenes. Take a moment to read their stories and why they find value in serving on the board of directors, and what advice they’d have for those thinking of taking the leap and applying to be on the board.

Tegan Legge (Chief Governing Officer) – Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve

Alison Vandervelde (Vice-Chief Governing officer) – County of Frontenac

Corina Mansfield  (Secretary) – Deep Roots Adventure

Tara McMurtry – The Chocolate Harlot

Greg Rodgers – Rockhill Bed and Breakfast

Cindy Jamieson – Whitewater Bed and Breakfast

Karen Warner – Gaia’s Den

Amanda Virtanen – Haliburton County (outgoing director)

Calling all Visionaries!
Apply to OHTO’s Board of Directors

Are you passionate about tourism in Ontario’s Highlands? Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Ready to put your name forward for the 2021-22 Board? Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Karen Warner, Gaia’s Den, Harcourt

Karen Warner may have spent many years travelling around the world and facilitating Sacred Site Travel, but home for her has always been Ontario’s Highlands. When she decided it was time to settle down for good, she and her partner decided to start a firewood business, a path that ultimately led her to tourism.

Not many people would make the leap that a firewood business could possibly be related to tourism, but for Karen, the connection was obvious.

“When you live in a rural area where tourism is the dominant industry, then everyone is in the tourism industry. When I was elected to the board I didn’t have a tourism business, I had a firewood business, but I felt we were in the tourism industry,” said Karen. “With every load of wood we delivered, we also delivered information on what is happening in the area. People would ask us about restaurants, events, activities. Providing tourism information helped our firewood business and the community. We came into tourism in a backdoor kind of way.”

Karen is a firm believer that when you live in a rural area you need to come together as a community, to make sure there are opportunities to attract people to the area. When she began thinking more about tourism, she finally settled on her own business idea that would draw people to the area.

Today, Karen and her husband, Rob Watson, steward Gaia’s Den, a Sacred Sanctuary in Nature where many transformational tourism opportunities are offered on 74 acres of private, forested land where there are three secluded waterfalls. Their signature product is ‘Spirit of the Waterfalls;’ offering five customized, guided, Shamanic Nature Experiences in the wild setting of Haliburton Highlands, each one focusing on a different aspect of Nature.

Coming onto the Board of Directors was a learning curve for Karen, who understood going in that OHTO’s board of directors was a governance board, not an operational board. Three terms later serving on the Board, Karen’s favourite part of being a director is making a difference being part of an organization that is really well run and progressive when it comes to tourism.

“I really feel that the organization is a leader in setting tourism trends, whether these trends be experiential, transformational or sustainable tourism,” Karen said.

Karen is especially proud of the organization’s efforts to de-colonize tourism by honouring and respecting the contributions of Indigenous Peoples, for “there is no part of this province where tourism in untouched by the Indigenous Peoples, their culture, traditions, history and sustainable way of life,” said Karen. “This region is making a big difference using the minimal resources that we have. We haven’t just impacted this region, we’ve impacted the province of Ontario and have a broader, international impact. That’s special to be part of.”

Being on the Board has helped keep the information flow for tourism related news more present for Karen to incorporate into her own business. Karen explained that when she first came on the board the focus was shifting from destination tourism to experiential tourism, and for many years it was hard for people to grasp what that meant.

Having access to the cutting edge concepts and shift in focus impacted her business and business model.

“The direction in tourism at that time was really important and helped me and my business grow a lot…the truth of tourism is it is experiential and we are combining that experience with making the region a destination.”

Karen said she would encourage anyone interested in the Board to “just do it.”

“I think it’s a good organization and a good Board to work with. There’s a group outcome, a business growth opportunity and a personal growth opportunity.”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Tegan Legge, General Manager, Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve

Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve General Manager, Tegan Legge, has been living and breathing tourism since she a kid, and that passion has carried her forward through various tourism-focused roles before landing her at Haliburton Forest. After 12 years there, four in her current role, Tegan is doing what she loves best, growing a brand and connecting with the tourism world

It was five years ago that Tegan stepped forward to serve as a director on OHTO’s board, with a goal of strengthening Haliburton Forest’s connection to tourism, forging new partnerships, and learning more about how to promote tourism marketing in the region. What she’s gained from the experience has helped educate and inspire her work.

“It’s definitely the collaboration of sitting in a room with tourism leaders in our tourism world and be able to bounce ideas and move our brand forward,” said Tegan. “It’s a two-way street on the board, we bounce ideas off each other and it helps strengthen the community and our shared knowledge and experience.”

Tegan’s time on the board has benefitted her three-fold in that she is looks at tourism from three perspectives, as the general manager for Haliburton Forest, as an OHTO director, and also from a travel trade partnership. In fact, Tegan credits her role with the board of directors for introducing her to the travel trade.

“Would I have known about travel trade without serving on the board of directors? I’m not sure, it’s kind of a chicken or the egg question,” Tegan laughed.

Tegan’s biggest goal for serving on the board is to bounce ideas off the other board directors, to build relationships and help out where she can, in order to direct the organization in a prosperous direction.

Tegan was recently appointed as Chief Governance Officer (CGO) on OHTO’s board of directors, a new position for her, but one she is eager to take on, particularly in light of OHTO’s new strategic direction to strengthen communities through responsible tourism.

“I’m looking forward to the new opportunities and working with the board as CGO,” said Tegan. “I’m really excited to help drive the organization in its new direction in strengthening our knowledge and brand through responsible tourism.”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Tara McMurtry, The Chocolate Harlot, Bancroft

It was while working on a tourism project in Hastings County that OHTO board member, Tara McMurtry, first encountered OHTO. The project was for North Hastings Culture Days, a community event that involved more than 40 local artists and businesses joining forces to host its first Culture Days in September 2019.  

The project was able to secure funding from Hastings County and OHTO and demonstrated how strategic partnerships can be a game changer for community events like Culture Days. At the time, her experience with tourism stemmed primarily from her Bancroft business, The Chocolate Harlot. This collaborative event began a journey into the greater tourism industry in Ontario’s Highlands.

“I didn’t have a great picture of tourism, I didn’t know about OHTO beyond my experience with Culture Days,” said Tara. “I was invited to be on the board, but I didn’t really have an on the ground sense of what that would mean.”

Tara aka The Chocolate Harlot is an artisanal chocolatier located in Bancroft who uses fair-trade, organic and decadent ingredients. while giving back to her community: 10% of proceeds from her chocolates are donated to community development projects in Hastings County. Linking tourism to community development is important to her vision of her work and the work of OHTO.  

Since joining the board in 2019, Tara has been part of the team working to guide and direct the organization from a governance perspective. Tara likens being a board member to being a “guider” of OHTO’s direction and influencing the direction of program that OHTO delivers. 

Being a board member for Tara has helped amplify her passion for community development. She sees a real role for tourism to play in assisting organizations and businesses to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular. Serving on the board has given her an opportunity to get a ‘bird’s eye view of tourism,’ something she considers to be important for anyone in any community.

“Being a board member allowed me to situate my concerns in the larger picture and be more effective with the right supports, which OHTO can provide,” Tara said.  

The benefits go beyond that, Tara noted. She pointed to being able to hear the stories of how other businesses are approaching tourism, in order to have a better understanding of what is happening with her own business and in her own region. 

One piece of advice Tara would have for a new board member is to get to know OHTO’s programs before joining, in order to have a strong understanding of the broadness of OHTO’s membership and region, and what a governance board can accomplish in that setting. 

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Greg Rodgers, Rockhill B&B, Sharbot Lake

Greg Rodgers is a newcomer to tourism but has already jumped into the industry feet first, taking over a bed and breakfast in Sharbot Lake, bolstering the local tourism community and joining OHTO’s board of directors in 2020.

Greg and his wife are living examples of how tourism works hand in hand with economic development to grow communities. The couple travelled throughout the Frontenac region on day trips from their home base in Kingston long before they decided to buy a bed and breakfast. When they went looking for a property to purchase, they looked at Sharbot Lake and area with new eyes and saw the potential there.

“We are surrounded by the vacation hot zones here: Lanark County, Bon Echo Park, 1,000 Islands and Prince Edward County,” said Greg. “It seemed like the industry is always looking for the next destination to boom and we had a feeling it might be this one…we are beginning to realize this is a much more attractive and sought out area than people realize.”

After making their purchase of a former bed and breakfast perched on a cliff overlooking Sharbot Lake, Greg got to know his new home and business they chose for their retirement years.

“For the first year we never thought our bed and breakfast was in the tourism industry at all, we thought we were an accommodator, but after that we got passionate about the industry and wanted to throw ourselves into it,” said Greg.

One of the things Greg did which changed the course of tourism in Sharbot Lake was to write a short article for the local paper to encourage local tourism operators to come together and collaborate. That little article is still making waves for Greg, and what ultimately led him to join the board of directors.

It was while Greg was attending an Oh! Tourism Summit in 2019 that he met up with two influential tourism operators – Barrie Martin from Yours Outdoors in Haliburton Highlands and Chris Hinsperger from Bonnechere Caves in the Ottawa Valley – who inspired him to throw his name in the hat for the OHTO board of directors.

“The more I chatted with them [Barrie and Chris] the more I began to see how a deeper involvement with OHTO might help our industry and community,” said Greg. “I wanted to immerse myself deeper into the industry and the area and joining the board seemed like a good way to do that.”

Joining the board is modus operandi for Greg, meaning it’s normal for him to throw himself into something and in his words “go all in.”

“When I went to the summit and talked to Chris, he’s just so serious about being in the industry, so serious about how he operates as an operator, and I began to understand tourism is a serious business, it’s not child’s play,” explained Greg.

Greg sees the OHTO board of directors as a conduit for him to connect with other people in the industry and see what’s happening in other regions. His time on the board of directors has helped him to get a handle on trends in tourism and how they are impacting the area and their business, giving him a deeper insight than he may otherwise have gotten without having the added context at the regional level.

More than that, Greg is a natural networker and has embraced the opportunity to meet and connect with like minded people.

His advice for anyone thinking of applying to join the board?

“Don’t feel you have to save the whole industry, just come in and enjoy the people you’re working with…I’m on the board with really great people who I have a lot to learn from,” said Greg. “I’m enjoying just going with the flow and enjoying my time here.”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Alison Vandervelde, Community Development Officer, Frontenac County

Those who live in Frontenac County may be familiar with the name Alison Vandervelde – Alison is the Community Development Officer for Frontenac, so obviously tourism and the community is a passion for her.

Alison has served on the OHTO board of directors since 2020 and explained that in her role with the county, and in the municipal world in general, economic development and tourism were becoming more and more intertwined, so her position on the board made sense.

“I wanted to get involved for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one was the professional development side of it. It’s important for me to understand tourism trends and programs for our operators,” said Alison, adding “I knew I was going to learn a whole lot.”

For Alison, tourism is something she’s passionate about, beyond even her role with the county. In Frontenac, she explained that because of her workload tourism can end up being something that’s done on the side, but that the connection between economic development and tourism is becoming more and more clear to people.

Much of her work involves working directly with small tourism business owners, a group she calls “passionate people who really love this region….they are amazing ambassadors.”

A big push for Alison to join the board may have been the professional development aspect, but she was also surprised by how much she enjoyed it on a personal level. Working with a governance board is new to Alison, and learning how a governance board works has been an eye-opener and added to her understanding of that type of board management.

Being able to connect with other board members and join the conversation at the board table has been a positive.

“Being able to integrate the knowledge I’ve gained from the board level into my day-to-day work has been incredibly helpful,” said Alison.

Her advice for anyone sitting on the fence about whether or not to join the board is plain and simple; to reach out and ask questions about the time commitment and what’s involved and then, in the end, her recommendation is to “Just do it!”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Amanda Virtanen, County of Haliburton

A passion for tourism is what prompted Haliburton Highlands’ former Director of Tourism, Amanda Virtanen, to first toss her name in the ring to serve on the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) board of directors seven years ago. Today, Amanda works with a marketing and public relations industry in a role that she calls “a similar function, different industry” representing clients in various industries.

In spite of her recent shift in direction, her heart is still connected to tourism. Amanda looks back on her years with the board as an ideal opportunity to forge connections and mature her own knowledge and experience relating to tourism.

“I think Ontario’s Highlands is one of the best regions in the world, and the more we can get people here, enjoying and respecting the land, the more our communities will continue to grow,” said Amanda.

Joining the board of directors gave Amanda yet another resource to focus on for building tourism in her own region. What wasn’t expected was the connection she made with the people she served alongside on the board, and the impacts it had in her own professional life – and personal.

“The board was always so great,” said Amanda. “I forged quite a strong relationship with many of them, and often became personal friends, but I also learned a lot from them professionally. They are the best group of professionals I’ve worked with in my career.”

Among the benefits of joining the board for Amanda was that it made her job easier by helping her to find objectives and targets, and measure the performance in her own region. According to Amanda, many of the trends and directions she’s shared with her team have originated from her role with the board.

“A lot of the directions we’ve travelled have come from the conversations we had at the OHTO board table,” said Amanda. “There would be an idea of mine that would be sparked at the board meeting and then carried into my day to day.”

The time commitment for the board is minimal in comparison to the potential benefits, and Amanda explained that she could contribute as little or as much to the conversation at the board level as she chose, but that either way the rewards were plentiful. Her voice was heard and the opportunity to learn was always present.

Professional development aside, Amanda credits the lifelong connections she’s made with board members as one of the best takeaways of her years spent there, but she doesn’t underestimate the value of serving on a governing board, rather than an operational board.

“I learned about governance of organizations and determining objectives, and it ended up being much more valuable than what I had thought it would be.”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Meet the Board: Cindy Jamieson, Whitewater Inn, Pembroke

Ottawa Valley tourism operator, Cindy Jamieson, is no stranger to tourism. After 20 years operating Jamieson Travel, in 2019 Cindy transitioned to yet another tourism-focused business when she purchased Whitewater Inn in Pembroke. A year later, she joined the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) board of directors, the next step in her journey into the world of tourism.

And as if running a travel agency and operating an inn wasn’t enough, Cindy also runs Valley Cycle Tours, offering cycling daytrips for visitors to the region.

“I’ve been in travel tourism for 20 years, so I feel like I have a pretty decent grasp of the industry as a whole,” Cindy explained.

The Whitewater Inn is something Cindy calls a “small experience” with only five rooms, including the apartment. Of course, the inn also happens to be located right off the Ottawa River, and within walking distance of hiking trails, rail trails, and skidoo beds, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the region with multi-day adventures.

Cindy noted that the tourism community in Pembroke is a strong one, and referrals to other neighbouring operators helps to keep the industry alive and thriving in her region.

“We need each other in the tourism community, I truly believe that the sign of a healthy economy and community is how strong their tourism sector is,” Cindy said.

For Cindy, the fact that Ontario’s Highlands offers the exact opposite of a city scape experience is a plus and what led her to settle here and get into business.

“When I travel I’m happy to do a day or two of city things, but it’s the land I want to experience in another region,” Cindy said. “I like driving the roads to see how the locals really live, and as much as it’s fun to see a museum I really like to see the landscapes, and we’re especially situated for that.”

When Cindy was invited to join the OHTO board in 2020 she said she was initially worried that she would be underqualified, which is surprising given her background. She explained that getting started on the board brought with it a learning curve, that introduced her to the Carver Method of board governance, and what she calls “a new but efficient way for boards to operate.”

For Cindy, this method of running a board just works.

Cindy’s favourite part of being on the board is the collaborations and the camaraderie, and the opportunity to discuss what’s a passion for pretty much all the board members: the direction of tourism in Ontario’s Highlands and Ontario in general.

“It’s like our tourism group therapy,” Cindy joked. Her advice for new board members is to jump on the tourism train and be welcome. “It’s great, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.”

Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?

Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to click here for more information, or contact OHTO.

Submit your online application here.

Connecting and Supporting Tourism this Summer: June 2021

For over a year, Ontario’s Highlands’ communities and residents have lived through a time unlike any other. While COVID-19 has brought many challenges, it has also brought inspiring moments, connected communities and people, and encouraged us to support one another and be thankful for this place we call home.

Now that the light is being seen at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, this summer will be a time for locals to rediscover local and reconnect with the people, the communities, and the land that make this region special. By driving support for local discovery, businesses who have been some of the hardest hit from COVID-19 can experience a faster rebound and regional tourism can start to rebuild.

We all know and appreciate that our locals are the backbone of our tourism economy. Not only are they the ones that supported our businesses through this difficult period, but they are also the reason our region is so amazing. It’s going to take a while to rebuild our visitation, but we also know that our locals are going to be there with us every step of the way.

Supporting Local Tourism in 2021

OHTO’s marketing team has been hard at work developing marketing initiatives that encourages our locals to get out and explore, making it easier for them to reconnect with the region and what makes it a special destination. These initiatives aim to ignite that huge sense of local pride, all with the end goal of local tourism to drive local recovery.

Activity over this fiscal will feature a three-pronged marketing approach to ignite local tourism, support businesses, and connect audiences with what makes Ontario’s Highlands people and places so special.

1. The Connections Campaign: a docuseries and in-destination campaign connecting the audience with seven stories of inspiring locals and their deep connection to the region;

2. Community Champions program: a support program inviting locals to recognize community champions who have gone above and beyond to make this region great and to continue their great work;

3. Staycation Itinerary Series: robust staycation itineraries geared to make it easy for locals to rediscover the region, complete with suggestions to make their trip memorable; and,

4. Focused content: stories published weekly on ComeWander.ca with must-dos from around the region.

The Connections Series is a central part of OHTO’s Regional Recovery Plan which features a seven-episode docuseries aimed at sharing the stories of our people, encouraging residents to travel local, and driving support for local businesses. Whether it’s a connection to the water, the land, the communities, or the wide-open spaces, this series calls upon us to relate to, rediscover, and support everything that’s truly special about Ontario’s Highlands. Produced by Ben Hemmings Media, the docuseries launches on July 5 with Stefi van Wijk, avid paddler and manager of Madawaska Kanu Centre being the first featured local.

An exciting component of the Connections Campaign is the launch of the Community Champions program which recognizes organizations who are doing amazing work and supporting our communities by making them even better. Through this program, Ontario’s Highlands’ residents can nominate a local group or organization in their community that has gone above and beyond this past year to strengthen the local community, advocate for the environment, or help preserve the natural wonders of Ontario’s Highlands.

Following the nomination period, the public will vote on the finalists to determine which organizations will receive $3,000 in support to continue their initiatives.

The Connections Campaign will run from July 2021 to March 2022, with a new local being featured each month on OurConnections.ca (in development). Campaign messaging will be distributed through social media, niche magazines, local newspapers, and social media and google ads.

Our locals have been more active in the regional tourism industry then ever before. We want to turn their interest into long term loyalty for local!

How Can You Get Involved?

Tourism operators and stakeholders are encouraged to watch for the release of The Connections Series and take part in the campaign at a grassroots level. Nominate a local organization in your community, stay tuned for more information of series release dates of locals in your communities, then share through your networks and celebrate the connections in Ontario’s Highlands.