Steve Weir, Author at RTO 9 Tourismtalk

RTO 9 Announces 30 Partnership Fund Proposal Recipients

South Eastern Ontario’s RTO 9 awards $215k to local tourism businesses in the region in three categories: Digitizing Your Business, Itinerary Development and New or Enhanced Product Development

Kingston, ON – (July 15, 2020) – The Regional Tourism Organization for South Eastern Ontario (RTO 9) is pleased to announce they have awarded over $215k from the Partnership Fund to support projects across the region during the 2021/2022 fiscal year. Partnership Funds allow RTO 9 to partner with tourism operators across the region to grow tourism receipts for South Eastern Ontario.

The following is the list of successful recipients in the Digitizing Your Business category:

The following is the list of successful recipients in the Itinerary Development category (including a brief project description):

  • Double Concept Productions Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly Weekend. Taking place over Labour Day Weekend, this new event in Gananoque is partnered with Gananoque Brewery. Entertainment includes: daily music, 15 bands, vintage market, boat cruise, dance party, etc.
  • Landsby.ca – SEO Stay and Experience Initiative – Online promotion of SEO itineraries including wellness, culinary, soft adventure and the arts with overnight getaways. Landsby is a new Canadian Stays & Experience travel company launched in May 2021.
  • Signal Brewing Co. – Signal Experiential Golf Tourism Packages – Partnered with Trillium Wood GC & Black Bear Ridge GC, Signal is offering full day packages including dinner.

The following is the list of successful recipients in the New or Enhanced Product Development category (including a brief project description):

  • Springfield Farms  Field & Feast Event – An evening of food, friendship and culture. Indigenous Chef Joseph Shawana, Akwasasne Artists, Music 
  • Family Earth Inc. Family Earth  Agritourism: Family friendly outdoor experiences 
  • Fronterra – The Learning Barn – Attract shoulder season and mid-week visitors with new events and workshops. Increase length of stay to 3+ nights with multi-day programming.
  • Furnace Falls Farm – Taste of Nature at Furnace Falls Farm – Programs include: Daytrippers Hike, Nature Hikes, Foraging & Campfire Meal; Social Circle Overnight Guided Kayaking & Hiking Adventure with Overnight Stay.
  • 3 Little Birds Farmhouse – Curated Experiences – Addition of curated on the farm experiences and packages incorporating local farmers, wellness experts, activities & workshops.
  • Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises – Island Queen Live Hosted Entertainment – Introduction of an onboard live host (not pretaped) and live musical entertainment on every 3-hr cruise.
  • Kingston Canadian Film Festival – 2022 Kingston Canadian Film Festival: Feb. 2022 – Winter season event that is the largest Canadian Film Festival in existence.
  • Kingston Theatre Alliance – Kick & Push Festival 2021 – Extended from 3 to 6 weeks, which will double the number of performances including 3 Indigenous plays, virtual reality programming, venues across the city, not just downtown.
  • Spitfire Café Inc. – Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly WeekendNew to Gananoque. Partnered with Gananoque Brewery. Includes: daily music, 15 bands, vintage market, boat cruise, dance party, etc.
  • Spitfire Café Inc – Brockville Holiday Market – Socially distanced with a larger site.
  • Signal Brewing Co. – Corbyville Supper MarketWednesday night events offering a variety of outdoor friendly foods, artisan wine, craft beer, live music, conversation circles, outdoor Yoga, vendors and farmers market.
  • Thousand Islands Boat Museum – River Exploration Adventure – Outdoor experiential exhibit featuring live historical interpretation, multi-sensory impact, interaction and hands-on learning opportunities. On site building of authentic birch-bark canoe by Indigenous artist Chuck Commanda.
  • Thousand Islands Fdn. for the Performing Arts – Socially Distanced Outdoor Lobby – Rental of tent, heaters, seating to introduce an outdoor lobby, which addresses social distancing guidelines and allows for theatre seating by designated rows. 
  • Topsy Farm – Headlands Experiences – “Book Your Bubble” experiences at the farm including Children’s Scavenger Hunts, Kayaking Afternoons with Kristin, Forest Therapy Workshops and Wild Wellness Multi-day Experiences including stay in Mongolian Yurt. 
  • Transit Capital Corp – Brockville Experience Incubator – Feasibility Study to explore a multi-use family/sports/entertainment concept for the Brockville Plaza property including pop-up drive in movies, rooftop garden, shared commercial kitchen for curated cultural events, sports and recreation centre.
  • Visible Talent Inc./Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals – Cornwall Day & Multi-day Bike Tours Upper Canada Village – Cornwall 1-2 day guided and self-guided biking trip. Participants will be transported from Ottawa to UPV where the trip begins.
  • Wolfe Island Commons – The Wolfe Island Experience – Creation of a community space for farmer’s market, boat docking, social gathering, cultural event, farm to table community meals, local arts and musician events, Indigenous garden and winter fireplace socializing.

For the past 8 years, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries has provided RTO 9 with Partnership Funding that is used to leverage a variety of projects that support the growth of tourism within the region. Projects vary in scope from events to marketing initiatives to product development and training. 

“We’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with our tourism operators to see these great projects succeed,” said Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director, RTO 9.

For more information on RTO 9, visit tourismtalk.ca.

About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction, and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands Gananoque, Bay of Quinte, Brockville, Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties, Frontenac County, Kingston, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County and the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Waterways.

Ontario Small Ship Sightseeing Cruises Set Sail For 2021 Season

South Eastern Ontario’s small ship tour boat operators launch their summer/fall season on Ontario’s waterways

1000 ISLANDS GANANOQUE, ON – July 20, 2021 – With Ontario’s recent transition to Stage 3, small ship sightseeing tours operating in South Eastern Ontario are thrilled to announce they are ready to welcome visitors again for summer and fall tours, with safety protocols and socially distant measures in place. Each sightseeing tour offers passengers an exhilarating experience along the water of Ontario’s most scenic routes including the iconic 1000 Islands.

With vaccination rollouts expanding, small ship cruises are perfect for family and friends wishing to reunite in a distanced and controlled environment, without the crowds. In another carefully curated season, all ships operate with strict COVID-19 Health and Safety programs in place including protocols for reduced passenger capacity, mask usage and physical distancing onboard. Passengers are able to cruise through Ontario’s myriad of rivers and waterways in comfort, providing residents and tourists with the opportunity to explore the 1000 Islands and travel the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Rideau Canal and Lake Ontario on both day trips and overnight stays. South Eastern Ontario operators are ready to sail Ontario waters and are now accepting bookings:


2021 Day Trip Cruising Experiences


2021 Overnight Cruising Experiences

“We’re thrilled that small ship operators in the area are permitted to open again this year and continue allowing guests the opportunity to explore some of Ontario’s most well-known attractions,” said Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of Region 9 (South Eastern Ontario) Regional Tourism Organization. “Small ship tours are the perfect activity for those looking to get outdoors and see what makes this region naturally beautiful.”

Planning a tour? Book ahead!

Now ready to welcome passengers, the South Eastern Ontario boat operators and cruising vessels operating on the Rideau Canal, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are recommending that anyone wishing to enjoy a tour book ahead to ensure that they secure a ticket. As weekends are the most popular time to experience the waterways, consider a mid-week excursion to ensure availability. Per provincial and community health authorities, all boats are operating at reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing is possible, so same-day and walk-on tickets are not guaranteed.

Special events

City Cruises (formerly Gananoque Boat Line) and St. Lawrence Cruise Lines are both celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. Marking 70 years in business in 2021, City Cruises Gananoque offers dinner cruises, sightseeing tours and a glimpse into the lost ships of the 1000 Islands. St. Lawrence Cruise Lines is also celebrating a milestone with its 40th anniversary this year, offering guests a chance to commemorate the occasion with a unique itinerary of rare tours and attractions, all while exploring the scenic and historic river.

What to expect

All regions in South Eastern Ontario and their business operators are taking the health and safety of their residents and visitors very seriously. Updated COVID-19 guidelines for operators are in accordance with Canadian federal and regional health and safety guidelines to ensure customers’ safety and can be found on their websites.

“Customers’ health and safety is a priority to each and every operator and just as they did last year, updated practices have been implemented to ensure passengers feel safe, secure and comfortable on each tour,” said Ruddock. “We know guests want to get out and enjoy the summer and we are taking every precaution to ensure they can do so safely.”

What to see

Small ship tours through beautiful South Eastern Ontario’s St. Lawrence Seaway, Rideau Canal and Lake Ontario make for the perfect getaway to get lost in the beauty of the region and experience relaxation and tranquility. Throughout the region, the lush landscape is dotted with luxurious cottages and vast estates. Pass in the shadows of ships plying the main shipping channel of the St. Lawrence Seaway, take in the Royal Military College, famed Boldt Castle, Fort Henry, Kingston harbour and Rideau Canal World Heritage Site. The intimate setting, quiet waters and unique perspective make seeing the region by water an unforgettable experience.

Whether looking for dinner or day cruises, staycations, short getaways or long holidays, the waterways of South Eastern Ontario are ready to welcome visitors for a safe and self-contained trip this summer.

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About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands GananoqueBay of QuinteBrockvilleCornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry CountiesFrontenac CountyKingstonLennox and AddingtonPrince Edward County and the 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways.


Media Contact

To arrange an interview with Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director of Region 9 (South Eastern Ontario) Regional Tourism Organization, or arrange high-res images please contact:

Erin O’Driscoll
Beattie Tartan
erin.driscoll@beattiegroup.com
Direct: 416.319.8296

RTO 9 Marketing Programs 2021-2022

New program joins existing digital program in helping members with marketing initiatives

Drive for Excellence Program

Kingston, ON — (June 28, 2021) — RTO 9 is pleased to introduce a new funding program developed to help start, build or grow organizations’ marketing programs.

The Drive for Excellence Program has been designed for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Destination Marketing Program (DMPs) partners to support everything from strategy development to marketing campaign support, to operator training and many other options.

“We’re excited about this new program and believe this will have a real impact on helping destination marketing programs for our members,” said Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of Region 9 Tourism Organization

RTO 9 and their agency of record, Alphabet Creative, collaborated with each destination to provide direct access to professional services and knowledgeable marketing support. Below are the support programs that have been initiated for each destination for the 2021/2022 season.

Destinations were asked to map out how the destination and operators wanted to develop over time; business, market, and trade ready as well as allow destinations and operators to self-identify their current readiness and understand what kind of support was required.

RTO 9 and Alphabet Creative collaborated with each destination to provide direct access to professional services and knowledgeable marketing support. The following support programs have been initiated for the 2021-2022 season.

Destination Drive for Excellence Program Support

Prince Edward County – Governance Strategy, Plan Your Visit Paid Search Strategy
Bay of Quinte – Content Creation, Digital Asset Development
Kingston – Meeting & Conventions Landing Page and Asset Development, Influencer/FAM Trips
Cornwall – Influencer/FAM Trips, Product Development Proposal
SDG Counties – SDG Jail Strategy, Video Development
1000 Islands Gananoque – FAM/Influencer Trips, Digital Marketing Campaign, Content Creation
Lennox and Addington – Digital Media Campaign
Frontenac County – Tourism Strategy with RTO11, Open Farms Media Plan
Brockville – Content Creation and FAM/Influencer Trips
1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways – 1000 Islands/Leeds and Grenville RFP Rideau Canal Strategy

Digital Marketing Support Program

The Drive for Excellence Program joins the Digital Marketing Support Program, which provides members of the RTO 9 Digital Marketing Committee with the opportunity to partner on digital marketing tactics for their destination.

The RTO 9 Digital Marketing Committee includes tourism partners from throughout South Eastern Ontario and is aimed at providing assistance to RTO 9 in their upcoming content marketing initiatives for their consumer brand, South Eastern Ontario. This year, RTO 9 will be partnering with these members on a Digital Marketing Support Program that includes Facebook advertising and storytelling content.

“Digital marketing is a key component to the successful marketing of a destination and our digital marketing support program really helps destinations to get the word out about their initiatives,” said Ruddock.

The committee will capitalize on the following initiatives for the 2021-2022 season:
Facebook Advertising Program
Committee members will be able to promote an experience or event of their destination’s choice on the South Eastern Ontario Facebook page with a Facebook Ad. Management of the Facebook Ad will be administered by RTO 9.

Storytelling Program
This program includes social media advertising, using RTO 9’s remarketing lists, new photos, as well as the creation of engaging storytelling blog content to give each destination and operator more visibility. The program also includes all expenses for content, giveaway prizes and promotion, and the content will be promoted through South Eastern Ontario’s social media channels and website.

The Digital Marketing Committee members consist of:

  • 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners
  • Brockville Tourism
  • County of Prince Edward
  • Frontenac County
  • Ontario Festival of Small Halls
  • SDG Counties
  • Town of Prescott
  • What’s On Westport
  • Bay of Quinte
  • Cornwall Tourism
  • Lennox & Addington
  • Kingston
  • Merrickville

About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands GananoqueBay of QuinteBrockvilleCornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry CountiesFrontenac CountyKingstonLennox and AddingtonPrince Edward County and the 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways.
Media Contact

To arrange an interview with Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director of Region 9 (South Eastern Ontario) Regional Tourism Organization, or arrange high-res images please contact:

Erin O’Driscoll
Beattie Tartan
erin.driscoll@beattiegroup.com
Direct: 416.319.8296

South Eastern Ontario is Ready to Welcome Visitors This Summer

New consumer research outlines high demand for culinary and adventure-based trips

Kingston, ON – (June 22, 2021) – South Eastern Ontario is open for tourism and ready to welcome visitors this summer. Interest in regional destinations is forecast to be a main driver of vacation travel this summer and South Eastern Ontario is inviting visitors to the area for safe and fun experiences for all ages.

RTO 9 (The Regional Tourism Organization of South Eastern Ontario) recently invested in comprehensive consumer brand perception and travel intention research conducted by Twenty31 Consulting to provide tourism businesses and destination marketing organizations with insight into who will be travelling, what experiences visitors will be seeking and what marketing channels they will use to help plan their trips.

Extended stays in demand
The research suggests that demand in travel to South Eastern Ontario is high, with two in five Ontario and Quebec consumers interested in travelling to the region this summer.

“We anticipate that once restrictions are lifted, tourism will resume quickly to our region,” said Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of RTO 9. “There is pent-up demand to visit friends and family and to get out of our own houses and neighbourhoods. We are encouraging visitors to seek out new and unique experiences in South Eastern Ontario beyond what they’ve done before — and to consider staying an extra night or two. A longer stay in our region will have a meaningful impact on recovery for our tourism operators.”

Appealing to young travellers
Twenty31 findings indicate that South Eastern Ontario will attract frequent travellers and younger couples this year, with frequent travellers in Ontario, millennials and those under 45 most likely to visit the region.

The couples market is also the most promising as nearly half of those considering the destination say they will travel with a spouse or partner. Additionally, solo travellers scored surprisingly high at 15 per cent, pointing to the desire to seek escape from routine, and focus on wellness and relaxation.

“We are encouraging visitors to plan multiple trips to our region this year and next — we have so much to offer, and every season brings its own unique experiences to enjoy,” continues Ruddock. “We know that many travellers will be booking multiple getaways and our operators can fulfill many types of trips: family, wellness and health, culture and history.”

Not surprisingly, the survey also indicates that interest in the most active experiences is strongly linked with age – over half of millennial respondents say they are interested in cycling (55 per cent) and adrenaline activities (56 per cent); while Gen Xers are most interested in art, architecture and wildlife viewing.

A growing food and drink scene
The research indicates that the food and drink scene in South Eastern Ontario has the broadest appeal to consumers with wineries, craft breweries, restaurants, bakeries, local producers and farmers markets topping the list. Nearly half of the respondents said they were very interested in food and drink, followed by history and wildlife.

“The culinary experiences in South Eastern Ontario continue to grow and evolve,” said Ruddock. “Whether it’s a farmers market, craft brewery or a sophisticated dining experience under the stars, we are building our own unique food and drink story.”

Activities in South Eastern Ontario in Demand by Ontario and Quebec Travellers, 2021

A glimpse at what to do in South Eastern Ontario this summer:

  • Eat and drink in the region and experience a real farm-to-table scene. The local-food movement is in full swing with everything from organic produce, eggs and bison farms; maple syrup, honey and lavender producers; pure dairy for artisanal cheeses; excellent cidery apples, barley for distinctive microbreweries; and wineries galore.
  • Spending time on or in the water here is one of the most unique and exhilarating experiences for which the region is so well known. From cruising the 1000 Islands on a small ship sightseeing tour with a European-style Le Boat houseboat to paddling along the St. Lawrence Seaway by kayak, recreational and avid seafarers will find something to enjoy. For those looking to explore the depths of the region, Brockville, Bay of Quinte and Cornwall boast world-class fishing and some of the best freshwater scuba diving with a thermocline and shipwrecks to explore.
  • Look for places that are off the beaten path – while everyone longs to see the best-known attractions or visit the busiest beaches, why not go beyond the bustle and explore the relatively unknown. The region offers everything from a prehistoric playground amidst life-sized dinosaurs at Prehistoric World, to hand-painted military figurines at Doran Bay Model Ship Museum. Look to the county or region’s tourism websites for a little help locating the area’s hidden gems.
  • Shop and support local makers and retailers. Stepping into one of the region’s eclectic shops, visitors should be prepared to find something delightful. From specialty boutiques to an antiquer’s paradise, and from shopping centres to small-town treasures, South Eastern Ontario is the perfect place for a little retail therapy.
  • Visit Attractions catered to history buffs, animal lovers, mystery seekers or city explorers. From The Aquatarium, an interactive science and education museum in Brockville; or an informative boat tour aboard City Cruises (formerly Gananoque Boat Line) unveiling the lost ships of the 1000 Islands; to Kingston’s famous Haunted Walks, this year offering small group bubble ghost tours sure to spook the spirits of Fort Henry, the region’s diverse range of attractions are the ideal small-town adventure.
  • Bike through the rolling countryside with trails for every level of rider. Thousands of miles of country roads and dedicated bike paths make exploration expansive and easy. Try the off-road Cataraqui Trail for an experience that threads silently through nature’s best. The Waterfront Trail offers 90 km of uninterrupted cycling along a scenic route on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
  • Golf at some of the best courses – not just in Ontario, but in all of Canada. From the Black Bear Ridge golf course in Belleville to Smuggler’s Glen at Glen House Resort in Lansdowne, South Eastern Ontario has over a dozen spectacular courses.

Made up of nine counties stretching from the Bay of Quinte on the western edge to the counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry along the Quebec border and running along both sides of the 401 highway, South Eastern Ontario offers a quick and easy road trip for visitors looking to vacation in the safety of their own backyard.

For more tips on how visitors can go the extra mile while travelling, view South Eastern Ontario’s guide to smart travel here.

For more information about experiences available in South Eastern Ontario, visit southeasternontario.ca.

STUDY DETAILS

*This report summarizes the results of a market research study conducted by Twenty31 Consulting on behalf of the RTO 9 Regional Tourism Organization.

  • Conducted online in February/March 2021
  • Representative sample of 1,531 of adult travel consumers in Ontario and Quebec
  • Questionnaire designed by Twenty31 in collaboration with RTO 9, fielded in English and French
  • Travellers defined as those who either: had travelled at least 40km for an overnight leisure trip staying in paid accommodation over the past year and/or were likely to take an overnight leisure trip staying in paid accommodation in the next 12 months
  • Sample quotas were set by age and gender, and by region according to population size to ensure an accurate representation of the target markets.

Results are representative of the Ontario and Quebec online adult traveller population and are considered accurate within +/- 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The results presented here are subject to sampling tolerances.

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About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction, and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands Gananoque, Bay of Quinte, Brockville, Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties, Frontenac County, Kingston, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County and the 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways.

About Twenty31 Consulting

Twenty31 Consulting is a research and innovation-based management consultancy working with senior leaders of travel and tourism organizations to define and build sustainable, competitive advantage. Twenty31 are active members of the Travel Industry Association of Canada and the Pacific Asia Travel Association. Twenty31 are a Canadian-registered company, headquartered in Vancouver, with a team of partners and associates located in Vancouver, Toronto, London, Cape Town, New York and Berlin.

Media Contact

To arrange an interview with Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of Region 9 (South Eastern Ontario) Regional Tourism Organization, or arrange high-res images please contact:

Erin O’Driscoll, Beattie Tartan : erin.driscoll@beattiegroup.com Direct: 416.319.8296

RTO 9 Announces 8 Additional Partnership Proposal Recipients

RTO9 awards an additional $60,000 to local tourism businesses in the region

Kingston, ON – (November 16, 2020)The Regional Tourism Organization for South Eastern Ontario (RTO 9) is pleased to announce they have awarded over $60,000 in Partnership Funds to support projects across the region during the 2020/2021 fiscal year as a result of the second intake of applications.

The following is a list of successful recipients and project descriptions:

Cornwall Tourism and SDG Tourism 

This off-season Destination Product Marketing project will be a collaborative effort by Cornwall Tourism and SDG Tourism to market and promote unique and enriching experiences in the region focusing on promotion of outdoor winter adventures, food, drink and culture, fat-biking and cycling as well as the Heritage Parkway.

Corporation of the County of Prince Edward

This project is a collaborative itinerary between Prince Edward County and the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board highlighting assets and experiences related to foodies; wellness; outdoors/adventure; and ‘travel the world without leaving the region.’ 

TIAP (1000 Islands Accommodation Partners)

This project will focus on events in the community such as Christmas Activities with a Festival of Lights and Valentine’s Day getaways in partnership with accommodation partners and spas. An awareness campaign will run for the entire winter choosing business, attractions and events that are produced by the municipality, volunteers and service clubs to feature along with image based advertisements that speak to our attributes during the COVID pandemic. This project is a joint project with the Rideau Canal.

Tourism Kingston

The Frontenac Farm to Kingston Table project leverages existing assets, itineraries, and experiences to explore the interconnected culinary relationship between the two neighbouring regions raising awareness about the culinary offerings of the Frontenac-Kingston region, driving referrals to farm, retail, and restaurant operators as well as promoting safe travel within the region, including itineraries and stay packages.

Corporation of the City of Belleville

The Winter in Belleville campaign features three themed itineraries: 1) Choose Local First – Enchanted Downtown Getaway: Experience the magic of the Downtown District during ‘Enchanted’ this winter – a walkable itinerary that safely brings together the best of the holiday season including destination retailers, festival of lights, rickshaw rides and dine-in or curbside pickup festive feast menus. 2) Winter Escape – this itinerary is all about experiencing Belleville’s winter vibes in your social bubble. Belleville’s winter themed experiences include a brew tour, day of wellness and night of entertainment with the Belleville Senators. 3) Enjoy the Cold: Featuring curb-side pick-up options and outdoor activities to enjoy throughout the winter season that are Covid-19 friendly for your family.

Huff Estates Winery & Inn

This project – At Home in The County – is designed to offer would-be travelers staying close to home due to the pandemic, an opportunity to enjoy an interesting and enjoyable array of experiences – many with a unique Prince Edward County flavour – close to home. The project will deliver a varying array of experiences as the months and seasons roll by. There are opportunities to experience, in depth, the history and culture, as well as the culinary and artistic attractions of a community rich in hospitality, cookery classes, art show and sale, afternoon teas, Maple in The County, Sandbanks walks, painting & photography classes to name a few.

1000 Islands Playhouse

The A Wonderful Life in Gananoque project will feature an ongoing burgeoning light display, many visits from the ‘real’ Father Christmas, the ability to sit by a warm fire in a Muskoka Chair and enjoy a horse and buggy ride through the town. Carolers will fill the winter skies with merriment. There will also be tree selling on the historical footbridge and a light display in Confederation Park put on by the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber.

The Waring House Rest. & Inn/The County Museums (Wallis Inc. Escape Camp Picton)

Working together, Escape Camp Picton, the Museums and The Waring House will offer an exciting, educational, and engaging 2-day itinerary for families in the winter season (February/March). Exploring an escape room, engaging with specialty museum programming and staying/dining in an historic inn is a perfect opportunity for homeschoolers, online schoolers, and families, in general, to engage with history in a hands-on way. The partners are working on packaging these existing activities and developing new experiences to be hosted at The Waring House (i.e. family paint night of historic art, wartime cooking class). The itinerary will be promoted to overnight “staycationers”.

For the past 7 years, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries has provided RTO 9 with Partnership Funding that is used to leverage a variety of projects that support the growth of tourism within the region. Projects vary in scope from events to marketing initiatives to product development and training. “I look forward to working with our tourism partners to see these great projects succeed,”  said Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director, RTO 9.

For more information about RTO 9, visit tourismtalk.ca 

About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction, and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands Gananoque, Bay of Quinte, Brockville, Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties, Frontenac County, Kingston, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County, and the Rideau Canal.

Media Contact

To arrange an interview with Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director of Region 9 (South Eastern Ontario) Regional Tourism Organization, or arrange high-res images please contact: 

Erin O’Driscoll
Account Specialist
Beattie Tartan
Direct: 647-232-6924  

Nicole Amiel
Director – Eastern Canada
Beattie Tartan
Direct: 416-436-5185 / M: 514-983-3959