South Eastern Ontario region features dozens of restaurants on program’s road map as part of COVID-19 Tourism Rebuilding Strategy
Kingston, ON – (November 5, 2020) – With strict restrictions in place for Ontario’s dining scene due to COVID-19, it’s now more important than ever to find ways to support the industry and rebuild a culture that drives so many visitors from across the world to South Eastern Ontario’s vast array of culinary tastes. That’s why the regional tourism organization RTO 9, on behalf of its members, has partnered with Ontario’s Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) to showcase the diverse palate of South Eastern Ontario’s many restaurants and bars. The region is participating in CTA’s Great Taste of Ontario Road Trip program, as part of its COVID-19 Tourism Rebuilding Strategy.
The Great Taste Road Trip is a field guide to the best food and drink in Ontario, and works with communities to grow food tourism by leveraging the history, heritage and culture behind the food and drink that makes each destination unique. The program, aimed to showcase everything Ontario culinary has to offer, allows visitors to download virtual passports to visit participating Ontario dining establishments, check-in at local businesses, and earn rewards to redeem or donate Ontario-made prizes. Over 80 passports are available and CTA offers stories and road trip guides to help plan and inspire a safe visit. As this program grows, it’s looking for more ways to support restaurants serving locally sourced ingredients. Soon, visitors will also be able to redeem check-ins for gift certificates to Feast On Certified restaurants.
“We are so proud to be supporting this amazing initiative from the Culinary Tourism Alliance. Our industry has been one of the most affected by the pandemic and it’s vital we find new and safe ways to support Ontario culinary,” said Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of Region 9 Regional Tourism Organization. “It’s imperative to remember that when supporting these local businesses, we are not only keeping the dining establishments operating, but the entire food chain that relies on dine-in and takeout. The local flavours special to each county are grown and harvested within our communities. When you dine-in or take-out, you aren’t just supporting our restaurants, you’re supporting our farmers and growers that are paramount to the success of the industry.”
Eastern Ontario’s dining scene offers a little bit of everything for the food-focused explorer. From Kingston’s diverse dining scene to winery hopping in ‘The County’, Ontario’s “East End” has endless opportunities to indulge. There are a variety of restaurants from the region of South Eastern Ontario participating. Local gems from Cornwall, SDG, the Rideau Canal region, Lennox & Addington, Kingston, Frontenac, Belleville, and Prince Edward County are all featured. RTO 9 trusts that participation in the program will support and highlight restaurants across the region who are not only in need of extra help during these unprecedented times but are also pillars of the communities that deserve the spotlight so that people near and far know about the incredible culinary heritage of the region. The program, which is running all across Ontario, is a great way for people to get inspired and help plan out the culinary element of their next adventure.
“Because Kingston is home to a large number of amazing restaurants, our city has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Megan Knott, executive director of Tourism Kingston. “Kingston as a destination has earned the Safe Travel Stamp, awarded by the World Travel & Tourism Association and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario in recognition of the city’s adoption of global standardized protocols for health and hygiene. Indoor dining is open – and safe – in Kingston. I encourage residents and visitors alike to support our restaurants, whether that’s dining in-person or bringing home some delicious takeout.”
Restaurants across the region are offering indoor, outdoor, and take-home safe dining options that can address all comfort levels. The growers and makers in this program are meeting all Safe Travels Standards and are a great option when considering where to plan a night out (or in).
The CTA and the Great Taste Road Trip participants are very conscious of the current situation that residents and businesses in the region are facing in light of COVID-19 and want to remind visitors and locals that the guides provided should be for inspiration and future planning only if public health units have imposed restrictions on travel or dining. If now isn’t the ideal time to visit in person, consider supporting Ontario businesses by ordering delivery, takeout or gift certificates for future experiences.
For more information about dining in South Eastern Ontario, visit southeasternontario.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.
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:
Director – Eastern Canada
Direct: 416-436-5185 / M: 514-983-3959