Greg Gouthro owes his nearly 20-year career in tourism to his military roots. After high school he joined the Canadian Forces Reserve, perhaps inspired by his father, who made his own career in the Canadian Forces and eventually settled the family in Kingston.
After a brief deployment in Bosnia, Greg wanted to explore his options; he enjoyed his work, but he had his whole future ahead of him. Little did he know, however, that his next step would be a defining one.
“My military work heavily influenced my decision to join the Fort Henry Guard,” Greg says, reflecting on his first job with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. “I knew I’d enjoy the focus on precision and discipline while also getting the opportunity to be social with the public.”
It started as a summer job, but when a more senior position opened to run the guard, Greg didn’t hesitate to seize it. Over the next two decades, Greg would go on to not only manage and supervise staff at the Fort but coordinate all of its events, hosting thousands of guests from all over the world.
“Whether it’s guided tours or events, it’s ultimately about bringing value to customers. You’re just trying to help people have a good time. We’re in a very positive job sector.”
Recently, Greg relocated within the Commission to manage the tours at Kingston Penitentiary. There, he works with a diverse group of staff ranging from high school students to retired prison guards. It’s this social aspect – interacting with people of all ages and walks of life – that he values most. That, and the extraordinary site he gets to call his office.
“There’s a lot of historic tourism [in South Eastern Ontario]. You’re generally working at a super cool spot.”
Greg’s built a modern career in an industry steeped in history, one that’s opened doors to new roles, people, places, and experiences. It’s why a once-seasonal position became a life-long love affair, why he’s stuck with it for 17 years.
“A lot of people have a rough trajectory of what their career will be. Then, as you enter the workforce, you often end up on a tangent based on timing and opportunity. In tourism, there’s tons of opportunities.”
“You’re trying to bring fun to people’s lives.”