Letter to the Editor – Tourism


Dear Editor, 

On average, 10,300 vehicles daily pass the four exits from the 416 into North Grenville.

A major challenge is attracting a portion of the motorists from the highway at County Road 43, and the other gateways into the municipality, to venture beyond the big box stores, fast food shops, and gas bars.

“At this point we are still very early in the strengthening of our tourism industry – very much in the awareness phase for most travellers,” North Grenville Tourism Coordinator Heather Currie informed me in an email exchange.  “We are fighting just to let them know we are an option for a day trip or stopping for a bit as they travel the 416.”

North Grenville can be more than a convenience stop between the 401 and downtown Ottawa for vacation travellers who increasingly combine learning with leisure. Historic Kemptville is the urban hub for the hamlets in our founding townships of Oxford-On-Rideau and South Gower with their appealing histories, architecture, and natural surroundings.

The informed visitors drawn by the municipality’s history and cultural landscapes are heritage tourism enthusiasts. They travel the byways for more than museums and interpretive centres, and, having higher than average incomes, spend more and stay longer.

In another guise, this set are cultural tourists for whom we have potential sightseeing circuits. A start has been made with the Explore North Grenville Webpage and the guidebook ‘Explore Kemptville and the Hamlets of North Grenville.’ So much more can be included to attract and hold visitors.

Our seasonal festivals and events deserve promotion beyond our local media. Not all will have the draw of the Kemptville Live Music Festival; thus the more reason for organizers to publicize their attractions regionally and across the St. Lawrence into the Ogdensburg area.

Strengthening our tourism industry includes refining the walking, cycling, and driving tours of our cultural assets. Kemptville, North Grenville’s primary community, is the evident starting point for curious visitors, informed by paper or electronic guides, to discover our heritage plaques, investigate our cemeteries, appreciate our historic buildings, and explore our hamlets.

Michael Whittaker


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