Council debates usefulness of Doors Open 0
The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Oct. 10 county tourism development committee meeting.
Minden Hills Barb Reid and Dysart el al Reeve Murray Fearrey questioned the value of the county continuing to be part of Doors Open Ontario, an annual event where communities invite the public to check out interesting and historic buildings.
The event was first held in the county in 2009 when it took place in Minden Hills. It moved to Dysart et al in 2010, Highlands East in 2011 and Algonquin Highlands this year.
While Reid and Fearrey weren’t convinced there was much positive impact, Highlands East Reeve Dave Burton and Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt said their townships had seen direct benefit.
Moffatt said during the September weekend the event took place this year, she heard that accommodations in the county were hard to come by.
Algonquin Highlands council had been pleased by the turnout.
Previous events had taken place in the spring.
Moffatt said holding Doors Open in the fall was a great opportunity to capitalize on the colourful foliage and noted a number of publications had reported the county as having the best colours in the province this year.
The event will come back to Minden Hills next year.
“I think we should try it again in Minden Hills, but in September,” Reid said.
County passes secret
The county’s tourism department made the grade when a secret shopper from the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization visited the Highway 35 information centre in August.
“Our department passed with flying colours,” tourism co-ordinator Maria Micallef told councillors.
The county earned an overall grade of 95 per cent, losing points for the quality of the parking lot and not inviting the guest back.
Micallef said only 16 of the 23 regions that were secretly shopped received a passing grade.
Minden Hills Reeve Barb Reid was disappointed the secret shopper had not checked the washroom, an important asset for any facility that welcomes the public.
“To me, that was an absolute miss,” Reid said.
Destination Guide update
Janis Parker of Parker Pad & Printing Ltd. gave councillors a brief update on the 2013 county destination guide.
The guide will use a wide, horizontal format that won’t accommodate a county map.
However, Parker is planning to put a pocket in the back that will contain a folded map and will be able to store other maps, brochures and paper materials.
It’ll be another reason for visitors to hang onto their guides, Parker said, “because you’ve now got all kinds of paperwork in it.”
The guide is expected to be printed in early 2013.