Caboose moving full steam ahead
By Sue Tiffin
Twenty years ago, when people asked at what point in the summer Haliburton County got less busy, the answer was usually, “when the Ex starts,” but nowadays August is no less busy and sometimes busier than July, explained Lorry Brandon and Nancy Stinson in their delegation to Dysart council on Oct. 22 about the Haliburton Tourist Information Caboose.
This year, for example, in August 2,878 people visited the Caboose, located at Head Lake Park, compared to 2,351 people in July, and Brandon noted that tourism is “alive and well” in Dysart.
Brandon and Stinson, enthusiastic ambassadors of the Caboose, said 7,438 people visited the Caboose this season from May 18 to Oct. 15, compared to 5,375 in 2016. Visitors included full-time and seasonal residents, day visitors, travel group guides, camp parents, hikers, rail trail cyclists, paddlers, motorcyclists, ATV drivers, geocachers, history buffs and even those arriving by float plane, and Brandon said they came with a variety of information requests.
“If we didn’t know the answer, we certainly did our best to try to find the answer,” she said.
Besides looking for information on local attractions, visitors were also looking for campgrounds or other accommodations, scenic tours, menus of local restaurants and printed maps, directions or washroom facilities.
Though the Caboose has ramped up their social media usage, with a Twitter and Instagram account, Brandon said some visitors commented on how important it was to be able to speak with someone face-to-face.
“Every little relationship, every little first meeting, every way you can make people feel welcome – it’s so important,” she said.