Downtown Lakefield receives $100K for artistic streetlight upgrades

Aged, neglected and cracked interlocking brickwork will be replaced with stamped concrete in Lakefield’s downtown core with the help of a $100,000 nonrepayable contribution from Regional Tourism Organization 8 (RTO8) to Selwyn Township.

The money will also go toward the installation of metal art banners on streetlights along Queen Street in the village.

The aim is to attract visitors and support future tourism growth in the township by enhancing public spaces.

It’s part of the government of Canada’s tourism relief fund given to RTO8 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) for projects in the Kawarthas and Northumberland.

A news release from Selwyn Township on Monday said the tourism sector is vital to the economy and jobs in the community.

Investments in public spaces within the community help create a memorable experience for visitors and residents alike, said mayor Andy Mitchell.

“With tourism being an integral part of our local economy, this project will ensure Lakefield remains a top destination in Kawarthas Northumberland,” he said.

The news release also noted that Lakefield has positioned itself as one of the most popular destinations along the Trent-Severn Waterway, welcoming many visitors year after year.

“By enhancing the public realm and creating a welcoming and positive guest experience, this project will provide a significant boost to the tourism sector throughout the region by encouraging visitors to explore other communities in the area,” stated the release.

RTO8, which supports the regional tourism industry to attract visitors, generate economic activity, and create jobs in the Kawarthas and Northumberland, received $3 million from FedDevOntario overall.

“We at RTO8 are thrilled to be able to deliver the tourism relief fund to Kawarthas Northumberland,” said Brenda Wood, executive director. “The funding provided by FedDev Ontario will continue to support our regions’ vibrant and authentic tourism industry."

RTO8 works with industry partners to build up the Kawarthas Northumberland region through experience development, investment, marketing, and workforce development, the release said.

The federal government’s $500-million tourism relief fund is meant to help tourism businesses and organizations recover from the pandemic and prepare for future growth.

FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner