Gananoque visitor centre agreement extended

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands council has approved a two-year extension of the memorandum of agreement with the Town of Gananoque for visitor services.

In February 2021, staff issued a request for quotations for tourism visitor services. Four organizations were invited to submit quotations. The only quotation received was from the Town of Gananoque. In April 2021, council approved the award of a one-year contract to Gananoque.

In April 2022, council approved another one-year agreement with the town for visitor services.

The current agreement expires April 11. Staff proposed to extend the agreement for two years with an annual increase of three per cent each year (April 12, 2022 to April 11, 2023 for $14,000, April 12, 2023 to April 11, 2024 for $14,420, April 12, 2024 to April 11, 2025 for $14,853).

The visitors services agreement with the Town of Gananoque provides the following services: Professional representation of the township, including businesses, attractions, and events within the region; equal representation and support for tourism entities in both the township and the town; operating and staffing the visitor centre Tuesday through Sunday from October to April and seven days per week May to September; linkages to the township's webpages, including Instagram and event listings, to the website; surveying visitors to provide valuable statistics as to the demographics of visitors, where they are from, and where are they visiting during their stay; and an annual end-of-season report presented to the mayor and council of the township.

In 2022, with the assistance of funding from TLTI, the visitor centre hired an additional summer student to better support the facility in providing visitor services at events and pop-up locations throughout the township. Additionally, the students were able to drop off brochures, guides, and maps to TLTI businesses in a short time frame.

This position was also responsible for social media content creation. Working in pairs, students visited business and attractions throughout the township (over 75 per cent) and created videos that aired on social media stories and accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. By the end of the summer, students had visited 39 locations in TLTI, set up pop-up services in Rockport, Lansdowne, Lyndhurst, Kendrick’s Park and Seeley’s Bay, and amassed over 2,000 videos.

In 2022, staff also put up a new website which includes TLTI businesses, and had a branded pop-up stand made for students to have a presence on-site at events. In 2023, staff intend to set up live on-location feeds.

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times