New Iroquois business wins tourism innovation ‘Spark’ grant

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IROQUOIS – An Iroquois-based business is one of three finalists for Cornwall and SDG Counties ‘Spark’ program.

Oneida Hospitality, which purchased the former Iroquois United Church (pictured right), has won a $3,000 grant for its pitch for a Picnic in Park/Drive In tourism initiative.

Oneida owners Ky-Lee and Sasha Hansen were one of 16 applicants for the jointly-run program between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, Cornwall Tourism, Cornwall Tourism Development Fund, and SDG Counties.

“When I think of all the incredible ideas and concepts that were presented to us, it’s no wonder that this program was such a tremendous success. The next step will be seeing our winners grow the seeds of success they planted today with attractions that will increase our tourism footprint in eastern Ontario,” said Karina Belanger, SDG Counties Tourism Coordinator in a release December 8th.

The goal of the tourism grant program is to support new tourism ideas or address challenges for tourism operators in a region.

The top-five applicants of the 16 received presented their pitches at a virtual pitch session, with three finalists selected. The three businesses will also receive mentorship, with access to a network of tourism innovators and leaders from around Ontario.

“We congratulate the three winners of the Cornwall and SDG Counties “Spark” Program, and are excited to work with them to help develop new and exciting tourism initiatives in the region” said Justin Lafontaine, program lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. The other two businesses selected were Vanessa Leduc of Cornwall Food Tours, and Jakob and Stephanie Vogel of Fields of Gold, an agri-tourism business.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader