Summerheights Golf, Cornwall, Ontario

Cornwall and Counties seek to spark tourism

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By Nick Seebruch
Cornwall and Counties seek to spark tourism
Pictured from left-to-right are Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement, United Counties Warden Frank Prevost, United Counties Tourism Coordinator Karina Belanger, Justin Lafontaine of Ontario Tourism Innovation, Cornwall Tourism Coordinator Kevin Lajoie and Chair of the Board of the Tourism Development Corporation of Cornwall Etienne St. Aubin at the announcement of the launch of the Spark Tourism Innovation program in Cornwall on Thursday, September 17, 2020 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G are partnering on a program designed to jump start local tourism industries with new ideas.

The “Spark” Mentorship and Grants Program is being offered in different regions across the province by the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to promote tourism in Ontario.

Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G are one of six regions included in the 2020-2021 program and was launched jointly by the City and Counties on Thursday, Sept. 17.

The program asks for individuals, businesses, or non-profits to submit their tourism idea for consideration, and if successful, they could receive a $3,000 grant and the support to make that idea a reality.

The grant funding is being provided by the Tourism Development Corporation of Cornwall which is putting forth $15,000 to support prizes for up to five winners.

A panel of judges will review each idea, and promising applicants will be asked to attend a Dragons Den style pitch session. Three winners will be selected from each region.

In addition to the $3,000 “Spark” grant, winners will also receive three months of mentorship and access to a support network.

“We all felt it this summer. It is all about place making and feeling the vibe,” said Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement referring to place making changes done in Cornwall’s downtown to support tourism such as Art Walk, pop-up shops, and more outdoor dining. “At the start of the pandemic, we thought that tourism would fall to the wayside but people came forward with ideas and adapted. That is what this program is all about, coming up with creative ideas.”

“This program is a great opportunity for the United Counties of SD&G,” said United Counties Warden Frank Prevost.

This year’s Spark program is particularly looking for ideas that support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and fill gaps in local tourism.

Ideas can be submitted to tourisminnovation.ca/cornwallsdgcounties

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