I’ve been on vacation this past week. In normal times, I would travel somewhere for my vacation. Three years ago, I travelled out to the Eastern Provinces, two years ago I went out to the Bruce Peninsula in western Ontario, and last year, I went out to Brooklyn, New York, to see the band Phoenix in concert.
Due to the global situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, travelling during my vacation this year, wasn’t feasible. Instead, I had the chance to enjoy the sights and features in Cornwall and SD&G.
I feel there is always an eagerness to travel. Those who have travelled before especially are familiar with the feeling of wanderlust, but when you have to stay close to home, you get the chance to experience that home in a new way, through the eyes of a tourist.
This week, in my mailbox I received a thick manila envelope from our MP, Eric Duncan. In it were tourism guides for Cornwall and the surrounding counties of SD&G highlighted the many “staycation” opportunities that are locally offered. They really highlighted and inspired different tourism opportunities to take advantage of right here at home.
Our region has so much to offer that tourists from out of town travel sometimes many kilometers to enjoy them, but they are often viewed as mundane or run-of-the-mill by local residents.
I’m sure that many residents in Cornwall have heard enough about how wonderful our waterfront and bike trails are to last a lifetime, but have as many actually gone to experience them themselves? I took the chance to bike along our waterfront during this past week, and they deserve the praise they get. I haven’t ridden the trails very often, but I should. The trails are fairly well maintained, they’re smooth for the most part, the view is amazing and the best part is, they’re free to use.
I feel that in recent years, Cornwall has really picked up it’s tourism efforts and grow the local industry. Examples of this can be particularly be seen during 2020, mostly done out of necessity because of COVID-19.
In the past few months, Cornwall has seen an expansion of restaurant and bar patios across the city so that patrons can safely enjoy the many flavours Cornwall has to offer.
This week I drove past the painted pop-up shop containers located at the south end of Pitt St. and in Le Village and was thrilled to see that not only were they occupied but, also surrounded by dozens of people. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to have a temporary storefront, while also showing tourists that the city is innovative and welcoming of new ideas.
Finally, I have heard that soon there will be a new City of Cornwall welcome sign outside of the Justice Building, and from what I hear, it will become a distinctive feature added to our downtown area.
There are also great opportunities in our neighbours, the United Counties of SD&G. On Saturday, I was out in South Dundas at StoneCrop Acres Winery, a great way to spend a relaxing summer afternoon. Later that day, the winery was hosting an outdoor concert in the evening promoted by Harmony Concerts. The winery has a lovely outdoor stage surrounded on one side by tall pine trees which effectively work to reflect the sound back at the audience.
Unfortunately for me, the concert was already sold out, but I’m sure it was a great experience for those lucky enough to get their tickets.
The summer isn’t over yet either, and there are still great local events and features to explore. On September 5, the Williamstown Fair, the oldest continuous agricultural fair in the history of Canada will celebrate its 209th edition, albeit a little differently because of the pandemic. Rather than being held in August as usual, with the rides, car show, highland events, and beer barn, this year’s event will be a one day, and more limited affair, but still surely worth checking out.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented summer events and tourism with a choice, adapt or be cancelled. I am glad to see that so many features and our local tourism organizations have adapted to provide wonderful vacation opportunities for local residents.
What have you done this summer to enjoy your staycation from home? Email me a Letter to the Editor at email@example.com