OPINION: We have tourism at home

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: We have tourism at home
Photo from Choose Cornwall.

Last week, the United States got the welcomed news that they would have enough COVID-19 vaccine for all of its 328 million citizens by May. This means that likely the United States will be able to enjoy a more regular summer, and all the travel and tourism that goes with it.

On our side of the border however, things are a little bit different. The federal government’s latest target is to have enough vaccine for every Canadian by Canada Day, which means that after we get all those shots into everyone’s arms, it will likely be mid-to-late September.

We in Canada will likely have a similar summer to that of 2020; in other words, stick close to home. Home for us however, Cornwall and SD&G, has a lot to offer in terms of tourism activity all year round.

Prior to this pandemic, in the before times, I was one of the people who thought that a vacation meant travelling somewhere else to see something “new” and to try “new” things.

In fact, each year where I did take vacation time, I did in fact travel away whether it be out to PEI, to New York City, or the Bruce Peninsula on the other side of Ontario. If travelling truly is to “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time,” to quote T.S. Elliot, then travelling through the experiences of the past year has really taught me, and I think all of us, what our home is for the very first time.

Cornwall, Akwesasne, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry are truly beautiful places with a lot to offer and do. For the first time in many years I went skating. My girlfriend and I went out to Moose Creek to skate at Country Side adventures multiple times this winter season. I had never been there before and was deeply impressed as I skated along this winding ice trail through the woods at night lined with white Christmas lights.

Another first I experienced this winter season was hiking through the Summerstown Trails. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the rental shop wasn’t open the day I went, but the parking lot was still packed with hikers.

Closer to Cornwall, in recent weeks I have had a few readers write to me saying how wonderful their experience has been on the trails in Cornwall in Guindon Park.

The City of Cornwall really went all in with at-home tourism in 2020 and in this first part of 2021. During the summer we saw more on-street dining to support restaurants, and the beautifully painted pop-up shops in front of Cornwall Square.

This winter, the city put up more ice rinks this year, including one behind the Clocktower.

Tourism opportunities for residents is something that the city will continue to focus on throughout this year. On Monday night, Cornwall’s Strategic Planning Coordinator Katherine Wells presented an update on 2019-2022 Strategic Plan to Council and two pillars of the plan have local tourism in mind, Economic Development, and Waterfront Development.

Wells’ report cites the new welcome signs along Hwy. 401, the Historic Walking Tour plaques in the downtown and along the waterfront, as well as improvements to local parks such as more lighting in Lamoureux Park, and washroom upgrades.

The summer of 2021 might be similar as the summer of 2020. We might have to stick close to home for our safety and the safety of others, but the good news is we once again have the opportunity to enjoy what we have here, at home, and there is a lot to discover right in our own backyards.

What are some local tourism opportunities that you enjoy readers? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nseebruch@seawaynews.media

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