Attendance up for Alight at Night

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Attendance up for Alight at Night

MORRISBURG – One of the region’s largest winter events has returned to pre-pandemic attendance levels.

Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village saw over 46,000 people pass through the gates this holiday season.

This far exceeded 2020’s attendance rate, at just over 10,000 people that year. The 2021 season also marked a recovery from before the pandemic when in 2019, poor weather saw an 18 per cent drop in visitors to just over 39,000 people.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, which owns and operates the Village and Alight at Night, set attendance records in 2018 with 47,900 people visiting, breaking the previous record set in 2015.

Using a government tourism impact model, the SLPC claims that the 2021 edition of Alight at Night generated $5.3 million in “regional economic impact” this year. That  includes restaurant visits and hotel stays, which SLPC Chair Hon. Bob Runciman said contributed to positive year-end economic activity in Eastern Ontario.

“Our mission is to drive economic prosperity in  Eastern Ontario while also providing unique cultural and recreational experiences for visitors,” he said. “Both of these goals have proven to have  heightened significance as the pandemic continues. Alight at Night  delivered on them both.”

The event, which ran from November 26, 2021 to January 1, 2022, featured over one-million lights throughout the 1860s village.

Returning to pre-pandemic level attendance is the latest round of good news for the 67-year old crown agency.

The SLPC received over $5 million in late 2021 to fund infrastructure renewal, $3.1 million of which is for its Brown’s Bay park west of Brockville. The remaining amount will fund work including dredging at the Crysler Park Marina and electrical upgrades to Upper Canada Village.

A planned redevelopment and restoration project for the Riverside-Cedars Campground east of Morrisburg just closed a government procurement bid for engineering and design.

This article was originally written for, and appeared in, The Morrisburg Leader.

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