Friday, 8 February 2013

Tourism in Richmond County

Isle Madame’s new tourism committee is moving towards creating an  exciting new tourism direction for Richmond County’s beautiful Acadian Island under the theme “Isle of 100 Coves” and you can help. The Department of Tourism and Economic Development is looking for any information you may have on the different coves around Isle Madame. This could include: pictures, maps, names, facts and stories to help build the interest in the rich culture and history of the coves of Isle Madame. If you have any information, and wouldn't mind having it scanned or photocopied for the usage of the Department of Tourism and Economic Development, please forward it to Robyn at or phone (902)-226-3990 by April 6, 2013.

Richmond County has some great news for our boating community. The  Wallace MacAskill Yacht Club in St. Peter's will be hosting a Sailing Rules and Tactics Seminar with Sandy MacMillan of North Sails Atlantic on Saturday April 6th from 10 am - 1 pm at the Bonnie Brae Senior’s Hall, on Toulouse Street in St. Peter’s. Those interested in attending are asked to register by April 1st.  And to make this news even more exciting, the workshop will be sponsored by The Municipality of Richmond County, so there is no admission charge!!!  There is a lunch available at a cost of $10 to attendees, and you must register in advance for this seminar. This seminar covers the basic right of way rules in Parts 1 and 2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing, and some tactics associated with these rules. There have been changes made to these rules recently. If you are interested in racing this summer, this is an event you will not want to miss! The presentation will be given by Sandy MacMillan, the founder & president of North Sails Atlantic Ltd. He has been a sailmaker for 35 years and an offshore sailor and navigator for 30 years. Sandy is a 3 time Olympian and is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame. For more information please contact Fleet Captain Gordon Kerr by email or by phone (902) 535-3759. Also in a note of interest to all sailors planning on spending time on the Bras D’Or Lake this summer, the Wallace MacAskill Yacht Club is looking at holding Wednesday evening Boat Races throughout the summer; great news for visitors and locals alike.

Now that February is here, we start thinking of Valentine’s Day and the celebrations centered around this very special day. Here is a list of some of the events taking place on February 9th, the Grand River Winterfest Breakfast will take place at the Grand River Volunteer Fire Department Hall running from 7am until 10:30am. There will be a Valentines Roast Pork Supper and Dance will take place at the Riverdale Community Centre in Lower River from 6pm until 12am. Music will be by Gerald MacIntyre and tickets are $20.00 per couple or $10.00 per person for more information you can contact Graham Windsor at 625-2183. A Valentine’s Day Dance will also be held at the St.
Peter’s Lions Hall in St. Peter’s from 9pm until 1am. Tickets are $8.00 advance and $10.00 at the door, or $15.00 per couple and music will be by Phil’s Sights and Sounds. For more information you can contact Michelle Carter at 535-3201. On February 10th there will be a Breakfast held at the D’Escousse Hall in D’Escousse, from 8 to 11am. The Point Tupper Heritage Valentine Tea will take place at St. Marks United Church Hall in Port Hawkesbury from 2 to 4 pm. And on February 14th there will be a Valentine’s Supper at the Centre La Picasse. The supper will begin at 6:30pm, with an open bar starting at 6:00pm. The menu will include Cornish hen served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, garden salad, Italian bread, tea or coffee & dessert and door prizes will be presented. Advance paid tickets ONLY before February 7th at $20 per person. Please call 226-0149. Until next week, I hope you have the opportunity to take in some of these great Valentine’s Day events.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tourism in Richmond County

Great news from the organizers of the Kitchen Racket music camp; on behalf of SPEDO, and the St. Peter's community at large, they are pleased to officially announce the 2nd Annual Music Camp on the Canal in St. Peter's. It will take place between May 31 to June 2, 2013 and promises to be another memorable weekend for traditional music enthusiasts. There will be workshops, jam sessions, and an incredible concert. For more information including details on this year’s faculty and registration go to This is a great opportunity for young artists to mix with professional musicians who will instruct the work-shops, and join forces to create some great music during the jam sessions.

The cold weather may be slowing down some of our movements but not so for the tourism industry, who have been busy making plans for the upcoming tourism season and deciding how to improve our place in the tourism market. The committee for Louisbourg 300 are moving forward with ideas on how to bring the 300 anniversary of not only Louisbourg but to Richmond’s own Fort Toulouse to the forefront of this year’s events. They are hoping to incorporate celebrations for the event throughout the tourism season using storytelling, as well as outdoor activities, with strong presents being presented during the Nicolas Denys Days festival with events centered around Fort Toulouse celebrations on that Saturday and Sunday portraying the rich history of both this area and Louisbourg.

The SPEDO Tourism Committee, which was formed to improve tourism for St. Peter’s and the surrounding area, has also been working diligently to get as many factors in place for the new Tourism strategy. A meeting was held on January 23rd to address an important piece of the strategy proposal. First was the “Visitor Experiences”, five recommendations were compiled to submit to the consultant Harvey Sawler to incorporate in the St. Peter’s plan. Committee members submitted ideas and thoughts on top priority visitor experiences. These ideas include : 1. Biosphere-­‐related experiences. The new ‘Inland Sea’ branding would seem to present an excellent fit with the Biosphere themes. Initial experiences could include guided tours, on Biosphere themes. Example of these would be, tours using hiking, cycling, paddling and sailing as vehicles for the tours (all green, quiet, etc). The second idea looked at fishing experiences for the visitor. Local fishers could be engaged to offer visitors an insight and some local tips at fishing our local species of fish. This activity could be made accessible to visitors by providing fishing gear and bait, experiences could be as simple as fishing from the canal seawall; or fishing from kayaks . Another idea for a seafaring experience that was looked at included the commercial fishing boats which are tied alongside the ocean end of the Canal (Battery Park side), adjacent a beach and manicured recreation area, these boats could offer an opportunity for visitors (and locals) to buy crab or lobster off these boats and cook it (or have it cooked right there at the shore. Fishers could also be encouraged to provide visitors with tours of their (stationary) vessel. A third idea was a Rickshaw taxi service. This idea acknowledged the importance of creating strong linkages between the canal, local hiking routes and downtown, this would be an opportunity to have rickshaws available for visitors, to take them from the canal into town, and a great opportunity for a summer job for some physically fit students. The rickshaw idea could be the first step towards a more sophisticated ‘taxi’ system which encourages visitors to park in one place, and walk or be taxied around the village, for example in small electric trolleys (such as seen in airports, on large resorts, etc.) The fourth idea for a visitors experience involved Kayak and Canoe rentals. This type of activity could take place right in the canal, be very visible, and is accessible to people of all ages. While the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn currently has a small fleet of kayaks, we believe this activity would require a knowledgeable kayak instructor to manage it, at the canal. And the fifth idea includes Wednesday night sailing races. This idea stems from the Wallace MacAskill Yacht Club’s plans to hold weekly races from mid-June through late August. These would be run mainly on Walker Bay (on the lake, within sight of the canal margins). The intent is to encourage local sailors to invite visitors to join them on board for the race. The race is also somewhat of a spectator event from shore. Visitors with sailboats would be encouraged to join the races as well. A draft of these ideas were prepared by the committee’s interim Chairmen Greg Silver, and sent on to project consultant Harvey Sawler.