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.

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