Smiths Falls to pay Lanark County $5,000 annually for a seat at tourism table

Smiths Falls Victoria Park basin is a destination for boaters along the historic Rideau Canal. Laurie Weir photo

Across-the-board promotion is what the Town of Smiths Falls will get from paying Lanark County to be part of its tourism strategy.

During the Jan. 8 committee of the whole meeting, the town heard from Julia Crowder, the economic development and tourism manager, that for $5,000 annually, they will have a seat at the county’s tourism table.

The town’s impressive tourism landscape includes the historic Rideau Canal, the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, the Heritage House Museum and the Rideau Canal Visitor Centre. It also boasts a newly revamped vibrant downtown core with quaint shops and restaurants that will satisfy every palate. Smiths Falls is also home to the winningest LPGA golfer on the tour – Brooke Henderson and her sister/caddie Brittany. All this and more will be highlighted by the county’s tourism strategy.

“We will have input when they’re doing tourism strategic planning, and when they’re doing visual and identity branding,” Crowder said. “It’s not just marketing. It’s looking at tourism holistically and regionally, and being included in those conversations.”

As part of the process, Crowder will bring the updates back to council.

Coun. Jennifer Miller (the town’s previous economic development and tourism manager) said they had an agreement with Lanark County about five years ago. “What it bought us was a certain number of social media posts with our name mentioned in it. It bought us an ad in the tourism guide, and it bought us hardcore tourism services.”

She said for the money it was worth it. Crowder said it’s not limited to the number of posts or mentions by the county. 
“It’s all posts, all initiatives, all marketing materials — videos, photos — across the board of tourism marketing will be included,” Crowder said.

For the cost, the town will receive promotion via:

  • Lanark County Tourism social media channels;
  • Physical marketing collateral;
  • Promotion to regional partners including Ontario’s Highland Tourism Organization – RT011 and Destination Ontario.

The county will also consider and include Smiths Falls in the development of tourism products, and the creation of promotional photography. Tourism operators and attractions will be eligible for inclusion in promotional partnerships and ad placements.

Coun. Peter McKenna asked Crowder if she could have the agreement for the length of the term of council, instead of coming back to council on an annual basis. “There’s no reason to come back if it’s working,” he said. “If it’s not you’ll tell us.”

Crowder said she’d look into the request, as she received the full support of council.

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