“Exploring ~ Spotlighting ONTARIO Communities and Events Since 2007″

“Past Events Remembered”

A Mixed Approach!

by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)

With the pandemic slowing down, communities and events are taking different approaches on how to move forward.

Some are not proceeding this year or until the future becomes clearer. Others are still fearful, but want to keep in touch with future visitors. They are using the “VIRTUAL” approach.

Finally, there those who feel that its time to open up and hold their event. They are confident that people will be safe and attend their event. Most are taking precautions by limiting the numbers, insisting on masks and other health and safety measures. The Ontario Government is also issuing rules and guidelines.

No matter what a community decides, Ontario Visited wants to help. That’s why we have developed 2 NEW event APPS! (the Ontario Event Directory APP and the Ontario Event News APP)

Both APPS are FREE for communities and organizers to use, and, of course, can be download for FREE from either the Google Play Store or from Apple’s App Store.

I’ll give you a more detailed description both further in the newsletter.

2 Event Apps…

As mentioned above, we have developed 2 new Ontario Event Information Apps. Below is a description of what each App offers.

Ontario Event Directory

  • Contains 100’s of event listings
  • More event listings added daily every day
  • Event organizers can list their basic event information for free
  • An easy-to-use Event Submission Form is available on the App
  • Extensive event listings are available at a moderate price
  • Each listing has its own dedicated information page
  • Downloaded App from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store
  • App is FREE to everyone
  • Ontario Visited promotes the App through extensive social media and Internet advertising

Ontario Event News

  • Contains news updates from major attractions from across the Province, such as Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canada Parks, Toronto Zoo and more.
  • Large and small communities send postings to keep visitors up-to-date on what’s happening in their area
  • News updates and information posts are being added daily
  • Communities and event organizers can post their news and updates for free
  • An easy-to-use News Submission Form is available on the App
  • Feature News Posts are available at a moderate price
  • Each News Posting has its own dedicated information page
  • Downloaded from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store
  • App is FREE to everyone
  • Ontario Visited promotes the App through extensive social media and Internet advertising

NOTE ~ All App Event Listings and Event Posts still appear on our established Ontario Visited websites

8 Part Fall Events

Over the past 15 years, we have visited 100’s of Ontario communities and their attractions and events. The video shown below features snippets eight of these wonderful events.

8 Virtual Video Series

This past year, we had had to re-invent how we present the different aspects of “visitingOntario. Since we (collectively) haven’t been able to travel in person to communities as we have in the past, we decided that we would take you on a virtual tour. As with anything, we have, over the past year, tried to refine and add to our virtual videos and stories. The below video features highlights of our eight Discover Virtual Ontario series.

“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign!”





This month we feature a guest opinion column by our
Senior Event Correspondent, Kevin Stuart.

If you were around in the early 1970’s you likely remember the classic song with the line “sign, sign, everywhere a sign”. That scenario played out in the summer of 2021 in Orillia. For those who aren’t aware, this wonderful community of around 32,000 straddles two lakes, Simcoe and Couchiching. This fortunate bit of planning means the city has an enviable waterfront consisting of two main parks and a few smaller ones dotting the shoreline. That together with its location in cottage country has made it a must stop destination for many visitors for generations and naturally has contributed significantly to the local economy.

A sign alerts visitors to temporary restrictions on parking at Orillia’s waterfront. – Frank Matys/Torstar

However, this year city council decided initiate a pay and display system in and around its municipal parks. Now you may be thinking what’s so unusual about that but this one goes a bit further. Thursday through Sunday and public holidays from June 4 to September 12, all parking spots at and around the parks displayed multiple signs stating all vehicles must display a residential parking permit. As evidenced in the accompanying photo, visitor parking is prohibited and violators are subject to being ticketed and towed.

This post is serving double duty, with one sign identifying the need for a residential parking permit while another announces a prohibition on trailer parking. – Frank Matys/Torstar

Now, to borrow from of those super-hyped TV ads would say…but wait, there’s more!

There are COVID-centric reminders to clean your hands and keep a safe distance; signs alerting park-goers to the ban on smoking/vaping, and impossible-to-miss notices identifying newly designated no-parking zones for non-residents, among others. By the way, those limited visitor spaces are yours to use for the set cost of $50 which covers 7am-7pm. It might have been easier and probably less cluttered to have posted signs stating what was allowed.

Signage explains new restrictions on parking at the waterfront. – Frank Matys/Torstar

I lived in Orillia for a time and it’s still among my favourite places to visit, but when encountering all this during a recent visit it seemed quite clear that I was not being made to feel welcome. Naturally I understand the concerns many residents would have with being inundated with visitors from the GTA who pose the biggest potential threat to Covid safety. But is this the best way to handle the situation? Ticketing and outlandishly inflated fees certainly convey the message that “we don’t welcome your kind in these parts”.

Other municipalities have found various ways to reduce the chances of crowding without being so blunt.  The town of Cobourg, another hot spot for GTA visitors in the summer, placed a fence around the perimeter of its very popular beach allowing officials to regulate the number of people going in at any one time. Public washrooms were closed but portable washrooms were set up, again with the intent to implement physical distancing. There are varying opinions of that plan but case loads in and around that area have remained relatively low which would seem to indicate the approach had been successful.

My feeling is the city of Orillia is wagering that in the long run its attractiveness as a tourist destination will outweigh any ill feelings that may have resulted from this exercise. It’s a gamble for an area that does count tourism as a key ingredient to the local economy. Perhaps in 2022 a massive Welcome Back with Open Arms campaign would be in order but that’s just one visitor’s opinion. Let’s hope that the summer of 2022 will present the kind of signs that spell welcome travels for all those visiting Ontario’s must-see locales.

8 Past Ontario Adventure Stories

We love telling you about the Ontario communities we have visited and the attractions and events we have enjoyed. Each week we add a new “story” to our website. Each story contains original photos and many have exclusive videos. This video feature eight of our most recent Adventure Stories.

“Past Events Remembered”