On Thursday, March 15, the Coronach Economic Development hosted a presentation on building tourism in the Big Muddy area.
Stakeholders from Ogema, Assiniboia, Willow Bunch, Rockglen, Moose Jaw, Coronach and surrounding area were on hand to listen to Kerry King.
“Today I am here to talk about building tourism capacity in the Big Muddy region and some of the smaller municipalities or areas around Coronach,” King told the Triangle News.
King makes presentations to many economic development organizations across Canada about the value of cultural tourism. “I think a lot of us don’t realize the power of ‘place’, ‘sense of place’, the sense of pride that is so important in building community,” she said.
King was pleased to see a full room at the Coronach Drop In, with people from various communities. “Even just coming together on an evening like this where you have an opportunity to collaborate with others and talk about opportunities that you are working on and how, if you work together on them, you make it happen so much easier. It is that sense of community spirit that really makes a difference.”
King works in the Durham Region in Ontario and she explained that her community has spent time focusing on the creative community — those that make a living from their own creativity.
“I see a transition in our community from sort of a very focused manufacturing kind of a place and agriculture to more of tech-start ups. So I have been talking to different communities about how building that creative economy and collaborating together can really make a difference in building the economy and generating tourism.” Wayne Myren, Mayor of Ogema, was among a delegation from the Town of Ogema, who attended the presentation. “I think it’s awesome!” said Myren about the presentation.
Myren is part of the group that has been hard at work in Ogema since 1998, bringing a train to their community to host tourist train tours. The dream took a huge leap forward on November 4, 2011 when their locomotive and passenger car pulled into the restored Ogema train station.
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Volunteers have been busy restoring the passenger car in preparation for the summer of 2012.
Myren said, “We came from Ogema because we want to work with the whole region. We believe the train in Ogema will help tie this whole area together and it’s up to all of the communities to get together and work on that I see so much opportunity in cross-marketing.”
George Peacock, newly elected Mayor of Coronach also attended. He said, “I thought it was a very good meeting, as much for the turnout and the enthusiasm, as it was for the content. I think it reiterated the need for all of the communities south of the Number #1 highway, in our area, to find ways to work together to promote the many things we have to offer.”
“Coronach has done a good job already with the Big Muddy Tours and the Mine and Plant tours and I think there is still much more that can be done. Ogema’s rail initiative could be a great asset to all of us. If we could have a rail link from Ogema to Coronach bringing tourists to this area as well. Imagine an old fashioned rail trip from Ogema through Willow Bunch, stopping for lunch there, then ending with a tour of the Big Muddy and then back to Ogema!” mused Peacock.
“We have some very enthusiastic citizens on our Tourism and EDC committees, lets encourage them to move forward with any ideas that will benefit the community,” concluded Peacock.
Myren reported that they are set to go with a train tour for Tourism Saskatchewan on May 10. “Then our first weekend in June is going to be our start date and then Grand Opening on our 100th (anniversary) the second weekend in July.” concluded Myren.
Guests to the presentation were treated to snacks and refreshments before the presentation and then cake after.
Sylvia Nelson presented King with a photograph, donated by Thomas Warken, of Castle Butte and area.
Nelson then unveiled a new design entitled, “The Spirit of Coronach” that was designed by herself and Pauline Scott. The design was on the cake and will be used for marketing going forward. Nelson reported that license plates with the design will be on sale shortly.