L&A County, OHTO show their love for the region in local tourism campaign

L&A County's Dark Sky Viewing Area is one of the local attractions highlighted in the To My Home, With Love campaign. Submitted photo.

Desiree DeCoste
Beaver Staff

With summer in full swing, visitors now more than ever are looking for safe, close-to-home travel options, where they can feel confident they can get outside and continue doing what they love to do all while knowing their health and safety is paramount.

As the province eases into Stage 3 of reopening, Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) and Lennox and Addington (L&A) County are in a prime position to welcome visitors with copious outdoor activities, fresh air, and stunning scenery.

OHTO, in partnership with L&A County, with funding from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI) have just launched a hyper-local marketing campaign, aptly called, “To My Home, With Love.”

“This campaign was inspired by the renewed sense of appreciation for our rural way of life here in Ontario’s Highlands,” said Nicole Whiting, executive director of OHTO. “All of the attributes we typically use to promote our region to potential visitors are the reasons many people live, work and play in the area. The COVID-19 crisis has deepened this sense of appreciation and we wanted to celebrate the ways our people, our culture and our amazing outdoors have made it a bit easier to feel a sense of gratitude during these difficult times. In brainstorming how we might capture this theme, the idea of creating a love letter to each of our six counties sprouted, and ultimately manifested itself in a collection of videos and stories that give thanks to the iconic places, local businesses, and hidden gems loved by locals. For OHTO, this campaign is a tribute to these communities who serve as the backbone of our tourism industry.”

OHTO is a not-for-profit organization mandated and funded by the Province of Ontario to increase tourism within the counties of Haliburton, Lanark, Renfrew and portions of Frontenac, Hastings, and Lennox and Addington.

The campaign encourages residents to travel local and rediscover their community this summer by exploring the great outdoor experiences, shops, and patios, close to home.

“I think the campaign really does a great job highlighting some of the authentic outdoor experiences available within the northern portions of Lennox & Addington County,” said Rob Plumley, community development officer, L&A County. “Residents and nearby visitors are looking for opportunities to explore closer to home this year, and focusing on attractions such as Bon Echo Provincial Park, the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area and the L&A Forest Trails really offers them a variety of great day trip experiences.”

Locals are invited to visit the website where stories and videos are posted about the iconic places and hidden gems that make Lennox and Addington County so special. The site also features an Instagram contest encouraging locals to share what they love about the region for a chance to win a GoPro HERO8 and other local prize packs featuring gift cards to neighbourhood restaurants, galleries, shops, artisan treats and branded swag to represent their home.

“We knew the lockdown measures put in place to flatten the spread of COVID-19 would have a devastating effect on the tourism industry in our region,” Whiting expressed. “As an initial response, we quickly brought together the tourism representatives of all six of our counties to discuss various ways we could work together to manage the crisis and support our sector. This campaign was the product of those discussions and made possible through funding from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI). We were pleased to work with Rob Plumley, community development officer at the County of Lennox and Addington, who provided valuable insight into the project and helped tell the story of the incredible experiences available in Lennox and Addington.”

The Love Letter campaign and contest will run through mid-October.

To visit the Love Letter campaign website please visit comewander.ca/lovelettercontest.

For more information on the OHTO please visit comewander.ca/industry.


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