The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is moving from phase one of its long term business plan, which was freeing up resources by eliminating waste, into phase two – the growth phase.
Last week, SLPC invited 90 guests to its annual partner day, where Darren Dalgleish general manager and CEO St. Lawrence Parks Commission shared SLPC’s plans for the future with its partners.
“Tourism is a really interesting product, with the greatest opportunity for economic impact,” he told the crowd gathered at the Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre for the event. “It is critical to recognize its importance.
The SLPC, which has over 500 employees and operates Upper Canada Village, Fort Henry and 13 riverside parks, has been focused on the shoulder seasons with events like Pumpkinferno and Alight at Night, with much success, having cut losses by 56 per cent.
In fact Pumpkinferno was trademarked and franchised and now there are three Pumpkinferno events operating with all of the production for those based here in Morrisburg.
The two major attractions announced for 2016 include the opening of Skywood Eco Adventure Park at the old Brown’s Bay Campground and Fort Frost at Fort Henry in Kingston.
Construction for Skywood, what will be Ontario’s largest zip lining and canopy adventure park, is already underway.
It will feature a large tree top village for children, include courses that are accessible and offer a blend of fun and discovery for guests of all ages.
If all goes according to plan, by December 2016, Fort Henry will be transformed into Fort Frost.
Dalgleish describes the hour-long visitor experience as Frozen meets It’s A Wonderful Life.
Similar to Pumpkinferno, but in the Kingston market, Fort Frost is expected to attract 60,000 to 70,000 visitors.
In this area, the SLPC is expanding Farran Park with 45 full service campsites.
Seven additional camper cabins will be added this year a few treehouses are being built to offer another type of camping experience.
In another year the plan is to offer a new Winter Awaking attraction, expected to take place in February at Upper Canada Village.
“We expect continued expansion year over year,” said Dalgleish. “The sky’s the limit.”