Christmas is just a month away and the cold days of winter await us after the festive season wraps up. Once the lights are put away and the mess cleaned up, we look forward to months of bleak, stark winter, looking for things to do. For most families, unless you are in the middle of the hockey season, it’s necessary to travel outside of South Dundas in search of activities.
What we have learned from the St. Lawrence Parks Commissions’ success with events like Pumpkinferno and Alight at Night is that people (local and tourists) are looking for things to do during the nine months that are not summer. We have also learned that people are clearly willing to drive a distance and wait in line to go to these events. How many families journey to Gatineau Park for cross-country skiing, museums and activities in Ottawa, or year round activities in Montreal or Toronto?
What would happen if there was something just as attractive and exciting to do in this region, South Dundas or the broader Upper Canada Region?
In fact, the SLPC has experience with providing mid-winter attractions given their successful Lumina Borealis event at Old Fort Henry in Kingston. This interactive night walk runs into the middle of February.
The SLPC also controls vast tracts of land that are essentially in hibernation over the winter. These run from Crysler Park to the Long Sault Parkway, and the Village.
There is potential for residents and tourists to ensure we have things to do right here. Another winter festival, or even a longer season for Alight at Night would be a good start.
Keeping the Long Sault Parkway open and plowed during the winter months could be another good way of increasing activities in the area. The park land has plenty of spaces for cross-country skiing, hiking, sledding, and other winter activities. Making the area accessible would not be difficult, and the rewards are apparent.
In Morrisburg, there are 50 acres of waterfront which see minimal usage in the winter, outside of kids attempting to sled at the amphitheatre. Past waterfront committee plans called for winter activities like curling, and a skating pathway. Why not follow through?
We have the potential for attracting visitors, and the need. Just a few simple ideas could keep locals here, and attract tourists for winter activities. That can only benefit us all.