Tourism, The Arts, And Festivals Bring Investment And Build Community Pride



NORTH BAY – The impact on our local economy from tourism, the arts and festivals is important and growth in these areas has to part of any serious plan moving forward, according to Al McDonald.

“Summer in the Park has run it’s course, just as the Heritage Festival did”, said McDonald, a former Heritage Festival Chair. “These kind of events have a lifespan and it is time to move on.” 

“I believe we can better invest in festivals”, said McDonald. “Over the course of the past two or three years the committee tried to change things up with Summer in the Park but the reality is the time has come to invest in and promote a variety festivals and celebrations throughout the year.”

Thanks to its excellent location, North Bay was once a tourism destination. Hunters and anglers would base in North Bay while enjoying fishing and hunting in the area. Families would come to enjoy the beaches, area camping, trails, the Chief Command II, the Quints Museum and more, but tourism numbers have declined over the years.  

“The Chief Commanda II is a great example of a privately operated tourist attraction that continues to be a draw for the community”, said McDonald. “As we consider development in the downtown core we should be building upon the Chief’s success and the uniqueness of the Heritage Carousels and Railroad.”

North Bay has done an excellent job in attracting several television and movie productions over the last few years and McDonald believes this is an area where future development will be important.

“North Bay has now been seen on big screens, small screens, tablets and smart phones around the world”, said McDonald. “And, every actor, director and producer who has been here raves about out community to others. Productions come here for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is zero red tape, a welcoming community and industry expertise.”

With a growing reputation of a place to be in the film industry, North Bay is making its mark.

“Every production means jobs and opportunity for local people”, added McDonald.

“I personally believe in supporting local actors, artists and artisans”, said McDonald. “Wendy and I attend live shows, local theatre, enjoy concerts with local performers and we are very proud of the art in our home that is the product of many local artists.”

“I propose we broaden the discussion about festivals and bring together stakeholders from across the community to design a strategy for better investing in festivals and the arts”, said McDonald. “A grass roots approach is what made the Heritage Festival a success so I think the same approach is needed for a contemporary plan.”

“I have been approached by members of the community keen to start movie festivals, jazz and other music festivals, to bring back Octoberfest and more”, said McDonald. “There is no shortage of ideas and no shortage of individuals ready to pitch in. What they need is community by-in and financial support from council.”


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