“The economic impacts of Ontario’s arts and culture tourism are substantial. These overnight tourists generated $3.7 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), 67,700 jobs, $2.4 billion in wages, and $1.7 billion in taxes for all levels of government. The market for arts and culture tourism in North America is very large: almost all of the 20.8 million North American tourists with travel experience in Ontario over a two year period seek an arts or culture activity on their trips (18.5 million). Over two fifths of these tourists, or 9.1 million (44%), identify an arts and culture activity as a trip driver – the main reason for the trip.”[i]
This year, North Grenville’s annual Dandelion Festival took place on May 25th and 26th and attracted 3000-3500 visitors each day. The festival is organized by an incredible team of volunteers and goes a long way in terms of building community and fostering a strong sense of local pride. As it grows, the event is continuously becoming more of an attraction for families outside the community – such as this family from Nepean who took the time to write about their experience.
The Festival truly offers something for everyone. During the day, there are a variety of activities for the kids – from bouncy castles to face painting to mouthwatering treats from local food vendors. For youth, there was a highly successful Youth Centre Film Festival which showcased the work of aspiring young film-makers. Adult festival-goers were able to take in the fantastic live music at two different downtown stages while sipping a local Dandelion Beer. For the seniors, a free Dandelion Tea attracted over 200 attendees, and ended up being standing-room-only!
One of the main attractions this year was the eQuinelle Grand Prix, a major cycling event which includes both a Pro/Am race and a Citizen’s Open. This was the second year that the event was listed on the Canadian National Road Calendar and the largest prize awarded – a cash purse of over $7500 – attracted 93 talented and experienced cyclists from across North America. Many competitors raced on the streets of Old Town Kemptville, with the top contenders reaching speeds of over 60 km and hour!
The winner of the Citizen’s Open, the first race of the day, was local talent Derek Gee. Laura Van Gilder, the most decorated American in the sport, was the winner of the Pro-Women’s race and Dion Smith of Predator Carbon Repair took the top spot in the Pro Men’s.
This highly successful annual event continues to stimulate the local creative economy, particularly giving artisans, local food vendors, and small downtown businesses a boost to kick off the summer tourism season. We hope that the many visitors who first discover the region during the Dandelion Festival continue to return to our creative community in the future!