Is Tourism good for Cobourg?

Not everyone agrees that Tourism is good for the Town and for its businesses and last Fall the Town decided to try and resolve this question.  With some Federal funding, consultant Laridae Communications Inc was hired to do this and their results will be presented in a report to Council at their Committee of the Whole meeting on March 8.  Kara Euale, Manager of the Marketing and Events Department in the Community Services division views the effort as a way to “evaluate our current marketing tactics”.  Staff are working on the premise that Tourists should be attracted although they see the report as a way to “measure the level of impact tourism has on our local economy”. The staff memo and consultant’s report are available in the links below.  Since most residents and businesses are interested, let’s look at what they say.

Kara Euale
Kara Euale

Kara (file photo at right) says that the purpose of the study is to “inform and serve as a backdrop for the Department as we re-imagine tourism opportunities post COVID-19 and moving forward.”

She also notes:

As COVID-19 placed a halt on travel plans in 2020, the Marketing and Events department sought an opportunity to engage the local businesses as we felt they may more easily be able to assess the impacts of tourism on their business by comparing a busy 2019 to a tourism vacant 2020.

Good thinking!

To get their results, they asked citizens and businesses using “a series of stakeholder engagement activities including focus groups, key informant interviews and an online survey.”  A total of 135 people responded to the online survey and another 12 took part in focus groups and key informant interviews.  The split of business owners versus community members participating in the survey is not given in the report but comparing average (overall) survey results with business results one can see that the average numbers are heavily weighted towards community members results.  This suggests that the number of businesses in the 135 number is small – I estimate around 40.  [If I am provided with an actual number, it will go here].

Results

This graphic shows responses from all 135 respondents.

Economic Benefits of Tourism

Dividing above graphic between business owners and community members we see that business owners were more supportive of tourism than “community members”.

89% of business owners stated that they agree or strongly agree that tourism is an important economic driver for the Town of Cobourg whereas 72% of community members stated that they agree or strongly agree.

Other results

In response to the statement, “small-medium size businesses rely on seasonal tourism and attracting visitors to the region”

  • 61% of business owners, 80% of business and or tourism organizations and 35% of interested community members stated that they strongly agree.

And In response to the statement “The Town of Cobourg would benefit from actively promoting the region as a tourism destination”

  • 64% of business owners, 80% of business and/or tourism support organizations and 42% of interested community members stated that they strongly agree.

Businesses were asked the question “in 2019, prior to COVID-19, tourism activity in the Town of Cobourg contributed approximately blank towards my company’s annual revenue”.

  • Of the respondents who identified themselves as retail businesses, 23% stated between the range of 20% – 35% and 23% stated between the range of 50% and 65%
  • 29% of Food and beverage businesses stated a range between 20% and 35%
  • 50% of accommodations businesses stated a range between 65% and 80%

In response to the question: “Prior to COVID-19, how did the Cobourg Beach (and waterfront activity such as the Splash pad, Canteen etc.) contribute towards attracting customers and generating sales for local businesses in general?”

  • 54% of retail businesses and 50% of food and beverage businesses stated significant contributions. 50% of accommodations stated some contributions.

See more results in Research Findings in links below.

Focus Groups

Focus groups were held for small-business owners or operators from the retail, food and beverage, and accommodations sectors, as well as community partners.

These were generally supportive of Tourism and felt that Tourism created jobs, that tourism should be promoted even more, that people staying at the campground “represent significant spending power and often have relatives visiting on the weekend” and street closures bring extra business.

On the negative side, “there was a common belief, that investing money into one-day events does not positively impact local restaurants”.

Kara’s memo does a good job of summarizing the long consultant report and has more details than I have provided here – especially on what more could be done to attract tourists.

The full report has even more detail – download from the link below.  Looking at the questions asked only of small-medium sized Cobourg businesses, the amount of net benefit of Tourism is not as great.  Some in fact see a reduction in business.  The full report also includes a large number of respondent comments.

Summary

The survey was mostly promoted by the DBIA so presumably most of the business respondents were downtown and it’s clear that the majority of those responding see Tourism as a good thing.  There seemed to be no attempt to ask citizens if they want tourists and the overall sample was quite small so the question as to whether Tourism is a net benefit to the Town remains unanswered although based on the limited number of answers and comments they were less supportive than businesses.

The focus of the survey seemed to be whether more attraction of Tourists would be good for Downtown businesses and the answer seems to be yes.

The only specific action mentioned was that there should be more resources (that is, people) devoted to Tourism although this is based on a comment from Eileen Lum, the County’s manager of Tourism.

In the meantime, the Cobourg budget for 2021 has less money for Tourism promotion than 2020: there will be no 2021 Tourism guide, no Waterfront Festival and only a virtual Sandcastle festival.

Links

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Imogen
13 March 2021 8:26 am

So what’s the plan here? Where is the BIA in all this? I understand that tourism and overcrowding is a concern – and no one wants Cobourg to turn into Prince Edward County which has been overtaken by Air BnB. But there are now FIVE cannabis shops within a one block radius near King and Division. And a number of derelict storefronts. It’s pretty appalling. At least tourism might give new businesses a chance – restaurants, shops etc. And those businesses might even attract some of the many new families moving into town. I have kids and there is little to nothing to do with them downtown. And as they get older I’m not wild about them being near a bunch of pot shops and tattoo parlours either which is where King is headed.

Sandpiper
3 March 2021 8:44 am

Captain John Hit the nail on the head
something the Town and its myriad of Business development and tourist attractant staff have failed to do over the last 10 yrs . A Fortune has been spent on this with No results or long term effect . The Town constantly creates the appearance of busy by brining up the Beach / Waterfront
and Resident versus Tourists . They know this is a soft or sore spot with the locals yet they continue to rub salt . This year the down town will from the looks of things be looking like Shoe stores 4 Marijuana shops 4, Pawn shop 2, Tattoo parlors 3 , Rehabs 1 — Homeless ???.
Free parking in the Potholes or slim to none. Why would you want your Kids and family walking around down town What has changed here in the last 10 yrs . If you have been here once you have seen it all.
Again look out side the Box the Town at PORT HOPE , PORT PERRY. Bracebridge , Bobcaygeon, Huntsville , Old Niagara even Brighton These are Towns one might find interesting enough to walk and shop in Check it out

Greg H
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 March 2021 12:07 pm

Also check out Picton. They even have a functioning theatre and a thriving bookstore.

MiriamM
Reply to  Greg H
4 March 2021 1:25 pm

It has been a few years since I attended the PIcton theatre and what a treat when we left the evening show to find the bakery next door was open late for coffee and treats. It kept us and lots of other people on the main street a while longer.

Jojo
Reply to  Greg H
11 March 2021 6:47 pm

Yes Picton has a Marine Museum , good maritime art, good food with great atmosphere cultural cafe. Nice quality posters showing their culture. Clean streets no littering !

Is Cobourg “friendly” enough for tourists? It is a town who likes to age quietly with its comfort near the beach. Nothing’s wrong with that.. I was wrong to believe the opposite three decades ago, so we travelled and opened our horizons all those years.

I was a boardmember of the Cobourg Summer Theater and wrote a serious outdoor programme for a summer theater and nobody was interested. It was before the Edward was parked in the harbour (a failure).

Nothing’s wrong to enjoy “la farniente” have a private kyte festival among us of all ages, eat outdoors. People like poetry here, recitations, pictures of grafitis and places, pencil work, watercolour, has one embroidery club etc… I was wrong to believe a dinner could make a great hit! (I loved the one in Lowell USA where Jack Kerouac’s mother worked.) I still miss our downtown Chinese restaurant, some services, repairs, home made boots, reasonably priced tailoring for 🚹🚺, all year round Christmas ornements, retro art for the house like the ones in PEC. On the other hand people here enjoy great deals, thrift stores and are great treasure hunters. Dancing is not as important as I wished, in a town where the most beautiful ballroom is mentioned in books. Social dancing is quite a therapy to fight sadness… (waltz and line dancing, Jewish and Greek community folklore). Time will tell and the train is here.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jojo
Jojo
Reply to  Jojo
11 March 2021 10:20 pm

We need another Hoo Lee Gardens Chinese Restaurant and a real diner, opened at meal times and longer, where you can get a real cup of coffee, home made pies, comfort foods downtown. Cobourg will never get the smarts to have a restaurant on the Lake like Drake Devonshire in Wellington. The old pump house location they demolished would have been perfect. We don’t even have a cinema where we can watch a simple $8.00 movie ! It would be too perfect to watch and go next door for a club sandwich and an ice cream cone! No. It had to be 35.00 and up for the last show we saw there…

Last edited 7 months ago by Jojo
ben burd
Reply to  Jojo
13 March 2021 11:45 am

So I guess you never visit the “Dutch Oven” or go to the “Loft” much?

Jojo
Reply to  ben burd
16 March 2021 8:30 am

Of course I did! I never saw you there Ben. The question to ask should be this one :What Is a Restaurant Atmosphere? We can name some concrete aspects of a guest’s experience in a restaurant that make up the atmosphere, but in reality, a restaurant’s atmosphere is more of an abstract concept. It’s the feel of a restaurant, something that — when done right — can enhance the entire experience of a meal. The people are also part of this experience. (Last year we saw less people dressed up in pajamas….)

Last edited 7 months ago by Jojo
Jojo
Reply to  Jojo
17 March 2021 10:03 am

The last time I was at the Dutch Oven I was lining up near tourists. They informed me what they liked and disliked in Town, later what they disliked from that restaurant. ~ The visitors are important to listen to, but if you don’t want to hear them you won’t changed ! Easier, and irresponsible way to gang up with a thumb down inside a small blog ! Successful downtowns have the secrets! This is why you return to them!

Last edited 7 months ago by Jojo
Imogen
Reply to  Sandpiper
13 March 2021 10:00 am

Make that 5 cannabis shops – new one opening on Division just north of King.

Imogen
Reply to  Imogen
13 March 2021 10:04 am

Also – good luck finding a nice spot on a bench to enjoy a coffee or ice cream on a summer walk… they’ll be taken up by people using their purchases from the cannabis shops…

Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 8:44 pm

Downtown Cobourg is blessed with trees. The DBIA could easily promote a decorative birdhouse contest. The Cobourg arborist could be consulted first to decide how to attach such birdhouses without harming the tree. If DBIA can organize decoratively painted mini paddleboards to display in downtown store windows, they can organize a decorative birdhouse event. The Art Gallery of Northumberland has some expertise that could be drawn on to facilitate such an event. The birdhouses are to be decorative, not functional. It would be part of Cobourg’s feel good ambiance, a bit of whimsey in the public domain, that could draw some tourists, even some beachers, to the retail district. It is another inexpensive venue for the creativity of local artists and crafters. It would be a unique and distinctive feature of Cobourg downtown.

This is low brow art that is accessible to the hoi palloi, not the high brow fine art sequestered on the third floor of a building serving the hoity toity. Birdhouses on the main street is a means of providing an art experience as part of every day life.

Just outside of Picton is Birdhouse City. Birdhouse City – Prince Edward County (visitpec.ca)Over the years, schools, businesses, individuals and groups have built and contributed more than 80 birdhouses, including reproductions of Crystal Palace, the Merrill Inn, Salmon Point Lighthouse and Roblin’s Mill.’

Last edited 7 months ago by Wally Keeler
Liz
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 9:18 pm

I’m sure they will be very decorative Wally and enhance the downtown especially should birds take nest in them. I hope they will also bring in as much cash as a hotels full of wedding guests would.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz
3 March 2021 12:12 am

The birdhouses are to be decorative, not functional.”

There will be no birds nesting in them.

What'sUpDoc
Reply to  Wally Keeler
3 March 2021 8:39 am

Great idea, Wally. Now all we have to do is get the apartment doors on King Street painted in attractive colours. Another good idea was the wagon ride from the beach to downtown. Let’s make downtown look alive, rather than drab.

At the charity shop I volunteer at, we always asked an unfamiliar customer where they were from and if not local, asked what brought them to Cobourg. Many said “The Thrift shops, and lunch downtown”. Let’s have a Thrift Shop Festival.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  What'sUpDoc
3 March 2021 2:18 pm

Yes, paint the doors. Note the optics of the wunnerful whacky weed shop at the north-east corner of King/Division, with boarded up windows, lending the image of a crack house tenement in the south Bronx. A beautiful building gone to pot.

Liz
2 March 2021 10:22 am

Fortinos and Loblaws offer one day cooking classes on their premises that may interest cottagers, trailer and local citizens. We have Foodland, Smors downtown and there is a new centre planned for the east end. Community colleges could expand their interest classes as offered in other centres on a wide variety of topics – language, cooking, crafts, computer, hand writing analysis for seasonal residents and locals.

Last edited 7 months ago by Liz
Liz
2 March 2021 9:21 am

Boat Cruises of the lake – I was married on the Mariposa Belle in Toronto Harbour followed by a cruise of the harbour. It was a lovely venue. Cruises could be held regularly throughout the summer for company, private or general public cruises of various functions and durations. Tenders could be issued by the town to owners of such looking to expand their businesses. Overnight/weekend packages could be offered to include stays a hotels in town.

Last edited 7 months ago by Liz
Liz
Reply to  Liz
2 March 2021 11:47 am

I’m surprised to see the harbour cruise boat and weekend hotel package voted down. Weddings often bring many people and even if only travelling from another town after a celebration would book for overnight increasing hotel business here an already existing Cobourg business.

A variety of suggestions have been made, I favour the ones that help and assist already operating businesses here that have poured their investments into keeping Cobourg businesses active and assist in recovery. COVID 19 must have thrown a severe dent into their financial resources. How depressing to think of viewing further closures and empty venues.

Bryan
Reply to  Liz
2 March 2021 1:13 pm

Liz:
What exactly would the Town “tender”?
The Town should absolutely NOT run such a business.
If a “cruise” operator wants to set up in the harbour, great. It is up to them to do so and arrange for whatever facilities they need.
It is not up to the Town to set them up in business.

Liz
Reply to  Bryan
2 March 2021 1:20 pm

That’s fine Bryan – then perhaps the people seeking further tourism would promote the idea to tour operators, hotels in the area. However it is done. It was the idea and bringing in more business and supporting businesses here with further trade as currently tourism ideas are being sought.

The cruise business, especially the paddle wheelers were very popular in Toronto and with a glorious lake access and hotels should be a success here. I will say it made for a very memorable wedding and the guests talked of it for years with pleasure.

IAN
Reply to  Liz
3 March 2021 12:22 pm

I agree in principle, but the plus that Toronto (and Gananoque for that matter) have is an attractive shoreline to cruise – the Toronto Islands and its channels provide a wonderful backdrop for the cruise, as do the Thousand Islands. Our shoreline is pretty consistent east and west of Cobourg – after a few minutes of a cruise, it’s just the same scenery.

Maybe dinner sunset cruises? I’d sign up for that once a year for sure….

I’d love to see a link to Rochester set up again though! Oh to dream in techniolour.

JImT
Reply to  IAN
12 March 2021 3:24 pm

A big part of the evening cruises of Toronto harbour – our company paid for one every year – was the spectacular wall of lights provided by the skyscrapers etc. as a backdrop after dark. Absolutely breathtaking. Not so much down this end of the lake.

Frenchy
Reply to  Liz
3 March 2021 1:21 pm

I agree with Ian on this point.
Toronto cruises are in a well protected harbour. Cruises here would be out on the open lake, subjected to weather and surface conditions. Not too much fun cruising or eating a meal in 3 foot swells.

Liz
Reply to  Frenchy
4 March 2021 7:21 am

Thank you Frenchy for a logical explanation as to why a cruise boat would not work. Too bad it would have brought much business to the hotel industry here and perhaps made use of former hotels downtown that are a real eye sore.

Frenchy
Reply to  Liz
4 March 2021 8:24 am

Which “former hotels downtown that are a real eye sore” are you referring to?

Liz
Reply to  Frenchy
4 March 2021 9:01 am

The one on the corner of Division and King. Nothing ever is built there. It is closed up and the upper windows boarded. A long term resident told me it used to be a hotel. Now it is just an empty building, Park Theatre, another eye sore, empty and sitting, like the business beside it, used to be a knick knack store, billed itself as antiques when operating. The pawn shop is now closed or closing also, Greenbacks. Too much empty unused real estate and some of it as it sits will have problems attracting investors. The Park is apparently requiring expensive structural work and there have been no takers in many, many years.

Frenchy
Reply to  Liz
4 March 2021 10:29 am

Well, you only mentioned one and I believe it used to be our Post Office, not a hotel.

Liz
Reply to  Frenchy
4 March 2021 10:44 am

In viewing the historic hotels in 1873 stood the Albion Hotel at King and Division. One diagram shows the Albion stretching about the length of the current building in question and along the way to where there is now a building being used for rental apartments encompassing that entire stretch. A later picture shows the Albion downsized to just the size of the rental apartment building Frenchy. It states the building at one point was used as the post office until 1960. An old worn out artifact with no apparent use now.

Liz
Reply to  John Draper
4 March 2021 11:02 am

Thank you John, the building on the north side at King E and Division is what I was referring to. Do you know what it was before? Despite some work being done it continues to stand empty.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz
4 March 2021 10:48 am

The south-east corner was the location of the former Post Office. The building with plywood boarded windows is on the north-east corner and was a bank. Now it is becoming a pot shop. Optics make it look like a crack house in the south Bronx. It is not an empty building, there are several businesses there now, restaurant, vape place, the Ale House which used to be my father’s shoe repair shop in the 1950s Perhaps you were thinking of the New Dunham Hotel at Division/Swayne. The British Hotel at north east George/King West, or Plaza Hotel south-east Third/King West. And the Baltimore Hotel lower Division St. Chateau-by-the-Lake all gone. Only the venerable Kelly’s remains. I don’t know what “long term resident” you were speaking with, but I was born and raised here, lived downtown, so I remember having a drink in all of them before they bit the dust.

Liz
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 March 2021 11:08 am

Yes Wally further back is the Vape and Ale House – the front has remained unused with boarded upper windows. A pot shop you say is coming? With its appearance somehow I am not surprised. Yes I have had misinformation from some – in googling the corner I noted the Albion Hotel at one point but it was unclear where it was, and a picture of a full length Albion and later a downsized Albion also it mentioned a bank at one point but went on to say something about it being sold and becoming the post office.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz
4 March 2021 12:28 pm

The former Albion Hotel is on the north side of King Street East, several buildings away from the intersection of King E / Division. It is here today as a tenement. I do not recall a hotel ever occupied the former Post Office building.

Rae
2 March 2021 8:49 am

We should also think about winter tourism. We have the rink and the ccc . We could build on that. Maybe like the Quebec winter carnival.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rae
2 March 2021 10:44 am

In winter people go out onto the east pier and often take their picture with the ice formation that develops at the crook where the post and fence are located. The west pier beyond the elbow develops huge ice formations from splashing waves. All it would take is three or four 1-inch diameter 10-foot length steel rebars judicially spaced one from another on the pier. Public works could drill the holes, insert the rebars then seal them. Each rebar could be bent slightly for variability. A business dealing with rebar arrived in Cobourg recently and the Town could easily persuade them to donate the rebars for publicity. Otherwise the rebars cost $75-$100 each. A project cost of hundreds, not thousands. Winter storms that batter the pier will create unique ice sculptures organically. This is something the Art Gallery of Northumberland could thumbs up; organic art in the public domain available to everyone rather than art sequestered on the 3rd floor of a building. I’m willing to donate $500 for such a project. It won’t bring a multitude of tourists to Cobourg a la sand castle weekends. But it will bring additional viewers to the ones that already park to enjoy the view. It would certainly bring photographers, and photos posted to social media will be free publicity. An out-of-season attraction.

MiriamM
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 12:14 pm

Fabulous idea Wally. And when there are reports of sightings of unusual or rare birds in the harbour, as does happen in winter, the news can attract many if not potentially dozens of interested birder tourists.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  MiriamM
3 March 2021 9:41 pm

Of course the annual resurfacing of the town marina expansion proposal would once and for all have to be finally put to rest to make that happen which definitely would be a plus .

Cap’n John
1 March 2021 7:22 pm

We have the beach, and we have the beach visitors. The problem is getting them to walk the Main Street and buy something. There must be creative ways to get the families to spend some time downtown. e.g. wagon rides from the beach, low cost ice cream sale, entertainment, etc.
if we make it fun for the kids to go down the Main Street, the parents will have an opportunity to get to know the shops and then it is up to the shopkeepers to get them in the door.

Bryan
Reply to  Cap’n John
2 March 2021 1:04 pm

Cap’n John:
It is up to the merchants, not the Town, to advertise and promote their business. This includes product selection & pricing, premises upkeep, visual appeal, store hours and competent staff to name a few.

I’ll leave it to you to decide which stores are meeting your needs and therefore deserve your patronage and referral to others.

Cap’n John
Reply to  Bryan
2 March 2021 6:01 pm

Bryan
My thought was that the we should “ fish where the fish are” and see what we catch. I would do an experiment of one weekend in summer. Hire a farmer and wagon, get insurance, etc. Port Hope do this on a limited scale for special events, many other tourist locations do it as a regular practice.
Cobourg has a unique situation with hundreds of visitors 3 blocks from the Main Street, and no incentive for them to visit or shop.
Promote the “Explore Cobourg” theme.
The cost should be minimal for the experiment, and could be shared between riders, Town, and merchants. If it works and becomes a regular event, I agree, the Town should not bear the cost.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cap’n John
2 March 2021 9:38 pm

Cap’nJohn, perhaps an outline of a plan for the DBIA to plan and fund? Certainly it is not something for the town to be involved in.

Bryan
Reply to  Cap’n John
2 March 2021 11:22 pm

Cap’n John,
When you go to another town, say Port Perry or Picton, what shops/products/services are you interested in seeing/finding?
Are you window shopping or actually prepared to buy something other than an ice-cream cone?
Have you been to Primitive Designs in Port Hope?
Did you buy something (non trinket) or just go for the visual experience?
What products/services would you expect the “beachers” would be interested in that might lure them downtown?
Are these products/services currently available at downtown shops?

Hugh
1 March 2021 10:58 am

My wife and I moved here almost 4 years ago from Toronto. Until that time, for almost 60 years, I had never stepped foot in Cobourg, and knew nothing about it. That’s a problem. My home in Toronto is only a 60 minute drive away. Two kids went to Queens, so I passed it dozens of times. We would visit Niagara, Collingwood, even Port Perry, and spend money in stores and restaurants, even Bayfield for farther trips. Cobourg is a beautiful town, and we love it here. But it does seem like the general feeling is negative to change or growth. There is a lot of untapped potential. Probably the biggest potential would be a more thriving downtown, with more shops. It’s a truly beautiful street, with gorgeous architecture. But I know it’s chicken and egg; why would businesses come when there’s so few here? Looking backwards, the biggest potential would have been to develop commercial and residences along the lakefront, where it’s now only condos. In thriving villages like Blue Mountain, Whistler, Vail, retail and restaurants are on the main level, and condos above. Perfect! Cobourg would probably have dominated the tourist trade if that were here. It would have been like Halifax’s Historic Properties, right on the waterfront. (Look at how people adore the ONE spot that should have been all along: Cucina Urbana). But that’s hindsight, and no longer an option. So, how do we attract more businesses to downtown Cobourg? I suspect there’s a background on that issue, since one can see the ghosts of business which have tried. PS, Port Perry also draws thousands in the summer to it’s lakefront (a not-very-appealing Lake Scugog), and they seem to thrive with retail and restaurants. We would always spend money there. I don’t recall paying for parking,… Read more »

Bloated Senior
1 March 2021 10:21 am

There is no fine dining. There is no upscale downtown hotel(s) with fine dining.
There is no sense of shame at the decrepit appearance of many storefronts
and buildings. There are no places (other than the ubiquitous beach) of interest to visit. Ho-hum for tourists. Imagine when you are a tourist, what type
of place you would visit. Let’s just be a nice little regular town and put our
emphasis on livability, infrastructure, good governance, and well-being. Not every town needs to be an”attraction”, or place to go.

Last edited 7 months ago by Bloated Senior
JimT
Reply to  Bloated Senior
1 March 2021 2:40 pm

“Fine” dining is for the big city. Folks come to visit places such as ours for “fun” dining. Casual, fun, easy, relaxed, memorable. Anything but “fine”.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bloated Senior
1 March 2021 9:34 pm

+1, Bloated Senior.
You didn’t mention that there is now a reason to visit downtown: Market & Smør.

Informed
1 March 2021 10:08 am

I believe anyone that comes to Cobourg to use the beach is a vistor and not a tourist. They visit for one purpose. A nice clean free beach.There is no need to spend additional tax dollars to bring more visitors to the beach. We need a new definition of tourist. What will bring a tourist here to stay a weekend? How about dollars spent to promote a big annual fishing derby in Cobourg on Lake Ontario?Maybe the Fishing Charter business for Cobourg will catch on and create new definitions of what a tourist is, here in Cobourg?

Last edited 7 months ago by Informed
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 12:19 pm

Now that is an interesting idea. There are fishing derbies north of the 401, but that I know of on Lake Ontario. How does it work?

ben burd
Reply to  Wally Keeler
13 March 2021 7:31 am

Well you get a big sponsor like the Toronto Sun and have weigh stations all along the lake and the anglers will follow the fish as they follow the migration East. Then the competition ends in Port Credit after six weeks of intense rivalry and fishing. Here we have a Marina that supports a fish cleaning station and the weigh station. Great fun for all and a moneymaker for the Marina.

Sorry folks that’s what we had in the 80s gone now and nobody has had the ambition to revive it.

Frenchy
Reply to  ben burd
13 March 2021 8:16 am

Sorry folks that’s what we had in the 80s gone now and nobody has had the ambition to revive it.

See my reply to Wally’s comment.

Last edited 7 months ago by Frenchy
Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
13 March 2021 8:13 am

The Great Ontario Salmon Derby is BACK for 2021!

The Derby has been running for the past 23 years across the North Shore of Lake Ontario, with 10 weigh-in stations, attracting over 22,000 participants over a 50 day period.

The Toronto Star was a sponsor for years.

Art Seymour
1 March 2021 10:01 am

Not many small towns would survive without tourism , even to visit for lunch , if they didn’t have a positive view towards visitors. In fact, in some towns, even a specialty cheese shop or a great but butcher , (thinking of Balderson-Perth and Port Perry) , makes it worth a little day trip, let’s get off the negative train , get on board the “gravy train”, and help keep our town energetic and upwardly mobile! I am one of those “old” persons (80+) alluded to above but have helped in two recent super additions to our area, Ed”s House and the Fern Statue,; my age did not hinder my contribution on either of the project teams. Then there is our super local Hospital! Maybe when we get nice “lake-side” patio/restaurants finally operating in the areas of the Marina and the RV Park, the local businesses will really blossom.
We can still hope for them , at least.

Barb
Reply to  Art Seymour
1 March 2021 10:14 am

We definitely need the ‘lakeside’ patio/restaurants!!!

Informed
Reply to  Barb
1 March 2021 10:23 am

Pop up summer patios on the east pier with good food,drinks and live entertainment. Open only to pedestrian traffic. It would be jammed with people in the summer.

JimT
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 11:42 am

Yes, yes! I have been saying this all along.

Everyone complains that the beachies “don’t spend any money here” but will not get their minds around the simple fact that they would if they had places to spend it at down that end of town (beyond that one little service window with a perpetual lineup).

Thank you. I don’t feel quite so alone on this point now.

Informed
Reply to  JimT
1 March 2021 12:17 pm

Im sure this would be the case JimT but I was also thinking of myself and friends that live here and are bored stiff🙂 lol

JimT
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 2:44 pm

Cobourg: the ideal place for the newly-wed and the nearly-dead.
An expression I read somewhere, once.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 12:21 pm

And a great platform for a kite flying festival, late spring, early fall.

Last edited 7 months ago by Wally Keeler
Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 March 2021 12:31 pm

I think this idea could actually fly and be an annual event.If it was over a whole weekend then the hospitality business would benefit.

JimT
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 2:48 pm

Yes! Yes! What ½wit would downvote such an obviously appropriate idea? All that beach area; all that onshore breeze; all that space with no overhead wires!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
2 March 2021 11:17 am

A downtown business could set up a tent and flog kite kits for the weekend. The most creative kite could win a plaque purchased from a local business. The Lions Club could set up a beer/coffee tent, sell pastries as well.

Swift Current, Sask. holds a 2 day kite fest, “annually brings more than 11,000 fans to Swift Current on the summer solstice to watch the mastery of over 40 professional kite makers and performers from around the globe. The 2020 edition of the event would have featured artists from Belgium, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and of course, Saskatchewan.”

Thunder Bay has a kite festival
Presenting Sponsor: Ontario Power Generation
Volunteer Program Sponsor: Gian Tiger
Signature Sponsors: Porter Airlines, 99.9 The Bay, Counry 105, Rock 94, 91.5 CKPR, tbnewswach.com
Featured Sponsors: D Bank
Patron Sponsors: Maverick Entertainment Group, The Waterfront BIA, National Car Rental, Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites
Contributing Sponsors: Destination Thunder Bay, Club culturel francophone de Thunder Bay, OLG.

Brampton eco-friendly Kite Festival is held every June. It is primarily oriented on families and is meant to provide a fun packed with great activities such as kite-making and kite-launching. You can bring your own kite or take part in a master-class from professionals and learn how you can make it better. Skillful kite flyers of Toronto Kite Flyers will show how to fly amazing 100-foot-long kites. Brampton Kite Festival also offers lots of great food, live music, entertainment and has plenty of vendors.

I would be a great display of CREATIVITY https://youtu.be/YQafzKr7ugg

Last edited 7 months ago by Wally Keeler
Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 8:11 pm

Something like this would appeal to people young and old. The video is a great example as to what could be an annual event here. Maybe even bigger and better than the sandcastle event?

Gerinator
Reply to  Informed
1 March 2021 6:25 pm

Love the idea, also the idea above re charter fishing. The pop ups would be managed by the restaurants currently located in Cobourg to ensure the revenue/employment stays in Cobourg; the entertainment, and costs, might be organized by the DBIA (on behalf of, and apportioned to, all participating restauranteurs).

Cap’n John
Reply to  Barb
1 March 2021 11:35 am

Council is considering the feasibility of creating a ground level outdoor patio restaurant at the Yacht Club building. It could be in operation this summer if there was support. If you support the idea, let Council know.

warren
1 March 2021 9:53 am

The #s above indicate that business owners want to grow tourism more than ‘community members’ do. The DBIA is the primary group to recommend creative ways to accomplish more tourism. When those ways require taxpayer $, the job of the DBIA and the Chamber of Commerce is to provide the cost/benefit analysis that persuades Council and citizens of the merits of investing.

Bill Thompson
1 March 2021 9:44 am

A “tourist”…(definition)- one who visits a location due to its history ,sightseeing etc.etc…or.just a person (Visitor) who visits, because of a day at a clean maintained beach at no cost,,bring everything for the day (i.e) food ,beach gear etc ,leave garbage etc everywhere, including the surrounding streets as well as a parking nightmare throughout them.

The Town benefit of “tourism” ? – Minimal and costly to resident taxpayers with major cost effect on upkeep, cleanup, impact on townspeople utilization of park and beach during summer months particularly on week-ends.

Just a direct observation from one who lives close to park and beach, witnesses it first hand,and is directly affected negatively by so called “tourism”.

Barry
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 March 2021 10:07 am

The population of Cobourg is approx. 18,000 and the population of Niagara on the Lake is 18,600. Tourism in Niagara on the Lake generates significant number of jobs in retail, hotel, theatre and restaurant businesses to the economic benefit of the overall regional economy. Growth in tourism needs to be managed like any venture. Cobourg has the opportunity to continue to be a great place for residents but visitors and tourists as well.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 10:18 am

Niagara on the Lake vs Cobourg ? ……apples /oranges comparison !.

Barry
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 March 2021 11:22 am

Comparison: Both the same size, both on the water, both with a single main street, both with old style architecture, both with retail stores…the main difference seems to be lack of bold “vision” and the somewhat negative attitude towards growth and change in Cobourg. At one point Niagara on the Lake residents / visionaries decided it needed to become something special, boost the economy and to be come unique…that’s when the change started…it certainly did not happen overnight. It now draws +3 M visitors per year (250,000 for the Shaw Festival alone) and generating $220 M in economic activity. Do you think that would be a welcome change to the Cobourg economy?

JimT
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 11:52 am

Yes, plus we have direct rail link to Toronto. Door-to-door service on VIA Rail. The hospitality industry is huge and growing as people seek diversion and novelty, and labour-intensive, meaning paycheques for everyone. A weekend in Cobourg, lunch by the lake, strolling the waterfront, bandshell in the evening.

I just despair at the opportunities being missed here.

beach lover
Reply to  JimT
1 March 2021 2:42 pm

And for that weekend in Cobourg we really need some places for people to stay downtown. In Niagara on the Lake, there are so many charming accommodation options – from quaint inns with spas to boutique hotels serving locally-sourced cuisine – they’re destinations in their own right. Downtown Cobourg has just the King George Inn, a place that, while interesting isn’t for everyone. Such a missed opportunity.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 11:58 am

You don’t suppose Niagara Falls being a short distance away has an influence on it by chance ?

Barry
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 March 2021 12:42 pm

Niagara on the Lake is 29 kms (35 min) drive from Niagara Falls. Niagara on the Lake is its own destination, although visitors to Niagara Falls may be interested in continuing to Niagara on the Lake. It is all part of a tourist ecosystem. Just as visitors to Port Hope for the music in the park, dining, shopping and Capitol Theatre may also visit Cobourg…but there would need to be a compelling reason for visitors to visit Cobourg other than the beach and the boat club. Not comparing Port Hope to Cobourg as we are both part of Northumberland County …and both unique…but Cobourg needs to raise their game to compete for tourism revenues.

Gailr
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 March 2021 3:25 pm

Absolutely not. Totally different appeal. NOTL offers theatre, fine dining, a Town with great built heritage, wineries all around, good shopping.
Niagara Falls offers the falls, a lot of chain eateries, not such good shopping (apart from one excellent supermarket), noise, Marineland. Which would we rather be?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 12:00 pm

It now draws +3 M visitors per year… Do you think that would be a welcome change to the Cobourg economy?

NO!

JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 March 2021 7:48 pm

I don’t want Cobourg to have a tourist industry because it causes parking problems in my neighbourhood.

Barry
1 March 2021 9:23 am

In my humble opinion Cobourg needs tourism and needs to be seem as being tourism friendly. There is nothing to gain through reminiscing about what could have been, what should have been and what might have been, the question is what can be done to Cobourg to become a “top of page” tourist destination. The beach and boat harbour is a natural draw for people from outside of town. Port Hope is known for small town theatre, dining, music in the park and shopping, it does not have a beach or boat club that draws tourists. Port Hope successfully created this environment. Cobourg can do better to increase tourism because it is more than just a beach and boat harbour but this is what it has become known for by visitors.

Carol farren
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 9:41 am

Cobourg missed the boat when we had an opportunity to purchase the park theatre. This was not meant to be a competition with port hope but to work with port hope and make the area a solid attraction where people would visit, eat and stay much like Stratford and Niagara on the lake. However arts receive no support in this town only sports.

Phunkeemum
Reply to  Carol farren
1 March 2021 10:02 am

Agreed! There are many talented artist and crafts people here as well as beautiful homes. How about an annual house tour?

Liz
Reply to  Carol farren
1 March 2021 11:54 am

I read in the predictions for the future I think the Park Theatre might finally be torn down. Apparently it has severe structural issues that make any investors run as the last ones did. Prior blogs have indicated many of the tax payers would never support the Town buying it as it would be an incredibly expensive venture to bring back to life. Suggestions perhaps on what should replace it would be good Carol.

JimT
Reply to  Barry
1 March 2021 3:06 pm

Cobourg: it never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

JimT
28 February 2021 8:39 pm

Cobourg missed the boat about 70 years ago. Stratford has Shakespeare, Niagara-on-the-Lake has Shaw, both are farther from Toronto than Cobourg and both attract avid culture tourists in droves.

We could have built on the Marie Dressler legend by becoming a destination for classic Hollywood films, with movie-themed restaurants, visitor accommodation, memorabilia, presentations and more. A perfect weekend getaway for visitors looking to blow a couple hundred on diversion and nostalgia just a short ride down the rail line.

Probably too late now for the town to build a reputation based on Hollywood’s golden years. It could have been a fabulous party, but that ship disappeared over the horizon long ago.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
— William Shakespeare [1564 – 1616]

Last edited 7 months ago by JimT
Wally Keeler
Reply to  JimT
28 February 2021 10:39 pm

Northumberland Players has produced some wonderful theatrical moments, including dinner theatre at Best Western, but has been unable to pull off the Shaw/Stratford success. Aside from the beach, what is there that would attract a family of tourists from the GTA: NOTHING. There is nothing unique, nor distinctive about Cobourg. It is a town bloated with old people. The first thing a young person who has cultural ambitions does is leave Town for where the action is. A few years ago, Cobourg hosted the 55plus geriatric games, with dismal results. The old can’t even get up for the old.

The Town has new housing in the west end, and all the families have easy exit to the 401 to drive to unique events elsewhere, bypassing downtown. Current new housing on the east end will have their own 401 exit to go where there’s action. Why? Because Cobourg has little imagination. Draper’s blog is a microcosm of the Town, old people without any fresh new ideas, who have contempt for creativity. Cobourg is slowly drifting into a long term care community. Fresh ideas anyone? Just asking.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
28 February 2021 10:59 pm

How about coloured snow angels?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
28 February 2021 11:59 pm

How about your fresh new idea for Cobourg? Any fresh new idea?

Jones
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 March 2021 10:10 am

And who would you present fresh new ideas to ?
Locals are perfectly happy with the status quo

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Jones
1 March 2021 8:42 pm

Yes, a giant geriatric ward, with mobility scooter races

Carol farren
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 March 2021 9:57 am

A few people on this blog make it their business to squash any new ideas that come forward. We need something that is stable to attract people that are willing to spend dollars and add to our economy. With no large industrial companies coming we need to find other resources to increase our tax base. Our community theatre is wonderful but it is not consistent that is why an art centre/theatre would have been amazing and not just for visitors but for the health of our community. A couple of the folks on this site were strong objectors to the purchase of the park but to date have only seen criticism of everything and not one positive addition or idea offered from them. Having a very nice house in this town is not good enough you have to work to keep what we have and improve. Rick Miller has been tireless at making dressier house an asset to this community. How many have offered to help or made contributions to make this happen. I guess I am just getting tired of arm chair critics

Cap’n John
28 February 2021 8:32 pm

Has there ever been a survey done where tourists themselves were asked why they came to Cobourg, what they did here, what they purchased, would they come back, what they liked or did not like, etc?
A survey done on the main street, not on the beach, might give us some good information about the economic benefits (or costs) and opportunities associated with tourism.

JimT
Reply to  Cap’n John
1 March 2021 5:33 am

Yes, there was just such a survey done a few years ago downtown, asking people on the street to state the circumstances of their being there at that particular time. Details were reported on this very blog.
I can’t recall more detail than that. I’m not a young as I used to be.

Ken Strauss
28 February 2021 6:07 pm

A Cobourg employee whose job is to bring tourists to Cobourg did a study to prove that bringing tourists to Cobourg is important. Study results were amazing: A few downtown retail businesses opined that tourists are important but the businesses don’t appear to have been asked how much they were willing to spend to attract tourists. Most accommodation businesses said that tourists contributed 65-80% of their revenue. Wow! I had guessed that motels were mostly used by locals in the afternoon! An unnamed focus group person noted that there should be a staff of eight promoting regional tourism. Why am I not surprised at the results?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 March 2021 12:12 am

One could have a staff of 100 and the likely result will be more mediocrity. I can get a multitude of thumbs down but every individual who does a thumb down knows that they themselves have no imagination nor creativity nor fresh ideas to offer the Town.

Tough question. Aside from the beach, what does Cobourg have to attract tourists? NOTHING. So prove me wrong.

Liz
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 March 2021 12:36 am

Apparently Wally the beach has been more than enough to attract tourists. In visiting I found it enough plus the pleasant feel of the town to encourage me and so many others to move here and make it their home.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 March 2021 9:34 am

Ozone was said to be a major tourist attraction a 150 years ago. It brought “tourists” (wealthy summer residents) who contributed to the local economy and culture. Today we get day-trippers who want a cheap day at the beach paid for by Cobourg’s taxpayers.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 March 2021 8:47 pm

Today we get GTA tightwads moving in, and they contribute nothing imaginative to the town, indeed they often impede the culturally creative.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 5:09 pm

Wally,
You may well be right.
They do however contribute a very important commodity to the Town….property taxes, that pay for municipal services and makes Cobourg viable.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  SW Buyer
2 March 2021 5:28 pm

Every resident pays taxes.

Conor
28 February 2021 3:01 pm

Of course tourism is good for Cobourg unless you are one of those local citizens who hate beach goers and only want tax dollars spent on themselves. Show me a town or city that doesn’t want tourists. Do you want to be known as ” the feel good town that hates tourists?”

Informed
Reply to  Conor
28 February 2021 3:28 pm

You’re a tourist and are too cheap to even pay for parking.

JimT
Reply to  Conor
1 March 2021 6:00 am

Do we want to be known as ” the feel good town that hates tourists?” Exactly the situation and very much to the point. Are we going to develop our prospects as a nearby getaway destination and nourish our hospitality industry potential, or let the whole thing continue to languish?
How disheartening to think that anyone would downvote such an insightful comment.

Jones
Reply to  Conor
1 March 2021 8:50 am

The haters win,hate the campers,hate the boaters,hate everyone on the east pier, well. surprise,suprise

Liz
Reply to  Jones
2 March 2021 10:41 am

In summation suggestions so far.

Fishing Derby – yet the fishing here in town is not governed at all. Port Hope ensures the rules are followed – Cobourg – overlooked by no one current fishing practises allowing all kinds of violations as no one but conscientious fishermen regarding snagging, leaving carcass after gutting, out of season, etc.
Yet another restaurant/patio when the restaurants in downtown are struggling to survive.

Disappointing.

Last edited 7 months ago by Liz
Bill Thompson
Reply to  Jones
2 March 2021 3:54 pm

Why having an opinion that is different from another is now considered to be “hate” is in too many minds today.
It is serious and not to be taken lightly.
Freedom of speech is the first and one of the most important Rights of living in a free country / democracy and it is now is at risk.
It isn’t appreciated until it’s lost…..

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
2 March 2021 4:34 pm

FREE SPEECH a sustainable decongestant against the S.O.R.E. Virus.
Suppression, Oppression, Repression of Expression
The SORE Virus leaves mediocrity in its wake.
Mediocrity is the leading cause of boredom
Countless numbers of people die of boredom every year.

Several years ago I set up a blog containing many many images of individuals holding a FREE SPEECH card. Catch it here: I HAVE FREE SPEECH

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 March 2021 6:56 pm

Lots of pseudonyms over on the right hand side of that site.
Looks like a lot of 9 digit (groups of 3’s) numbers.
Hmmm,vaguely familiar, reminds me of…
😯

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 March 2021 7:42 pm

Still got no new fresh ideas?

Liz
Reply to  Bill Thompson
2 March 2021 6:16 pm

Bill – Freedom of Speech – yes without insulting, denigrating comments, sadly too present here as many are made within posts and directed to others in their replies. There are a few posters unfortunately that blatantly practise this form of posting which certainly takes away from exchange of ideas and the ideas they themselves present. May I recommend the Desiderata to such posters.

Bryan
Reply to  Conor
2 March 2021 5:01 pm

Conor:
Why do you think that Cobourgers “hate” tourists? What evidence do you have? Real evidence, not assumptions, speculation, hearsay and perception viewed through rose coloured glasses.
Tourists are welcome in most communities because they make a contribution to the wellbeing of the community. Tourists who come for culture, sports events, visiting family & friends and shopping (??) do this. Tourists, in the main, who come for the beach do so for for one reason, the beach. In this activity, they contribute little to Cobourg’s wellbeing. This activity is a net consumer of the Town’s resources. There is also nothing wrong with the Town “managing” its assets to provide the maximum benefit for its residents…the ones paying the bills.
You apparently don’t have a problem with the Town charging for parking. So why should the beach, which is a Town asset, be handled differently?

Conor
Reply to  Bryan
3 March 2021 2:35 pm

I am removing my rose coloured glasses. What makes you assume beach goers contribute little to Cobourg’s wellbeing. Perhaps after visiting the beautiful beach they might come back stay in a hotel, go shopping and maybe even buy a property. Or if they don’t feel welcome they just might not ever come back again. I didn’t say all Cobourgers hate tourists just the ones who have a bad attitude about beach goers. Just maybe some of these beach visitors visit local restaurants and bakeries. Who Knows.