If Haldimand County is looking for a branding, I would call it the Sunny South Soast of Canada. I live within 10 km of Lake Erie. 10 km inland is about the extent of a strong lake influence, approximately as far north as Cayuga, affecting the whole south coast of Haldimand County roughly outlined by everything south of Hwy. 3. This part of Haldimand County also generally slopes south to the lake and the sun is more direct and bakes hot here, giving us weeks of extra warm weather in spring and fall. So I tell people I live on the Sunny South coast of Canada
Looking through 2 important reports the county has commissioned about economic growth and tourism development, it is pleasing to see these reports do a good job of summarizing the draws of Haldimand County. Most importantly they recognize that Haldimand County doesn’t have to make tourist attactions. We have a Great Lake coast. We have the Grand River. And we have good long southern weather.
Besides these outstanding natural features, the strength of the County is recognized in these reports as a collection of unique small towns in a rural setting; each town with unique culture, architecture, festivals and natural features as top attractions. The meat and potatoes of Haldimand County tourism already exists. The vision for the County should build on these concepts. Let the small towns keep developing and showcasing their unique cultural arhitectural and natural features.
What the reports also recognize is that future growth of tourism in Haldimand County will best rely on a county-wide approach to introducing people to and getting people around to all these unique features spread through a rural setting. In response to this need, I see the County developing a central landing pad or hub for welcoming tourists, using the concept of ‘spokes’ of destination routes to introduce the many places and events. (Add to the already good route maps the county has developed on the lake shoreline, the river, trail and biking routes)
A landing pad for tourism is very important. It welcomes people, it gives them a chance to be welcomed. It gives the opportunity to rest, refresh and get oriented to the whole of what Haldimand County has to offer. People I’ve met visiting the County arrive here looking for a place to sit down outside and rest, a place to get some food and have a picnic. They are looking for shade on a sunny day, water, and basic facilities of washrooms, even day care. Haldimand has a rich art culture and daycare facilities can provide people more opportunities to access courses or festivals.
Cayuga would make an excellent landing pad for visitors. Cayuga has a lot of open green space downtown and with the Court House grounds buildings coming open when the county administrative services leave, there will be good building infrastructure that would be an ideal place to develop as a County greeting area for tourists. Develop the County office building into a tourism office, day care, art studios with basic washroom facilities. All these amenities within a shady public park area, close to the river, next to the museum, near the refurbished library and market square, and the other lovely red brick architecture of old Cayuga, near shops and restaurants, near the access to the rail trail over the river. What an introduction to Haldimand County that would be! What an introduction to the Sunny South Coast of Canada.