Archive for March, 2010

Resorts of Ontario’s Spring Conference, “It’s Showtime” trade show and Presidents dinner was held last week at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood (Mar 23 and 24) and what an event it was. The day started with a presentation from Michael Kurts from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, outlining how regional tourism organizations will play a role in Ontario starting July 2010. This was followed by the Annual General Meeting which featured the annual report and an outline of new initiatives planned for 2010.

The “It’s Showtime” trade show kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with a lunch featuring a classical french cheese station, a pasta station and a seafood station. Everyone raved about the meal and commented that we need a similar lunch every year going forward. The resort owners and operators made their way around the trade show floor which had representatives from different Resorts of Ontario preferred suppliers. Swissol, Planet Energy and Sam Group promoted their products through informational showcase sessions. (One of the highlights of the tradeshow was certainly the fashion show featuring different clothing items for the resort industry put on by the Sam Group and featuring volunteer models from some different resorts as well as a few staff members from our office.

The afternoon also had information sessions with the first being a presentation done by Sarah from Galigraph Design focusing on the “Keys to successful advertising.” Later in the day was a presentation from Gord Bell of Beauview Cottages on “Understanding Social Media.”

Anne carrying her Olympic TorchA wine reception started off the evening and dinner attendees where able to participate in a traditional wine tasting presented by the wine specialists of Inniskillen. Resorts of Ontario putting on a rockin’ good time with its Rock and Roll themed night. The dinner opened with a parade of current board members being led by Olympic Torch bearer Anne Marshall from Elmhirst’s Resort. This was followed by a tribute to past presidents. Dinner was concluded and the  live music from Jamie Williams began. Despite most people being on their feet the majority of the day the dance floor was full and Jamie even invited a few people on stage to help him perform.

The next morning began with many tired but happy people returning to their booths on the trade show floor or attending breakfast with a presentation by Kevan Ashworth (Ashworth Photography) and Barb Kienapple (Jack’s of Hearts design) on “How to tell your story!” which drew on real life experiences and how customers are motivated to buy. From there resort operators were given the opportunity to bid on donated items with benefits going to Camp Trillium.

Needless to say it was a great event and thanks go out to all who were involved.

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With Earth Hour approaching on March 27, it is a good time to look at how resorts are doing their part to help the environment. One of the biggest reasons people go to a resort in Ontario is the natural beauty and tranquility. It is because of this reason that resorts are now taking notice of what their impact on the environment is and how that can be reduced. They consider everything from the surrounding forestry, the electrical use, fresh water, fishery management and then even the potential cost savings for running their business more efficiently.

Audubon International is a not for profit group that provides information on how hotel and resort operators can limit their impact on the environment. These resorts are then awarded a green leaf rating up to 5 which shows their commitment and improvements towards limiting their impact on the environment. Similarly is the Green Key Eco-Rating Program which looks at “…opportunities to reduce operating costs and environmental impacts through reduced utility consumption, employee training, and supply chain management.”

Cedar Grove Lodge was the first resort in Ontario to receive a 4 green leaf rating. Their commitment to environmental stewardship runs so deep that they have now also been the first Ontario resort to also receive Ocean Wise Designation. Working through their suppliers they are now sourcing 100% sustainable seafood items which are not at risk from over fishing. They also attempt to use organically grown foods whenever possible. Guests at Cedar Grove have an opportunity to participate in helping the environment by paying Plantair to offset the carbon emissions for the travel to and from the resort. The owners are true leaders in changing business practices in favour of the environment.

The 4 Diamond Brookstreet Resort located in Ottawa is another fine example of a resort that has committed to the environment. Brookstreet maintains a 4 out of 5 rating with both the Audubon and Green Key eco rating programs. The Green Key program gives hotels and resorts guidance on how to “unlock” opportunities on lower operating costs while also lowering the impact on the environment. Brookstreet’s “Green committee”  educates staff through weekly emails on initiatives they can take to be more efficient. Brookstreet is also a proud follower of Earth Hour and in both 2008 and 2009 all non-essential lighting was turned off, essential lighting was dimmed where possible, the escalator was turned off and elevator service reduced to top if off they held an Earth our celebration at Options Bar with Canapés by Candlelight.

“The pristine setting, the abundant wildlife, the clean air and fresh water… these are the attributes which make Foxwood so very special.” Foxwood Resort is another resort earning the 4 leaf rating through Audubon International by preventing pollution, practicing resource conservation and energy efficiency. New structures are built incorporating sustainable and recyclable materials. Ecological biodiversity is also considered through managed forest practices, visitor education, and sensitivity to wildlife. Foxwood even promotes “Dark Skies” (A plus for star-gazing and astronomy enthusiasts,) by using downcast or low-wattage lighting.(c)Photo Provided by Glenn Cameron

This is just the tip of the iceberg as more and more resorts try to get on board with environmental best practices. Other resorts that have obtained Green Leaf ratings through the Audubon program include White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa in Niagara on the Lake, Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, and in Huntsville – Beauview Cottage, Pow-Wow Point Lodge, and Tally-Ho Inn.

 

As you think of ways to participate in Earth Hour 2010,  consider a stay at one of these resorts and get some rest and relaxation while putting you mind at ease knowing that you are supporting a business which goes the extra mile to support the environment.

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Practice makes perfectAfter yesterday’s extremely close Olympic Game which saw the men’s Olympic Team Canada beat Team USA 3-2 for the gold medal, it seems fitting to write about hockey and how Resorts of Ontario fits into the popular Canadian sport.

For well over a century Canadians have been playing ice hockey on frozen ponds and lakes and then indoors at arenas and now even on home-made backyard rinks. Boys and girls, men and women, Canadians all seem to take personal pride in picking up their sticks and heading out on the ice. People play for fun, practicing passing and stick handling, while others take it more seriously by playing in competitions.  

Bayview Wildwood Resort located on shores of Sparrow Lake south Muskoka plays host to the Taylor Cup pond hockey championship every year.  With the tournament being played on frozen Sparrow Lake, this is certainly an experience to behold. Benefits of the tournament go the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and this year the tournament raised over $140,000.On the lit up rink

For a truly unique hockey experience look to Haliburton for Sandy Lane Resort which boasts pond hockey under the stars played on the lit up natural rink. With skates, sticks and pucks available for rent, Sandy Lane makes a great place to visit whether you have been playing your whole life or just trying it for the first time. Afterwards, warm up with a dip in the outdoor hot tub, an experience all is own.

In 2007 Nottawasaga Inn Resort , located just north of Toronto, opened its doors on its fully completed twin pad arena named “The Center Ice Sportsplex.” As they say on their website this area is “An ideal location for hockey tournaments, skills development, training camps, hockey schools, figure skating, team building and recreational skating.” Nottawasaga is the only resort in Ontario to offer a twin pad arena and it is free for guests staying at the resort. 

Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, played host to the 2010 Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships. With 24 rinks built on Sunset Bay this was definitely a tournament to see. Guests of the resort benefit from the tournaments long after the event has finished as the ice remains available for pick up hockey or an open skate and with rental equipment available in stock there is no reason to not get out on the ice.

Whether you have been playing hockey your whole life or just received inspiration to start now, there is no better place to try this game then at a resort on their natural or man-made rink. Come on up to our place and let’s play that good old hockey game.

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