Glen Eden
Glen Eden Milton

Co-Invested Projects


Rendezvous Canada 2021

Rendezvous Canada, our nation’s annual signature international tourism trade marketplace, commenced May 17 to 20. A first-ever online event provided an inclusive format while addressing travel restrictions and health and safety guidelines, as a result of the current COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Heart of Ontario participated in the capacity as a seller to promote and share with the over 330 global buyers, our destination of extraordinary outdoor and culture experiences, whereby leveraging our 11 export-ready regional industry partners. The opportunity to present our destination offerings lends positivity of renewal of anticipated tourism visitation, especially respecting the past years’ great challenges, and the cancellation of RVC 2020. Through one-on-one pre-scheduled appointments with tourism operators, we forged meaningful connections and conducted industry relationship building with forward-thinking qualified buyers from 29 countries world-wide.

As an active partner with Destination Ontario and Destination Canada, The Heart of Ontario represented this great province and our strong viability as a sought-after destination and demand generator in Ontario. Investing in regional tourism operators, curating buyable experiences, our virtual booth, which was situated in the Ontario Pavilion, hosted downloadable access to 9 operator profile flat sheets of each regional tourism business and showcasing their trade-friendly products; two newly produced destination videos; experiential-featured images, a regional map, and our digital export-ready 12-page destination brochure that highlighted 19 experiential buyable packages.

The 3-day premier Canadian marketplace brings tourism leaders, influencers and innovative planners together to explore and partner with Canadian tourism professionals to market Canada with confidence. The Heart of Ontario takes great pride in this opportunity to collaborate with our regional tourism industry to leverage their business that supports the forging of new contacts and strengthening partnerships.

Buyers are seeking to learn new and creative ways to experience and market Canada from coast to coast to coast. We aim to arm the buyers with the tools they will need to develop itineraries and product offers to their markets. This year's new virtual platform provided buyers the ability to participate and sellers were given an enhanced opportunity to reach new audiences and more members of the industry.

The marketplace selling engagement continues to be on-going, as we work with industry partners on opportunity leads. A total of 1500 delegates attended virtually the 550 booths that represented Canada’s tourism operators and destinations. The Heart of Ontario conducted 43 twenty-minute appointments that spanned throughout the 3-day marketplace event, in all global time zones.

Industry intelligence on key market demands gained from RVC+ 2021:

  • High demand for destinations with emphasizes on nature-based, open spaces and sustainable experience offerings.
  • Continued demand for authentic cultural experiences that include an enhanced focus on Indigenous traditions and storytelling.
  • Hamilton Halton Brant provides a destination that offers the key elements that support the post-pandemic slow travel movement culture – mindful and purposeful travel whereby the traveller consciously and intentionally engages in authentic experiences, learning, appreciating and connecting through immersive elements of travel.
  • Planners seek information on trade-friendly accommodation rates and amenities that address cultures and competitive market demands.
  • Demand for longer stay visitation in Canada lends opportunity to showcase our destination to compliment the top-of-mind Toronto and Niagara Falls iconic must-dos. As a region, our opportunity will be to continue to deliver on what makes us a true Canadian experience, while focusing on the beyond the sightseeing mentality and provide something more responsible, sustainable, memorable and meaningful.
  • Notably stronger demand for experiences that speak to the Fully Independent Traveller (F.I.T.) post pandemic audience, including RVing and eco-nature.

Our continued commitment to fostering our regional industry partners that supports growth, retention and relevance, while exploring ways for continued contribution of a strong and vibrant visitor economy in The Heart of Ontario. We invite you to contact Bev Scott, Manager, Business and Visitor Experiences Development at bev.scott@theheartofontario.com and learn more about how she can leverage your business for export-readiness, product development initiatives and provide updates and industry intelligence.


HamBur Cycling Loop

The HamBur Loop was developed in collaboration with HHBRTA, The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in Hamilton and Burlington, and included working with local municipalities, to create curated cycle-friendly path. A blend of groomed paths, roadways, and municipal trails, this 50-kilometre route offering recreational cyclists a great touring experience that includes lakeside views and waterfronts, urban locations, natural icons, and scenic lookouts.

As we continue to evolve this experience, HHBRTA will focus on the features and destinations along the loop, working with local tourism businesses to increase visitation, length of stay and spending. We will develop itineraries, highlighting sections of the “loop” to build packages.

Visitor Experience Brand Development

  1. Consumer-facing Itinerary development to attract new tourism markets and improve economic development overall.
  2. Stakeholder Engagement – package development that encourage longer stays, higher spend yield; market-readiness; trip motivation
  3. Supporting route amenities, accommodations, attractions, culinary, culture, gardens, historical points of interest, geology/landforms history, coastal stories; and marketing
  4. Supporting existing infrastructure of the HamBur Loop
  5. Identify our unique selling position – UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve: Niagara Escarpment; shorelines of one of the five Great Lakes, Lake Ontario; safe, groomed paths; cell service coverage, local history and one-of-a-kind attractions along the route.

Please contact Bev Scott, by email at bev.scott@theheartofontario.com, or by phone at 905-297-0190 ext. 107. Bev will be working with local tourism business in package development, and overall visitor experiences engagement.


The Grand River: Visitor Experience Development

The tourist is coming from nearby and across the globe to experience our unique products and offers – the river continues to perform as a trip motivator in the outdoor tourism space. Our regional Grand River outfitter experts serve over 80,000 paddlers, annually. Considering this only accounts for the booked outfitter business, we also must consider organic individual paddler who is coming with their own equipment and enjoying our waters independently. Together this is an active audience and one we continue to target – through product development, infrastructure initiatives, and sector specific campaigns. 

What’s more exciting is that we understand the value of the paddler – the canoeist, the kayaker, but moreover, not discounting other contenders:  the trail-riding cyclists whom skim the river shoreline paths, and together we consider this market the triple crown of the outdoor water-based adventure enthusiast. Avid outdoor enthusiasts, families, explorers, knowledge-seekers and new Canadians are the recognized target audience through Destination Ontario of which we align our marketing. Read More. 


True Brew Path

The True Brew Path was created in 2016 to showcase the growing tourism interest in Ontario’s fledgling Craft Beer industry.  A brand was developed, and 6 Regional Craft Breweries in Hamilton Halton Brant came on board to help promote this new tourism initiative.  Over the past 4 years the number of partners included in the True Brew Path promotions has grown to also include cideries, wineries and unique brew pubs in this regional culinary experience.  Visitors can savour an unique variety of beers, ciders and wines from 26 locally operated businesses that produce or serve these regional beverages.  These businesses also offer visitors entertainment through live music events, experiential VIP tours and workshops (learn how to make sausages at Merit Brewing) and even accommodations (West Avenue Cidery has a B&B available beside the orchard). Read More


Hamilton Culture Pass 

Tourism Hamilton initiated a collaborative marketing initiative to enhance promotional appeal for four major cultural attractions in Hamilton.  Working with the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum, Royal Botanical Gardens and Dundurn Castle, Tourism Hamilton developed the framework and pricing for a Hamilton Culture Pass.  The first of its kind in the region; this promotion offers visitors a 15% savings when they purchase the pass, which gives them access to the four attractions, plus value-added offers at each location, such as 10% off in the gift shop, to enhance visitor experiences. Read More. 


Rendez-vous Canada 2019

Led by Destination Canada and the Travel Industry Association of Canada, RVC showcases the rich diversity of Canada and contributes to the prosperity and growth of our tourism industry.  Held in Toronto, RVC introduced some 680 plus qualified Tour Operators from 30 countries, and selected Travel Trade Media of Destination Canada’s 10 international markets to Canadian sellers of tourism products. A total of 1700 delegates were in attendance, over a 4-day marketplace.

HHBRTA partnered with 11 market-ready regional tourism experience businesses, in a co-investment strategy, that showcased our destination as a must-experience for Canadian Landscapes, Gardens, Grand River, Canadian Stories, First Nations, and a feature of our two Ontario Signature Experiences. We co-shared a half booth with our key partner, Royal Botanical Gardens. Through this strategy, we mentored the development of Travel Trade profile/sales sheet collateral, as a standard tool to present buyable packages. A 12-page collection of authentic Canadian experiences – “A Place to be Canadian” booklet was developed that featured 19 trade-friendly experiential and unique packages, and of the 19 packages offered, 13 were developed specific to this opportunity. A Media Kit was also developed that further elevated our message and product offerings, and was provided to media in attendance, as well as post-marketplace engagement. Read More.

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