Provincial funding will help Port Hope attract more tourism and investment

By Cecilia Nasmith

The provincial government has declared Ontario open for business, and Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini said Friday that this includes rural Ontario.

Piccini made an appearance at Port Hope's Capitol Theatre on behalf of Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman to announce a Rural Economic Development grant of $47,000 that will spur the development of a Port Hope tourism app that will enhance tourism and economic development.

The app will promote shops, restaurants, events and significant points of interest like the Capitol Theatre – and it will feature such amenities as a fish camera to stir interest in the great fishing available in the Ganaraska River.

“It will promote small businesses and help visitors navigate through this municipality, and attract them into our downtown – getting people into our community, getting businesses to invest and grow.”

Piccini gave a shout-out to the municipal partners in this effort. The app will be developed through the spring, and the municipality can plan a big launch of its own when it's completed.

Communities along Highway 401 struggle with attracting motorists off the road, he said. For years, people have believed the secret is good signage - but increasingly, people's plans are driven by their apps and app-based technology. The new Port Hope app plays into this trend.

Personally, Piccini said, he has never talked with someone who took the time to get off the road and explore Port Hope who did not make plans for a repeat trip.

Port Hope is one of 80 Ontario communities that will benefit from such a grant, designed to boost and diversify the local economy through such projects as marketing and downtown revitalization plans, and branding and promotional activities.

In his own riding, Piccini added, five communities in addition to Port Hope will benefit. He looks forward to similar announcements in each one, outlining anticipated benefits to business attraction and promotion, as well as arts and culture.