July 2 meeting at Victoria Street Café to discuss community-based tourism initiative for Chesterville

CHESTERVILLE — Victoria Street Café operator Amanda Burger is spearheading an effort to promote Chesterville as a “community-based tourism location area” through a potential grant from FedDev Ontario’s Canadian Experiences Fund. And she’s looking to work collectively with others interested in the idea.

The federally funded program offers to pay for up to 100 percent of projects between $25,000 and $500,000 — and potentially up to $1-million — undertaken by municipalities and non-profit organizations. Burger runs a non-profit group — A Bunch of People — that raises money for charity in concert with special activities at the Victoria Street Café and its base of operations at the McCloskey Hotel.

Some have observed that Chesterville, with a little imagination, is primed to become another Merrickville. With its beautiful natural scenery and South Nation River running through its developed waterfront recreational area — alongside a quaint downtown area with character — Chesterville has the potential to build further upon such successes as its waterfront market and annual Art on the Waterfront festival (marking 10 years in 2020).

Burger, who provided an update on her plans at the North Dundas Chamber of Commerce regular meeting last week, invites artists, musicians, farmers, wineries, food producers and tourism-related businesses in Chesterville to meet 7 p.m. at the 22 Victoria Street establishment tomorrow evening (Tuesday, July 2) to discuss a proposal in pursuit of a grant application.

“Are you interested in working together cooperatively to plan tourist related events throughout the year to compliment each other? Are you interested in Chesterville being promoted as a community based tourist location?” she asks.

Burger says she hopes to pursue a $100,000 grant to develop the idea.

The Canadian Experiences Fund has allocated $11-million to Southern Ontario projects (including Eastern Ontario) over the next two years. While the initial application period ended June 3, program operators still welcome new applicants to come forward until the funding runs out.

The program will invest in such priorities as attracting tourists to rural destinations, encouraging tourism more evenly across the year during the “shoulder” season and winter, and promoting farm-to-table and culinary tourism — things like food festivals, farmers’ markets and the development of new, locally produced food products and services. Fostering events related to the LGBTQ2 community is another priority area.

Below, local band Ha’Loonie performs at the Victoria Street Café June 28.
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