Huron County has come to be known internationally as Ontario’s West Coast. The lakeshore and countryside of the County offers a diverse tourism experience that appeals to a broad demographic. These experiences clearly match current travel trends, as visitors seek: access to natural settings, clean water for recreation, year round activities, safe and friendly communities and diverse heritage and cultural pastimes.
Huron County’s countryside is a patchwork quilt of rich farmland, charming communities that boast broad main streets, tree-lined side streets and well-preserved Victorian-era commercial and domestic architecture. With a coastline that stretches 110 km the County offers a shoreline experience for visitors with public beaches and marinas. Outstanding theatre, museums, attractions and events and recreational pursuits, combine with a broad range of accommodations, shopping and dining options to draw visitors to Huron County every year.
Find your place here in Huron County’s tourism industry and you’ll discover the appeal that keeps our visitors coming back time and again: a diversity of getaway locations that appeal to active couples and families with children of all ages who are looking for year-round pastimes and pleasures. Huron County is ready to welcome a new tourism enterprise today!
Ontario’s West Coast
Huron County Economic Development manages Ontario’s West Coast, the tourism brand for Huron County. The department’s vision for tourism is for Ontario’s West Coast to be a recognized tourism brand representing outstanding, authentic opportunities to experience the natural environment, immerse in local heritage and historical places, play a role in the dynamic story of rural Ontario, and express yourself alongside the vibrant arts community.
The Huron County Economic Development department does this by:
- Maintaining ontarioswestcoast.ca, Huron County’s tourism site;
- Publishing an annual Ontario’s West Coast Visitor’s Guide;
- Administrating Ontario’s West Coast social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram;
- Publishing supplemental tourism guides including: Hiking Guide, Cycling Map, and Paddling & Fishing Guide;
- Facilitating the successful implementation of the Huron County Tourism Plan, 2020 – 2023;
- Maintaining an online calendar of festivals and events happening in Huron County;
- Hosting an annual Tourism Summit for local tourism operators;
- Liaising with regional, provincial and national tourism partners including: Regional Tourism Organization #4, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and Indigenous Tourism Ontario;
- Partnering with tourism stakeholders on strategic tourism marketing campaigns and initiatives.
Huron County Tourism Plan 2020-2023
The Huron County Tourism Plan was developed in consultation with key stakeholders from across the county’s tourism sector. Through group conversation and facilitated discussion, Huron County Economic Development and tourism industry stakeholders generated a list of pain points, opportunities and strategic priorities for the county to implement over four years.
In the creation of this strategic plan for tourism, the county is ensuring that tourism growth meets the needs of the community as well as delivers competitive product that generates repeat visitation. To fully capitalize on the tourism potential, we have identified the four main issues currently hindering sustainable tourism growth. This plan addresses these issues and makes recommendations for paving the way for sustained benefits from tourism.
A new winter season tourism initiative launched in January 2021 that adapted the popular Scandinavian concept of hygge (pronounced hue-gah or hoo-guh) that denotes a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.
Economic Development staff worked with a steering committee of tourism partners and stakeholders to develop activities for people to enjoy while staying warm and cozy during the long winter months. The successful campaign included 35 events, activities, workshops and classes being promoted over the winter months that included:
Thursday evening virtual concert series from January 14 to February 25. Participation for the live streaming concerts averaged around 1,000 people each week with another 2,000 – 3,000 people watching the concert video on Facebook each week.
New online video content including a ride along with dog sled champion Luke Siertsema of Blyth created for Family Day garnered close to 6,000 views on Ontario’s West Coast Facebook page. Comfort food cooking demonstration videos featuring Nicole MacKechnie from Sweet Love Eats (over 7,000 views)
Curl up with a Good Book virtual author reading in partnership with Huron County Library with author Lindy Mechefske discussing the culinary history and recipes from her award-winning book Out of Old Ontario Kitchens.
Family-friendly programming for Family Day weekend that included virtual puppet and magic shows, “Find the Fox” trail scavenger hunts, family bingo cards, make and take craft kits and games and puzzles.
Online crafting workshops and classes facilitated by the Fashion Arts & Creative Textiles Studio (FACTS), Blyth.
Despite the stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 Pandemic over the winter months, Huron County residents and virtual visitors were able to find plenty of online activities to do to bring comfort and connection this winter through Huron Hygge.
Special thanks to the over 20 businesses, organizations and community groups that partnered with us on Huron Hygge including: 519 Tours, Rural Response for Healthy Children, Huron EarlyON, Huron County Library, Town of Goderich, Blyth Community Betterment, Township of North Huron, Blyth BIA, Fashion Arts Creative Textile Studio (FACTS), Exeter BIA, Municipality of Central Huron, Bayfield Centre for the Arts, Solace on Turnberry and Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol
Huron County Wish Book
The Huron County Wish Book offered online listings of local products, from handcrafted one-of-a-kind items to popular brand name products, available to assist with holiday gift gifting and reinforcing the importance and ease of shopping local. The Wish Book was supported by a social media campaign and contest with weekly draws for $100 in gift certificates from local merchants.
The Huron County Wish Book was developed by Huron County Economic Development in partnership with the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce, Blyth BIA, Central Huron BIA, Community Futures Huron, Goderich BIA, Huron County Chamber of Commerce Seaforth BIA, Municipality of Bluewater, South Huron Chamber of Commerce, Town of Goderich, Wingham BIA and the Zurich District Chamber of Commerce.
In Your Backyard
Huron County Economic Development launched the In Your Backyard local tourism campaign in mid-June. The campaign promoted how residents and visitors can enjoy the summer in their own backyard. Using different tag lines that highlight different amenities available in Huron County, the campaign drove people to OntariosWestCoast.ca to find out the many things available to do on Ontario’s West Coast. The campaign was promoted on social media, featured in print and digitally, displayed on billboards found throughout the County, and through a guide mailed to 28,000 households across Huron County and area.
How Can We Help?
Huron County is always excited to support new and innovative ideas and businesses.
We’re here to help!
57 Napier Street,
+1 (519) 524-8394 ext.6