Niagara-on-the-Lake was voted Canada's most beautiful and sustainable destination for events during a virtual Earth Day event hosted by the Sustainable Events Forum.
NOTL chief administrative officer Marnie Cluckie called it “a spectacular surprise and honour. Niagara-on-the-Lake had some fierce and very worthy competition for this great distinction and we are thrilled to have been chosen.”
For Lord Mayor Betty Disero, “This is such a great honour to be voted Canada’s most beautiful and sustainable events destination,”
“I look forward to welcoming tourists and visitors back to experience all that is beautiful, unique and wonderful about our town, once it is safe to do so.”
Only registered participants were able to vote, with about 450 people taking part in the event. Most attendees were from the meeting profession – hotels, destination management organizations and meeting planners from across Canada.
NOTL received about 35 per cent of all the votes cast, said Natalie Lowe, president of the Sustainable Events Forum.
Following its nomination, NOTL, along with fellow nominees St. John’s, Charlottetown, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Banff, Vancouver, Victoria and Whitehorse, were assigned a champion to represent the town and attest to how it exhibits beauty and sustainability.
Shari Bricks, managing director of Bond Association Management in Toronto, hosted a short video highlighting NOTL's beauty and sustainability.
A town official said NOTL tried to “highlight sustainability leaders in the community.”
“For example, Stratus Winery was the first winery in Canada to earn the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Canada Certification. NOTL is home to many wineries that engage in natural, biodynamic, and/or organic winemaking, such as Southbrook Vineyard, Frogpond Farm Winery and Ravine Vineyard. These wineries, and others, are the perfect place to host an event,” said town engagement co-ordinator Lauren Kruitbosch.
“There are also many amazing restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake that make sustainability efforts. For example, Ryan Crawford focuses on reducing food waste and grows many of his ingredients in his own garden. Treadwell has been doing farm-to-table cuisine since 2006 and also focuses on local ingredients and local suppliers. Again, these are all great event locations.”
She said organizations like Parks Canada also embody sustainability “by preserving and protecting historic sites, like Fort George” and the agency's sustainable development strategy outlines its plan to take effective action on climate change.
Cluckie noted, “Sustainability is not something that is achieved, but rather a state for which we continually strive. Niagara-on-the-Lake is committed to continuous improvements, including reducing our carbon footprint and being good stewards of this beautiful environment in which we live, work and play.”
The Sustainable Events Forum is an industry organization that started as a single event 19 months ago. The organization's goal is to increase awareness in the event sector on sustainability.
Bricks' video promoting NOTL can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=z63B58hDNnE.