Following the recommendations from the Hamilton Halton Brant Outdoor Tourism Product Assessment and Regional Tourism Organizations Four’s Trails & Waterways Tourism Product Assessment, the Grand River became a focal point for experience enhancement within the two regions. No major investments in the river experience had been made in the last 20 years, since the initiation of the Canadian Heritage Rivers program. The goal of this tourism product enhancement is to reposition the Grand River as a must do experience by ensuring all aspects exceed user’s expectations.
The initial projects undertaken by each of the regions included an inventory and assessment of the access points along the river within the geographic boundaries of the RTOs. Undertaking a project designed to upgrade the access to the river, Grand River stakeholders were mobilized to gain their input, and to understand their needs and expectations. Further, a Business Case was outlined, detailing the market for paddling and fishing with the purpose of assessing the go forward potential of further river development.
The resulting access improvement project produced documents designed to guide river access point upgrades. The development of a rejuvenated Grand River brand and corresponding brand toolkit by the Marketing Team, provided a new look for any developments related to the river and its marketing. The Development Team then managed the project which saw the completion of the Grand River Access Point Standards Manual & Pilot Design Plans to provide the basis for access point developments moving forward. Finally, BC Hughes managed the upgrade of the first access point, at Wilson’s Flats. A subsequent stakeholder workshop detailed the upgrades and previous project work to more than 100 Grand River stakeholders, setting the stage for further river improvements.