$100,000 to boost tourism and foster diversity in Northeastern Ontario

NORTHEASTERN ONTARIO, December 14, 2020 — Desjardins’ GoodSpark Fund is contributing $100,000 to the development of the 101 Experiences project.

This generous contribution was announced on December 12, during a program aired nationwide on Radio-Canada (CBC): Et si on se levait. 101 Experiences is one of the first nine projects to be supported by the GoodSpark Fund, and is currently the only project outside of Quebec to receive this funding.

The funds will help create a tourism experience incubator, deliver an online training program, and offer support to help participants develop experiences. The tourism experience incubator focuses on supporting participants throughout the process of developing their Experience to help them become micro-entrepreneurs.

The cultural experiences developed by participants will help build bridges within the Northeastern Ontario population, in addition to stimulating the economy and promoting tourism in the region. These Experiences will be offered in the region between Constance Lake/Hearst and Temagami as early as summer 2021.

“As an Indigenous youth, I feel empowered to be part of a project that is so inclusive”, says Lynne Cormier, one of the first trainers and micro-entrepreneurs for 101 Experiences. “To witness the real effort that is being put in to not only include Indigenous people but to really feel heard is such a huge step for all our northern communities.”

“This project is supporting individuals in sharing their passions by developing experiences to share and learn from one another”, adds Lynne Cormier. Local and regional organizations will provide training in French and English in Northeastern Ontario communities.

The initiative, led by the Northeastern Ontario Consortium and sponsored by the Centre culturel ARTEM, has two overarching goals: stimulate tourism development and create more welcoming communities in Northeastern Ontario. "The 101 tourism experiences will feature people from various cultural backgrounds. They will showcase their culture through experiential activities," says the chair of ARTEM, Réjeanne Bélisle-Massie. "There's no better way to get to know our neighbours!"

The 101 Experiences model is centred around delivering an online Train the Trainer program. 20 people from Northeastern Ontario have already completed the Train the Trainer program; they are currently in the process of recruiting and training participants. An online Participant program will also be available to participants who would like to host their own Experience.