By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, theWedge.LIVE 💙 TO SHARE click icons at story’s end. TO SUBSCRIBE go to upper-right column. TO COMMENT go to upper-right of story
There was a calm and congenial atmosphere in Smiths Falls’ sparkling Welcome Centre last night. The town has been reveling in its good fortune of late. This evening was no exception.
The biting cold did not stop a good crowd from showing up to revel yet again.
Chris Saumure, Guy Saumure & Sons, and Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development, introduced le boat Managing Director, Cheryl Brown, who delivered an ebullient report on le boat’s first year here on the Rideau Canal.
“This is the proudest moment in my history with le boat,” Brown opened. She glowed about Smiths Falls, Canada and its people. The room was quiet.
Canada has this effect on newcomers. Our Canadian DNA has no hubris strand, so we would not hear these words and trumpet them. It’s just not Canadian.
Smiths Falls is humbled by Brown’s kind accolades. Of this, I am sure.
Brown expressed admiration for the Smiths Falls’ le boat team for their performance: Laurie Hudson-Craig, Amanda Breeze, Lisa McLean and Heather Whiting. Brown heaped praise on Hudson-Craig, stating she is, “le boat’s top sales person across its global operations.”
le boat is effectively bringing world travelers to our local East Ontario waterways and to Smiths Falls, the headquarters of its North American operations.
Then Brown took us through le boat Canada’s performance metrics. Clearly, our nation has surprised her. It already accounts for 2% of le boat’s global sales in its first year.
The Rideau Canal, its regions, cities, towns and villages were featured in the media worldwide–especially Smiths Falls. Brown estimates le boat’s media reach at 198 million worldwide including broadcast, print and on-line.
The Rideau and Smiths Falls are on travelers’ mental maps. Beautiful Seeley’s Bay is also rising in awareness with le boat’s recent establishment of this village as a “satellite base.” Traffic is expected to be dense between the two bases in 2019 and forward.
Brown showed live film of the boats manufactured in Poland and their trajectory toward Canada, landing first in Montreal, then making their way to Smiths Falls.
“Bringing our boats to Canada cost us a fortune!,” Brown lamented. She hopes to find a Canadian manufacturer soon. Perhaps Noreen Cartwright (the visionary Ontario Tourism leader who persuaded le boat to expand to Canada) can help yet again.
We surely have boat builders in Canada. There should be a t-shirt, a movement, “Make Local.” Buying locally and Canadian is well-embedded in our consciousness. I digress.
Smiths Falls is a principal beneficiary of le boat’s marketing worldwide. In other words, the town has earned a valuable distinction.
There will likely be incremental fanfare in 2019 as le boat celebrates its 50th anniversary from its launch in France. le boat 50th chocolates would be nice–with maple infusions–I dare opine.
Smiths Falls’ revitalization begins the same year. That means Beckwith will be dug up visibly–and audibly! We keep our eyes on the finished product fall 2020. Smiths Falls will be a renewed vision with its heritage kept intact and likely, a larger le boat fleet.
SPECIAL MEANING, SPECIAL VIDEO
The short video below struck this writer especially for its lyrics, “Let’s go get lost so we can be found.” I am the daughter of a Professor of Philosophy, so I can’t help underscore the value of these words.
Get out and explore–fear not! Getting lost on le boat is more exciting than finding your way through its excellent maps and guides.
We are never lost. We are on planet earth–nothing confusing about that.
Too many are sitting on their porches and leaving their savings to accumulate little–or disintegrate in value. Spend your money feeling alive with adventure, if not on le boat, by canoe, by car or bike–or on foot. Nature is so healing, so comforting, so amazing.
Give the gift of exploration to your loved ones or take someone who otherwise could not with you. At the heart of this boating corporation, this gift is delivered in spades.