MORRISBURG – Consider the Upper Canada Region brand dead.
South Dundas economic development officer Rob Hunter presented a strong case from the tourism advisory committee to council Mon., Nov. 1 that the municipality align itself with the
“Where Ontario Began” brand established by SD&G.
“[The tourism advisory committee] didn’t feel the “Upper Canada Region” tagline is working and it hasn’t really worked over the last number of years,” said Hunter, adding that the United Counties slogan is “certainly more reflective of the region.”
The Upper Canada Region brand was a co-operative branding experiment between South Dundas and South Stormont that was launched in 2008.
Hunter pointed out the many flaws of the branding, including the extensive use of the Upper Canada moniker in the rest of Ontario.
“It lacked definition. There wasn’t really an identity to it other than the logo. It just wasn’t capturing people’s imagination. It wasn’t connecting,” he said.
Deputy-Mayor Kirsten Gardner agreed, adding that it could also be more cost effective.
“There’s no point in having a brand if nobody identifies with it or it’s confusing,” she said. “When there is a pretty active approach going on it’s much better to tag on to ‘Where Ontario Began.’”
Mayor Steven Byvelds, who was on South Dundas council when the “Upper Canada Region” brand launched, admitted the buy-in simply wasn’t there.
“I will agree with you that it really hasn’t taken off to where it needs to be,” he said. “A tagline can work if everybody embraces it. I will say that not everybody has embraced it in South Dundas and South Stormont.”
Council approved the move and Hunter noted that he had been in contact with SD&G tourism coordinator Nick Seguin and that the upper tier government would take on the transition.
“We talked about doing an overlay on those signs. There’s a willingness for [Seguin] to include that on his tourism budget for next year. We’re just getting the costing together for him,” said Hunter.