Orillia's Got Talent: Attracting Tourists with Nonstop Entertainment

William R. Horne

Abstract


The cottage country in the Province of Ontario is a major tourist destination. Bringing tourists into a specific part of cottage country requires a unique attraction. When one thinks of Orillia, Ontario, for example, one thinks of author Stephen Leacock’s fictional town, Mariposa. When one thinks of Mariposa, one thinks of the Mariposa Folk Festival. While this is the key event in Orillia’s tourist program, it by no means stands alone. The Jazz Festival, the Blues Festival, the Beatles Celebration, and other musical events have been linked with art, drama, comedy, literary, and other cultural events to create an extended summer of tourist attractions. This paper discusses the development of this cultural tourism program and examines its success at drawing tourists to Orillia, contributing to the redevelopment of the downtown, and providing employment alternatives to a bygone industrial community.

Keywords: urban tourism, cultural economy, economic development, downtown redevelopment

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.

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