Tourism Golden has started up another initiative to teach visitors and locals about the area.
Saturday Showcases invite different organizations to set up shop at the Visitor Information Centre to teach people about some of the exciting things in Golden. The first in the series taught visitors about the grizzly bear refuge on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, where Golden’s iconic bear Boo lives.
Planning for the weekly event began shortly after the Visitor Information Open House in the spring.
“There was a lot of good uptake from the open house that we had,” said visitor services manager Alycia Weir. “Many community members came out for that, so really it was just trying to find other ways to engage not only visitors, but locals as well.”
Many of the Saturday Showcases scheduled focus heavily on wildlife and the environment, with groups like Wildsight coming to talk about the waterbird program, WildSafeBC discussing some of the animals in the area and how to prevent human-wildlife conflicts, and organizations that will talk about invasive species, and beaver habitats in the area.
“Lots of visitors come and they’re interested in wildlife, the history, and the geography,” Weir said, adding that the showcases provide enough opportunity for visitors to learn a little bit more about the community if they aren’t able to stop to check out what Golden has to offer, and maybe it will encourage them to return to see what there is to do at a later date.
The showcases are on a drop-in basis, and will begin with a short presentation before opening up the floor to discussion and questions. Many of the presenters will have interesting artifacts for people to look at and touch.
The Visitor Centre wants to engage locals in the showcases as well, since they are the ones walking around town, seeing visitors everywhere, Weir said.
“It’s just trying to kind of keep people interested, and kind of aware of what’s happening, and the value of tourism and things like that, and also the value of the visitor centre and how it affects the community and the economic impact that it has,” she said. “And really, it’s to showcase the great work and the local expertise that we have in terms of history and geography, and knowing and preserving the wetlands, and stuff like that.”
The showcases are held on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., during some of the visitor centre’s busiest hours, in hopes of having more travellers attend the events.
“It’s just kind of drop in. Those tended to be our peak hours on Saturday. We wanted to do it when there tended to be the most amount of traffic,” she said. “People can come by, there will be a kind of short presentation to start, and it’s really an interactive opportunity to ask questions. Depending on who it is, [they] will have different artifacts or things that people can touch and just learn more about the area.
Tourism Golden is already booking the weekly showcases to the end of the summer, and have reached out to many organizations looking for presenters. She hopes to offer a variety of different information sessions for people to learn all about the area.
“It was kind of an idea that we had, so we’re excited to see how things go,” she said. “I think it is a neat opportunity for people to be able to get some more in-depth information, especially if people don’t have time to go up and see Boo or whatever, then they can stop in for a half an hour and at least learn about Boo, and maybe on their next trip they can go and do that.”