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Tourist season at Lock 7 Viewing Centre off to a great start

In the first two weeks of opening, there already have been 699 visitors to the centre; 'The majority of visitors have been from the United States'
The Lock 7 Viewing Centre hopes to welcome ship enthusiasts once again this summer.

In the first two weeks of opening, there already have been 699 visitors to the Lock 7 Viewing Centre on Chapel St S.

The numbers were discussed during a June 8 meeting of the city’s Tourism Committee.

“What I think is really impressive is that the majority of visitors have been from the United States,” the city’s Manager of Economic Development, Ken Scholtens, told committee members. “It’s actually international tourists who are passing through Thorold and stopping in at the viewing centre as opposed to local residents.”

37% of all visitors to the centre were between 60 and 70 years old.

“Many of the reasons they are coming to the visitor centre is for the express purpose of actually seeing ships traverse the canal through the locks,” said Scholtens. “It’s not so much a biking path or biking pitstop as I had assumed. It is a destination of choice.”

The Tourism Committee hopes to utilize the data to make decisions on how to best lure people to Thorold this summer.

Earlier this year, Thorold City Council decided not to renew the city's contract with Venture Niagara. That organization had been in charge of Thorold tourism for the past 7 years.

Now it’s up to the city’s Tourism Committee to make Thorold a premium vacation destination in the Region this summer.

Committee members suggested several ways of optimizing the viewing centre, such as a drinking station or vending machine.

“I love the idea of us having a fridge in there to actually sell stuff,” said Committee Chair Tim Geddes. “It can probably pay for itself within a month.”

Others also suggested sprucing up the centre a bit more by teaming up with the Thorold Museum.

“We were looking around and realized how stark the walls look,” said committee member Joe Prytula. 

The committee is also exploring how to bring more sports and active transportation tourism to the city, as well as the possible creation of a walking tour.

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About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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