CTC16 Program


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Conference Program Header

9:00am to 5:00 pm

Radisson Admiral Hotel, Downtown Toronto

9:00 – 9:20am
Opening Remarks

9:20 – 10:15am
Keynote Speaker
Introduction & Moderator: Michael McCreesh, Ontario By Bike

Destination Bike: Bike Tourism Means Business – Nastassja Pace, Destination Development Specialist, Travel Oregon

Hear from the state of Oregon’s tourism development and marketing organization, Travel Oregon, on why they are taking bicycling tourism seriously; what the bike-travel economics are; why investments from infrastructure to marketing are important; and what innovative programs are getting their communities’ wheels spinning including the Bike Friendly Business program geared towards travelers, the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program, and the Bicycle Tourism Studio training workshops.

10:15  – 10:30am
Morning Coffee and Networking Break

10:30 – 11:45am
Morning Concurrent Session 1:
Route and Trail Enhancement Innovations
Moderator: John Lohuis,  Niagara Parks Commission

  • The Blue Route: Nova Scotia’s Emerging Provincial Cycling Network – Ben Buckwold, Director of Bikeways and Blue Route Implementation, Bicycle Nova Scotia

After years of partnership building and preparation, Nova Scotia opened the first segment of the Blue Route provincial cycling network in August 2015. Inspired by networks like La Route Verte, Nova Scotia’s Blue Route plans cover 3,000km of bikeways to be developed, designated and signed on roadways and trails across the Province. Although early in its development, the Blue Route is bringing together new partnerships, knowledge and approaches in Nova Scotia to the task of enhancing the cycling experience for visitors and residents. Increasing the destination appeal of the province for bicycle tourism is one of the key motivators behind the plans for the network. Bicycle Nova Scotia (BNS) is leading the Blue Route initiative in partnership with the Provincial Government and community supporters. BNS would like to share the story of the Blue Route, covering the steps leading to initial implementation and future plans for network development and project evaluation.

Providing an overview of the development of 6 road cycling routes in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, from a grass routes beginning to 300km of fully signed routes. Learn about the challenges overcome, lessons learned and win-win partnerships that helped with the wayfinding strategy, launch and promotion of the routes in 2015. Looking ahead, some of the next steps for further route enhancements will be shared.

  • Trail Enhancement Innovations – The Pan Am Path – A Legacy Project for the City of Toronto- Jen Hyland, Cycling Infrastructure & Programs, Project Manager – Cycling Infrastructure and Programs, City of Toronto

This presentation will discuss the Pan Am Path project – an initiative of Toronto’s Host City Showcase Program for the 2015 Pan Am Games. The discussion will include how City of Toronto divisions and external stakeholders and funders collaborated to connect, brand and animate over 80 kilometers of trail across the city of Toronto from the border of Brampton to the border of Pickering as the Pan Am Path. The vision and legacy: a trail across the city linking Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods and communities, with opportunities for tourism and commerce, sport and recreation, art and culture, and enriched public spaces. Key components to be reviewed include: partnership building, accelerated trail building, wayfinding/branding/mapping and cultural programming and installations.

After 3 years of collaborative work with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, as a grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the 475 km Greenbelt Route was launched summer 2015. With 1,100 signs in the ground, this substantial new tourism product allows us to ensure that we have a connected and protected landscape for cycling through the Greenbelt area, showcasing the natural beauty of our region. We will be presenting the signage solutions including junctions with other routes and trails, promotions and partnerships, and how showcasing the Greenbelt as a differentiator and a unifier for the region lets us tell an integrated story for cycle tourism in central Ontario. We will also show how this project work is delivering value for a wide range of partners.
Morning Concurrent Session 2: Market Growth and Emerging Product Trends
Moderator: Martin MacDonald, LTP Sports/Norco

Toronto is a great city to explore by bike and an increasing number of visitors are choosing to do so. In operation for over 5 years, providing a number of urban tour routes and bike rentals from downtown location, Toronto Bicycle Tours knows its market. Learn more about lessons learned while serving this market and new market trends being explored.

  • Cycling Club and Self-Supported Riders – Hal Cain, Past Tour Director, Kingston Velo Club

Learn about accommodating the needs of multi-day cycle tourists who travel from town to town by bicycle and how destinations can better connect to this market. Based on the presenter’s 25 years of cycling touring experience, participants will gain knowledge about what self-supported cycletourists and club tour directors look for when planning a tour and when arriving in a community. In addition, a cycle tourist profile will be discussed in terms of both quantitative and qualitative demographics. Information from this presentation will be useful in community development and marketing to club cyclists and FIT cycle-tourists.

The majority of focus in cycle tourism is on experienced cyclists, multi-day trips and covering long distances. Everyday tourists who have limited time in a city could benefit from sightseeing on a bicycle. By sightseeing on a bicycle, tourists can visit a lot of attractions while enjoying light physical healthy exercise. This presentation focuses on how Escape Bicycle Tours has developed sightseeing products that attract lots of novice and casual cyclists who visit Ottawa’s attractions on a bicycle. This approach has resulted in transferring many tourists’ mindset wherein they indicated that they would look for bike tours in the future and when they travel to other cities. Opportunities for cross-referral to neighboring cities (e.g., Montreal, Toronto) will be discussed as well.

Join Sara, the Founder of Ride Guides for a discussion on how she built a business around mountain biking in Ontario. She will dive deep into the successes and challenges of starting this business, how the market of mountain bikers has evolved over the last few years, the new formats of mountain biking that are growing rapidly and what she is doing to prepare for the next generation of riders entering the sport.

11:45 – 12:15pm
Lunch Break

12:15 – 1:00pm
Lunch Panel Discussion: 
“What Are Canadian Cyclists Buying Elsewhere? How Do We Shift Their Gears Closer To Home?”
Introduction & Moderator: Mayor Steve Parish, Town of Ajax

1:00  – 1:15am
Networking Break

1:15 – 2:30pm
Afternoon Concurrent Session 1:
Tracking Key Indicators – Planning, Collecting and Evaluating Cycle Tourism Data
Moderator: Susan Mathieu, Partner, Economic Planning Group Canada

  • The Route Verte’s Success Outside Québec: Lessons Learned From Tourists Coming to Cycle the Belle Province’s Cycle Network – Louis Carpentier, Director of Development, Vélo Québec

The presentation will explore the dream Vélo Québec had 20 years ago to connect all the regions in the province by a green line on which cyclists could travel and explore Québec and demonstrate how the Route Verte became a world renowned product. In this context, the 2015 UQAM study on the customer portrait of cycle tourists points to several findings about the reasons cyclists come to Québec to cycle the Route Verte; why they want to come back and what they do while in the province. The results are very encouraging for the tourist industry and push forward all the Route Verte’s partner for an even better product. See how “bikeable environments” lead to sustainable tourism, regional development and how la Route verte is what tourists are looking for.

Elevating the Erie Canalway Trail presentation will summarize findings from Parks & Trails New York’s 2014 economic impact study of the Erie Canalway Trail, the 360 mile multi-use trail that parallels the historic waterway across upstate New York. Beyond the numbers, the presentation will also outline how economic impact and user survey data have influenced trip planning resources and ways in which the statewide trail is marketed.

  • Measuring Cycle Tourism: More Bang for Your Bucks! Tracking Key Indicators – Robert Wong, Principal, RMCG Inc.

Cycling does benefit tourism destinations…right! But can you prove it? Robert will share his experiences of measuring cycle tourism impacts to tourism regions, communities, businesses and festival organizations. Of course, measuring is not easy nor are the methodologies perfect, but it is a start towards answering the question: Are our efforts in cycle tourism worthwhile? Come explore some of the methodologies, have a peek at some of the results and discuss future collaborative opportunities.

Afternoon Concurrent Session 2: Bringing Product To Market – Successful Partnerships and Marketing Campaigns
Moderator: Steve Bruno, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

    • Partnership & Marketing Success Factors for Building a Top-Tier GranFondo – Michael Merrall, President & CEO (High Performance Marketing), PwC Epic Tour Halton / Kelso MTB Fondo

PwC Epic Tour was launched in Halton Region in 2013 and quickly found a sizeable market niche among both cyclists and corporate Canada. The 2015 event attracted close to 4,000 riders and enjoyed major sponsorships with blue-chip companies like PriceWaterhouse and CIBC. It is now the largest GranFondo cycling event in Canada. This presentation will focus on the partnerships that are the pillars of the event: corporate, municipal, charity and police. The presentation will also delve into the marketing strategies that have been successfully developed and deployed to attract riders in the thousands. Digital and social media sit at the epicentre of PwC Epic Tour’s marketing campaign so this presentation will also examine some of the ways the event has used “new media” to target and efficiently reach the cycling community. The presentation will also share some key research findings that should provide useful insights to tourism jurisdictions, municipalities and others interested in hosting a successful GranFondo in their communities. Understanding your customer lies at the centre of every successful event. If you want to understand more about the cycling community and how it ticks, this might be a useful presentation to attend.

  • Welcoming Cyclists to Ontario’s Southwest: Product Development and Marketing Partnerships: – Joanne Wolnik, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (RTO1)

Welcoming cyclists to Ontario’s Southwest takes a lot more than just a marketing campaign. Joanne will speak about how stakeholders from across the region came together to develop cycle friendly tourism experiences by learning what’s important to this niche market, aligning complimentary activities, showcasing what’s unique, and ultimately making the decision to travel to Ontario’s Southwest easy and exciting for tourists.

John’s presentation will focus on successful methods employed on behalf of the Durham Mountain Biking Association (DMBA) and its membership to design and build a new sustainable 13km single track mountain bike area. This was done through collaboration with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the Government of Canada and many corporate partners. The new Dagmar trails were built in the summer of 2015 by 200 volunteers contributing over 5,700 hours, and opened in September 2015 to rave reviews. John will also explain how they used social media and corporate partners to successfully attract riders from across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, making the Dagmar North trails the newest “must ride” destination in Southern Ontario. The Durham Region area also has many other existing mountain biking trails that the DMBA supports.

2:30 – 2:45pm
Afternoon Coffee and Networking Break

2:45 – 3:15pm
Cycle Tourism 2.0:
Overcoming Challenges and Pursuing Opportunities (INTERACTIVE SESSION)

Facilitators: Louisa Mursell & Michael McCreesh, Ontario By Bike / Transportation Options

3:15 – 4:45pm
Plenary Session:
“Seeing the Bigger Picture: How Cross-Regional Trails and Routes Help Build The Market”
Introduction & Moderator: Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director, Waterfront Regeneration Trust

Keynote Speaker
Creating a World Class, Bicycle-Based Tourism Destination – Linda McKenna Boxx, Director, Allegheny Trail Alliance, Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is a rail-trail that joins with the C&O Canal National Historical Park to create a world-class cycling destination between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. Learn about the trail, the partnerships that were required to build and market the trail, how “trail towns” grew along the corridor, how bike-based tourism is having a significant positive impact on this multi-state region, and how the economic impact is assessed.

Panel Presentations & Discussion:

4:45 – 5:00pm
Cycle Tourism 2.0 Summary
Closing Remarks

  • Louisa Mursell & Michael McCreesh, Ontario By Bike / Transportation Options

Toronto International Bicycle Show: Conference attendees enjoyed a complimentary pass to the Toronto International Bicycle Showprovided to all conference attendees for admission either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The bicycle show was a perfect way to round out the day.

Pre-Conference Bike Tour: On March 3, 3:30 to 5:30pm, conference attendees were invited to join Toronto Bicycle Tours on a complimentary bike tour through downtown Toronto. Rated as an easy ride, bike rental, helmet and guided tour were provided.

Contact info

For more information on the conference, please call 1-866-701-2774 / 416-827-2774 or contact through email Transportation Options’ Executive Director, Louisa Mursell at lmursell@transportationoptions.org or Project Coordinator Michael McCreesh at mmccreesh@transportationoptions.org.

The 2016 Cycle Tourism Conference was made possible by the generous support of the following partners and sponsors: