Tourism Matters: Ensuring Tourism Growth Strategy Supports Recovery
Throughout North America (and the world) Masonic temples and buildings regularly open their doors to tourists and visitors (both locals taking a “staycation” and those travelling from out-of-town, out-of-province, or even out-of-country).
Some of the most famous of these temples and buildings include the Detroit Masonic Temple, the Philadelphia Masonic Temple, the Van Nuys Masonic Centre, and our very own Windsor Masonic Temple; which has (for over 100 years) been a place of friendship, brotherhood, community, and heritage.
It is a treasured part of Windsor’s architectural and historical character. As our Mayor stated: “in 1921-when construction on the Windsor Masonic Temple got underway, it set the foundation of what would become one of the city’s most recognisable historical landmarks-the treasured ornate building on the corner of Erie and Ouellette.”
The Windsor Masonic Temple regularly hosts tourists/visitors, whether travelling specifically for a Masonic event, or travelling to see the Temple’s beautiful neo-classical and historical features, or exploring Windsor’s heritage.
The Windsor Masonic Temple hosts these tourists/visitors through two avenues: either through taking part in special events and welcoming Masonic guests; or through virtual and in-person tours offered by Square & Compass Promotions.
Special Events & Masonic Guests
On September 24th and 25th, 2022 the Windsor Masonic Temple took part in “Doors Open Windsor,” during which it welcomed over 175 visitors, both local tourists learning more about their region’s history and tourists from as far away as London and Hamilton, Ontario.
In January 2023, the Windsor Masonic Temple welcomed visitors from Michigan (as it has several times in the past). In February 2023, the Windsor Masonic Temple welcomed visitors from Minnesota. In December 2022, the Windsor Masonic Temple welcomed over 75 visitors from the Greater Toronto Area.
The Windsor Masonic Temple Ballroom also welcomes guests for a variety of special events such as the annual Christmas Elves Holiday Dinner, dance recitals, and other artistic and heritage events.
The Windsor Masonic Temple looks forward to welcoming more visitors and guests “For the Next 100 Years.”
In fact, the Windsor Masonic Temple is engaged in a project entitled “For the Next 100 Years,” which will ensure the Windsor Masonic Temple’s historical and heritage features are preserved and maintained, the Temple’s accessibility features are improved, and the building is made as energy efficient as possible. This will allow all of the Temple’s visitors and guests to enjoy its neo-classical, treasured, and ornate historical features (both interior and exterior) “For the Next 100 Years.”
Square & Compass Promotions will continue to report on this exciting project and is thankful to all of the support received, from organizations such as Employment and Social Development Canada and Heritage Canada.
Square & Compass Promotions
For tourists interested in the Windsor Masonic Temple, Square & Compass Promotions offers both in-person and virtual tours. Square & Compass Promotions also offers group tours, and has facilitated tours for the Windsor Regional Society of Architects, St. Clair College Interior Design Students, and the Detroit Historical Society (the latter being an interactive, virtual tour).
The Windsor Masonic Temple motivates travel to our entire region.
Square & Compass Promotions is proud to be part of the tourism sector, and the Windsor Masonic Temple is a true tourism destination.
As such, we appreciate the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s (TIAO) work in supporting the tourism sector, especially as it dealt with pandemic related public health measures and now deals with the emergence therefrom.
It was through TIAO that Square & Compass Promotions received our Safe Travels Stamp.
TIAO has pre-written a letter, which we have included below, to advocate for the tourism sector. TIAO is asking for members and the public to join them in advocating for the future success of the tourism by sending a letter to your MP. We, at Square & Compass Promotions, will be sending this letter to our MP. We are also sharing this letter on our medium and social media channels. You can find more information about this letter on the TIAO’s website.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors. With the support of the Government of Canada, the tourism sector has weathered the storm and reopened their doors to visitors. As Canada emerges from the pandemic, it’s important to remember that reopening doesn’t mean recovery. While other economic sectors are returning to pre-pandemic levels, tourism is simply not there yet.
Though our sector is recovering, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe and enduring impact on the tourism sector in Ontario. Border closures, capacity restrictions, and lock-downs exacerbated structural issues that have left the sector far from recovery. As a result, while the rest of Ontario and Canada moves forward, businesses in your riding that rely on the visitor economy are still dealing with the lasting impact of revenue losses of up to 93%, staggering six-figure debts, and the displacement of tourism workers to other industries. New and longstanding challenges further hinder recovery, with tourism businesses struggling with recruitment and retention, supply chain disruptions, inflation, rising taxes, reduced commercial insurance coverage, and gaps in transportation infrastructure.
Moreover, not all visitor markets and regions are rebuilding at the same pace: business travel and events have yet to fully return, Northern Ontario is still hard-hit due to the slow return of US visitor markets, and as many as 4 in 10 Ontario tourism operators do not expect to be profitable until at least 2024. Alarmingly, according to the latest Ontario Economic Report, business confidence has dropped to a new low, with only 16% of organizations expressing confidence in the outlook of Ontario’s economy in 2023.
Thanks to the support of government programs and the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Ontario, we’ve managed to mitigate the very worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As tourism businesses are looking to the future, hoping to hire more Ontarians and help our economy rebound as quickly as possible, our global competitors are already moving forward and capturing a growing share of visitor spend. At this critical juncture, it is imperative that we invest in a national tourism growth strategy that unleashes the full potential of our industry. We can’t be left behind.
To enable our sector to overcome barriers and fully leverage the opportunities to recover and prosper — now and for the future — we need a national tourism growth strategy that best positions our industry to move forward. This includes tangible economic investments that take destination marketing to the next level, enable businesses to rebuild and grow innovative made-in-Ontario experiences, and support the capacity of Ontario’s tourism offer to remain globally competitive. Together with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has outlined just such a blueprint in their 2022 State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, one which aligns with the national strategy put forward by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).
Tourism and hospitality matter for Ontario and for Canada. Its economic impact extends beyond our own industry, benefiting other businesses, sectors, communities, and the economy as a whole through tax revenue, community infrastructure, and creating vibrant communities to work and live in. Tourism is therefore not only a key economic driver as an industry; it is an indispensable component of broader economic development across the country.
In support of TIAO and TIAC’s advocacy efforts, I am asking for your support in calling on the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Tourism to ensure our industry remains one of the most competitive and successful in the world.
Thank you for your consideration of the contents of this letter. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with TIAO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Square & Compass Promotions
All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Windsor Masonic Temple and or any masonic group.