The way people travel is changing in terms of the relationship between the visitor and the destination. Experiential tourism seeks to connect visitors to the local stories that are the heart of a region. Experiences are immersive by nature; they teach and inform, give opportunities for participation and interaction, and ultimately leave participants with something unique to take away.
We are working together with our partners to find and support the incredible business owners, artists, makers, entrepreneurs and activity providers that make our region special by inviting them to tell their stories in a transformative and immersive way.
Nestled on the shores of the easternmost reach of the Bay of Quinte, Wynn Farms is now offering Field to Vase, a brand-new experience that immerses you in 360 degrees of blooms.
Farmer and co-owner Sarah Wynn accompanies you as you walk through the fields, learning about her passion for flowers and farming with a picnic basket in tow. She teaches you about growing flowers, their important role in biodiversity and how to properly harvest them. Next, you’ll play with different colours and textures to arrange your own unique mason-jar bouquet, then escape into the vast sunflower fields. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can lay out your picnic blanket and enjoy a snack of local charcuterie that the Wynns have prepared for you.
Originally trained as a registered nurse, Sarah never imagined she’d be a farmer—but her husband Jim’s family had an apple orchard. After years of successfully running it with him, she had a dream of growing flowers and expanding the business. Sarah spent two years researching and planting what are now Wynn Farm’s flower fields on a piece of land they purchased just down the road from the orchard along the Loyalist Parkway.
Field to Vase is available in the summer and fall months when the flowers are in bloom, right up to Thanksgiving. The particular flowers you’ll encounter will depend on the timing of your visit and might include zinnias, cosmos, snapdragons, rudbeckia, and many more!
Glanmore National Historic Site, Belleville
Pull back the curtain and get a behind-the-scenes look at one of Ontario’s most historic homes by experiencing Toymaker Time Machine at Glanmore National Historic Site. Constructed in 1882, the former residence was named a National Historic Site in 1969 for its architectural style adorned with stunning rooftop cast-iron cresting and turrets.
Learn about the art of restoration and see the museum’s most prized antique toy collection with this experience, which gives you exclusive access to areas of the museum that are normally off-limits to the public. You’ll rediscover a childlike wonder for play before donning a toymaker apron and learning how to make your very own antique toy replica to take home using tools from the era.
Museum technician Dave Cox is your guide, inviting you to see Glanmore’s artifacts through his infectious love of history. A trained custom machinist who has always loved making things with his hands, Dave has worked in the museum field for over 20 years. He started making objects for historical re-enactments, which led to the building of toy replicas from Glanmore’s collection so visitors could play with them without damaging the originals.
The Toymaker Time Machine experience is available for booking in spring, summer and fall, complementing the various other themed exhibits that run throughout the year at the museum.
Just Bee Cuz Honey Farm, Plainfield
This 2.5 hour apitourism adventure begins with a tour of an apiary in Plainfield Ontario, led by an experienced beekeeper. They provide all the necessary personal protective equipment so that you will be comfortable while you learn about the amazing world of honey bees and other pollinators, and the important role they play in our environment. Guests will take a look inside the bee hive, learn about honey bee biology, life cycles and pollination. You’ll learn to handle beekeeping equipment, hold a frame full of live honey bees or fresh raw honey, and possibly see the Queen of the hive. You will be sent home with a digital photo of yourself holding a frame of bees.
Wander Local, Belleville
Step back into the 1920s Prohibition Era with this theatrical-style walking tour! Hear the tales of one of the Bay of Quinte Region’s most notorious rumrunners, Claude “King” Cole, guided by a team of professional actors. Starting off at Scalliwag Toys, the walking tour is a bit like a mobile dinner theatre as the scenes take the audience to three other businesses in the Belleville Downtown District. Try out some 1920s dance moves and even have a quick nip with a special mocktail and charcuterie sampler at the local “Speakeasy” (as long as you know the password!), L’Auberge de France, next door. This walk is a great local history primer for those looking to learn a little and experience a fun fictional moment in time based on real historical names and places
OUT OF THE ORCHARD & INTO THE FIRE
Grills Orchards, Quinte West
Walk amid the rows of 10,000 newly planted apple trees at Grills Orchard as your host Justin McPherson, a second-generation farmer and orchard manager, demonstrates tree-pruning techniques and invites you to try your hand. Afterwards, take a wagon ride up the rolling hills and across the acreage to the edge of the forest, where you’ll work alongside a local chef crafting a field-to-table meal on the open fire using ingredients fresh from the farm.
HORSE PLAY DAYS
Fina Vista Farm, Quinte West
Have you ever wanted to spend the day talking to horses, listening to horses, working with and riding horses? This one-of-a-kind experience allows you to get up close and personal with our beautiful, smooth-riding, naturally-gaited horses. It is hosted by Fina Vista Farm, home of the only Paso Fino Horse herd in Canada offering riding experiences. Meet our magical horses, learn their language, find your connection, develop basic handling and riding skills, make an equine partnership and finish the day with a trail ride in a beautiful forest in the stunning Oak Hills, Quinte West.
RECONNECTING, ONE SEED AT A TIME
Kenhtè:ke Seed Sanctuary, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
The Kenhtè:ke Seed Sanctuary on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory began as a rescue project to save an old collection of heirloom and Indigenous seeds from being lost to time. When Indigenous livelihoods were still more closely tied to the land, the cycle of seed was at the centre of the Rotinonhsyón:ni (People of the Longhouse) way of life. The cycle moves to the rhythms of the earth, sun, wind and seasons, from birth to death to rebirth. The Seed Sanctuary is now following this cycle by relearning traditions and seeking to reconnect to the land.
Experiential tourism offers an opportunity for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the stories of the people who live, work and play in a region and to participate firsthand by sharing in their passions and understanding why that region is distinctly special. One of our main goals in the Bay of Quinte is to create a shared knowledge base with our community partners and businesses of best practices, leading together by example as we craft new engaging tourism experiences that help support the responsible tourism growth of our region.
Lead by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board’s own Destination Development Manager, Trevor Norris, who has spent the past 5 years training as an experiential and regenerative tourism coach, we launched the Bay of Quinte Experience Crafting Program and Workshop in 2021. We put out an open call seeking business owners, local tourism champions or individuals who have an interesting passion, skill or profession to join us as we work together to craft new visitor experiences unique to our region. The response has been powerful with over 20 applicants a year. From there, our regional team of community partners narrowed the field to five experiences we feel have the most potential. These five chosen Experience Partners get one one-on-one coaching, innovative experience crafting training, marketing support and funding to transform their tourism idea into a bookable experience that gets launched into the market the following year.
Reflecting on the program, “we want to help build confidence in our region that we truly have remarkable stories to tell and help individuals or businesses who want to share these stories, to do so in a transformative and memorable way to guests that visit the Bay of Quinte” Trevor says.
He adds, “We are seeing a real shift in the tourism landscape as to how people want to travel now and how they want to experience a region they visit. We want to be at the forefront of that change and stay locked in step with tourism trends domestically and internationally. We are very lucky to live in a such biodiverse region with so many incredible natural assets that we have a responsibility to grow tourism sustainably and to protect these assets for our residents. By fostering positive visitor behaviour through these new experiences we help develop we foster tourism as a force for good for our Bay of Quinte communities”
The Bay of Quinte RMB actively seeks anyone interested in discussing their ideas. If this sounds like you, please email Trevor Norris (Destination Development Manager) at [email protected]
Let’s see what we got!
The Bay of Quinte RMB Land Acknowledgement
The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board is committed to acknowledging, appreciating and understanding the Indigenous peoples’ historic connection to this land and to raising awareness by building relationships in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities.
We recognize and acknowledge that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Mississauga, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee which includes the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) with whom we work in direct partnership with.
This partnership focuses on the common goal of celebrating the region with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka who are equal partners within the organization and at the Board of Directors table contributing to the mandate and operations.
This mandate includes listening to, learning from, and collaborating with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka and actively incorporating their culture and heritage into the practice of responsible destination marketing and management of the region.
We understand that this land acknowledgement is only a small step towards the larger process of reparations and reconciliation.
These technologies are required to activate the core functionality of the website. E.g. Youtube, CloudFlare.
Google Analytics cookies are used for tracking popular page visits to better serve our users with relevant content
Marketing and Advertising Cookies
These cookies are used for gathering user data to create a better experience with more relevant offers. E.g. Facebook pixel tracking