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Tourism group plans brand launch

By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound

The regional tourism organization that encompasses Grey, Bruce and Simcoe counties is preparing to launch its new brand identity.

Regional Tourism Organization 7 will be holding town hall information sessions in Owen Sound, Collingwood and Barrie this week where the new consumer brand will be unveiled. Members of the public are invited to see how the brand will be rolled out in the coming months.

The session in Collingwood will be held on Thursday.

"What we are unveiling at the session is a brand name, like a destination name for the area, as well as a logo and talking about how that will be introduced or rolled out through a promotion or marketing campaign," said Jeff Schmidt, executive director of RTO 7, based in Thornbury.

"It's like a consumer brand where people will be able to say, 'Oh yeah, I know where that is.'"

RTO 7 is one of 13 RTOs in the province. They were created in 2010 by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture and are to work with tourism partners and stakeholders to promote tourism across the region.

The Owen Sound session will be held Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Best Western Inn on the Bay.

The Collingwood session is Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cranberry Resort -Bear Estate.

Schmidt said RTO 7 has been going through a consultation and research process to come up with name options. During that process they recognized there was a healthy appetite for them to be in the marketplace so it launched a campaign in the fall and winter profiling the three namesakes of the counties in RTO 7 -- Sir James Bruce, Charles, the second Earl of Grey, and Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe.

"We used Bruce, Grey and Simcoe as kind of a campaign theme, which seemed to work really well in the marketplace and it has played out really well in Toronto," said Schmidt, adding they wanted to do something different and memorable.

More information on RTO 7 can be found at

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