Sheila Johnson

London is an urban centre long known at the hub of South Western Ontario. It has a wealth of cultural organizations, well developed community infrastructure for sport, recreation, health and social services , a respected university and college as well as strong commercial, business and industrial sectors. People are drawn here for education and employment, but stay because it is a good place to live. The recent Creative Cities initiative articulates London’s sense of place and sets a strategic direction for the development of London as a creative city . The research that supports the Creative Cities concept demonstrates that cities with a unique sense of place are great places to live and visit. They retain a creative workforce and attract the cultural tourists. Preserving that sense of place is the function of cultural organizations in this city. A cultural tourism initiative that is well conceived and targeted, preserves place. It is exactly those characteristics that makes London a good place to live that also makes London an ideal cultural tourism destination.

Cultural tourism is a market segment. This particular group of travellers have common characteristics. Extensively documented in Travel Activity and Motivation Survey Segmentation reports produced by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Cultural tourists can be divided by cohorts according to their primary motivation for travel and interest:

  • Heritage Enthusiasts - largest
  • Visual Arts Enthusiasts
  • Wine & Culinary Enthusiasts,
  • Performing Arts Enthusiasts

However, in...

Sheila Johnson

Implementation of a cultural tourism initiative can be achieved on a phased basis over five years with existing municipal funds. A small team representative of the London Heritage Council, Tourism London and any interested anchor heritage or art assets can manage this project. The first step for the team is to develop a destination typology for London and define the sense of place. Very good work has already been completed in this area by the Creative Cities initiative. The team needs to prepare 2 - 4 paragraphs that accurately define the sense of place that is London, Ontario. Once the sense of place is determined, the team needs to take existing inventories of cultural experiences and identify what is unique about the cultural experience of London. Themes will become apparent. Finally, the team needs to organize cultural experiences by cultural cohorts, using the latest TAMs to ensure these experiences meet the needs of the customers. Key here is to match the assets with the interests of the cultural tourist.

It is anticipated that there will be far more cultural experiences than can be used. Many of the existing cultural tourism assets have already been identified by Tourism London. This inventory needs to be expanded with assets identified by both the London Heritage Council and the London Art Council to ensure a good critical mass of experiences to target each cultural...

Sheila Johnson

Culture is the primary means by which communities determine their sense of place. Place based marketing is promoting the unique cultural character of a place - history, landscape, architecture and culture. The “place is the product” and that place can only be understood though a number of different cultural experiences. Place based marketing is the most effective way to appeal to the cultural tourist and meet their specific needs.

Cultural Tourists will dominate the casual visitation of Fanshawe Pioneer Village for the next decade and this market segment is interested in authentic, learning experiences. To appeal to this growing audience, the Interpretation Master Plan was initiated in 2004. A new interpretation for Fanshawe Pioneer Village was identified in the 2003 Master Development and Business Plan as a key initiative to prepare this museum for future growth. The existing interpretation was uncoordinated, unauthenticated and varied greatly in quality from interpreter to interpreter. In 2004, Dr. Christine Castle was engaged to develop the framework for a new, coordinated interpretation for Fanshawe Pioneer Village. In 2008 - 9, she was brought back to develop the implementation manuals. Now complete, museum staff are poised to launch this new interpretation for the 2010 season.

Why is this important? Dr. Christine Castle has prepared two excellent reports that outline the new “story” of Fanshawe Pioneer Village. This story was developed in partnership with key staff and volunteers...