By Joanna Ninh
The purpose of this tour was to determine whether or not Paris, Ontario suits Sheridan Tours inbound international student groups for our upcoming tours. I have been selected to research and report back on a new area for potential emerging markets. My task is to explore in the Brant County area of Ontario and from suggestion it has brought me to Paris, Ontario. This location offers river raft educational and aboriginal experiences.
From first impression I can tell that Paris, Ontario is filled with natural resources. Paris, being a small town with a population of 11,763, is located on the Grand River. Needless to say the plants, wildlife, forest, wetlands and parks are all protected for ecosystems and the tourism factor the Brant County is trying to establish. I found that the tour guides were very well trained and informative with respect to where to go and the history of this small town. My tour guide Jack took my rafting group to a special remote area where pure spring water was flowing and one by one let use drink from the small stream. He was also well educated about the birds and how the climate changes during the winter months which I think the inbound international student groups would enjoy and appreciate during their tour.
During my walk around town with the Brant County Tour guides, we stopped at every location that supported the tourism in the area. Areas such as, the bridge crossing over the Grand River, the building where the world’s first long distance telephone call was made by Alexander Grand Bell, the inventor of the telephone. This is where he successfully called his son. We also stopped at the Syl Apps hockey stadium, where great Canadian hockey players, like Charles Joseph Sylvanus trained in. Lastly, there was one surviving building from the tragic fire the town endured where you can see the aged bricks and old styled building. The place that stood out the most to me was the Asa Wolverton House. Today it is home to a very kind lady and her husband that maintain the property very well. She was kind enough to talk about the history of the house and was even willing to give a tour around the property, but unfortunately there wasn’t that much time in the tour for it. I would comment that the infrastructure permitted to tourist is well maintained and indicated for Sheridan Tours clients.
The town was established in 1800, where the first settlement in 1829, was founded by Hiram Capron. The buildings of mills and the small town of Paris was officially established in 1856. Since then, Paris’ population has grown and buildings were built on top of buildings and the significance of the land it was built on still prospers. For instance, the first long distance telephone call was successfully made on the top of a building that has since been renovated, but the significance still remains the same today. The futures of supporting the type of groups Sheridan Tours take on are replied on places such as this because of the history the land supports on.
The hospitality that was the Brant County and a special guest of the member of the aboriginal Iroquois tribe was a warm welcome with a traditional cleansing for those who wanted to participate. Other activities were the drumming and the quick lesson of the history of the Iroquois tribe where men and women were allowed to play the drums together. Being a history fanatic, the only thing I like to recommend is maybe a longer lesson on the history. For those who are interested to book something if Brant County offers it for more in-depth history lessons on the culture and history of the Iroquois people. It was well put together; perhaps that’s what they were aiming for, wanting people to come back for more!
The value of the trip was $42.00 which was reasonable considering the transportation on coach and the lunch menu at the hotel. It was a disappointment learning that the menu was changed day of, and the frustration people had with the new menu. For people with food allergies or religious reasons, it was not convenient. I will say bravo to the hotel that did their best to accommodate us. They ended up arranging the original menus for the right people with allergies and religious diets. I would say considering what was offered it was money well spent. The only thing I would change is to let the customer dine where they wish and let them explore more of the town as well. By extending the time limit of the tours, it could benefit those who wish to explore as well as the town itself.
Overall, I enjoyed the one day tour at Paris, Ontario and would recommend it to anyone. With the research conducted, I hope it will bring more people back because it is a very beautiful place to travel. Especially to those participating in the river rafting, it was the biggest highlight of this trip. It’s definitely a must do! I for one, was not a fan at first, but with the help of the guide and the weather that went along, it all contributed to a well spent day and great tour conducted by the Brant County.