Central Counties Tourism 2023 Symposium Program

Full Agenda

8:30 to 9:30am – Registration & Breakfast

Conference delegates are encouraged to sign-in early to enjoy a continental breakfast and network with other attendees.

9:30 to 10:00am – Welcome & Opening Remarks

Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism

Eric Lariviere, Executive Director, Destination Markham Corporation Presenting Partner

Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism – What’s New for 2023 – 2024

10:00 to 11:00am – Keynote Speaker
5 Questions to Guide Indigenous representation and relationship building in the Canadian tourism landscape 

Dakota Brant, Mohawk Nation, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Artist

Dakota Brant is a member of the Mohawk Nation, born & residing on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (Ohswé:ken). With a Master’s degree in Community Planning from University of British Columbia, Dakota has served as a professional facilitator, emcee, speaker, and moderator across North America and Europe. This thought-provoking session will provide insights into the journey of cultural understanding, the place of the Wendat people, within the Central Counties region, acknowledging our local history, as well as an understanding of some of the concerns Indigenous peoples have in relation to their representation in tourism in Canada. It’s a journey that begins with five questions. 

11:00am to 11:15am – Networking Break

11:15am to 12:00pm – Peer Panel Session

Community Tourism Planning: If you have one, they will come


Brandon Pickard, Manager, Tourism, Durham Tourism

Amanda Ferraro, Director of Community Services, Township of Uxbridge

Joanne Richter, Co-Owner, The Second Wedge Brewing Co.

Moderated by Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism

A Community Tourism Plan (CTP) is the foundation for a strong visitor economy that benefits all members of a community. This Peer Panel brings a multi-lens view on the who, what, why, and when of developing a tourism plan. From the first conversations and gathering your tourism committee, to presenting your plan at Councill and community buy-in, you’ll gain insights from the perspectives of a local Destination Marketing Organization, a municipality, and a community business owner as they discuss the success of their own CTP, as well as answer your questions through a Q&A session.

12:00 to 1:00pm – Networking Lunch

1:00 to 2:00pm – Keynote Speaker 
Now Hiring with Tourism HR Canada

Philip Mondor, President and CEO, Tourism HR Canada

Philip is an accomplished leader with nearly 35 years of experience working with labour market stakeholders across Canada and abroad. This insightful session features new ways to look at and build your workforce, like how to adapt in an increasingly tight labour market, how to expand your recruitment strategies, navigate wage expectations, and more.

2:00 to 2:45pm – Panel Session
Elevating the Social Media Experience


Krystle Ng-A-Mann, Owner & Editor-In-Chief, Dine and Fash | @dineandfash

Solmaz Khosrowshahian, Content Creator & Social Media Consultant, The Curious Creature | @thecuriouscreature     

Lauren McPhillips, Founder & Brand Strategist, This Renegade Love | @thisrenegadelove

Sit down for a conversation with established content producers as we discuss the importance of video content, storytelling, how to strengthen your brand through social, and all about working with influencers. We’ll also take time to answer your most pressing social media questions and address some of the challenges.

2:45 to 3:00pm – Networking Break

3:00 to 3:10pm – Presenting Partner Address, Eric Lariviere
Executive Director, Destination Markham

3:10 to 3:55pm – Peer Panel Session
Product Development and Collaboration


Petra Schwirtz, Owner, 3beez Honey  | Part of A Country Path

Sandra Bannon, Owner, Forget-Me-not Alpacas | Part of Backroads of Brock

Jessica Elliott, Marketing & Digital Media Manager, Central Counties Tourism      

Moderated by Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism

Working together can build more than a community, it can build a destination. And bringing businesses together to create a tourism product to increase your bottom line, while also growing the visitor economy, is next-level collaboration. This Peer Panel draws on the experience of new and well-established visitor experience trails to discuss what it takes to create a tourism trail,  some of the challenges, key learnings, and how to leverage Central Counties Tourism’s opportunities and support.

3:55 to 4:30pm – Closing Remarks and Prizing

Programming, exact timing and speakers subject to change.

Registration Closed

Return to Main Symposium Page

Presenting Partner

Destination Markham Logo

Platinum Partners

York Logo
Vaughan Logo
Ajax Logo

Gold Partners

Visit Caledon Logo
King Logo
Durham Logo

Central Counties is located North of Toronto


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Chuck Thibeault

Executive Director, Chuck Thibeault