Over the summer, the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network (FABN) introduced FAB Experiences — a new project designed to develop the Greater Frontenac Arch UNESCO Region, which encompasses Lanark, Frontenac, and Leeds and Grenville Counties, as a renowned sustainable tourism destination meeting a growing trend in travellers’ demands for more sustainable and authentic travel options.
FABN is a not-for-profit organization that “fosters tangible actions that increase everyday local sustainability.” According to a media release, the programs and events offered by the FABN seek to conserve biodiversity, contribute to building sustainable communities, facilitate biodiversity and sustainability science, and educate and support the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Region covers an area between Brockville and Kingston and north to the Rideau World Heritage site and Frontenac Provincial Park.
According to the release, this new initiative, made possible through the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and in partnership with Lanark County, Frontenac County, St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Thousand Islands National Park and the Rideau Canal, as well as Queen’s and Wilfrid Laurier Universities, saw the launch of FABExperiences.ca, a website highlighting local tourism businesses and linking them together through hiking trails and rural tour routes.
“Ontario is full of beautiful and scenic destinations, and it’s fantastic that FAB Experiences is stepping up to ensure these precious environments are there for future generations to experience,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the FedDev Ontario. “The Government of Canada is supporting Ontario tourism by investing in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network as we build sustainable industries, like tourism, across Canada.”
FABN shared that the project supported local businesses in becoming more sustainable through the development of the Fast Track to Sustainable Tourism program, a series of training webinars developed in collaboration with GreenStep Solutions. Fifty-eight attendees participated in four sustainability workshops, and 10 local forerunners opted to sign the FAB Sustainable Tourism Pledge, showcasing their commitment to eco-friendly business practices. These businesses include:
- 9eh eastern Bloc Climbing Gym, Gananoque
- Berry Homestead Farm, Lyndhurst
- Driftwood Thrift, Gananoque
- Goat Ridge Farm, Seeley’s Bay
- North Folk Cafe and Bakery, Perth
- Steel Style Garage, Gananoque
- Brockville Museum, Brockville
- Nature’s Apprentice Farm, Pakenham
- Ridgeway Confections, Seeley’s Bay
- Thousand Islands Boat Museum, Gananoque
According to the release, phases 2 and 3 of the FAB Experiences initiative will see the installation of trailside wayfinding signage, future sustainable business workshops and the addition of new tour routes.
Businesses who wish to learn more about the FAB Sustainable Tourism Pledge, participate in future FAB Experiences sustainability workshops and gain exposure in upcoming tour routes may contact [email protected] for more information.
Also on the agenda for FABN, the fourth annual Youth Climate Action Summit (YCAS) will take place later this month. YCAS empowers youth to take concrete action towards climate change adaptation in their communities.
Nineteen youth teams made up of a total of ninety-six students from the greater Frontenac Arch Biosphere Region, spanning from Kingston to Cornwall, will gather at the North Grenville Municipal Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, to learn from experts and to work towards developing their own Climate Action Plans. According to the release, each team will take their Climate Action Plan back to their school or community to be implemented. Teams can apply for $500 in seed funding to implement their chosen Climate Action Plan. The Summit presents a unique opportunity for youth to connect with other youth from other schools, and collaborate.
FABN shared that participants will hear from keynote speaker, Michéle Andrews from Door Number One, and will have the opportunity to attend two workshops of their choosing. Workshop topics include: enhancing wildlife connectivity, native pollinator plants, home energy efficiency, local food systems and more.
“Young people are understandably worried about their futures. The Youth Climate Action Summit helps empower them and shows them that high school students can have a positive impact in their communities,” said Shannon Lem, FABN’s Executive Director.
More information about FABN and the Youth Climate Action Summit can be found at frontenacarchbiosphere.ca.