In recent months, we have seen an increase in the amount of digital information flowing from City Hall via new media sources such as podcasts, and Twitter. Regarding the latter, the City of Kingston now has four micro-blogging accounts that are tweeting everything from general news to upcoming meetings, jobs as well as tenders. Although Kingston was not the first city to broadcast messages via Twitter, membership in this AV Club of connected cities is small, while it includes fellow-Canadian nerds such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Guelph. The Limestone City is building some definite geek cred, but there’s always room to grow.
Early last month we mentioned Voice of the City, a mini-podcast that City Hall created to broadcasts news and upcoming events. Considering the fact that these “podcasts” are archived radio shorts, it’s not the strongest attempt to get into the world of podcasting. But again, you have to start somewhere. Thankfully the City’s second attempt is a phenomenal, hour-long podcast titled: In Sir John A’s Footsteps. This podcast accompanies tourists and locals alike on a walking tour of select downtown locations, focusing on the life of Sir John A. MacDonald. An introduction is provided by Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, while the podcast is narrated by Jean Chrétien, Canada’s 20th Prime Minister. In the official press release, Mayor Harvey Rosen offered his thoughts on the new project:
Kingston, as Sir John A.’s home, must have been in his heart and mind as he pursued his monumental vision for Canada. This tour invites us to see our inspiring city through his eyes. We are deeply honoured that former Prime Minister Chretien has added his distinctive voice to enrich this historic perspective of Kingston
The walking tour takes listeners to ten locations, including City Hall, Market Square, the Cartright House, Hotel Belvedere, and City Park. Unfortunately there are some unavoidable four block gaps between tour stops, however visitors are rarely bored with the scenery provided throughout Sydenham Ward. For locals and well-prepared visitors, the podcast and map can be downloaded online for free. Otherwise, the audio tour is also available on pre-loaded MP3 players at the Tourist Office across from City Hall. Hit the play button below to check out a sample clip from In Sir John A’s Footsteps. Once you’ve taken the tour, be sure to provide the City with your comments, which could earn you a prize. As always, I would also appreciate some comments below. Is this podcast a hit, or a miss? Did Chrétien do a good job narrating? Should the City be doing more of these types of podcasts to market other noteworthy points of interest?