Patricia Forrest of Kakabeka Falls, a long-time champion of tourism in Northern Ontario, has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).
Forrest received the accolade during the organization’s annual awards ceremony, held virtually on Oct. 28.
She currently serves as the senior coordinator of partnerships and initiatives with Destination Northern Ontario, the advocacy group representing tourism operations across the North.
Her past roles have included marketing manager at Fort William Historical Park and manager of Thunder Bay Tourism.
After working as an independent economic development and tourism consultant, she joined Destination Northern Ontario in 2013.
Since then, she has implemented initiatives including bilingual wayfinding projects that make navigating around Northern Ontario easier and food tourism development initiatives that promote local cuisine.
Forrest was among a handful of Northern Ontario entities recognized during the event.
• Indigenous Tourism Ontario and Destination Ontario, which jointly received the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award. This partnership developed a strategy and tools that will lead the way for culinary tourism product development and tourism experiences in northern Ontario;
• Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre (Manitou Mounds) in northwestern Ontario, which received the Indigenous Tourism Award; and
• Jim Marchbank, former executive director for Science North in Sudbury, who received the Tourism Champion of the Year.
In a news release, David MacLachlan, executive director of Destination Northern Ontario, applauded the winners.
“Northern Ontario continues to produce strong tourism products and partnerships and will use this positive momentum to continue addressing the ever-changing needs of our industry in the face of our new challenges and reality," he said.