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Northern tourism leaders lauded for lifetime of work

Guy Lamarche, Ian McMillan to be recognized this fall

This fall, two central figures in Northern Ontario’s tourism industry will be jointly recognized for their dedication to promoting the North as a visitor destination.

Guy Lamarche of Timmins and Ian McMillan of Sault Ste. Marie will each receive a Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2019 Tourism Industry Awards presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).

The careers of Lamarche and McMillan have been linked since they first met in 1983, and ever since they have been collaborating to promote Northern Ontario as a destination of choice,” notes the TIAO in a news release.

After being the youngest person hired in Ontario in an executive capacity under the Ontario Travel Association Program, Lamarche has been taking the tourism industry by storm.

His strategic marketing plan and programs have not only led to an increased ridership on Northlander, Little Bear and Polar Bear Express, but his vision and success of a Kayak Festival in Timmins has been a template for others to use in the development of similar events around the region.

In his current role as manager of tourism and events with the City of Timmins, Lamarche has rebranded the City of Timmins as a must-see outdoor adventure destination, causing four new national brand hotels to open their doors in the city.

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Over the course of his expansive career, McMillan has celebrated many successes and built strong economies in Northern Ontario. Bringing a passion to everything that he does, Ian continues to be a champion for Northern Ontario internationally and at his current role as international marketing specialist for Destination Northern Ontario.

Whether it was promoting attractions like the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum or the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, helping to implement one of Ontario’s earliest Destination Marketing Fees which led directly to major investments in sports tourism infrastructure, or continuing to press CN Rail to invest in the Tour Train and helping it become a Canadian Signature Experience, McMillan has a verifiable history of success.

“We are delighted to announce Guy Lamarche and Ian McMillan as the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Beth Potter, president and CEO of TIAO, in the release.

“This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the development and promotion of Ontario’s tourism industry, and established a visible, long-term record of accomplishment that merits special attention.

“This is the first time that two individuals will be sharing the stage to receive the award at the Ontario Tourism Summit, and this speaks to the power of partnerships which is an important theme at summit every year.”

The awards presentation will take place on Oct. 9 on day one of the 2019 Ontario Tourism Summit at Blue Mountain Village Inn & Conference Centre in Collingwood.

The TIAO is considered the voice of tourism, representing 188,000 businesses and 391,000 employees across the province. It advocates on behalf of members and connects tourism leaders, innovators, government, and educators through events and conferences.