River district, work from home initiatives earn Owen Sound awards

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Owen Sound has won awards of excellence for two initiatives from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario.

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The River District Action Plan strategy by the city and the River District Board of Management won the award in the Planning and Strategic Development (Rural) category, while the city’s Work from Home Capital of Canada initiative won in the Workforce Development and Resident Attraction (Rural) category.

“It is great to see these two innovative campaigns get recognition at the provincial level,” Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy said in a news release. “These unique initiatives show our city’s commitment to being a welcoming community that is a great place to live, grow and do business.”

The Work from Home Capital of Canada initiative, created to capitalize on the desire and ability of people to work from home on a more permanent basis during the COVID-19 pandemic, was perhaps best known for its pyjama giveaway component.

The six-week initiative launched in early 2021, used social media to drive people to the website and included marketing material of residents, including Boddy, going about their daily activities with regular business attire on top, but wearing pyjama pants.

The River District Action Plan was developed for the city’s downtown in partnership with the River District Board of Management, formerly known as the DIA, and in consultation with downtown businesses, residents and visitors.

It is a three-year branding and marketing action plan that created a refined brand identity and strategy with clear actions and objectives to serve as a revitalization tool for the city’s core, the release said.

“It is an honour to be recognized by the ECO with this award,” River District board chair Dave Parsons said in the release. “The River District Board of Management and City of Owen Sound have worked collaboratively with our business community to create a shared vision and actionable plan that will strengthen our business community now and for years to come.”

Both initiatives were developed with the support of BC Hughes Marketing, a local tourism development, management and marketing firm led by Chris and Bev Hughes.

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