Community Collaboration Project Brings Festive Cheer and Foot Traffic to Main Streets
The Most Local Time of the Year mobilizes revitalization for main street businesses through augmented reality (AR) tourism
TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario, in partnership with the Municipality of Bluewater, Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown London, Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc, Middlesex County Tourism, and St. Thomas Downtown Development Board, is launching The Most Local Time of the Year, a Community Collaboration Project with London technology company EXAR Studios as part of the Digital Main Street Future Proof Program in Southwestern Ontario.
Leveraging EXAR Studios’ innovative tourism experiences through the Engage app, The Most Local Time of the Year breathes new life into main streets, bringing a festive AR experience to Bayfield, London, Strathroy and St. Thomas, beginning on December 10, 2020 and running through to the New Year.
The Digital Main Street Community Collaboration Program focuses on bringing together community members to collaboratively identify and solve one or more local main street challenges. The goal is to add resources to ongoing conversations across multiple sectors and assist with piloting solutions. This campaign will help main street retailers recuperate lost foot traffic and revenue as a result of COVID-19. This program is made possible through financial support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario.
“Through disruption, technology innovators have shown a profound dedication to the recovery of our region’s entrepreneurs and main street businesses,” said Christina Fox, Chief Executive Officer at TechAlliance. “Hosting The Most Local Time of The Year in multiple communities — London, Strathroy, St. Thomas and Bayfield — will support the attraction of customers back to businesses affected by the impacts of COVID-19. We are inspired by EXAR Studios’ rapid mobilization of family-friendly, holiday-themed AR experiences and hopeful that with continued support from collaborators and all levels of government, our main streets will prosper beyond this pandemic.”
The Most Local Time of the Year experience will showcase the magic within these municipalities, while providing Elgin, Huron and Middlesex County families the opportunity to engage in a holiday experience at their own leisure, in a safe and responsible way.
“Strathroy-Caradoc is leading the way in finding innovative and unique new ways to enjoy the holidays. I invite you to explore Downtown Strathroy this holiday season with special interactive experiences right on your mobile phone. You never know when Santa Claus might pop up on Front Street!”
— Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden
Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc
“We are thrilled to work with TechAlliance and EXAR Studios to bring a holiday-themed augmented reality experience to downtown London. The experience is a great way to draw visitors downtown and in front of our many unique businesses.”
— Barbara Maly
Executive Director of Downtown London
“The St. Thomas Downtown Development Board is excited to introduce a new augmented reality experience in our Downtown. This technology will appeal to all age groups alike and will bring visitors to our Downtown where they will have the opportunity to visit our shops, savour our drinks, eat our food, learn our history and soak in our culture.”
— Earl Taylor
Chair of St. Thomas Downtown Development Board
“2020, while presenting challenges, has offered creative and innovative opportunities such as The Most Local Time of the Year. The Chamber of Commerce supports this initiative and partnership with TechAlliance and the Municipality of Bluewater for the holiday season.”
— Leanne Kavanagh
President of Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce
“Bayfield, especially our heritage Main Street, has been attracting holiday visitors for years, and we’re happy to see that tradition continue with the proper precautions in place. Participating in The Most Local Time of the Year, in partnership with TechAlliance, the Municipality of Bluewater and the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce, is a great way for our local businesses to continue providing a unique shopping experience in our historic main street setting.”
— Bayfield Councillor Bill Whetstone
Municipality of Bluewater
Where will your augmented reality adventure take you? Head down these regional routes to explore Southwestern Ontario like never before! ⤵