The Cavendish resort area on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island is known for its beaches, golf courses, and family-friendly vibe. And, most famously, the Anne of Green Gables novels were set in the area. Despite these impressive regional draws, one tiny harbour community still needed to establish itself as a worthy stop. In 2019, Cycle Forward was able to help.
Dates: October 2019
Location: Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island
Outdoor Assets: New London Bay, Stanley Bridge Harbour
Project Type: Community Engagement, Destination Marketing
Stanley Bridge is small community located on New London Bay near the Atlantic Ocean. Its working harbour is a little off the coastal path. Harvey Sawler of the firm iImagine is a Canadian tourism consultant who worked with Stanley Bridge throughout much of 2019. His charge was to work with Stanley Bridge community members in crafting a destination development strategy.
Using the Accelerated Destination Development and Design framework, developed by Harv, the community would have a strategy at the end of a 100-day process. Part way through the process, Cycle Forward hosted a half-day placemaking workshop to help the group consider its unique sense of place.
While nestled within a popular resort area, Stanley Bridge itself needed some TLC and increased foot traffic. A crucial step to either would be local people seeing the community with fresh eyes. Cycle Forward’s workshop focused on inspiring the group with examples of business and product development projects in coastal and national park gateway communities. Topics included sense of place, pride of place, and ways to leverage outdoor recreation and cultural heritage opportunities. The workshop consisted of presentations, small group activities, and large group discussion, all directed at exploring sense of place and placemaking opportunities.
A half-day placemaking workshop
Ask about a community’s sense of place in a workshop and you may get a handful of responses. Instead have everyone close their eyes and imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of their beloved harbour and a flurry of ideas emerge. Certainly, the Stanley Bridge workshop contributed to participants’ understanding of placemaking. But this visceral, emotional response to thinking about their harbour – including even some of the least desirable, fishy aromas – was the most meaningful impact that day. This exercise led to a discussion around elements worth preserving: the small-town charm, the working harbour, viewsheds, and a local bridge jumping tradition, among them. Ultimately, the workshop contributed to the larger destination development project. Stanley Bridge now has a plan to attract more visitors while preserving those places and customs that matter most to local residents.
Helpful resource: Kickstart a conversation about authenticity and pride of place in YOUR community by watching the movie The Grand Seduction and reading Cycle Forward’s related blog post, “Are Communities Performing the Grand Seduction?”
The group in Stanley Bridge read the post together, which generated a useful discussion.