Staycationers & Sightseers: Tourism in Ontario Municipalities

From location to size to proximity to the border or major airport, each city thinks about tourism a little differently. Toronto, Kingston and Sudbury each have their own distinct draw to visitors from near and far. Learn how these regions have changed their focus during the pandemic, and what is next for these three Ontario destinations.

This lecture was part of Ontario Culture Days symposium, Now, into the Future: Cultural Tourism in Ontario, held June 16-17, 2021.

Speaker bios


Shawn Newman
Shawn Newman is a consultant, writer, and cultural producer based in Toronto. Formerly the Executive Director of Public Access and Managing Editor of PUBLIC: Art | Culture | Ideas, Shawn’s areas of expertise are in project design and evaluation, research planning and implementation, and funding landscapes in the arts and culture non-profit sector. He holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University, and his work centers equity, accessibility, and representation in arts and culture.


Meredith Armstrong,
City of Greater Sudbury
On behalf of the City of Greater Sudbury, Meredith Armstrong manages the Tourism & Culture team, overseeing a diverse portfolio including support for small business and entrepreneurs, investment attraction, film & television, arts & culture grants, Tourism marketing and more. Meredith truly believes that the cultural sector is what makes a community vibrant and alive, and a local economy more resilient and dynamic, and she is proud to promote Greater Sudbury’s arts scene as a truly exciting one to experience. She has developed extensive experience in both community economic development and strategic planning, with particular focus on tourism and destination development, the arts & culture sector, not-for-profit development, film and television, media relations and grant program development and administration.

Megan Knott,
Tourism Kingston
Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston, has more than a decade of experience in leadership and development, strategic marketing, media and public relations, and business and fiscal management. Her proven capabilities in stakeholder engagement and idea generation have led to the development, implementation, and continuation of many revenue-generating partnerships and projects for organizations such as Tourism Kingston, Kingston Accommodation Partners, and St. Lawrence Parks Commission, building their capacity and profile. An active member of the Kingston community, Megan has participated on several boards of directors, including Regional Tourism Organization 9, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Downtown Kingston!, and the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Under Megan’s leadership, the Visit Kingston brand has been recognized with 12 national and international awards.

Pat Tobin,
City of Toronto
Pat Tobin is the Director, Arts & Culture with the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Division, a position he has held since February 2017. In the role, Pat oversees municipal cultural policy, a cultural grant portfolio of over $30M, the delivery of City-led events like Nuit Blanche among other areas. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Pat spent 18 years with the Canadian federal government, working in areas such as culture, civic engagement, and economic development. From 2014 to 2017, Pat was Director General of Innovation and Community Development for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, where he worked to deliver major economic development projects for Ontario, ranging from stem cells to steel mills. Outside of government, Pat has worked with the Maytree Foundation on immigrant integration and the Inuit Art Foundation on expanding markets for Inuit culture.

We acknowledge and thank the Province of Ontario and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of this project.