Pilot Projects to Focus on Augmented Reality and Virtual Indigenous Culinary Masterclasses
WINDSOR, ON., March 11, 2021 – WEtech Alliance, in partnership with the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, has announced the winners of the Windsor-Essex “Spark” Program Digital Services package, as part of the Sparking Tourism 4.0 Community Collaboration Project. The winners will each receive a digital services package valued at up to $10,000 to support technology development and adoption of their project made possible by the Digital Main Street – Future Proof, Community Collaboration Program.
In January, five finalists made their pitches for the Windsor-Essex “Spark” Program making them eligible to receive a digital services package valued at up to $10,000 to support technology development and adoption of their project.
The winners of the Windsor-Essex “Spark” Program Digital Services package are:
The Art Gallery of Windsor
The Art Gallery of Windsor is working with a multimedia studio to build an augmented reality treasure hunt in Downtown Windsor, drawing inspiration from the art gallery’s collection to create innovative digital experiences. The first phase of the project will launch in June 2021.
“The Art Gallery of Windsor is thrilled to launch this digital initiative, which is aligned with our plan to transform into an art gallery for the twenty-first century,” says AGW’s Board Chair, Federica Nazzani. “We’re excited to share this mobile art adventure with the community, as a project that can be enjoyed safely during COVID-19, and something that we can continue to grow into the future.”
Caldwell First Nation
Caldwell First Nation will host Three Fires – an Indigenous Culinary Experience, this 4-hour, hands-on event will provide guests an opportunity to dive into indigenous culture through a digital interactive culinary cooking class while having meaningful discussion about food, culture, and community. Once safe to do so, this will be a hybrid digital and in-person experience that will allow guests to enjoy their meal and have meaningful conversation with Billy Alexander, one of Canada’s top Indigenous Chefs, about tradition, stories, food sovereignty and more.
Chef Alexander believes “the land has always been our original grocery store that we as Indigenous peoples have had a deep-seated & respectful relationship with. It is not a choice, it’s who we are. Food is the most powerful conduit to sharing culture and breaking down barriers of understanding”.
“One of our goals is to cultivate and propel collaborations between the tourism and tech sectors to spark new innovations, offerings, and product delivery – an endeavor that is more important now than ever for businesses and organizations to be competitive and resilient” says Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead of the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “Our partnership with WEtech Alliance will allow these unique experiences to be enjoyed safely through an exciting digital delivery format” Lafontaine adds.
Community Collaboration Projects connect regional innovation centres and community organizations in a series of engaging conversations on common issues facing small businesses to build workable solutions. The Digital Main Street Community Collaboration Project is made possible through financial support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario.
“WEtech Alliance is pleased to support these innovative tourism-centred projects. Both projects are creating enriched experiences by leveraging the power of technology. The tourism sector is important and among the fastest-growing industry regionally. Technology will play an important role in reshaping and reviving the industry post-COVID-19 while further fueling main street economic recovery” says Yvonne Pilon, President & CEO of WEtech Alliance.
To learn more about Community Collaboration projects, visit: www.wetech-alliance.com/solutions.
About WEtech Alliance:
WEtech Alliance is one of seventeen Regional Innovation Centres, funded by the Province of Ontario, serving the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions. They provide entrepreneurs with business services, training, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring new ideas to market, scale to the next level and build a dynamic culture and a community of innovation. WEtech Alliance has served as the catalyst for technology and innovation in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions since 2011. www.wetech-alliance.com
About Digital Main Street:
Digital Main Street is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology. Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square and Yellow Pages.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19. www.digitalmainstreet.ca
About Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab:
The Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab is a non-profit initiative created to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships, to cultivate and propel collaborations between the tourism and tech sectors, and to build a community of tourism innovators, idea makers and entrepreneurs in Ontario. Launched as a pilot in Windsor Essex in 2018, the Lab and its “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program have expanded to over 10 regions across the province. The Lab is a program of Hackforge and is based at the University of Windsor-EPICentre. www.tourisminnovation.ca
About Caldwell First Nation:
Point Pelee and Pelee Island are the heart of our ancestral Territory. Caldwell First Nation will exercise its responsibility to use, possess and protect the air, waters, lands and resources as it has from time immemorial. After a Historic 230-year land claim dispute, Caldwell First Nation has recently been designated Reserve Status. With that, an urban reserve, restaurant, marina, winery, cannabis facility and cultural tourism experiences are all in development. Through the Economic Development Plan, Caldwell First Nation will move toward self-reliance and community wellbeing through interconnected social, cultural and economic spheres, based on a balance of traditional and environmental sustainability. www.caldwellfirstnation.ca
About Art Gallery of Windsor:
The Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW) is a non-profit public art gallery focused on presenting the visual arts of Canada. The Gallery was formed on October 1, 1943 and incorporated on June 8, 1944 with the mandate of serving the southwestern Ontario region and the international border community of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan, USA. In the intervening years, it has become a cultural pillar situated in a premium and purpose- built downtown riverfront location overlooking the Detroit River and downtown skylines. The AGW is an award-winning organization known for its cutting-edge contemporary art program and Canadian art collections now approaching 4,000 works. The exhibition galleries include both changing exhibitions and ongoing displays of the acclaimed AGW Collection, which features historical, modern and contemporary art. www.agw.ca
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
President & CEO, WEtech Alliance
P: 519 819.8251
Jennifer Matotek, MA, MBA
Executive Director, Art Gallery of Windsor
P: 226 280.54.18
Nikki van Oirschot
Director of Operations, Caldwell First Nation
P: 519 322.1766 x1227
Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab
P: 416 712.8819