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Officials looking to expand winter tourism beyond snowmobile season 

Parry Sound officials are working hard to diversify and grow winter tourism. 

Although a mild winter has led to a decline in snowmobile traffic, which organically brings business to town, other activities are helping keep the region busy, according to April Denman, executive director of the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association. 

“The non winter (conditions) have prompted lots of discussion about what exactly our region, as a whole, is doing to promote other activities happening in area in the winter that aren’t entirely based on snow accumulation,” said Denman. 

Killbear Provincial Park, located 30-minutes outside of town, is offering winter camping for the second season in a row. The park also has a variety of trails open for walking, snowshoeing, skiing and biking. 

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The Georgian Nordic Ski Club also has trails available for snowshoeing, skiing and fat biking. 

“There are community events organized by different groups to help bring traffic into the downtown and surrounding areas like Snowfest, and Hockey Day in Parry Sound,” said Denman. 

Regular hockey tournaments at the Bobby Orr Community Centre and various shows at the Stockey Centre also help drive business. 

“I am told that those events have kept the restaurants very busy,” added Denman. 

New events, like the first ever Parry Sound Maple Fest on May 4, will also bring activity to the region. 

“I think that we have a really great area year-round. There’s lots of things to do in, not just Parry Sound which is a benefit to the downtown, but also the district,” said Denman. “My hope is that we could create some sort of district tourism group that could highlight what we do have going on here so that the snowmobile season isn’t the only thing that we are looking forward to in the winter.” 

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