Single Publication - 5 or more pages

2023 Region of Durham Discovery Guide

Submitted ByRegion of Durham

Durham Tourism set out to create a fresh, updated Discovery Guide. The goal was creating a guide that placed the viewer into the action, creating desire through high-quality, editorial style photography. The desired visuals were that of an individual photographer in a style that would lead the reader to believe they are looking through someone’s own curated gallery of Durham Region.

The guide is designed in a “lookbook”, featuring a collection of full-page photos supplemented with pages that feature two or three images. Text copy is limited with the goal that the images themselves will invoke a feeling of wanting to visit the places and participate in the experiences shown.

As Durham Tourism respects and champions diversity, inclusion and accessibility, a focus was put on including imagery that represents diverse people and experiences, so that everyone who visits Durham Region feels welcomed. Destinations from across Durham Region’s eight local area municipalities were selected to align with Durham’s “Urban Excitement and Country Charm” brand pillars.

Along with a refreshed approach, Durham Tourism also determined a new method was needed to distribute the guide, allowing access to new, highly desired audiences. Printed copies of the Discovery Guide were also distributed via direct mail to approximately 26,000 Toronto Life Magazine subscribers via a polybag campaign. This gave our Discovery Guide direct access to Toronto Life readers who are those with a high average household income, who regularly dine out, and travel often.

To accompany the printed guide, we created a digital edition on the Calameo platform available for download and viewing on Additionally, Toronto Life published an article about a weekend in Durham Region, which links to the guide. This story was promoted by Toronto Life, and had 135,829 impressions on Facebook, led to 4928 pageviews of the story, and reached an audience of 58% women with 25% ages 45-54 years of age. This aligns well with Durham Tourism’s target audience of travel decision makers. We have also distributed the guide to community partners, businesses, residents, hotels, and tourism destinations and have shared through social media and blog posts.

A challenge was sourcing images and managing the design of a brand-new guide. The timeline to complete the project was less than a year with the photography creation, selection, design, and approvals needing to be complete in 2022 to meet a firm distribution deadline.

The Discovery Guide targets family travelers and those seeking date days and nights which are accessible from the Greater Toronto Area. Additionally, the featured attractions will appeal to post-secondary students in Durham Region looking to explore the community off-campus.

The Durham Region Discovery Guide does not contain a date, which gives it a longer shelf life. Having a digital version available also provides a more sustainable option to help reduce the number of printed copies required. We will use the digital version in digital ads, social media campaigns and through a QR code or link at in-person events. View a PDF version of the Discovery Guide.