Perched on the north shore of Lake of the Woods and its 14,522 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline, the City of Kenora is iconic Canada – granite, pines and water. The community is located in the Northwest corner of Ontario, 50 kilometres from the Manitoba border and 2 hours east of Winnipeg. Situated on Treaty 3 territory, the home of Anishinaabe and Metis peoples, Kenora benefits from the natural setting that surrounds the community and its friendly, passionate and proud residents and citizens.
The City of Kenora engaged Wake Marketing to deliver a new tourism and economic development brand that was adopted by Council in April 2022. Identified as a priority initiative in the 2021 Five Year Tourism and Economic
Development Strategy, the purpose of the project was to develop a brand that is strong and authentic to Kenora, its residents and visitors and that can be applied in comprehensive marketing efforts to support tourism and economic
investment in the community. Through a series of engagement sessions with community members, City staff and industry stakeholders, the final product represents six key elements of Kenora – the lake, small town charm, the night sky, festivals and events, the boreal forest, and culture. Each letter icon of the brand depicts an authentic feature of the community and can be applied in part, or in whole, across multi-media forms.
The project was effective in delivering a new tourism destination brand that represents the community and its location on Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario, its businesses and its people.
The most important elements of the brand are rooted in:
• Kenora’s natural surroundings, and lakes in particular;
• Lake of the Woods is the undisputed anchor attraction;
• The brand must be inviting to a wide spectrum of visitors;
• Activities play large role in visitorship;
• Broad enough for interpretation but strong and authentic.
Once a brand direction was developed, the committee was challenged to focus on the six key pillars that would comprise each of individual letters of the brand. It was imperative that each element was genuine, truly representative
of the community and could be delivered through a visitor experience. A comprehensive visitor survey was conducted as a component of project activities and identified three visitor personas for the City of Kenora. This information contributed to the development of a comprehensive marketing
strategy that further supports implementation of the brand. Materials link to visitkenora.ca, which is included as a call to action on all marketing. This is a comprehensive tourism destination website that profiles everything a visitor would need to know to plan a trip to Kenora. Comprehensive tourism campaigns have been developed to date to profile the brand and have included a Winter Adventure Guide that was circulated to residents of Manitoba.
The City of Kenora has also partnered with a neighbouring municipality, the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Destination Northern Ontario and Destination Ontario to apply the brand in a wider promotion of the Lake of the
Woods to visitors from the USA and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. In addition, the brand has been applied in the development of new streetscaping and light post banners, in print media and in other forms of marketing material such as stickers, and trade show elements (pop up banners, tablecloths) to drive recognition. It has also been creatively applied in the installation of a large Adirondack chair that acts as a photo opportunity for visitors to the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre.
A brand style guide has been developed to drive implementation of the new brand across multi-media. Reference to the guide allows for consistent application of the elements in all forms as implementation continues.