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Whitby Food Guide

Submitted ByWhitby Tourism (Town of Whitby)

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Whitby is home to one of the most exciting culinary and local brewery scenes in Durham Region. Whether a visitor or local looking for a delicious meal in our heritage downtowns or an exciting culinary experience for their next date night, Whitby’s food scene is not to be missed. These memorable culinary experiences provided the perfect opportunity to highlight these establishments through the Whitby Food Guide, launched in May 2023 during Local Food Week. This 2nd Edition has proudly featured restaurants, cafes, field-to-fork cuisine, pub fare, bakeries, and multiple diverse and ethnic foods for everyone’s indulgence.

Whitby combines a small-town welcoming atmosphere with the amenities and diversity of a large urban centre. The emerging and vibrant mix of culture, heritage and a thriving food scene are important tourism economic drivers and the culinary sector is one of our key tourism priorities. Whitby is also home to Food Network Personality – Chef Andrea Nicholson, three Feast On® certified restaurants, and Celebrity Chef Season 10 winner Tre Sanderson, a graduate from Durham’s College’s Culinary Management program.

The Town of Whitby recently adopted it’s first Tourism Strategy, Destination Whitby, in 2022 that launched the newly established ‘Discover Something New to Enjoy’ tourism brand. One of the many actions from the Tourism Strategy was to showcase Whitby’s culinary scene by creating a Digital Food Guide. This 2nd Edition was updated and included 8 more pages and highlights the growing and diverse culinary experiences and the amazing local talent. The Guide also aligns with objectives set out in the 10 Year Culture Plan and the Economic Development Strategy (Downtowns and Lifestyle).

Design and distribution of the Whitby Food Guide was completed in house and staff worked with a local photographer to capture the food images and the photos of the owners /chefs.

The Guide, which is offered free to featured restaurants, is embedded on the Town’s website and new tourism website The digital version of the guide is displayed through Publitis and navigates the reader to connect directly to an address, phone number or website on their computer or phone. There are over 75 restaurants and food businesses in the Food Guide and all other restaurants in Whitby can be accessed through a Shop Where you Live platform.

A social media and promotions strategy was created and communication through weekly social media channels (Facebook, and Instagram) pushed out content, and stories. In the past few months (May 6 to August 1), views of the webpage and link to the guide has reached 8,565 people (Edition 1 saw under 3000 views in one year). And, in the first month after the release there were 19,296 Impressions from 12 posts.

The target audience for this publication started with a focus on foodies and craft beer lovers across Durham Region and southern Ontario and has evolved to all ages. The QR code and window cling is being used at sporting tournaments, accommodations, and the restaurants themselves to promote the culinary scene.

Several tourism partners at all levels of government such as Destination Ontario and Durham Tourism have promoted the Guide, helping share Whitby’s culinary story and various collaborations between restaurants, the Downtown Whitby BIA, Chamber of Commerce and Town are occurring.

This Digital Food Guide allows the Town to make ongoing updates as restaurants change or a closure is announced as well as add pages and photography to freshen up the look over the course of its run. This contributes to the longevity of the guide and the Town’s ability to distribute the guide easily across Ontario. A limited number of printed copies are available, and the Town also distributed 5 x 7 inch window clings that included the QR code to direct people to the online version.