Leeds Grenville
Economic Development eNews | May 23, 2017
Business Profile
Top feature photo: Terri Dawson in the front entrance of her shop. Below, the impressive front of the 1860s house that is home to The Green Gecko.

Gifts from next door and around the world
make this a must-stop destination shop  
LYNDHURST - The Green Gecko lives up to its intriguing name with a delightful and often amusing assortment of items you suddenly cannot live without.

You will find it hard to leave once inside this shop of quirky gifts, edgy greeting cards and a seemingly unending eclectic mix of pretty neat stuff. At every turn there is something else capturing your attention. This isn't just shopping - it's an experience. 

"People leave happy and that's one of my goals," says owner Terri Dawson. "People come in and stay for long periods taking things in." Terri adds to the experience by knowing a lot about her products, where they are made and by whom.  "I have a genuine interest and intrigue in the story behind them. 

"There is something about engaging someone's sense of humour in the sale process," she says of why she sells items and cards designed to make people laugh.

The Green Gecko opened 12 years ago when Terri and her husband Peter made a lifestyle choice to move away from the city. Their shop is a combination of items "from around the world and down the road." They travel in the off season to purchase fair-trade, ethically sourced jewellery, gifts, clothing, home decor, and statement items from South East Asia. They are treasure hunters who do some of their own importing.

They promote "a circuit" of small destination businesses in the region so locals and visitors alike don't miss out on hidden gems.  "We're greater than the sum of our parts. We have a good business community mindset," says Terri of her fellow business owners. For example, she directs people to area shops such as  Wendy's Country and Mobile Market  and Wing's Live Bait & Tackle of Lyndhurst plus  Ridgway Confect ions  in nearby Seeley's Bay.  "It's a great way to get people to visit our various communities," says Terri.

Learn more about The Green Gecko and shop online on their website . Orders have been shipped as far as Tasmania. Visit their Facebook page, Pinterest and connect with them via Twitter. You can also call 613-928-1196 or email Terri.
Europe's Le Boat signs lease for first
North American base on Rideau Canal
SMITHS FALLS - The largest operator of self-drive boating vacations has signed the lease for its first North American base of operations and is moving its current headquarters from Clearwater, Florida, to Smiths Falls.

Le Boat is scheduled to open on the Rideau Canal, Ontario's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2018. Ticket sales launched last week.

"We are extremely thrilled to have officially signed the lease in Canada for our first-ever North American base of operations," says Cheryl Brown, managing director of Le Boat.

The $16-million investment in the Heart of the Rideau Canal is expected to attract vacationers from Europe, Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world. It will open with a fleet of 16 state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers offering a high level of comfort. Le Boat plans to expand to 32 cruisers by 2023. 

"For the surrounding communities this is great news," says United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Warden Robin Jones, who is Mayor of the Rideau Canal community of Westport. "There's an excitement amongst the Rideau mayors. We've been working together to support investment opportunities that can benefit our communities and the entire corridor." 

Learn more about Le Boat and how to purchase tickets by visiting their Canada cruises page, their website or call toll-free at 1-800-734-5491.

Special presentation called "Le Boat Who's on Board?" is being held prior to the Teeny Tiny Summit at the Merrickville Community Centre on June 28. Breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. followed by the Le Boat presentation at 7:20 a.m. See the Teeny Tiny Summit item below under Workshops and Seminars for more information.

Pamela Peacock, Co-ordinator of Eastern Ontario Sites for the Ontario Heritage Trust, is excited the Fulford Place garden has joined the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail.
Garden Trail welcomes iconic Fulford Place 
The 3rd annual 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail continues to grow with the addition of Fulford Place National Historic Site and its Olmsted Gardens. 

The iconic garden designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Olmsted was selected to join the local Trail featuring private and public gardens and garden centre displays throughout Leeds and Grenville. 

The announcement was one highlight at the formal Trail launch held May 12th at Fulford Place. Another was how the local tour is the only trail in the country to be honoured with the 'Canada 150 Garden Experience' Designation from the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.

The Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office launched the trail in 2015 with 9 gardens. It has now grown to 14 unique gardens with added experiences including a Monarch butterfly Way Station, native butterflies, honeybees and birds, fountains, ponds, contemporary art exhibits, statuary and more.

"Garden tourism has a direct economic impact," says Ann Weir, Leeds Grenville Economic Development Manager and Co-chair of the Trail. "We can directly track group visitor spending to accommodations, restaurants and many of the area attractions with their primary purpose of the visit being the Garden Trail."

Both guided and self-guided tours are available. Learn more about the Trail, garden hours and contact information by visiting the Leeds Grenville website's Garden Trail page.

The 2016 event that attracted nearly 1,000 people. 

Port of Johnstown hosting second open house
JOHNSTOWN - The Port is hosting its second Annual Port Day to celebrate marine shipping's important contribution to sustainable economic development in Eastern Ontario.

"We're excited to be opening our doors once again for the community to see the many ways a port benefits their lives," says Port General Manager Robert Dalley. "The port processes and transports over 1.2-million metric tons of goods each year used by local businesses, farms and municipalities but it also creates jobs, attracts inward investment and contributes significantly to the environmental sustainability of our region."

WHEN: Saturday, June 10th, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Speeches and opening remarks at 12 noon.
WHERE: Port of Johnstown, 3035 County Road 2
COST: Free

There will be tours of the Port and Navy vessel HMCS Goose Bay. Come out and see the new public boardwalk, agricultural booths and displays as well as a draw for VIP access to the grain terminal. Attendees are invited to enjoy a community BBQ, music by Sons of Gord, archery games hosted by the Grenville Fish and Game Club, the Giant Tiger Train, children's activities and much more. See the full Port media release on our Community Media Releases page.
Workshops and Seminars
Teeny Tiny Summit will teach you how to make your community shine

MERRICKVILLE - The keynote speaker at this full-day summit is Peter Kenyon, a rural revitalization enthusiast who has toured over 1,000 rural communities throughout the world. Local experts will join him in presentations on strategic planning to build business and generate a positive vibe in small communities. See below for information on the breakfast and the Le Boat presentation being held just prior to this event at the same location.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 28, Registration begins at 8 a.m. Event: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
WHERE: Merrickville Community Centre
COST: $32

Le Boat presentation: Join the excitement in welcoming Le Boat, Europe's largest operator of self-driving boating vacations to the Rideau Canal. Cheryl Brown, Managing Director of Le Boat, will share company highlights on the business, its clients and the decision to start cruising the Rideau Canal. Learn more about their intentions to make Smiths Falls their North American Headquarters incorporating sales, marketing and operations plus learn about their plans for 2017 and onwards. 

Breakfast: 7 a.m.
"Le Boat Who's On Board": 7:20 a.m. 
Cost: Free

Learn more about this session and how to register on our Workshops and Seminars page.
Workshops and Seminars