This website takes an innovative approach to a) promote more sustainable modes of tourism and alternative tourism destinations in the Niagara Greenbelt region, and b) develop a dynamic, community-focussed database of interpretive information about the area and its features.
Using a suite of web-based tools and portable digital technologies, the project provides logistical and interpretive information about destinations, low-impact tourism activities, and alternative transportation options to reduce auto dependence (including cycling, rail, municipal public transit, and pedestrian travel).
Visitors to the Niagara Greenbelt are able to obtain information about individual destinations, trails, features, or other points of interest (POIs), and to construct custom trip itineraries which include location information, digital maps, detailed turn-by-turn directions, GPS coordinates, and both written and audio-based overviews of the selected POIs.
The site also features downloadable thematic audio or multimedia tours for use on iPods, smart phones, and other portable digital players. Point of interest information pages will soon be set up in Wiki format to allow the community of users to annotate and edit content, and visitors will be able to post reviews of certain destinations and features.
Users will also be able to submit profiles of their own thematic tours for other visitors to use or modify for their own purposes. Interpretive resources have been developed to allow integration with forthcoming locational multimedia technologies, where GPS coordinates automatically trigger directional and interpretive information on portable digital devices.
The Niagara Greenbelt Routes and Discovery Centres project is a multifaceted partnership initiative that will strengthen Niagara's leadership role in developing greenbelt awareness programs that create excitement, enhance knowledge and foster discovery through participation in Greenbelt projects, activities and events.
Funded by the Ontario Greenbelt Foundation, the project is a joint venture involving Tourism Niagara (a division of Niagara Economic Development Corporation), Brock University's Department of Tourism and Environment, Niagara's Greenbelt municipalities, and participating agencies. The main product is the Niagara Greenbelt Gateway Website, an innovative user-focussed site that features trip planning, itinerary building, mapping and directional capabililtes, multimedia interpretive aids, user feedback features, and a comprehensive database of Niagara Greenbelt points of interest.
The project will also feature four specially-designed Niagara Greenbelt Discovery Centres at the following established regional tourism locations: the Gateway Niagara Information Centre, Town of Grimsby; Twenty Valley Tourism Association, Town of Lincoln; Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3, City of St.Catharines; and the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Office and Information Centre, Town of Niagara-on- the-Lake.
Read all about this project in an overview paper called: