Public consultations are about to get underway in southern New Brunswick over a proposal to refurbish, improve and market what native New Brunswickers' know as the "Reversing Falls."
Harvey Sawler, a Fredericton based tourism consultant, was hired by the City of Saint John to help spruce-up the port city's tourism image. Although it is New Brunswick's largest city, home to the multi-faceted Irving Family businesses, Saint John, not located on the Trans-Canada Highway, unlike Fredericton and Moncton for instance, has had some problems attracting a steady stream of tourism dollars.
In recent years the Port has been quite successful in attracting American based cruise ships to the city in part by offering "quickie" same-sex marriages to America's gay couples. A number of cruise overnight stops in fact have been organized by American performer, Rosie O'Donnell...but, although indeed helpful to local business, gay marriages do not a tourism industry make.
Mr. Sawler's vision proposed to the city fathers is to focus its tourism promotion, somewhat like the iconic Niagara Falls does, on a new rejuvenated "Reversing Falls" which would be re-named...Ta Dah: "The Fundy Vortex". For the uninitiated, the "Vortex" being the effect (twice a day) of the Bay of Fundy's high tides (highest in the world) forcing the St. John River to flow "in reverse" through a narrow gorge in downtown Saint John.
Harvey Sawler is no stranger to the complexities of "selling New Brunswick". Although it is within one-day's drive of just about 50-million North Americans, the province, as was my experience working with Tourism New Brunswick as a student 40-plus years ago...remains a place that travelers never think of going to...except to get somewhere else; namely Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia!
Mr. Sawler has had some success in recent years engineering a provincial tourism campaign that has been getting visitors to "over-night" in the picture province by promoting "The Rocks" at Hopewell Cape, the "King's Landing" historic village, and the provincial "Botanical Gardens" in Edmundston.
As to the future of the "Fundy Vortex"...well, good luck with that!