The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is excited Le Boat has confirmed its first North American cruise base location and the relocation of its Clearwater, Florida headquarters to Smiths Falls, ON.
“For the surrounding communities this is great news”, says Warden Robin Jones. This follows an earlier announcement in December 2016 that Le Boat was coming to the Rideau Canal. Over the past five months various lease agreements have been finalized and assistance has been provided in connecting Le Boat with local operators and suppliers.
“There’s an excitement amongst the Rideau mayors. We have been working together to support investment opportunities that can benefit our communities and the entire corridor. The $16 million investment being made by Le Boat is a great result! Guests will be cruise the canal and stopping in our communities to shop, indulge in our local foods and restaurants plus discover our trails, museums and wineries,” shares Warden Jones.
Leeds Grenville and the Town of Smiths Falls Economic Development Offices have been working collaboratively with Parks Canada and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to bring Le Boat to the Rideau Canal. “Bringing Europe’s largest operator of self-driving boating vacations to the Canal is an excellent opportunity to have the Rideau’s UNESCO World Heritage status communicated globally by a world-recognized operator“, says Ann Weir, Economic Development Manager of Leeds Grenville.
The Rideau Canal offers the best of all of Le Boat’s European cruising grounds in one place with its breathtaking landscapes, feel of the French canals and the lagoons of Italy, scenic lakes and rivers similar to Ireland, Holland and Germany. “Starting in May of 2018, we are anticipating guests would be arriving from Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, US, Canada, Belgium and Austria to enjoy this world-renowned canal”, says Weir.
Over the coming months, Le Boat officials will be returning to the region to continue developing their marketing materials and building their staff team in preparation of the 2018 boating season. Warden Jones says, “this is a great opportunity for local businesses to work with Le Boat. As we are fast approaching the busy tourism season, we need to continually improve our customer service and be ready to greet Le Boaters. Businesses should consider how they will make new and returning guest visits the best experience.”