Communiqué for NOTL Ambassadors and our Partners!



Hello Ambassadors!!
Welcome back and welcome again to new Ambassadors!!

Happy April to all of our Ambassador team!! The 2024 season is indeed off to a great start with lots happening, even before our official launch on May 17th! The Ambassador Team is growing! Thanks to your referrals, we’re proud to announce 33 new volunteers will be joining our ranks this season. Combine their talents with the remarkable group of returning Ambassadors, and we now number 80. And it’s only April!

Speaking of new faces, please be sure to say ‘hello” to Mandy Shanks and Gail Kendall. They will be sharing the part-time role of “Visitor Services Officer” at Tourism NOTL. Mandy will staff the role on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, and Gail on Monday through Thursday. Mandy will be our “LINK” supporting the Ambassador team on Fridays and weekends. How fortunate we are that both have been Ambassadors and “know the ropes”. Welcome Mandy and Gail!

You may be aware that Minerva Ward has stepped down as President & CEO, NOTL Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake. Minerva has been an avid supporter of the Ambassador Program since her arrival in NOTL in the spring of 2022 and we wish her every success in her future endeavours. Until new leadership is in place, we’ll be working closely with staff to support a smooth transition. 

Finally, our thanks to the volunteers who came out to greet visitors on the Eclipse weekend. Queen Street was a happy place, even if the celestial event wasn’t as spectacular as hoped. So far this year, with the Ice Wine Festival in January and the Eclipse shifts, Ambassadors have engaged over 4,000 people. That compares with over 9,000 for the entire 2023 season. It’s going to be a record-breaking year on all fronts!

Be sure to sign up in MAP for the Kick-off meeting on April 30th from 4 to 6 pm, hosted by our very special partner, Konzelmann Estate Winery. It will be a great opportunity to mix and mingle with your colleagues and to learn more about what’s planned for the 2024 season.

Laurie and Vlad

              [click on the photo above to reach the Konzelmann website]


Site visit update

Our Site Visit season started early this year, on March 25th, with an always breathtaking backstage tour of the Shaw Festival Theatre. We were given access to so many of the critical parts of the theatre, including wardrobe and the green room The tour was facilitated by passionate docents, providing stories and anecdotes along the way. What an amazing experience! 

Other visits are being planned from April through July. These will include:

  • Trolley Tour and hotel visit, courtesy of Vintage Hotels

  • visits to several Wineries (2 per occasion, based on your feedback)

  • visits in June to the Brock Monument and ‘Landscape of Nations’ Memorial to the First Nations at Queenston Heights

  • a visit to Fort George, an key location to learn about for ambassadors.

New this year, there will be opportunities to discover some of the villages of NOTL through their own history and present-day ventures. We’ll be going to St. Davids, where a brewer, a winery and a chocolatier await us. Also in the planning phase are Queenston, to see the Laura Secord Homestead, the Mackenzie Printery, as well as the RiverBrink Art Museum. The village of Virgil will also be part of a tour (TBD). Last but not least, a visit to Niagara Parks’ Whirlpool Aero Car is also planned.

The complete array of Site Visits for 2024 is being finalized. At this time, two unique and special visits can be confirmed:

  • First, on Thursday May 2nd: a special Walking Tour of the Historic NOTL Waterfront, hosted by local Historian Tony Chisholm starting sharp at 10:30am from the Turntable Gardens on River Beach Drive (Delater Street). There is a free parking lot close by (also a good piece of information to know when parking on Queen St is at a premium). The walking tour will conclude around 12:00pm.

  • Then, on Tuesday May 14th: a Vintages Trolley Tour, courtesy of Vintage Hotels, Niagara’s Finest Hotels. Meet at the Pillar & Post at 10:00am to be shown several of their wonderful properties around NOTL. This tour is expected to conclude at 2:00pm and will return to the Pillar & Post. There is plenty of parking in the Pillar & Post lots between John St & Anne St.

As the visits become available, they will be posted on MAP, so keep an eye open for informative emails and sign up on MAP to reserve your spot. Of course, there is no charge for these visits….it’s simply the personal investment of a little bit of time to gain useful information to add to your own stories for visitors.

These site visits are great opportunities for our ever-expanding Ambassador team to get to know each other better and to get that first-hand knowledge. You may pick and choose which visits you would like, but please do attend if you sign up. This is an amazing Town and there is always something new to learn. Looking forward to seeing you!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Throughout the season, the size of group for each of these site visits is limited, based on capacity offered by our hosts and will vary by location. Please refer to MAP as each visit is posted. If you are a returning Ambassador, please allow a couple of days for our new Ambassadors to sign up for these visits first. 

Here's an interesting article from Niagara Now on the history of the train through NOTL, terminating at the Turntable (click on the photo below):


 LEARNING ABOUT OUR ROLE - one step at a time!!

The beauty of being an Ambassador is that we bring so much knowledge and passion about this lovely town to our role. The Ambassador training program really seeks to layer on some additional experiences that allow you to enhance what is already there! Site Visits and the Orientation Sessions are the more formal ways we support your learning. One of the most valuable ways we learn about NOTL is each other!! Remember - you don’t have to have all the answers, just a good sense of where to look for the answers!!

Our team has grown, and with the growth brings some incredible new Ambassadors to join our team. We were fortunate to have had several returning Ambassadors at our sessions, which really helped provide new ambassadors with insight and experiences that enhanced their learning.

For those Ambassadors who did not attend, we wanted to share a couple of brief role descriptions for your reading pleasure!
[Links below lead to the MAP Document Library - you will need to log in]

Meet and Greet: New faces and New Roles

Gina and Karen

Gina has lived in NOTL for 7 years now and LOVES this town. She is living her dream every day she wakes up. She is passionate about the Vineyards and experiencing all this town has to offer. She is excited to learn more about our town through her experience as an Ambassador and the upcoming site visits!

Karen grew up in NOTL, and left for a time, but is now back and reflects on the significant change in her hometown. She brings experience from her work at the wineries as well as her practice as a Yoga teacher to her role as Ambassador. Karen is excited to learn more about her town, and pass on her passion about NOTL to our visitors.

Bob and Sharon

Bob and Sharon love their town!! Like many of us, they feel like they are on holiday at home here in NOTL. They love to travel, and can bring that passion to those who are visiting us here in NOTL. They are eager to learn more about their town through their role as Ambassadors!

Mandy Shanks - The Link!

 [click on the photo above to view the Chamber of Commerce website]

Many of you already know Mandy, as she has lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the past 15 years and has been involved in many NOTL community organizations during that time, including enjoying the last two years as a proud Ambassador! Just like you, she loves sharing information about our wonderful town with visitors from all over the world!

We are pleased to let you know that Mandy is now "The Link" between the Ambassadors and Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake/Chamber of Commerce! She took on the role as the Visitor Information Counsellor working on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the end of March and is your contact and support throughout your Ambassador shifts this year. She will be there to greet you when you arrive to sign in for your shift, and after your shift she will take time to carefully capture the information you gathered during your time "on the street"!

Mandy always likes to meet our wonderful Ambassadors, so even if you are not on shift, if you stop by the Tourism office, you can be sure of a friendly welcome!

 Ambassador Training

Training is essentially complete for this year, with the exception of any new Ambassadors that will return to Niagara-on-the-Lake after late April. We held Orientation sessions on April 10th and 19th, and Technology sessions on April 16th and 26th. Cheryl Yamamoto is our orientation lead related to the Ambassador role, and Elena Morandi-Bonner is our orientation lead for the more technical parts of our role (MAP processes, NOTL-Ambassador website and more).

Additional sessions will be held for new Ambassadors as necessary on an ad hoc basis. Our new LINK (Mandy) and new Leaders are also currently in training.

Next Steps for Ambassadors

  • Season Kick-off - Attend the April 30th kick-off meeting from 4:00 pm until 6 pm at Konzelman Winery. Wear your nametag and get ready to have fun and meet your Ambassador team for 2024!

  • Pick up your gear - New ambassadors will be able to pick up their uniforms in the Chamber of Commerce/Tourism NOTL office at the Old Courthouse on Queen Street. Watch for an email with more information on when your attire will be available.

  • Sign up for Shifts - Watch for email letting you know it is time to sign up for Shifts in MAP

  • Sign up for Site Visits - Watch the MAP calendar for the various site visits during the summer months, and don't forget to sign up in MAP.

From all of us to each and every one of you, thank you for your commitment, your enthusiasm and your special talent for reaching out to our visitors and making them feel welcomed.

You are simply THE BEST!

Co-Leads: Vlad  & Laurie

Leadership Team: Lynne, Kim, Cheryl, Patti, Kathryn, Elena and Mandy