Communiqué for NOTL Ambassadors and our Partners!

MAY 2024 - "The Season Begins" EDITION


Hello Ambassadors!!
Thank you for making our kick-off to this season a resounding success!!

Our Season Kick-off was held on April 30th at Konzelmann Winery. We had a full house, with over 70 Ambassadors and guests in attendance! The hospitality shown by Konzelmann Estates Winery was second to none. We sampled some wonderful wines, including their famous Peach wine and charcuterie, while hearing updates from our Co-Leads. Thank you to Konzelmann for their support to the Ambassador program, and to Andrew Niven, Konzelmann’s Marketing Director, for his unwavering support to the Ambassador Program.

The 2024 season is off to a GREAT start! In many ways, the Victoria Day long weekend was a perfect beginning!! Our enthusiastic team was back in “full swing” on the streets of NOTL welcoming 855 visitors from 24 countries.

Our newest volunteers did an outstanding job on their first shifts!! The weather was ideal (except for a soggy Friday afternoon) and thanks to the new meters, there were few parking complaints!!! “Gooey mooey” ice cream from Cows was the top pick for the weekend and, most importantly, whether returning or visiting for the first time, visitors told us they loved our Town and appreciated the warm Ambassador welcome.

Finally, there is one challenge we’re experiencing with the shift release process you should be aware of. You’ll recall that, based on feedback in the fall 2023 Ambassador Survey, we decided to release more shifts sooner. The objective was two-fold: to allow better planning of your summer schedule and to avoid situations where you were unable to find a shift because they were full. The first shifts were released to cover the period from May 17th to July 14th. Our experience so far suggests the change is not achieving that objective. Shifts remain open, particularly in the July period, and cancellations occur more frequently. We plan to do a final review of the data in early June to decide if we should return to releasing shifts for shorter periods. When shifts are booked weeks in advance, they appear more likely to change. We understand “life happens” and cancellations will always occur. But we encourage you to think of signing up for a shift as a commitment of your time, rather than a casual entry. Fewer cancellations means less workload to find replacements, and helps us ensure resources are there to support visitors and our fellow Ambassadors.

While your Leadership Team continues to look for ways to make everything we do more effective, there is one thing we know for sure – we have the absolute BEST Ambassadors! That’s not just our biased opinion. Ask our partners, residents, the media and especially our visitors. It’s your reputation as enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers that has attracted such interest in joining the Team. To quote the Toronto Star “NOTL Ambassadors turn loving their Town into an art form.”

Our leadership team is available, supporting you as you take to the streets. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to support you or to make the program better! The best way to do this? Send us an email either directly or via MAP.

See you “on the street”!

Laurie and Vlad


New faces and new roles at Tourism NOTL

The weekend also marked the beginning of new leadership at Tourism NOTLKathy Weiss was named interim Executive Director of the Chamber and Tourism NOTL and her first day on the job was Tuesday May 21st . Kathy has an extensive background in both Chamber and Tourism Management, along with marketing and economic development experience. She attended our recent Leadership Team meeting to learn more about what we do and to share her goals for Tourism NOTL. Building a strong team, strengthening partner relationships and driving the marketing recommendations from the Tourism Strategy Report top that list. Kathy is the ideal person to lead the organization’s transition and she has our full support.

Kathy is not the only new face in the office. Emelyn Williams joined on the same day to take over Event Management. With the White Effects Dinner approaching rapidly on June 7, she’s going to be a very busy lady!

Please take the opportunity to say “hello” to Kathy and Emelyn. They’ve heard you’re an amazing group of volunteers and would welcome the chance to meet you.

Lets also welcome Gail Kendall  to Tourism NOTL. Gail has lived in the beautiful village of Queenston for the last 5.5 years. She moved here from the Beaches area of Toronto and hit the ground running. She has worked in retail, hospitality, theatre and is now the Visitor Information Counsellor during the week at The Chamber of Commerce. 

She was an Ambassador when the program first began and has reprised her role once again, happy to share all she has learned about our beautiful town and surrounding areas. While she may not see you in the office during the week, she is more than happy to walk the street with you on weekends.



Mandy Shanks, Ambassador Link & Visitor Information Counsellor, Tourism NOTL

Opening Weekend

Thank you to all Ambassadors that worked a shift during the Kick-off Weekend! Friday, May 17th was the first official kick-off to our Ambassador Summer Season! The first shift at noon went very smoothly; however, we had a very soggy second shift! The rain arrived around 1.45 PM, therefore it was too late to cancel the shift! But everyone showed up, eager and ready for their shift! The Walking Shift Ambassadors even braved the rain for a while! On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the sun shone on the Ambassadors and all shifts went very smoothly.

During one of the Walking shifts, Laurie and Cathy updated the Map of Queen Street Stores and made changes as necessary. This new document will be posted on MAP as reference. The new online Ambassador Feedback Form is working well so far and, as a result, we will be able to see some wonderful online reports by compiling the information this way! We are off to a great start for the 2024 Summer Season!

Notes from the Office: Smoke and Mirrors?

This month in the office, Gail and Mandy had two quite similar questions that we decided to combine into one post. The first question was from a resident of Lewiston, who was asking “Why is smoke coming across the river from Niagara-on-the-Lake, and could you do something about it please?”. The second question in this category was “What is with all this fog today, where has it come from and what can you do to make it go away?”. In this role we have to bring our skills from many occupations - including, apparently, wearing scientist and meteorologist hats!


After our first official weekend, we discovered a few items to keep in mind when each Ambassador arrives for a shift. We will be using the first “alcove” to the right at the bottom of the stairs as the Ambassador area. This is where the shift sign-in takes place and where any items that Ambassadors don't wish to carry can be left temporarily. In this area there are also maps, rain ponchos and other items that may be needed on a shift. After each shift, Ambassadors should stop at the desk, where we will enter the shift details onto the Ambassador Feedback Form. If there are visitors in the Office at the same time, or if you need to leave right away, there are hardcopy Ambassador Feedback Forms available in the Alcove that can be used to record shift details. Later, we will enter all data on to the system as required.

Important note: Ambassadors should use only the main double doors to enter and exit the building. For safety reasons, on the weekends the main double doors will be the only entry and exit to the office. The other door will be kept locked; therefore, it should never be used to enter or exit the Office, as it will not lock automatically behind you.

Thank you and looking forward to meeting you all!!



Community Site Visits Update

Our Community Site Visit season continued with two memorable visits in early May!

The NOTL Historic Waterfront Tour

Local Historian Tony Chisholm led a special Walking Tour of the Historic NOTL Waterfront, along with his railway historian buddy, Ron Simpson. It was a fascinating morning, learning about the old railway turntable, which was the endpoint of the ‘Erie-Ontario Railroad’.

In bygone days, the locomotive would be turned around and steamship passengers who came from Toronto would be welcomed to stay at the waterfront Queen's Royal Hotel. The old rail line went along Balls Beach, then up a trestle bridge, before continuing up King Street and along today’s Heritage Trail through Queenston. The heyday of the passenger train was between 1860 and 1920 and it continued as a freight line until 1959.

At the Queens’ Royal Park, Tony also highlighted the granite Swim Plaque by the beach, which recorded the names of all swimmers who completed the gruelling 32-mile swim to Toronto. This, of course, included Marilyn Bell, the first person to complete the swim, as well as Tony’s own son! An incredible feat of bravery!

Vintage Hotels/Niagara’s Finest Hotels Trolley Tour

Pillar and Post Inn and Spa: Ryan Murray, the GM of the Pillar and Post Inn & Spa, welcomed Ambassadors for a lovely tour around the facility. We also toured the beautiful Monet Gardens, which are free year-round and open to all. A truly hidden gem of NOTL!!

Prince of Wales Hotel: Kelly Exelby, the GM of The Prince of Wales Hotel, welcomed Ambassadors to this cherished NOTL landmark. The hotel’s classic halls and rooms are lined with elegant antiques and artwork. For our visitors looking for an English High Tea, we can direct them to the Drawing Room of the hotel for a special treat. Visitors wanting to do a local wine tasting can head to the Churchill Lounge.

Queen's Landing Hotel: The GM, Lily Kszan, welcomed us to this grand property designed like a Georgian Mansion. It is the largest property overlooking the Niagara River, along with superb facilities to host business events and weddings, and perfect for a romantic getaway. We toured the Tiara Restaurant and the Bacchus Lounge, with its lovely outside verandah deck overlooking the Marina. What a spot for a cocktail and snack on a beautiful sunny day!! 

Everywhere, Ambassadors were most generously treated to local fare, none more so than at Zee's Grill at the Shaw Club, where GM Jamie Drummond had arranged a wonderful luncheon surprise. A memorable morning indeed!

NOTL Ambassadors are indeed proud to have Vintage Hotels/Niagara’s Finest Hotels as a highly valued Partner and to share with visitors their new-found knowledge about all the Hotels’ extensive services.

Winery Tours: Queenston Mile Vineyard & Colaneri Estate Winery

On May 22nd we were warmly greeted by two wonderful wineries: Queenston Mile Vineyard and Colaneri Estate Winery to see and learn about the special art and craft of making wine. 

Queenston Mile (see link) greeted us with Mimosas! Their new ownership has exciting plans to expand their food and wine menu with wedding event packages. Their casual dining menu is extensive with many tastings, including Mimosas and a wood fired pizza oven. The upper-level patio will be opening soon.

At Colanery Estate Winery (see link), we loved the stories that both Betty Colaneri and Christopher Colaneri shared with us about the history of this family-owned winery. They also told wonderful, heart-warming stories of the designs on the labels for every bottle of wine and how each design represents a member of their family, past and present. Their newest release is a fruity Sangria Bianco, great for the summer season while enjoying pizza or an antipasto board served on their lovely patio on weekends.

Ambassadors at Colaneri

 Next up....

  • May 29 - More of St. Davids with a visit to the Château des Charmes Winery, as well as to CFX Chocolates to learn about the artisanal art of making chocolate

  • June 4 - Reif Estate Winery and Konzelmann Estate Winery, both leading wine producers among the 35 wineries in NOTL, with unique locations and processes 

  • June 6 - Greaves Jams production facility and Oast House Brewery in Virgil 

Coming Soon....

  • June 11 - Queenston Heights & the Landscape of Nations

  • June 18 - Queenston Village itself, to learn about the Laura Secord Homestead, Mackenzie Printery and Riverbrink Art Museum

  • June 25 - Inniskillin, the original Niagara winery, Marynissen Estate Winery and the historic McFarland House

  • July 16 - The Whirlpool Aero Car and Niagara Glen Nature Centre in Niagara Falls

  • July 25 - Fort George… round off our community site visit season

**IMPORTANT NOTE: The size of the group for each of these visits is limited, based on capacity offered by our hosts, and varies by location. As previously mentioned, these community site visits are great opportunities for our Ambassador team to get to know each other better and to gain priceless first-hand knowledge. As with your regular Ambassador shifts, you may pick and choose which visits you would like, but please do attend if you sign up.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!

Technology Brief

In April and May we completed three technology training sessions for 33 Ambassadors, a mix of new and returning volunteers.
  • Training

    A few Ambassadors may not have had the opportunity to attend, so we do encourage anyone that wishes to have a refresher to reach out to Elena for a session.

  • Volunteer Shifts

    Note that all walking and kiosk shifts were released up to July 14th; there are still many slots available, so we encourage Ambassadors to sign up for at least their two-shift minimum

  • Facebook

    The private Ambassador Facebook group is very active this year so far, with many new volunteers joining and posting photos and valuable information. Please consider joining and sharing with your fellow Ambassadors, if you haven’t done so already.

    We also have a public Facebook page. Please don't forget to share it, "Like" it and promote it with friends and family:

  • Ambassador Website

    Our Ambassador website continues to be available to all: Ambassadors, partners, residents and visitors. It is a source of valuable information for all about our Town and is updated regularly by our volunteers. Please consider sharing it with as many friends as possible to spread the word!

    [Click on the image below to reach the site]

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