Fort William Historical Park General Manager Sergio Buonocore Receives Tourism Champion of The Year Award

Thunder Bay, ON, April 10, 2015 – Fort William Historical Park is proud to announce General Manager, Sergio Buonocore has been awarded Tourism Champion of the Year for his contribution to tourism by Attractions Ontario.

Attractions Ontario recognizes an individual in the province who exhibits excellence in their community by providing quality and memorable experiences to local residents and visitors alike. The recipient represents Attractions Ontario with good financial standing, exceptional customer service and commitment to tourism. Attractions Ontario is the authority on Attractions & Trip Motivators in Ontario, the voice of the industry and the source for consumers to discover Ontario's destination experiences. The association offers best-in-class, high-value access to consumers in bolstering attendance and business activity for the Attractions & Tourism industry.

"On behalf of Fort William Historical Park, I am truly honoured to accept this prestigious award. The Tourism Champion of the Year Award is a source of great pride for us at Fort William Historical Park. It shows our dedication to creating unique and unforgettable customer experiences while providing the highest level of service".

For additional information or to request interview opportunities, please contact Marianne Bortolin, Acting Communications Officer at 807-473-2326 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Fort William Historical Park Wins National Cultural Tourism Award

Thunder Bay, ON, December 1, 2016 - The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has awarded Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) the prestigious “National Cultural Tourism Award”.

The Canadian Tourism Awards are recognized as the most respected accolade available in Canada for the tourism industry, and have become the standard of excellence for businesses and organizations in the travel industry, showcasing the nation's best tourism products, services, and experiences.

The “National Cultural Tourism Award” recognizes a cultural organization that has demonstrated a commitment to the development and promotion of authentic, innovative and enriched cultural tourism visitor experiences, or a tourism organization that has demonstrated a commitment to culture as a key aspect of encouraging and promoting tourism growth within their region.

The award recognizes FWHP’s commitment to visitor satisfaction, its vital role as a regional economic promoter, and for its social impact and legacy in the community.

The award, sponsored by Parks Canada, was presented at the TIAC Awards Congress in Gatineau, QC, on November 30, 2016.

At the awards presentation Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada remarked, “Parks Canada is pleased to recognize Fort William Historical Park as an important and vibrant part of Ontario’s and Canada’s cultural richness.”

Sergio Buonocore, General Manager of FWHP, comments, “The Fort is extremely proud to be recognized with this prestigious award. It is through the hard work and dedication of the staff here at FWHP, that we continue to rise to the top of our industry and gain national attention for our efforts. I would like to extend my personal gratitude to everyone working here at the Fort for your relentless pursuit of excellence and our collective journey of cultural education and celebration.”

Fort William Historical Park has previously won a TIAC Award in 2006 in the “National Event of the Year” category for “Rock the Fort”.

FWHP Opens Canada Gateway Centre in Grand Marais, MN

The Fort William Historical Park Canada Gateway centre was unveiled with plenty of heritage colour and fanfare in Grand Marais, Minnesota on May 27th.

More than 300 school children and residents turned out for the grand opening of Centre, which represents a partnership between Fort William Historical Park and American entrepreneur, David Parsons of Parsons Management and owner of the Grand Marais Inn. The project has been in the planning stages for three years.

The initiative is aimed at increasing cross-border visitation to Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.  The Centre features prominent Fort branding, including a variety of dynamic, interactive touch-screen displays and heritage exhibits, along with information on Thunder Bay and Ontario.

Addressing the ceremonies were Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes, David Parsons of Parsons Management, Assistant Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tourism Planning and Operations Division, Shirley Phillips, and FWHP General Manager Sergio Buonocore.

Grand Marais was targeted by Fort William Historical Park because of the high volume of tourist traffic that passes through the town especially during the summer months, and its relatively close proximity to Thunder Bay. However, for the last several years, there has been a decline in the number of vehicles crossing the border from Grand Marais into Ontario.

"There is a saying, you go fishing where the fish are," said FWHP General Manager Sergio Buonocore in his remarks to the gathering, referring to the tourist activity in Grand Marais. "It is our hope that the Canada Gateway Centre will enable us to re-connect with our good neighbours south of the border and let them know that we are open for business, not only for Fort William Historical Park but for Thunder Bay and Ontario as well."


The centre ties-in nicely with the Fort's existing major billboard and branding campaigns which have grown dramatically over the past two years, with boards dotting the landscape along the I-35 and Highway 61 highways in Minnesota.

Festivities were kicked off with a small procession led by costumed Fort staff that went from Harbor Park in the heart of the city to the Centre.  Cars stopped along the parade route and tooted horns at the costumed interpreters while passing the Centre.

Onlookers received free Fort William Historical Park T-shirts and admission passes. Opening remarks will be highlighted with the firing of cannons and muskets.

The Centre is set to be open year-round with longer operating hours during the summer months.

The event received coverage from Thunder Bay and Grand Marais media and WDIO-TV in Duluth, Minnesota.


Fort William Historical Park Wins Westjet Award

For the second consecutive year, Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) has won the 2009 up! Magazine Value Award.  Up! magazine is the in-house publication of Westjet Airlines.

FWHP was singled out for the terrific value offered to its customers. Value Awards winners are chosen by Westjet travellers who select "places, businesses and events that deliver a great bang for the travel buck and provide a high-quality and unique travel experience that over-delivers when compared to other similarly priced offerings...." 

In the view of readers of up! magazine, the benefits and rewards of the travel experience offered by the award recipients are greater than the cost.

FWHP was among 200 organizations to receive the honour.


FWHP Wins Aboriginal Diversity Award

Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) has added yet another plaque to its ever-growing award wall. The Fort is the recipient of the Excellence in Diversity Award that was presented at the Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Youth Achievement and Recognition Awards ceremony held April 30th at the Victoria Inn.  

The Fort was recognized for employing First Nations and Métis people and for being committed to keeping traditional culture alive and growing through its varied educational programs.  

Since the Fort's opening in 1973, aboriginal culture has played an important role in the Fort's fur trade story, where First Nations people have been employed as historic interpreters at the Ojibwa Native Encampment and as resource staff for the variety of educational and community programs offered by FWHP.  The Fort's Learning Wigwam and its attendant Sleeping under Bark program as well as the Ojibwa Keeshigun Native Festival have stood out among innovative programming highlighting the role of First Nations peoples in the success of the fur trade and the development of Canada.

More recently, FWHP has also partnered with the Métis Nation of Ontario in securing summer student placement positions in the Fort's Native Heritage Program.

Receiving the award on behalf of FWHP were Peter Boyle, Manager of Historical Operations, and Elliot Cromarty, Native Heritage Interpreter.