Bon Soo Needs City Support and a Lot More

Another Bon Soo Winter Carnival has come and gone. Hats off to the Bon Soo committee, the board and volunteers who faced challenges of warm weather and little snow. You managed to keep the Bon Soo spirit alive once again!

I can only imagine the dedication and hard work these people put into the carnival – I wish the City and the Province would do the same.

Having worked in media for a good 40 years now, I have covered many Bon Soo carnivals in the past. I can tell you that the carnival has shrunk in that time . It’s no longer the big deal it used to be but I think with the proper support from the City and the Province, it could be, one day…a World Class carnival.

Let’s face it, when it comes to winter carnivals, Sault Ste. Marie no longer puts on a good show compared to the likes of the Quebec Winter Carnival, Winterlude in Ottawa or even Toronto. Grant it, we don’t have the populations those centres have but here we have a very recognizable logo (Bon Soo) in fact I once read that the Bon Soo logo was the most recognizable winter carnival logos in the country. So we have that going for us – but the Bon Soo carnival today does not attract a whole of people from outside the city.

For decades , the City has been exploring a major tourist attraction , why can’t the Bon Soo carnival be that tourist attraction? Monay of course has a lot to do with it. Bon Soo relies on cash raised through the sales of buttons, sponsorships and in kind contributions to put on the carnival it has become. It needs more.

The City can spend $11 million on a downtown plaza – surely, they can fund the carnival for $500,000 a year and give the board of directors something to sink their teeth into. The Province needs to do more as well. Back in the mid-80’s the carnival got a one time grant (I can’t remember the exact amount, I think it was $250,000) at the time the carnival also received the designation of “The Ontario Winter Carnival” making it the official winter carnival of the Province. With that said, the Province either needs to cough up another $500,000 to make the city or get the Ontario Lottery Corp to help out promoting the carnival and funding it.

Why not develop a scratch ticket from the OLG that helps promote this Provincial Carnival ? A ticket that can go on sale in November, January and February with proceeds or at least, some of the proceeds going to annually fund the carnival.

I can tell you that the board would have a great time putting together a bigger winter carnival if they had the cash to do it with.

Bring back the large snow sculptures, the Fantasy Kingdom and other events designed to draw outsiders to the city. Wouldn’t it be great if this winter carnival could draw 50,000 to 100,000 people each winter?

Having the proper amount of cash would help the carnival create new events. Such as a ice sculpturing contest that would attract world class artists to the Sault – have a grand prize of $25,000 – that would be enough to get these artists to compete. Having the cash on hand would help Bon Soo to book big name talent – again, all to bring people to the Sault.

There’s millions of people that live within an 8 hour drive – let’s tap into that !!

4 thoughts on “Bon Soo Needs City Support and a Lot More

  1. What is the total amount of hotel/ motel rooms available in the Sault ?
    Does this not limit the amount of out of towners coming to enjoy bon soo.
    Currently 10,000 buttons on average are sold and mostly to locals
    How could the bin soo and the host city of Sault Ste. Marie , house, feed the folks who the 40,000-90,000 more buttons sold to when they are out of towners ?

  2. I’ve been saying it for decades. The seasons have shifted and having the event in mid January makes more sense….but nobody listens. It’s not for the kids anymore….it’s for businesses to sell more……..

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