Tourist info on a roll in Petrolia

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Cara Vosburg Photo and Story

 Petrolia is making it easy for visitors discover the town with a new mobile tourist information centre.

Marketing committee volunteers unveiled a custom wooden cart at the opening of Petrolia’s Farmers’ Market Saturday.

Laurissa Ellsworth, the town’s manager of marketing, says the volunteer committee knew the town needed a dedicated source for tourist information. The idea for the cart came from the town’s director of performing arts, Richard Poore. The town was able to turn the idea into reality thanks to joint efforts and donations by Bourque Woodworks, Duff Limited, Electric Crayon Graphic and Web Design, Petrolia Home Hardware, and Lambton County Developmental Services.

“It’s definitely a piece for both downtown businesses and for the town to promote everything that is Petrolia,” says Ellsworth.

Local businesses can submit flyers and coupons that will be made available along with the tourism information at the cart.  The cart will be open most weekends and when the theatre crowd is in town, as well as during special events.

The mobile tourist information booth is all part of the effort to encourage tourism and business during the two-year reconstruction of Petrolia Line. Starting the first week of July, contractors will be digging up the main street in a $4.5 million project which has the town and its downtown business owners concerned about dwindling sales.  So it has launched an aggressive marketing campaign hoping to boost business, even with construction.

“Petrolia is going to be open and ready for business all through the road construction,” says Ellsworth.

The town’s marketing committee began the first of four “Picture Yourself in Petrolia” events Saturday at the Farmers’ Market opening.

Shoppers are encouraged to take pictures and send them out with #PetroliaSelfie. June 6, during Pizzafest and during The Big Dig Party later that day, the photos will be displayed in Victoria Park. Ellsworth says three more Selfie events are lined up and all kinds of community events are in the works.

The party comes just before road construction begins on Petrolia Line. Residents and tourists will be kept well informed about the roadwork through online, print, and radio messages.

Mayor McCharles, who welcomed people to the Farmers’ Market urging them to take lots of selfies, says the town is going to go the extra mile to work around the issues typically associated with road construction.

“We want it to be as easy as possible to access the businesses,” he says.