Lindsey Vandale is a welcoming sight as you enter the gingerbread house on Southgate beside the caboose. The building has always had a significant charm about it and lures the passerby into wondering what it houses, if you?ll pardon the pun.
The little gray house with white trim serves also as the Visitor Information Booth (V.I.B.) predominantly during the summer months. Vandale is there Monday through Friday 9-5 with help from summer student Meagan Vivien there on Saturday and Sunday 9-5 as well.
Vandale is well certified for this job, having worked at two major tourism centers in Whistler and Golden, BC. She has kept up her BC Superhost as per regulations and is knowledgeable about Tumbler Ridge and the surrounding area, as well as attaining her Visitor Information Counselling certificate. This basically educates on how to accurately read and understand tourism publications and accommodation guides that can be somewhat complex to the average Joe.
The services that are offered through the V.I.B. are ideas on what to do; the availability of accommodations listings, restaurants and community services. Details on hotels, bed & breakfasts and rates, etc. are all part of the information available at the V.I.B.
As well as information, the booth also has room for marketable items, such as souvnir type items. There are District magnets, spoons, etc., as well as smaller pieces of artwork by local artists. Vandale encourages artists to bring by their work and providing it is a reasonable size and of suitable theme, she would like to see things displayed there.
As well, books by Dr. Charles Helm, as well as trail brochures, town maps. A brand new item this year is the Northern BC Backwoods Mapbook, recently mentioned in an article in this newspaper regarding contributing segments and research by resident Trent Ernst. The V.I.B. also serves as the Wolvernine Nordic and Mountain Society trail passport, which entitles hiking enthusiasts to have each trail marked by embossing, as they are completed.
Heavy focus is on the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, with information about Dino Tours and Camps, which were previously booked through the V.I.B. but are now being arranged through Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre as well as Northern Wilderness Camps.
On the shorter list, Vandale has put together packages for people wanting to relocate to Tumbler Ridge and those wishing to holiday here. With visitors that same day from both Holland and New Zealand, the tourism is coming along.
A good sign of that is that coming to Tumbler Ridge in February of 2007 is the England-France combined group, Trans Canadian Snowmobile Raid. Accompanying them on their tour will be national news and radio media, another fantastic opportunity for Tumbler Ridge and tourism. To our good fortune, the reason they are heading this way is mainly due to the law that they cannot travel via national parks and so heading North was a way around that.
As well as artwork, Vandale encourages people to bring in their items of interest that she can look at and assess as a viable marketing item through the V.I.B. Contact 250-242-3123 or toll-free 1-877-I-SAW-DINO (1-877-472-93466). There is also detailed information on the Tumbler Ridge District website ? www.tumbleeridge.ca