Thunder Bay's Gateway in Minnesota closing down
Award-winning tourism promotion lasted four years
Four years after it was launched, an award-winning tourist promotion just over the U.S. border in Minnesota, is being closed down.
The Canada Gateway Centre started in 2009 by Fort William Historical Park in partnership with a private business in Grand Marais MN, about 130 kilometres southwest of Thunder Bay.
The business has filed for bankruptcy, but a spokesman for the park, Marty Mascarin, said this week their contract was just about up anyway.
"With the horizon coming on the end of the contract, it was given some speculation on our part that perhaps we could look around and see if there were any more high-profile venues that were amenable to our needs," Mascarin said.
He said Fort William Historical Park had already decided to look at other options, but the profile in Grand Marais has been useful in enticing U.S. visitors to Thunder Bay for as long as it lasted.
"We weren't able to get any, necessarily, any tangible numbers. A lot of it was anecdotal. But nonetheless we still thought it was still valuable to have a presence in Grand Marais," Mascarin said.
Mascarin said the historical park is working on retrieving its heritage items from the Gateway Centre, including fur packs, lanterns, blankets and other articles.
In November, 2009, the Fort William Historical Park was recognized by the tourism industry for its efforts in increasing cross-border visits from the United States.
"The Fort received the Discovery Award for Innovative Risk Taker, thanks to the opening of the Fort William Historical Park Canada Gateway Centre in Grand Marais, Minnesota, earlier this summer," read a news release by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism at the time.
CBC News has been unsuccessful in contacting David Parsons, whose company operated the Canada Gateway Centre.