Does history matter? War of 1812 Bicentennial subject of tourism and heritage

TORONTO, Oct. 6 /CNW/ - Does history matter today? Participants of the "Sense of Place and Heritage Trails: Realizing the War of 1812 Bicentennial" conference will explore this pivotal question at the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Symposium 2009, Oct. 7 to 9, organized by Centennial College and presented in association with the City of Toronto.

The war between the British Empire and the United States, which was punctuated by the burning of Washington, D.C. in retaliation for the American looting of Toronto, will have its 200th anniversary in 2012 - marking a historical and cultural nation-building touchstone for Canada.

The tourism industry and heritage sector are looking for ways to mark the bicentennial that will be both meaningful and engaging. Centennial's Culture and Heritage Institute hopes to foster some cross-pollination between commercial tourism and heritage preservation by hosting the symposium with a strong field of special guest speakers at Toronto's Fort York National Historic Site.

"This is the first time we're taking our symposium off-site, at historic Fort York, making both the theme and conference more significant," says Shyam Ranganathan, Dean of the Culture and Heritage Institute. "This event will examine trail systems, cultural-heritage tourism products, and our history and communities. It will engage war buffs, tourism and arts/heritage players. This is sure to be a valuable learning opportunity for everyone involved."

A keynote speaker at the symposium is Ivo Dawnay, a respected journalist for the Financial Times, BBC Radio and the Sunday Telegraph, who has joined Britain's The National Trust as Director of Communications. His campaign, "History Matters: Pass it on," is a unique and powerful example of how to engage the public in the advocacy of national culture and heritage preservation.

Other distinguished speakers include lawyer and philanthropist Rodolfo Ogarrio, a leading figure in the environmental movement in Mexico. Richard Koegl is executive director of Oasis Journeys, which creates one-of-a-kind travel itineraries for clients who seek a richer cultural experience. Historical documentary maker Ric Burns, author Anthony Pitch, visitor experience specialist Thomas Piche and Laval University Professor Laurier Turgeon are among the many other speakers and panelists who will be on hand.

Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith and City of Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone will be attending the opening night reception on Oct. 7, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The symposium and the Culture and Heritage Institute aim to promote professional learning about cultural heritage sites, their preservation and the ways in which sustainable hospitality and tourism can develop around them.

Members of the media are cordially invited to attend all or part of the symposium.

    What:     "Sense of Place and Heritage Trails: Realizing the War of 1812
    When:     October 7 to 9, 2009
    Where:    Fort York, Toronto, Ontario

SOURCE Centennial College

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, Centennial College,, (416) 289-5000 ext. 7142

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