Local foodie showcasing Cornwall’s food & drink sceneMay 25, 2021
Vanessa Leduc had an idea to mix her love of food with her love for her hometown. The result is a delicious new experience that is turning heads and raising the profile of Cornwall’s amazing food and drink scene.
Leduc recently founded Cornwall Food Tours, a venture that aims to showcase some of the best bites in the city along with some interesting insights into the restaurants behind the culinary creations – and the city itself. Leduc and her husband Moe Bellefeuille are big fans of food tours, having gone on a number of them in other cities. She saw potential for a similar offering in Cornwall given the great mix and authentic offerings available locally.
“We have such amazing restaurants in Cornwall,” Leduc said. “The whole point of this is to highlight local businesses, showcasing what we have and letting others know about them.”
The idea for Leduc’s venture got a spark – literally – last year when she applied to the Spark Mentorship & Grants Program, an initiative aimed at generating new tourism ideas and experiences. She submitted her idea and became one of three finalists in the program, which was offered in a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, Cornwall Tourism, Cornwall Tourism Development Fund and SDG Counties. Leduc received a $3,000 grant along with one-on-one mentorship with a successful tourism business leader to help take her idea to the next stage of development.
Like many other businesses, Leduc’s original business plan was impacted by the pandemic as it made it difficult to offer in-person tours. She pivoted and persevered, moving instead to a virtual food tour for the time being – and it’s been an immediate success.
“The food was fantastic. And I really enjoyed learning about the backgrounds of the chefs/owners and also the historical aspect of the tour was a nice bonus. Highly recommended,” reads one of the many positive reviews on Trip Advisor.
The so-called ‘Classic Cornwall Food Tour’ features generous samples from 6 different Cornwall establishments, all packaged and prepared in advance for pick-up between 12:30 pm and 12:45 pm at Truffles Burger Bar in Downtown Cornwall. Tourgoers can then log in to a special Zoom chat online to learn more about the food items – with a sprinkle of interesting Cornwall facts as well.
The first virtual tour on Saturday, May 22nd was sold out and spots are quickly filling up for the next three virtual tours on the coming three Saturdays – May 29th, June 5th and June 12th.
“What I hope is that people show up for the amazing food but walk away feeling more connected to their community and the people that make the amazing food,” Leduc said. “I think the restaurants are enjoying participating. They get to do what they love which is make their food and share it with people! Hopefully even more people will buy tickets and get to experience their food!”
In addition to supporting local restaurants, the food tours – both virtual and eventually, in-person – are also helping to support the community, with a portion of all ticket sales going to Maison Baldwin House, the local women’s shelter.
Food and drink can be a major driver for tourism, with food lovers willing to travel to seek out new and unique culinary experiences. Leduc believes she is only scratching the surface with the potential that exists for Cornwall’s food and drink scene. With its historical landmarks and high number of eateries, Downtown Cornwall is a natural place for her to start with the venture.
“Within a four or five block stretch, there’s so much to explore and enjoy,” she added.
In addition to the ‘classic’ tour, Leduc is also working on a future cultural food tour to give foodies a taste of flavours from around the world, right here in Cornwall.
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We all have a part to play in combating the spread of COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to wear masks, practice frequent hand washing and physical distancing, and stay home if not feeling well. For the latest guidelines and restrictions related to COVID-19, please visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit website.
Looking for other fun things to do in Cornwall? Check out the Explore section of our website for other fun-filled activities to keep you busy. Better yet, consider extending your stay with a night at one of our great accommodations!
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