My Challenge to Wellington North: A Tale of Two Tart Tours

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butter-tart-tourAccording to the The Globe and Mail, Wellington North is accusing RT08 (Kawarthas Northumberland Tourism) of stealing their “Butter Tart Trail” concept and exploiting their plucky people-attracting ideas.

“It appeared to me to be the exact same concept as what we are promoting here, just changing a single word,” said April Marshall, head of tourism for Wellington North.

As it so happens, I recall the origins of our Butter Tart Tour. It came together organically, on Twitter. There were a lot — and I mean a lot — of folks talking about the great tarts here, and how we should have a tour. Nothing official, really, just fun amongst online friends. Boasts were tossed around. Mock challenges offered. I recall members of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism and the GPAEDC being part of these fun chats.

Wellington North was never mentioned.

Not once.

The idea grew and grew. And soon became one that seemed inevitable. I can envision some of the Twitter regulars at Peterborough Tourism hashing this out in a post-Twitter scrum and excitedly throwing together a proposal.

In short, it is an idea that came together from the passion of Peterborians for their local tarts — and boy-oh-boy, do we have some fine tarts. Probably way better than the ones in East Wellesley North Wellington. The last thing it was, was a copycat maneuver.

Really you have to have heard of a place before you are capable of ripping them off. And Wellington North (North Wellington? whatever…), you are located where?


Mount Forest?

Not exactly household names.

btt-logo-lgBesides, I always thought that the regional tourism claim of your area was “The Place You Drive Through On The Way to Grey Bruce.”

I believe the cools kids would add a “bazinga” here.

I get it, Wellington. I know that banking your entire tourism and economic development budget on something as flaky as pastry is a gamble. And I also know that failing to attract those twenty-some-odd tourists will probably mean that the Mayor won’t get paid this year. And that you’ll have to shut off that whole running water thing that you finally got set up last year.

And I do think it fair that you use the “we’re awfully tiny and we have no budget, and we really, really need this” argument. As far as I can tell, all of these things are true.

But to accuse the Peterborough area of ripping off your idea?


So here’s my suggestion Washington Walkerton Wellington North.

Why not put your tarts where your mouths are?

Wait… that can’t be right.


Why not put up the dukes? (Now, that’s better.)

Why not put your tarts to the test?

Pasty vs. Pastry. Sugary butter vs. sugary butter. Tart vs. Tart. A blind taste test. Winner take all. Tart tour, tart trail, running water and all that it entails.

OK…  OK…  You can keep your trail.  And your running water.

I’ll even do the legwork in putting together a judging panel made up of respected members of both communities.

I’m willing to discuss particulars and details. I’m flexible and accommodating. You say the word, and I’ll make this thing happen. Trust me, I know my way around organizing an event.

You bring your people. We’ll bring ours. Let’s make it real.

Real nasty tasty. And really official.

Bring it, Wallbridge Wellington North. What’s the worst that can happen? More people will have heard of you?

Wait a minute. That’s actually a good thing.

What’s the worst that can happen? It will actually increase tourism?

Hm… I don’t appear to be doing this right.

What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll have to admit that you are only the second best destination in Ontario for tarts? (That one aughta sting…  until next year).

You know where to find me.*

Let’s see if you’re tarty enough to accept the challenge.

While we’re at it, let’s see if Northumberland Kawarthas tourism is brave enough as well.  I mean, if we’re claiming that we honestly came by this idea and have the best tarts to prove it, well, we should have no reason to back down either.

I eagerly await both parties response.


Donald Fraser
Butter tart lover and food toursim promoter.


*Even if, you know, I have no clue as to where you actually are.


Edit:  After some response on Twitter and Facebook, I should point out that what I’m suggesting in this tongue-firmly-in-cheek piece, is that, with some creativity, Wellington North could probably use this to their advantage.  Why not host provincial tart competitions?  Have challenges from other communities?  Rent out every hotel/motel room in the area and have a butter tart convention — with Elvis impersonators and the Snowbirds.  (Insert creative idea here).  As I point out in the comments, below, I actually love the Wellington North Area.

As for Peterborough?  The Tart Tour isn’t exactly a major part of their overall tourism plan.  And while syrup fests, apple fests, fairs, festivals, wine events, culinary events battle it out in every town and village in the province — at times Amish against Amish and Mennonite against Mennonite —  if Wellington North feels they have proprietary claim to what is very much a Canadian treat, then we will have to accept it.

All I know, is that if one Quebec community tries to monopolize the poutine tourism trade, I’m ducking and running.  Far, FAR away.