Tourism Sudbury wants you to think 'big' this tourist season

Whether it's the 'big entertainment', the 'big' ideas or just the 'Big Nickel,' Tourism Sudbury says there will be lots to see and do this summer. July 9/21 (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)

With news that the city will soon be going into Stage 3, attractions in Greater Sudbury have high hopes for the summer ahead.

Whether it's the 'big entertainment', the 'big' ideas or just the 'Big Nickel,' Tourism Sudbury says there will be lots to see and do this summer.

"I think overall we have a sector of people who are willing to give it their best shot, willing to share resources and get ready for the summer, whatever it holds," said Meredith Armstrong, Manager of Tourism and Culture with the city. "We have been working hard to help our residents discover what they have in their own backyard so we hope we have a community full of ambassadors who will be willing to welcome their friends and family back this summer."

Armstrong says there is a general sense of hope or a 'light at the end of the tunnel' when it comes to the summer ahead. She says more people are getting their first and second doses and that is giving them hope.

"We're thrilled to see so many of our small businesses use new ways to reach their customers, engaging and providing wonderful ideas. We have lot of businesses who are doing really great things online, using social media, Instagram has a whole new meaning and importance," said Armstrong.

The city says it's extremely proud of how some of those restaurants have turned to patios in order to keep their patrons safe while carrying on, as best they can, with normal business.

One of those shops that's been enticing Sudburians with new ideas or things they just haven't seen before has been Wander Food and Wine.

Owner Stephanie Piche has been busy teaching online courses while putting together takeout favourites like their picnic baskets and take home kits.

"I think there's a lot more planning of road trips as opposed to people going to far away destinations," said Piche. " I think with COVID many are trying to stay close to home or planning to go visit family so I'm already hearing about people going to visit family for the first time this summer ... making plans so I'm thinking this (Sudbury) could be like a hub, especially for Northern Ontario."

While the patio has helped many businesses survive these warmer months ... Piche has had many turning heads with things like the picnic basket.

"I was trying to think of a way to have what we do here and have people experience it at home. I didn't want to do standard takeout, that's not really what we do here, it's more about the tasting and the pairing and the wine education side of things," she explained.

According to Piche, it's been going really well. There's still many who are hesitant about going out but they are still travelling to places like cottages and hoping to have a nice evening out.

She's also anxious and ready to get in-person wine classes started again once their allowed under the COVID-19 framework. They've always been popular and they book up fast. As much as she likes making up the kits, she says there's something special about an in-person class.

"We get to have great conversation, I get to feed them as opposed to just having little nibbles or something," she laughed.

"I think for the most part - people are waiting for that time where they can just get up from one table and go visit another and it's sounds not quite cliche but I can't wait to have bar seats again where people can come and sit down at a bar - that's what we intended and built this place for," she said.

But big experiences when it comes to dining isn't the only thing downtown Sudbury is boasting this summer, there's also the entertainment.

Yes Theatre is taking it's show on the road to do live performances at the Grotto in late August and early September.

"We really wanted to find a way to bring people together, to celebrate congregation after this very tiring and tumultuous year we've had over the last year and a half. So we wanted to bring music back to the community," said Artistic and Managing Director Alessandro Costantini.

As a result, they're bringing their repertory of three concerts to the Sudbury attraction with 12 vocalists and a live band of six.

It's being billed as a high-energy, passion-filled concert outdoors.

Audience members are being encouraged to think of it as a live theatre experience, something like you'd see in Ancient Greece.

"It's been profoundly exciting in a way that I haven't felt this energy or excitement for a project in a very long time. We're all very much looking forward to being together and singing together," said Costantini.

This summer marks the first time the group has been able to get together for sometime and it's something they really cherish.

Costantini says they're all really grateful about being given the opportunity to do what they do with an audience.

"People have really turned to arts and culture in a way that's really helped us right? So being able to actually assemble together as a team, with the people that we love, with the artists that Sudbury loves, knows and recognizes - it's going to be really remarkable," he said.

Not only bigger, but also better, attractions here in Sudbury say they're ready for a banner year.

Visitors have already started arriving and whether it's tourists or residents staying close to home, they're hoping you'll get a chance to take in the fun.