You may have noticed new signage along the highways around Portage indicating the new Manitoba Star Attraction of Island Park. Portage Regional Economic Development executive director Vern May says the signs went up in the last few weeks, after the announcement in May. He notes it adds on to our existing Star Attraction which is the Fort la Reine Museum.
"We're one of a rare few communities at least in the Central region that has two Star Attractions in the community," says May. "That's pretty exciting in terms of benchmarking. The process began in the spring, and we were just told through the process. Travel Manitoba covers the cost for all the signage."
He notes a complaint that's often been vocalized about our city is many drivers take the bypass around Portage and completely miss what we have to offer. Or, he notes, if they do drive through they only take Saskatchewan Avenue and miss everything else. May says that was his case, when he drove through during the many trips he made back and forth as a wrestler. He says he thought he knew Portage well, and never realized there was so much more to see.
He notes the signs are very helpful in resolving that problem.
"And it gives us that opening to have the conversation and say, 'Here we have on one site 18 holes of golf, two arenas, an indoor waterpark, an outdoor waterpark, tennis courts, disk golf, a wildlife viewing area, a campground, exhibition park plus fresh strawberries in the summer,' " explains May. "It gets people there, and then people say, 'Wow, we didn't realize this was here.' "