A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE BECOME A FIRST First ImpressionsCommunities that have participated in a First IMPRESSIONS COMMUNITY Community Exchange ProgramImpressions Community Exchange (FICE) are “Seeing things in a whole new light”quick to praise the program. Apart from therelatively low cost and effort involved, FICE of the Ministry of Agriculture, Foodhas led to concrete results, such as improved and Rural Affairs or the Ministry ofsignage, better visitor services, uncluttered Northern Development and Mines.streets, upgraded lighting or investment We will provide all the materials,in comprehensive downtown revitalization. staff to guide the process, andundertake more strategic projects and haveoften developed longer-term, collaborative community.relationships with other FICE communities.“I have set many new goals andreport. Many of these initiatives willcome into play for the next couple ofbudget years.” Quote courtesy of client survey Contact the Ontario FICE Program 1-888-588-4111 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-461-6132 www.ontario.ca/reddi Également disponible en français
A Fresh PerspectiveWhat is the First Impressions Three versions of FICE are now available:Community Exchange? Community-wide, Downtown and Tourism. Each Since 2005, the FICE program program provides communities with guides, has contributed across Ontario toFICE is a simple, low-cost and highly effective assessment booklets, report templates and assistance from provincial government economic positive community action, includingcommunity conveys to visitors, including tourists, development consultants. downtown revitalization, tourismpotential investors or people looking for a new development, investment attraction,place to live. It helps communities identify the The ‘exchange’ involves two or more communities quality service improvement, and that send volunteer teams to their exchange community strategic planning.bring them back, as well as the things that give a community to complete an assessment of localnegative impression of the community. facilities, services and amenities. The visits are unannounced, similar to a secret shopper approach used to assess retail stores. The“Since I am on the Business Improvement visitors record their observations and give constructive feedback to the community through Association and a tourism partner in a public presentation and report. the community, I have used some of the information to speak to the municipality’s MATCHING COMMUNITIES public works department to try and get The best results are achieved when the exchange improvements made.” communities have similar characteristics, such as population size, proximity to a large urban Quote courtesy of client survey centre, or economic base (eg. agriculture, tourism, manufacturing). It also helps if the two communities are facing similar development “It has connected us to another issues, like business or youth retention, single industry dependence, or “big-box” development. town that we can partner with in any ways. Example, when we have events going on they can promote THE VISIT Each visiting team has 5-6 community residents [them] and give us prizes that will with a mix of backgrounds, occupations and help get people to visit their town ages. They spend several hours touring the and vice versa.” community and recording their observations. They prepare a report and present it to the Quote courtesy of client survey exchange community at a public session.