Maynard Johnny Jr. being interviewed in downtown Chemainus for the Still Standing TV show. (Photo by Chris Armstrong)

Maynard Johnny Jr. being interviewed in downtown Chemainus for the Still Standing TV show. (Photo by Chris Armstrong)

Promotions don’t get any better than this

Popular TV series brings built-in tourist potential

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Chemainus has been gobbling up the publicity in the past year, mainly through movie and TV productions. It’s just too bad the pandemic is limiting the chance to capitalize on it.

But down the road once restrictions are completely relaxed and COVID hopefully becomes eradicated, who knows how much it will mean for the town.

Related story: Chemainus Still Standing through all sorts of adversity

Being featured on Wednesday night’s Still Standing series on CBC television is worth its weight in tourism gold. The show has a huge following both in Canada and the United States. And there are people who make it a mission to visit all of the featured towns.

Similar to the former Corner Gas TV series that brought a large entourage on a regular basis to Rouleau, Saskatchewan, also known as Dog River, the Still Standing show will generate lasting benefits. How we spread the word further about what there is to see and do in Chemainus will be important.

For now, we can bask in the glory of the fraternity of Still Standing towns that got this rare chance to be in the spotlight through insightful productions and the general love audiences have for host Jonny Harris. He interjects humour – some corny and some provocative – into his performances and people just can’t get enough of it.

It’s also interesting to compare and contrast the featured towns. This is one way Chemainus might generate some ideas about better serving visitors and boosting the local economy by making sure they stick around longer than it takes to grab an ice cream.

We could certainly pick up pointers from Wakefield, Quebec, the town highlighted the week before Chemainus. Wakefield has a quirky vibe and plenty of adventures that people crave these days like bungy jumping, a zip line and a unique water maze to paddle a canoe.

There also used to be a rail line that ran between Wakefield and a neighbouring town for short-term excursions. It was a huge success and one chocolatier profited handsomely before the other town pulled out of the arrangement.

Long-term, the more ideas the merrier for prosperity. The competition for tourist dollars can’t rest on its laurels – or the murals.