The Township of Southgate, specifically Dundalk, must be overjoyed at the moment.
Yes, the province announced on Friday, Aug. 12 that Greenlid, an Ontario-based company building a facility in Dundalk’s Eco-Park, will receive $500,000 from the Regional Development Program’s Southwestern Ontario Development Fund – an announcement that Premier Doug Ford himself was in attendance for.
However, I don’t believe that is the reason they are ecstatic right now.
No, they have publicity that no amount of advertising, print or digital, can buy – a viral video from the press conference.
For those who haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t, where have you been?), Premier Ford was answering a question during media availability when an insect landed on his lower lip, eventually making its way into the great unknown – Ford’s stomach.
“… it’s coming from the health sector,” said Ford, followed by a choking sound. A few seconds later, he commented, “I just swallowed a bee.”
Those in attendance asked if Ford was OK, and to his credit, the premier was a very good sport about it.
He took a sip of water then quipped, “I’m good, he’s down here buzzing around right now. He has a lot of real estate.”
He also encouraged reporters in attendance to replay the “blooper.”
“That’s a good one… best I’ve ever seen,” he said.
CP24 reported on Friday afternoon that Ford is “doing well” following his light snack.
Footage of the premier swallowing the bee went viral, as I said earlier, with a quick Google search of “Doug Ford” showing several news stories about the incident.
And very little mention of the funding announcement.
It’s a win-lose situation for Dundalk. Pretty much everyone knows where you are, or has at least heard of you, because of all the buzz (pun intended) around the bee incident. However, you are now known as being the “town where Doug Ford ate a bee.”
Could be worse. My oldest son refers to Dundalk as “the end of the Earth” – as in it feels like you’re driving to the end of the Earth from our home for a mid-week ball game.
Regardless, I think the Township of Southgate needs to take full advantage of their newfound fame and launch something fun and unique.
No, not another pork chop dinner or slo-pitch tournament. I’m thinking food festival – not just any food, weird and unusual food.
The first year, ideally 2023, could be bee themed – honey dishes, chocolate covered bees, deep fried crunchy bee bites – and Premier Ford could come back to officially kick off the festivities, and maybe have another snack.
In future years, you could move onto themes surrounding other pests that plague Grey County residents – spiders, ants, cluster flies, etc.
Call it “Diverse Dining in Dundalk.”
And to also capitalize on the momentum of all the media attention, use Greenlid products to serve the meals on.
Oh right, lost in all the buzz about the bees is the fact that Greenlid manufactures compostable, sustainable products that are safe alternatives to single-use plastics. Included in those products are disposable tableware and food service items.
It’s a dream scenario – a food festival in Dundalk serving different food on eco-friendly tableware produced by a local company inspired by the premier eating a bee at a press conference announcing funding for said company.
Dundalk, Southgate – I hand this idea to you on a silver, nay green, platter. Take it, make it your own, and become a tourist destination and not just the setting for another social media meme.
Mike Wilson is the editor of Midwestern Newspapwers. He does not condone the eating of bees, but is a fan of beeswax candles and honey. Comments and feedback are welcome at email@example.com.