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Rural Tourism Champions honoured

The Growing Rural Tourism Conference has named Aspen Crossing of Mossleigh, Alberta as the recipient of the fourth annual Rural Tourism Champion Award.

As well, Liz Taylor, recently named Executive Director of Tourism Red Deer and formerly Managing Director of Travel Alberta’s regional marketing unit, was honoured with the first time Lifetime Rural Tourism Champion Award.

Both awards were presented at  the 11th annual Growing Rural Tourism Conference in Camrose on April 5 by Premier Ed Stelmach.

The Rural Tourism Champion Award recognizes an individual or organization showing commitment to rural tourism in their business, association or community.  The award is designed to honour outstanding accomplishments, innovation and leadership in rural tourism in Alberta.

Aspen Crossing began as a tree farm, then in 2004, owner Jason Thornhill adopted a train theme and opened a fully stocked Garden Center. By 2006, he had added a museum and a gift store.

A circa 1887 Pullman dining car, used by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, it’s now Aspen Crossing’s popular dining car which hosts a train- themed dinner theatre. A fully serviced campground with converted cabooses serving as luxury cabins opened last season and

Future plans include a century old Victorian farmhouse that will be transformed into a museum and coffee house next year.

Liz Taylor has been involved in tourism since 1990 and has always been a strong advocate for rural tourism.  She spearheaded innovative and affordable ways for small tourism operators and communities to get their messages to their markets.  One of her legacies is the annual Growing Rural Tourism Conference in Camrose where she has been a member of the organizing committee since it was founded in 2001.

Travel Alberta