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UPDATE: NYSTIA's Canadian Public Relations Co-Op Program

Jun 19, 2023

By Sarah Martin, Break the Ice Media:

The Canadian Public Relations Initiative represents 16 NYSTIA Co-Op participants from across New York State. The initiative is one of several supported by a Round 12 Market New York grant awarded to NYSTIA by New York State's Empire State Development and the I LOVE NY Division of Tourism under Governor Kathy Hochul's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Over 60 New York State destinations, attractions and businesses have participated in NYSTIA's Round 12 Market New York grant-related initiatives. 

Break The Ice Media has worked with NYSTIA's Canadian Public Relations Co-Op Partners to inspire travel and visitation to New York State among leisure travelers from the province of Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kingston) as well as neighboring provinces of Canada. I am glad to share that the initiative has been successful in developing positive, top-tier and third-party endorsements of New York as a travel destination, and highlights partners through proactive PR, media and influencer relations.

April 25, 2023: TMAC MUNCH & MINGLE

In April, the NYSTIA Canada Public Relations Co-Op hosted the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) at a Munch & Mingle event representing our Upstate New York destinations. Taking place from 5:30-8:00pm at JUMP Restaurant in Downtown Toronto, the event was attended by about 40 TMAC members (primarily travel media) as well as five representatives from our NYSTIA Co-Op :

  • Sarah Martin, Break The Ice Media / Co-Op Initiative Leader 
  • Colleen Onuffer, Break The Ice Media / Co-Op Initiative Coordinator 
  • Rachel Laber Pulvino, Visit Rochester / Co-Op Partner
  • Claire Dunlap, Cayuga County / Co-Op Partner
  • Michelle Kearns, Visit Buffalo Niagara / Co-Op Partner

During the event, we presented “25 Reasons to Make New York State Your Next Road Trip” highlighting attractions and opportunities from across our partner destinations. A series of seven prizes from across the state were given out during the evening, inviting media to experience the state and partners firsthand.

Attendees networking at the TMAC Munch & Mingle event


Nine of our NYSTIA Co-Op partners were featured in a five-page editorial spread in a Dreamscapes, a travel and lifestyle magazine that partners with Globe and Mail. The spring/summer edition went out in May to 260,000 print readers and even more digital readers.
Read the coverage here.


The NYSTIA Canadian Co-Op initiative participated last week at TMAC's Annual Conference, held June 14-17, 2023 in Sudbury, Ontario. NYSTIA's Canadian Co-op partners were represented throughout the conference and during a series of 24 media marketplace appointments with media from across the province of Ontario.


Hosting writers to see and experience destinations and document travels firsthand is a core focus of this program. We recently hosted wellness and spa writer Chris Ryall on May 16-19, 2023, who visited Oneida and Cayuga counties to great success. The Co-Op program is actively working to bring in the following writers in the next several months:

  • Melody Wren - Has been published in Fodor's, Reader's Digest UK, Active Over 50 Magazine, Inspired Seniors The Independent, Canadian Traveller, CAA, NBC News, Explore Magazine, World Nomads, Far and Wide Magazine, Toronto Star, Caribbean Beat Magazine, Canadian Yachting Magazine, Waypoints Global Magazine, Canadian Jewish News, Our Homes Magazine, The Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Cottage Life Magazine, and Family Fun Canada.
  • Laura Paquet - Focusing on soft adventure, history, quirky attractions, and intriguing people, she’s written for more than 80 publications and websites in Canada and elsewhere. She has spoken about travel and other topics on OVOntario, CBC Radio's "Cross-Country Checkup," "CTV Morning Live" and other programs. Laura has also written or co-authored 13 books, including Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel. She blogs about travel in Eastern Ontario, West Quebec and upstate New York at
  • Venessa Chiasson - Freelance bylines include The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chatelaine, Modern Farmer, Reader's Digest, Buzzfeed,, Quench, Cottage Life, Travel Awaits, Matador, Tomato, Culinaire, Esprit de Corps, and many more. Her blog,, focuses on cozy, affordable travel experiences and was named one of the world's most influential travel blogs by the Obama White House in 2014.
  • Andrea Traynor - Editor-in-Chief of Mommy Gearest, named the NO. 2 Best Toronto Mom Blog in Feedspot, "Blog to Watch" in its first year and heralded as one of Toronto's Top 30 Ultimate Mommy Bloggers. Andrea has also written for the Toronto Star, Canadian Living, Huffington Post, TravelingMom,, SavvyMom, Today's Parent, and Trekaroo.
  • Kevin Wagar - Freelance work and photography have been featured in media outlets such as CBC, The Lonely Planet, Canadian Traveller, and Explore Magazine. He prides himself on creating fun, engaging, and informative content to help inspire people to experience new destinations or take a deeper look at the places that they already know. Kevin runs Wagar Media Group which includes publications such as Wandering Wagars - Adventure Family Travel and Flavor the Globe and is a co-founder of both Ultimate Ontario and We Explore Canada.

"We know the value that Canadian Travelers bring to New York State and are excited to be a steward of this great program," stated Nicole Mahoney, President & CEO of Break the Ice Media. "The border is open, and writers are eager to visit this year to tell stories and experience destinations from across the state."

"The board and staff of NYSTIA are grateful to New York State's Empire State Development and the I Love NY Division of Tourism under Governor Kathy Hochul's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative for the Market New York grant funding that supported this and many other initiatives in 2022 and 2023," remarked Bob Provost, President & CEO of NYSTIA. "The Market New York grant has enabled NYSTIA to support tourism recovery and resurgence through strategic marketing initiatives partnered with Break the Ice Media, Alon Tourism Solutions, and Miles Partnership/Brand USA involving over 60 New York State destinations, attractions, and businesses."

Sarah Martin
NYSTIA Canadian Pubic Relations Co-Op Initiative Leader 
Senior Consultant, Director of Client Services
Break The Ice Media