It took Meredith McLennan living in Toronto to realize that she wanted to stay in Edmonton

By Michelle Ferguson April 19, 2018

As a travel media specialist it's Meredith McLennan's job to pitch stories to foreign media outlets in hopes of attracting tourists to Edmonton -- (Shayne Woodsmith/EEDC)

Over the next four weeks Edmonton Made will profile each member of the selection committee for Gifted, the Edmonton Made gift guide. The six-person panel, in consultation with Edmonton Made, will choose the products that will appear in the 2018 edition of Edmonton Made’s signature catalogue. Find out more about the selection process here.

Meredith McLennan

Travel Media Market Lead, EEDC

Meredith McLennan sells Edmonton to the world.

As a travel media specialist it's her job to pitch stories to foreign media outlets in hopes of attracting tourists to our city.

Prior to landing the job, McLennan worked as an account manager with a leading food service broker. Though the two positions share many similarities, she simply wasn’t passionate about the product she was selling.

This is no longer the case at Edmonton Tourism.

“Changing the perception that people may have about Edmonton is something that I really enjoy,” she says.

Edmonton for Meredith McLennan

  • How long have you lived in Edmonton? 31 years, almost my whole life
  • What is Edmonton’s best hidden gem? Our culinary scene
  • Favourite Edmonton hangout? City Market on 104 Street
  • What’s one thing from Edmonton you think the world should know about? There is a lot of great music, art and culture in Edmonton.
  • Describe Edmonton in one word. Welcoming

Born and raised in Edmonton, McLennan attended post-secondary in Toronto. Though she always pictured herself living elsewhere, two years at Seneca College taught her to appreciate her hometown.

“College was great, but I didn’t really love living in Toronto,” she says. “It’s funny how it often takes you going away and living somewhere else to realize that you really do want to be in Edmonton.”

“All the better when your city develops more and more,” McLennan adds.

From farm to fork long table dinners to craft brew bike tours, travellers and locals can enjoy a much richer Edmonton experience than they could when she started at Edmonton Tourism three years ago.

“I think it comes with Edmontonians really owning and being proud of their city,” says McLennan. “I think Edmontonians were a little unsure about Edmonton.”

College was great, but I didn’t really love living in Toronto

This shift in the Edmontonian psyche is reflected in the city’s offerings, which are in turn reflected in the media coverage we now receive.

While even national publications used to skip Edmonton over, last year saw the city featured in two of the world’s most respected travel magazines. Edmonton was named one of the 50 best places to travel in 2018 by Travel + Leisure and one of the best places to visit in June by Conde Nast Traveller. Three local restaurants were also listed in EnRoute Magazine’s top 10 best new Canadian restaurants, alongside Toronto and Vancouver establishments.

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