By downloading an app, residents can reconnect with Downtown Guelph and participate in a new event hosted by two local organizations.
Guelph digital media company Midnight Illusions released an app called Dux Local City Guide, which users can use to explore downtown spots and businesses through augmented reality. The app is now being used in part of the Downtown Guelph Scavenger Hunt set up by the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA).
From Saturday to July 21, app users can search for four hidden puzzle pieces in downtown Guelph. After collecting all the pieces, users will receive a ballot to win one of 20 prizes, including downtown dollars redeemable at many downtown businesses, and local cook books.
Sam Jewell, operations manager of the DGBA, said they have used technology in past event which have proven to be popular. During COVID-19, she adds augmented reality is a safe option for running this event as well.
"It's a great way to explore around downtown and you can visit places that you particularly never knew existed as well, which is awesome because there are always some new places to see," said Jewell.
"We hope that when they come here, they will enjoy a drink and spend some money in these wonderful places here too. Downtown needs it right now."
More information about the event came be found on the Downtown Guelph Scavenger Hunt Facebook page.
“It was a really fun exercise to create this scavenger hunt downtown, because we did learn about some local, cultural finds that we might’ve not found otherwise,” said Jason Bavington, director at Midnight Illusions, “Hopefully people learn about the Royal City as much as we did during this process.”
The app was designed in 2019, but wasn't released until 2021 due to the pandemic.
“We were trying to solve the problem on how local, small businesses get in front of people in general, in a unique way,” said Bavington about Dux.
Through the app, users can learn about small businesses in downtown Guelph, including deals and discounts for shopping or eating out. When out walking and using the app, users also receive bits of history about the downtown core.
“People are always looking for novel and fun things to do that are new and different, and that they can share with their friends, and can be a social thing,” he said, “That was the objective of our Dux Local City Guide, was how to harness that fun, that novel aspect of engagement, that social aspect of engagement and in turn, have it support local businesses in the process.”
"They were very excited to try this out," said Jewell about the response from local businesses to this idea, "We always love partnerships where it's more expertise, different expertise, brought to the table."
Suitable for all ages, Bavington is excited to see how people respond to the app.
“It gives people an excuse to go downtown and have some fun.”
While the contest is happening for a limited time, Midnight Illusions plans to continue to improve the app based on feedback received from businesses.
“This is only the beginning,” said Bavington, “We have big, grand plans for it and we’re excited to have it grow and meet the need of the businesses and add features and functions, accordingly.”
To download the free app, click here.