The Visitor Information Centre at the Baillie House had its busiest second quarter ever with a 17 per cent increase in visitors over the same period in 2012.

Nearly 4,500 visitors stopped at the centre over April, May and June, up from about 3,800 in the same three months last year.

Most of the visitors – about 72 per cent of them – came from British Columbia. The next highest-represented province at the centre was Alberta, with nine per cent. Seven per cent of the visitors were from Europe, four per cent from the rest of Canada, and three per cent from the U.S. Asians and Australians made up four per cent of the visitors, while the remaining one per cent was listed as “other” in a report to city council presented at the regular council meeting on July 23. The distribution of visitors’ origins is about the same as from the spring and early summer of 2012, Baillie House manager Sandy Curnow wrote in the report.

Most of the visitors asked about site facilities, including washrooms, tours, drinks, and the picnic area, while about 13 per cent asked for directions. Another 12 per cent asked about shopping and 10 per cent asked about attractions, while six per cent inquired about adventure recreation.

About two per cent of the visitors asked about investment or moving, Curnow reported.

“They want the real estate guide or to know how much houses cost,” Curnow said. “When they think about moving here, they want to know about the hospital and the services they have. And they ask about snow all the time, and the weather.”

The Baillie House recently received a new coat of paint while the barn on the historic property was painted earlier in the year, which the Heritage Society raised $13,000 to pay for in two garage sales this year. Volunteers also planted red and white petunias along the sidewalk on Voght Street this summer, and the Art in the Garden event in May brought over 250 people through the property.

“We’d like to say thank you for all the people who donate to our yard sales, because that’s how we pay for the painting projects,” Curnow said.

The information centre was open for a total of 614 hours in the second quarter of 2013, the report stated.

Council accepted the report at the meeting, meaning the city will now process the next quarterly payment of $8,960 to the site for operations.

“I think they’re doing a fabulous job over there and I think all of council is impressed with what they’re doing,” Coun. Alastair Murdoch said. “They’re one of the best investments we make with the taxpayers’ money.”