Sunday, November 22, 2015

We just did the Lake Superior Circle Tour

Nipigon River suspension bridge is partially completed
Lookout along the Trans-Canada Highway between Nipigon and Wawa
We just returned from the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. It was the second such convention which combined the efforts and interests of Tourism Northern Ontario (TNO) and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO).
TNO has been tasked by the Ontario government to enhance and promote tourism throughout Northern Ontario while NOTO is the industry group that is funded by outdoor tourist outfitters and represents them throughout the province.
There were something like 350 people in attendance, a sellout. There was even a waiting list in case someone cancelled.
The attendees included municipalities, government ministries, experts in social media, suppliers to the tourist industry, local tourist groups and training firms, just to name a few. There were also tourist outfitters like ourselves but they were in the minority. That always puzzles me. There is a lot to learn at these events including the latest trends in travel, what the industry is actually worth, why the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests is implementing the regulations it does and tons of other things. It's also great to meet other outfitters and chat about common problems and solutions. The good news is that there were more outfitters this year than last.
On our way home we decided to duck a snowstorm hitting the north and east shores of Lake Superior by traveling through the States along the south and west shores. Since we had taken the north route on our way to the Sault, we effectively took the Lake Superior Circle Tour. The circumnavigation of Lake Superior makes a wonderful trip and I recommend it to anyone.
While in the Sault we attended a summit reception held at the Canadian Bushplane Museum. This impressive facility located on the banks of the St. Mary's River is filled with historic floatplanes, firefighting equipment and has two theaters. We took in one of the theaters when we were at a NOTO convention two years ago and it was tremendous. The show gave you a chance to be in the cockpit of a CL 415 waterbomber as it dropped water on forest fires. You could even smell the smoke.
Canadian Bushplane Museum in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

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