Northeast Town seeks cruise ship growth with other Great Lake ports

The cruise ship Victory I makes its way through the North Channel at Little Current over Haweater Weekend. photo by Robin Burridge

ONTARIO—The Northeast Town, along with other Great Lake ports, is in discussion with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) over a potential study of the growth of the cruise ship industry.

“Gord McKay, the mayor of Midland, organized a conference call with the Sault, Thunder Bay, Parry Sound and us to discuss a study to look at potential expansion of the Great Lakes cruise ship industry,” explained Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin. “He set up a meeting with Minister Eleanor McMahon of MTCS at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to discuss the ministry funding the study to look at the potential growth and increased infrastructure for the future.”

“We were all invited, but Mayor McKay and I were the only ones that were able to attend,” continued Mayor MacNevin. “Minister McMahon seemed excited to look at the potential and asked us to set up a meeting with her deputy minister for this fall. She said she couldn’t go looking for funding without knowing the numbers, so Mayor McKay’s staff is working on that leading up to the meeting. It will be interesting to see what the potential (for growth) is. Right now we can only handle one cruise ship at a time.”

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The Port of Little Current has had numerous cruise ship visits this summer, including two in one day recently when the ships had to take turns docking and unloading visitors. There have also been ships that have anchored offshore by Strawberry Island with passengers being ferried into port by tender. 

“It would be great if there was funding for the study and in turn funding to expand our port,” concluded Mayor MacNevin, who noted a date had not yet been set for the meeting with the MTCS deputy minister.