SOUTH BAYMOUTH—Mother Nature has pulled through at the last minute, banishing the ice from the port of South Baymouth just in time to see the Chi-Cheemaun make her inaugural 2018 crossing this Friday, May 4.
As was reported last week, the ‘fast ice,’ or ice fastened to the shore in South Bay, was of concern to the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC), the ferry’s parent company, but these fears have been abated with warm temperatures and good wind conditions.
Kaleena Johnson, the OSTC’s manager of customer and media relations, told The Expositor, “At this time, we have no concern. The Chi-Cheemaun will be departing Tobermory at 8:50 am on Friday.” The ferry will arrive at South Baymouth at 10:50 am, undoubtedly greeted by a large group of people who mark her sight as the official start of the summer tourism season.
Ms. Johnson said fares are staying the same this year, with the exception of a $5 increase to the dinner and concert series cruises.
“This year there was a complete redesign of the Aft Lounge, which once housed the arcade,” Ms. Johnson explained. “It’s now very vibrant, colourful and inviting for families to come sit and enjoy the passage.”
Ms. Johnson said the OSTC has again partnered with Parks Canada and, new this year, Wikwemikong Tourism and will see representatives from both organizations host talks and events in the Aft Lounge all season long.
“There will also be interactive touch screens for the kids with fun kids’ programming,” she added.
The OSTC prides itself in giving travellers a truly cultural experience while riding the ferry, Ms. Johnson said, noting that local
foods, drinks and crafts, as well as experiences, are sourced whenever possible. Sailors can expect to see Manitoulin Brewing Company and Split Rail Brewing beers on tap, Manitoulin Pizza Company products for sale, whitefish sourced from Island waters, as well as goods like Anchored Jewelry’s hand-stamped jewellery and First Nation crafts from Manitoulin for sale.
The Chi-Cheemaun will once again host its popular concert series with the schedule as follows: June 8, Shakura S’Aida; June 16, the Craft Booze Cruise; June 30, Trent Severn; July 18, Samantha Martin with Delta Sugar; July 28, Danny Michel and Emm Gryner; August 16, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer; and September 14, the Trevor MacKenzie Band.
Those travelling on a Sunday in July can look forward to a free event that sees authors and musicians paired.
“We will be offering stargazing trips during the height of the Perseids meteor shower in August too,” Ms. Johnson added.
“We’re creating an experience in and of itself,” she said. “We’re getting people to come back to enjoy more than just the views.”
See the Chi-Cheemaun schedule on Page 10 of this paper each and every week or visit ontarioferries.com.