MANITOULIN – This Friday, May 24 marks this newspaper’s 140th birthday and staff thought long and hard about how the occasion should be marked. Instead of focussing on The Expositor’s long and storied past, it was decided that this particular anniversary should have an eye to this newspaper’s future and mark it with a gift to the people of Manitoulin and those who are waiting to discover this special island.
Following months of hard work and hundreds of hours of screen time—across two continents—The Expositor is pleased to launch its latest website, ExploreManitoulin.com, the definitive Manitoulin Island tourism website.
“It really has been a labour of love,” says Expositor publisher Alicia McCutcheon. “We saw a definite need for just such a comprehensive website for all of Manitoulin, so we set out to deliver just that.”
This was two years ago following a brainstorming session by Expositor staffers. This, Ms. McCutcheon says, was also where the idea of a tearaway tourist map that would be free for distribution for all of Manitoulin was also developed.
The popular tearaway map was the first step toward the Explore Manitoulin brand. In its first two years, 60,000 maps have been printed and distributed, with plans for another 30,000 this year.
Of course, promoting Manitoulin is in this newspaper’s blood.
“It’s what we do,” Ms. McCutcheon continues. “We are Manitoulin Island’s biggest cheerleaders, so it’s only fitting that we carry that strong tradition of tourism promotions on into the future.”
This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the This is Manitoulin lure book which itself had a facelift a few years ago. The popular tourist magazine, with a circulation province-wide of 57,000, features interesting articles about the Island, its people and unique offerings complete with eye-catching layout and design. This all works together to complement the advertisements of the businesses found within the pages of the magazine.
Work began on ExploreManitoulin.com not long after that brainstorming session and Manitoulin Publishing Co. Ltd. is proud to announce that this Friday, May 24, on the occasion of this newspaper’s 140th birthday, it will go live.
Award-winning website creator Dave Patterson, who also acts as The Expositor’s production manager (and Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic organizer—we do that too!) explains that the new tourism website features over 1,200 unique pages of information that are either made up of posts, blogs or various templates.
“It was built specifically with the travelling tourist in mind,” Mr. Patterson says, “for people planning their visit and those who are already here on holiday.”
The website was made for mobile, specifically smart phones and tablets, but does have a desktop version too.
Mr. Patterson gives the example of an Explore Manitoulin user clicking on a specific hiking trail they want to visit. Once ‘directions’ is picked on the site, the user’s map application will automatically open and give directions, through their phone, on how to get there.
Explore Manitoulin’s pages range from everything from event and powwow schedules to theatre, golf, lakes, trails, over 70 accommodations and everything in between.
“Each community is also represented with their own page, as well as what to do, where to eat, where to shop, in each community,” Mr. Patterson continues. “Everyone is represented here.”
Each of those communities is also encouraged to promote their hashtags, for instance #gorebay or #wiikwemkoong. Every time that community’s hashtag is used on Instagram, that photo will automatically show up on its Explore Manitoulin page. “Don’t forget to use the #exploremanitoulin tag too,” he adds.
“It’s only fitting that on this occasion, our 140th birthday, that Northern Ontario’s oldest newspaper would launch this site—a gift to the people of Manitoulin in that it might help encourage and foster the tourism industry—by way of a thank you for all these years of support,” Ms. McCutcheon says. “We are so proud to do the job we do, week after week, year after year, and are incredibly fortunate to be championed by the people of this amazing island.”
On top of publishing The Expositor each week, Expositor staffers also create the busy Manitoulin.ca site, social media avenues, Manitoulin’s Magazine (with a circulation of 30,000), Manitoulin
Mall.com (a free buy and sell site), the Salmon Classic fishing derby and Manitoulin Job Board, to name just some of Manitoulin Publishing Co. Ltd.’s offerings.
“While we can’t thank our readers enough, my family also thanks the hardworking and dedicated group of individuals we are so fortunate to have working here, now and through the years, that have helped shape this newspaper and its path,” Ms. McCutcheon says.
Please join us at the Manitoulin Trade Fair this weekend in Little Current for cake! On Friday night, The Expositor booth (124/125) will be offering birthday cake to all our friends, so stop by, say hello and share your Expositor stories.
The Expositor is also having a draw for all those renewing their subscriptions to The Expositor or Manitoulin West Recorder or new subscriptions for a 65” smart 4K UHD Samsung TV courtesy of Jake’s, so come by our booths!