Katie here. As my second summer as the student, here at the Heart of Georgian Bay, is coming to a close, I decided to reflect on the amazing time I had. I'm on the left in the picture above. Working for North Simcoe Tourism has taught me so much about this beautiful region that I didn’t know, even though I've lived here my whole life! I have come to realize that this area and the four municipalities that make it up are astounding! I like to refer to it as a ‘hidden gem’ because it is a little bit off the beaten path, but once you get here, you will never want to leave. Recapping my summer will give you a little insight into what I mean.
May Familiarization Tour
A Familiarization or "FAM Tour" is a day spent teaching students and front-line staff about all of the amazing things there are to do, right here in their own back yard. Because who do you ask for recommendations when you are travelling? Your waitress, your hotel staff... So we bring a gang of front-line staff and summer students along for a day of fun, so that when customers ask, they have a whole arsenal of first-hand experience to pull from. Our May tour included a performance by Good Morning Apocalypse at the Midland Cultural Centre
, Indigenous storytelling at Huronia Museum
, a tour of Awenda Provincial Park
, and lunch and live music at the Georgian Grill
. After our break we headed to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
, the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre
, the S.S. Keewatin
, and the Martyrs’ Shrine
. So as you can see, we fit a ton into one day, but don’t worry, you can read the full blog about our day here
to get the whole story.
Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival
Working in tourism in the Heart of Georgian Bay means we promote a lot of great events and festivals, but Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival is so huge that we decided to set up a booth! We were there for the full day, providing information and surveying as many people as we could about their experience at the Butter Tart Festival. No surprise that most people were at the festival for one simple reason - getting their hands on some (or lots of) butter tarts! This year's festival had an estimated 65,000 attendees, which is more than three times the population of the Town of Midland! If you're planning on braving the crowds next year on June 13th and you want some insider information to prepare you for the day, you can check out this blog!
Georgian Bay Islands National Park Visit
A large part of my job this summer was promoting our local attractions and experiences, but how can you promote something you’ve never experienced yourself? It sure makes it hard when you can't pull from a first hand experience. So Brianne and I headed North, to Georgian Bay Islands National Park for a day of adventure and learning, since neither of us have been there before. We saw snakes, a turtle, a mink and some of the other amazing things this place has to offer! This was probably one of my favourite days this summer and you can read all about it here
! Georgian Bay Islands National Park is a definite must see here in the Heart of Georgian Bay.
July Familiarization Tour
Round two of the familiarization tour, because we just have too much to showcase in one day! Having this annual tour split over two days gave the participants more time to really experience and enjoy the stops. On this tour, we went to Discovery Harbour, had Tea & Tarts at the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archives, and then stopped in Parc Rotary Champlain Wendat Park for a scavenger hunt and lunch catered by Dino’s Fresh Food Deli, a yummy local classic! Then it was off to Diverse Rentals to see the Floatel and we finished the day off with an afternoon cruise aboard the Miss Midland! It was another great day showing students and front-line staff what we have to offer so they can speak from first hand experience when recommending activities to visitors!
Genealogy Project at the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives
Did you know that the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives has an extensive collection of geneological records dating back to the 1600s and a volunteer who seems to know the name of every person to have ever lived in Penetanguishene? I spend a Wednesday morning with Hubert and was able to find my whole family tree! Now this was a super cool day at work! It was super interesting to read about the lives of some of my early ancestors and definitely something I would recommend to anyone that has family history in the Penetanguishene area. Read all about my time at the museum in depth here
I have had another great summer working for the Heart of Georgian Bay! I definitely built up some arm muscles distributing our Discovery Guide, but I needed some more upper body strength! I am thankful that I was able to tour many of our local attractions over the last two summers, because we often overlook the things in our own backyard. I can say from personal experience that the Heart of Georgian Bay should not be overlooked and is definitely one of the most unique hidden gems in Ontario.