At first glance, reading the summary of this blog, it sounds like a hectic and unenjoyable day for me, my co-workers and maybe everyone else on the bus, but this was not the case! The day could not have ran any more smoothly and everyone had a great time! The Heart of Georgian Bay’s Familiarization Tour
is a full-day tour where we take students and front-line staff from municipal information centres, restaurants, attractions and more, put them on a bus and take them to experience some of the cool things you can see and do, right here in the Heart of Georgian Bay so they can tell their visitors about it!
This crazy day began at Sainte-Marie
among the Hurons!
For those of you who follow my blog, you will already know that I recently had a full tour to familiarize myself with the story of the site, so I felt like an expert! Okay... maybe not. Luckily, we had Candice to guide us through the site and tell us about the story of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and the new programs they are offering this season. (See full blog on Sainte-Marie among the Hurons HERE)
After a quick photo-op with Snapd
photo newspaper, we began the looooooong journey on to the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre (Just kidding. It takes about 30 seconds to drive between the two)
where we were able to meet and interact with the Birds of Prey! Unfortunately the chick-a-dees aren't around so much in the summer, because feeding those little birds is my absolute favourite thing to do in the Heart of GBay, but this adorable little owl stole everyone's hearts in their absence.
After a couple more tour stops at; the S.S. Keewatin
(full blog coming soon!), the Huronia Museum
, the Midland Cultural Centre
and Diverse Rentals
, it was finally lunch time! Now this was a special treat! First, being in Parc Penetanguishene Rotary Champlain Wendat Park
is awesome because of how beautiful it is! Second, our lunch was catered by Ciboulette Et Cie SCORE!
But the cherry on top was that Scott Cooper
, a local musician (and by local I mean he lives down the street from the park so it was a short commute for him) played during our lunch in the amphitheatre! Did you know that there is live music in that same location every Friday night during the summer?
After lunch we stopped in at the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum
and then on to Discovery Harbour
and again, expert over here! (Full blog coming soon!)
Because our day was so jam-packed, we only got about 30 minutes at each stop, which was only enough to give us a taste of what these fantastic attractions have to offer.
Castle Village and Enchanted Kingdom
was up next! I hadn't been to this place since I was a child, so it was super interesting to go back and check out the Kingdom under new ownership. We even got a sneak peak at their new escape rooms, which I would for sure be interested in trying!
After a visit from Georgian Bay Islands National Park
to learn about the great things you can see on Beausoleil Island, the tour ended at the Martyrs' Shrine
, one place I am not familiar with at all. First, we were shown around the church itself, which is breathtaking and completely different than any other church I've ever been in. The inside is made completely of wood, and the roof is shaped like a canoe to tie in the Hurons’ influence on the Saints that this shrine pays tribute to. We were then taken on a tour of the site’s equally as beautiful and peaceful grounds! Did you know that the property is actually about 200-acres and that some days they have over 40,000 visitors!?
Reading over this short blog, I’ve noticed that the day does not seem as jammed packed as I made it out to be in the beginning, but take it from me, herding 37 people on and off a bus to 12 local attractions in a single day made for a long 9 hours! But we had an absolutely great time doing it and everyone who participated made it so easy! Informing front line staff about our amazing local attractions is a large part of what we are trying to do here at the Heart of Georgian Bay, to spread knowledge that this is an awesome place to visit!
A big thanks to all the attractions that we were able to tour, to everyone who joined us on the bus and to 104.1 The Dock and Hammond Transportation for the cozy (and air-conditionned) wheels. See you next year!
Written by Katie Lalonde, Student Communications Coordinator for Heart of Georgian Bay
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