MANITOULIN— CTV’s Canada AM is probably the nation’s most popular morning newsmagazine program and last month the Great Spirit Circle Trail (GSCT) played host to a hardy team of tourism adventurers who came calling to explore the home of the Great Manitou.
“They called us,” said GSCT Tour Developer Bonita Taibossigai, who noted that the GSCT often gets calls from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (OTMP).
The team pulled into the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre one Friday night after travelling on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry and consisted of travel blogger and Canada AM contributing editor Loren Christie, Canada AM producer Katie Jamieson and veteran cameraman Craig Sansom.
“I was on my way back from a conference, travelling with Helen Lovekin (media relations coordinator at OMTP) talking about tourism in Northern Ontario and she insisted ‘you have to visit Manitoulin Island’,” recalled Mr. Christie. “So here we are.”
Mr. Christie is described on the Canada AM website as “a fervent traveller who has visited more than 55 countries around the world. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs over the last eight years and especially enjoys promoting the joys and pitfalls of travel to Canada AM’s viewers across Canada, as the show’s resident travel expert.”
“The trip across on the ferry was quick and great,” said Mr. Christie.
Cameraman Sansom, who hails originally from London, England, was particularly taken by the sense of peace and tranquility that emanated from the shores as the team arrived. A far cry from the hurly burly bustle of Toronto, where the team had set out from.
Mr. Christie’s enthusiasm for new experiences was evident from the start and he said that he was excited by the list of sights and sounds the team would be investigating over the next two days.
Dinner at the Anchor Inn restaurant and a self-guided tour of the Little Current set the tone for the beginning of the visit.
Under the wing of GSCT guide Steve Antoine, the team took part in an early morning canoe tour of Lake Mindemoya before taking in lunch at Maggie’s in M’Chigeeng, then it was off to take part in one of the GSCT’s signature experiences, bannock and berries.
“Loren’s bannock turned out perfect,” said Ms. Taibossogai.
Then it was a jaunt to Bridal Veil Falls and a tour of the picturesque village of Kagawong before dinner at Season’s Restaurant in M’Chigeeng.
That evening saw another signature event, the Seven Drum Make and Take. “They just made one drum,” said Mr. Taibossogai. “But they seemed to be having a lot of fun.”
The next morning it was Sunday brunch at Abby’s Crosshill restaurant before the team made its way back to South Baymouth and the return to southern Ontario.
The Manitoulin Island episode should be airing “sometime in July,” said Ms. Taibossogai. “They will call to let us know when it is supposed to go to air.”
In the meantime, Mr. Christie’s travel blog can be found online at the Canada Am website.