GORE BAY—The Town of Gore Bay will soon have a dentist based out of the Gore Bay Medical Centre, with Dr. Mary Cross and her family having decided to move and work on Manitoulin Island.
“We are definitely excited about the move,” Dr. Cross told The Expositor. “We are going to get to Gore Bay as soon as possible, we have a couple of things to do first, and the dental office is still being set up. The office should be open by the end of September or early fall.”
“I can hardly believe how wonderful the town has been through all of this,” said Dr. Cross, who is moving alongside her husband and young daughter. “Mayor Dan Osborne has been really helpful and encouraging as has Pam Fogal and Stasia Carr in the town office.”
Dr. Cross told The Expositor she had recently taken a tour of the dental office space in the medical centre with Ms. Fogal to determine what equipment was needed. Dr. Cross pointed out the cost of the needed equipment was about $300,000 for new equipment and about $75,000 for used equipment. “We decided to go with the used equipment and the town graciously offered to split the costs.”
Dr. Cross said former dentist (Dr. Bill Studzienny) has also been very encouraging in having her move her practice to Gore Bay. “The town has been so great, and the Gore Bay Rotary Club offered to paint the office space.”
As for accommodations, “we found a rental place in Kagawong. We have been so lucky in how things have all worked out,” she said. “We have an 11-month-old baby, so nothing in life is simple these days. We will have to make a trip or two to get settled in.”
“Dan (Mayor Osborne) and Dr. Bill both want to be the first patient,” quipped Dr. Cross. She noted that Colleen Punkari will be the dental assistant, work at the front desk, and be the office coordinator.
“It has been amazing how wonderful the town has been in making this an easy transition,” said Dr. Cross. She noted that “there is a chocolate shop in town, and we’ve already been there twice. And I’ve been to Manitoulin in the past on holidays.”
Dr. Cross is originally from Beamsvile and Grimsby in the Niagara region, and after graduating from dental school in 2018 from James Cook University, an Australian University whose health programs are focused on rural and remote health care, she worked in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, “and in the big town of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, a town of 20,000 people.” Her husband Dr. Christinus van Buuren is also a dentist, and the couple had their first baby, Laura, in September 2021.
“I think that my husband will help out at the practice in Gore Bay,” said Dr. Cross. “We’re really excited about moving to the Island and working in Gore Bay.”