Manitoulin’s flagship tourism magazine ups press run to 95,000 copies

This is Manitoulin sent across Ontario in anticipation of a busy tourist season

ONTARIO—The 2021 edition of This is Manitoulin—Northern Ontario’s oldest magazine of any kind—is hot off the press and headed for even more homes across Ontario, thanks to a partnership with Destination Northern Ontario (DNO).

The historic tourism lure book had a run of 95,000 copies this year, well above the typical run of 57,000. The increased run is thanks to funds from DNO that allowed for not only the additional printing, but distribution costs and supporting advertising in the new markets as well.

While This is Manitoulin can be found in tourist information centres across the province, Manitoulin Publishing Company Limited also directly targets a specific area of Ontario each year. “The DNO partnership allowed us to target specific additional markets in Northern Ontario, eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario this year,” explained Rick McCutcheon, Manitoulin Publishing Company Limited vice-president. “We pinpointed areas that meet our criteria, such as annual household income.”

This year in the North, 10,000 copies of This is Manitoulin were distributed to Sault Ste. Marie’s prosperous east end while the Temiskaming Shores clay belt area, extending south to Temagami and other communities along that stretch, received 11,000 copies. “People in Northern Ontario take holidays, too,” Mr. McCutcheon observed.

The entirety of the Petawawa Canadian Forces Base received 7,330 copies with another 3,600 copies sent to homes in neighbourhoods in nearby Pembroke.

In southwestern Ontario, Listowel in Perth Country and nearby Harriston saw 10,000 copies of This is Manitoulin delivered to homes; St, Mary’s, west of Stratford, received 3,300 copies; while Wellington County also saw 10,000 copies of the magazine selectively delivered. In addition, copies of This is Manitoulin will also reach thousands of homes in Barrie.

“In addition, the week prior to the various distributions, we took out ads in mass-market publications that served each of the new areas that we had targeted, urging people to keep an eye out for This is Manitoulin magazine, highlighting Manitoulin, ‘Ontario’s Island Retreat,’ as an ideal vacation destination and pointing readers to the Island’s premiere tourism website, ExploreManitoulin.com,” Mr. McCutcheon added. “This partnership with DNO allowed Manitoulin Publishing to take the message to all these new markets in a productive and ideal way.”

Manitoulin Publishing’s webmaster Dave Patterson confirmed that following the province-wide ads, ExploreManitoulin.com’s traffic jumped by 20 percent and, several weeks later, this new level of traffic has maintained.

DNO’s executive director, David McLachlan, said he believed Manitoulin was well-placed to have another busy summer season and called the partnership with Manitoulin Publishing Company “really valuable. It gets information out in advance so people can plan their holidays and it’s important to have that ‘piece on the ground’ that helps tourists identify what they want to do when they arrive.”

Mr. MacLachlan said statistics show that upwards of 90 percent of travellers wait until they arrive at their destination before they book activities. Publications like This is Manitoulin, as well as Manitoulin’s Magazine (the day trips guide) help visitors to do just that.

“I’m really excited about this, and I know the operators are too,” he added.

Publishing This is Manitoulin has become something of a passion for Manitoulin Publishing staff. “People in Manitoulin’s hospitality sector—including dining, events and arts and culture—rely on us as an important factor in their advertising needs, and we want them to get results,” Mr. McCutcheon continued. “It is an honour and a privilege for us to do this and to put the magazine in the right hands to get those results.” Manitoulin Publishing Company has been publishing the magazine for 41 years and it has been serving Manitoulin since 1960. “This is Manitoulin is the oldest continually-published magazine in Northern Ontario,” Mr. McCutcheon observed.

This is Manitoulin and ExploreManitoulin.com’s trademarked tagline, ‘Ontario’s Island Retreat,’ has proved a popular and eye-catching catchphrase. In fact, during 2019 Toronto International Bicycle Show (the last pre-pandemic cycling event), where the magazine was distributed by Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA), Maja Mielonen, president, noted that this tagline, showcased prominently on the front cover, was a prime factor in causing over 2,000 copies to ‘fly off the shelves’ in two days.

Mr. McCutcheon said this is the second partnership with a regional tourism association in the magazine’s 61 years. The first was a partnership with Rainbow Country Tourism Association (DNO’s predecessor) for increased distribution the year following the SARS outbreak, in 2004, which hindered provincial tourism greatly.

“This is Manitoulin is a popular magazine,” Mr. McCutcheon shared, noting that of last year’s press run, only a handful of copies remain in The Expositor Office for record-keeping purposes. “They’ve become somewhat of a collector’s item.”

Copies of This is Manitoulin, and Manitoulin’s Magazine, can be found at locations across Manitoulin Island.