New column features folks new(ish) to Island

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MANITOULIN – Big bold ‘sold’ markers are all the rage in the real estate section of this newspaper each week, a sign of the times. Manitoulin Island has caught on, it seems, and interesting people from all over are picking up stakes and moving to the world’s largest freshwater island.

This fact piqued the interest of Heather Marshall, a retired journalist who now calls Sandfield home with her husband, are nearly-newbies themselves. (Ms. Marshall is no stranger to Manitoulin as her grandparents hailed from Ice Lake and she summered at what was known as Hutchinson’s Cabins in Sandfield on Lake Manitou as a child, growing up in Espanola.)

Ms. Marshall approached this newspaper to pitch an idea for a column, interviewing some of those who are new(ish) to the Island and giving them a formal introduction to the rest of Manitoulin. This newspaper agreed.

The author is no stranger to the journalism field. Ms. Marshall is the former host of the CBC Ottawa morning radio program, worked as a television news reporter and anchor and has worked extensively as a freelancer writer.

“I’m just so gobsmacked by all the new people coming to our Island,” Ms. Marshall told The Expositor. When speaking to area retailers and real estate agents, Ms. Marshall said she is told time and again: ‘we’re having the season of our lives.’

“I think we can attribute this to COVID, for the most part,” the columnist mused.

Ms. Marshall said she never thought about being on Manitoulin permanently, having lived across Canada and in Europe, but the Island’s call grew stronger. Eventually, Ms. Marshall and her husband Daniel Daigneault purchased a cottage in Sandfield and about five years ago, made Manitoulin their year-round home (albeit with a great deal of worldwide travelling in the winter).

The couple has one daughter, who is expecting their first grandchild in Gatineau, Quebec, the couple’s former home of 40 years.

“I love to write and I love to learn,” Ms. Marshall said about her newfound column, adding that penning the monthly a piece will also give her a good excuse to meet new Islanders herself.

The column New(ish) to Manitoulin begins this week on Page 25 and features Roy Johannink and Jennifer Smith of Providence Bay.

If you would like to be featured by Ms. Marshall, or know someone who would, please contact her at hmarshall@videotron.ca.