MANITOULIN—A total of six initiatives are being funded by FedNor that will benefit Manitoulin Island. FedNor is investing nearly $9.7 million in Northern Ontario’s tourism sector in more than 70 tourism projects.
As September 27 marks the United Nations World Tourism Day, the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor, announced FedNor investments that will protect, strengthen and grow the tourism sector in northern Ontario.
“Tourism in Northern Ontario is such an important economic driver, creating good jobs and attracting people from all corners of the world to our beautiful region,” said Minister Hajdu. “As the industry rebounds after two years of immense challenges. This funding will help companies and operators ensure they have the tools they need to succeed and help create and sustain more 280 jobs I invite everyone across the country to put Northern Ontario on their bucket list, to come and see the spectacular sights and attractions our region has to offer.
Sheshegwaning First Nation is receiving $760,887 to build a new multi-purpose leadership centre.
Sheshegwaning Chief Alana Endanawas said she was extremely happy to see the funding provided by FedNor for the community. “This funding will help us begin the first phase of the new multi-purpose leadership centre. The Leadership Center will meet our needs in new roles to drive the content and direction of new programming, while supporting the existing programs that Sheshegwaning currently provides.
“It has been an interesting experience to watch from the very early stages of this project to now,” said Chief Endanawas. “For many years Chief and Council have been extremely supportive of this very important project, and we are finally starting to see everything fall into place for the vision that started it all.”
The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is receiving $75,790 in funding to promote the benefits of living, working and visiting Northern Ontario through the “2022 FONOM Video Project”.
“We really appreciate FedNor’s financial support,” said Danny Whalen, FONOM President. We had the “Go North Video” project for two years, which included business profiling in our eight districts. The reaction has been incredible. These videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
“There is always a lot of talk about Northern Ontario being a great place to visit, but there are always mentions of barriers that would prevent people from other parts of the province and regions from visiting, living or working in the North,” Mr. Walen said.
“We are truly delighted and grateful for the funding provided by FedNor,” said Mr. Whalen.
Total funding of $211,713 is being awarded to the Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association (MSIA). MSIA is receiving $211,713 to promote angling tourism through a series of infrastructure improvements, events and marketing initiatives.
Seija Deschenes, coordinator of MSIA, told The Expositor that with this funding and previous funding provided this year by the NOHFC of $272,201 and $50,000 through the Douglas A. Smith Foundation, “we will continue to restore watercourse sites identified in our improvement strategies and help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change on infrastructure, increase tourism in our local rural communities that have been hard hit by the pandemic by improving and adding angling/educational platforms to their waterfront development project, increasing economic stimulation and increasing outdoor tourism opportunities. We will work in partnership with our Indigenous communities by supporting land-based restoration in their territory.
MSIA will restore 10 stream sites to improve fisheries resources in three communities (Billings and Tehkummah Townships, and Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory). It will install two angling platforms, in Billings and Wiikwemkoong, with educational signage to promote angling and fishing, improve hiking trails to be more accessible, and enhance tourist experiences visiting these regions. “We will also set up an angling fair to raise awareness and stimulate the economy of companies supporting the fishing industry.”
MSIA will showcase and promote all fishing tournaments on Manitoulin Island through various social media forums, local angling sites and TV shows to showcase our region in as a fishing destination and will work with communities to help adapt to water level fluctuations due to climate change and work in partnership with businesses to create tours to enhance tourist experiences.
Ms. Deschênes said: “We have developed an interactive angling and outdoor recreation map that will meet all the needs of anglers visiting the island. The map will identify all boat launches and convenience stores, as well as fish species that have been identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources in all lakes on the island.
“We will soon be joining companies that offer products and services in the fishing sector and will add them to the menu,” continued Ms. Deschênes. “We’ve also added hiking trails across the island to the map to encourage exploration of Manitoulin. Thus, locals or tourists visiting the Island can add the map to their cell phone and have everything at their fingertips by simply clicking on the icons on the map,” explained Ms. Deschênes. MSIA is also considering having a small annual fee to place on the map and all funds raised will go towards improving the fishery and restoration work on Manitoulin Island.
Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) is receiving $57,000 in funding to develop and launch the Manitoulin Digital Outdoor Experience Museum (MODEM).
“MODEM will be a handy tourist guide,” said Maja Mielonen, President of MICA.
Ms. Mielonen explained that “the storytellers are collecting Island-wide points of interest, stories, photos and film clips and will all be integrated into an app. Route routes starting at seven locations, where MICA e-bike locations are installed, will guide you past points of interest and to the precise GPS location, you can read or listen and view the story, the photos and video clips in English and French maybe even hear stories provided by our native communities.
“We are reaching out and asking museum curators, municipalities, schools and Manitoulin residents to also provide us with stories that you think need to be told,” Ms. Mielonen said. “Funding for this exciting $57,000 project comes from FedNor’s COVID Tourism Recovery Fund, marketing dollars from Destination Nord Ontario and contributions from the MICA fund. MICA is grateful that our funders have agreed that MODEM, a tool that increases knowledge of the diversity of the history, environment, fauna, flora and stories of the people who live here, will create a deep sense of belonging, a healthy sense of pride and the will to protect it.
“MODEM is app driven and is expected to be ready Spring 2023 for a nominal fee and will be provided free to the Rainbow District School Board for use on field trips around the island. MODEM is a great tool for our visitors from around the world to experience the identity of our islands on a deeper level and return home with a story to tell,” Ms. Mielonen continued. She added: “If you would like to contribute please provide your stories to [email protected] We will try to include as many as possible.”
“This is great news,” said Sophie Corbiere of FedNor funding for the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. She explained: “We are going to upgrade our HVAC system, to improve the air quality in the OCF building, and we are adapting the lights in the building to those that use less energy, some for programs, as well only hand sanitizers and some tables for our outdoor programs.
The Municipality of Central Manitoulin received $75,264 to develop and implement a tourism adaptation strategy for the Manitoulin Island and Lacloche foothills region.
The Great Lakes Cruise Association is receiving $65,828 to revitalize and grow cruise tourism in the Great Lakes.