Waterfront Tour Brings Cyclists to Area

Cyclist at waterfront in Bruce Mines.
Cyclist at waterfront in Bruce Mines.
photo credit: Martin Lortz, June 2016.

The Huron North Community Economic Alliance (HNCEA) held their AGM and Friends and Food event in Bruce Mines earlier this month. Municipalities, First Nations, business owners, and community leaders from Echo Bay to Spanish gathered to recap what HNCEA has been working on over the past year and what’s new for 2019.

One thing all of these communities share, is the Lake Huron North Channel Waterfront Trail. “In 2019, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail launched a 460km expansion along the Lake Huron North Channel, completing a 3 year program to connect 26 communities and First Nations from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury along a signed, mostly on-road route–the first long distance cycling route in Northern Ontario.” The trail also includes St. Joseph Island and Manitoulin Island.

Cyclist along Government Road in Johnson Township.
Cyclist along Government Road in Johnson Township.
photo credit: Martin Lortz, June 2016.

Each summer the Waterfront Regeneration Trust hosts a guided tour along one of the Waterfront Trails in Ontario, and this year cyclists will be touring the Lake Huron North Channel Trail.

The tour was originally capped at 125 participants, but before the brochures were released they had almost that many registered. They've completely sold out and have 140 cyclist with an additional 13 Ambassadors joining the ride. Local Ambassadors riding along are: Mayor Randy Condie-The Township of North Shore and Councillor Gavin Grant-Johnson Township.

Here is a rough itinerary of the 5 day event with overnight stays and meals in Bruce Mines, Blind River, and Espanola.

Day One: July 28- Arrive in SSM at Delta waterfront hotel with optional afternoon ride to Lake Superior.

Day Two: July 29 – Ride Sault Ste. Marie to Bruce Mines. (73 km) Optional ride to St. Joseph Island (25 to 50 km).  Overnight in Bruce Mines.

Day Three: July 30 – Ride Bruce Mines to Blind River. Side-trip to Thessalon. (95 km) Overnight in Blind River.

Day Four: July 31 – Ride Blind River to Espanola. Overnight in Espanola. (109 km)

Day Five: August 1 – Ride Espanola to Sudbury. (81 km) Overnight in the Travelodge hotel.

Daily Distances: 65 -107km (40 – 67 miles)

Support: Daily luggage transportation, mechanical assistance, shuttles from designated rest stops.

Canola fields along LHNC trail in Tarbutt Township.
Canola fields along LHNC trail in Tarbutt Township.

Two HNCEA members from The Township of North Shore have been working closely with tour organizers and local communities to coordinate their needs and help ensure a successful experience on their first official tour in our area. Organizer Marlaine Koehler, of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust says, "The northern hospitality and warmth has been overwhelming. Riders are so eager to see the north by bike and discover what you don't see while traveling through on Highway 17."

Cycle Tourism in Ontario was estimated to be worth $516 million in 2016, which is now comparable to more traditional hunting and fishing experiences in this province. 

HNCEA is a group committed to working for regional prosperity. They believe there are huge advantages and benefits when our local communities and organizations working together as a region. They’ve identified our region as Huron North. Last year they hosted several summits on topics that show promise for economic prosperity in the region, such as tourism and agriculture. Moving forward in 2019 they hope to brand the Huron North region and begin marketing the area online. Pending funding, there are also plans to hire two Economic Development officers to work within the region.

Waterfront Tour Brings Cyclists to Area
photo credit: Martin Lortz, June 2016.