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Cruise Ship Comes & Goes Without Fanfare

Cruise Ship Comes & Goes Without Fanfare

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For probably six times this shipping season the Pearl Mist luxury great lakes cruise ship docked again on the weekend at the foot of King Street to little or no fanfare.  Midland may be “missing the boat” on golden opportunities to grow tourism.

Our Fourth Annual Butter Tart Festival attracted 30+ thousand and sold over 120,000 butter tarts among our many other local attractions. These events put Midland on the map. It is the same with the Pearl Mist that travels back and forth from Chicago to Toronto……Midland was named a port of call because it a safe community, has a good fresh water supply for passengers and has an ideal harbour and dock to tie up to.

During last municipal election at a “meet the candidates meeting” there were those who hosted the event who acknowledged they were aware there was a  need to welcome ship passengers with a variety of events. That was then and this is now…..words are cheap.

Each time the cruise ship arrives it is with new visitors, many of whom may have never been to Midland or this part of Ontario, or Canada for that fact.  While it may be more of the same for locals, we are wasting this golden opportunity each time we watch the ship come and go without rolling out the welcome mat.  Anyone who has been on a vacation anywhere a cruise ship docks will know what I mean, it is big deal time and time again and the opportunity to make that golden first impression cannot be squandered… yet we are doing that time and time again.  Perhaps Midland Council’s glee club councillor could see this opportunity and put his skills to work on something as valuable as welcoming hundreds of new visitors to the community and showing off all that we have to offer.

Same with promoting that fact that North American’s first ever Christmas Carol, Huron Carol was penned in 1643 at Ste Marie among the Hurons by Jesuit priest Fr. Jean de Brebeuf.

Parry Sound, Home of Bobby Orr; North Bay, Gateway to the North; Brantford, Home of Alexander Graham Bell; Woodstock, Home of Snowbank Spring Countess, Midland, Home of in-camera meetings…..well okay Butter Tart Festival but let’s not forget Pearl Mist and Huron Carol!

BIA executives come and go, same with C. of C. Administrators….those who take office should be mandated to promote passenger ships arriving here in the Heart of Huronia at the Gateway to the 30,000 Islands which it was known for the better part of a century and promote North America’s first ever Christmas Carol was penned here in 1643…..for crying out loud what does it take to get this message across? And you wonder why some  other communities tend to leave our town in their dust?

Editor’s Note for clarification as one councillor was offended by this term and the other was omitted from reference:  Glee Club Councillors: Oschefski / Ross – responsible for organizing and hosting numerous events lately that build tourism and local involvement.

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Comment(48)

  1. Well said – I didn’t even realize she was in port again. I hear about the arrival on Mackinac Island as soon as she’s arrived; never hear of it here until after they’ve departed. What a fabulous opportunity this would have been for a summer student program – a group of youthful ambassadors who would have been on hand to greet the guests, provide information, “welcome to Midland” packets (you can get your bottom dollar that they’re showered with welcome packages stateside); it needn’t have been expensive. Lots of government programs for hiring students – partnered with the local businesses, great welcoming gifts / promotions could have been created. Three or four students could have had an interesting and fun summer job as ambassadors and greeters. In between the times that the ship was here, they could have been hustling and promoting with the local attractions and businesses. I agree – what a missed opportunity. I can see the cruise company eliminating Midland entirely from its list of ports of call. Those people pay BIG bucks for that cruise, they will expect better treatment than this. Will be interesting to see if anything comes of this concern. I’ve always found the BIAs lack of – well, doing anything – puzzling. Canada Day comes and goes and with rare exception, a visitor would never know it was a national holiday. This year there was a bit more window decorating than in the past, but for the most part, nothing. The tart fest is fine, but that can’t be the only jewel on our crown. Will follow this story with interest.

  2. Those of you who follow Cody Oschefski’s page will see he feels insulted at being called our Glee Club Councillor… Good grief, can’t take a compliment: a glee club exists to build spirit and engagement in a community (school etc) and he fits that definition perfectly with his organizing of MANY social activities… Maybe once he realizes this, he can take the lead at making the most of our tour ship business!

    1. It’s not the library being offered the rusty old boat, it’s the museum. The waterfront has enough boats moored there that don’t move and are quite an eyesore – we don’t need another one.

  3. From Councillor Oschefski:

    “Town staff met with the cruise director took them on FAMtours. They have very tight schedules, are gone all morning then back for lunch and gone all afternoon. This is great for our local attractions. We have shuttles that take them downtown to shop. We have entertainment for them, we greet them with staff in costume from Saint Marie. The ships love Midland and love coming to Midland because of the attractions. They don’t want events for their passengers the passengers want to go to Saint Marie the Shrine and the Keewatin. Their time lines are very tight and they are provided with food on board. We have offered them matinees with the MCC but they were not interested. We keep in constant contact with the ships and will improve over the years but they are extremely happy and are sending a third ship to the Great Lakes and our Port next year. They arrive around 8am are off in buses and back in time to head off…this is what the passengers pay for. We have someone from Midland go on board and do a history presentation again this is what the passengers want. The are called “scholar cruises” the passengers aren’t looking for special events they want to learn about history and culture! That’s why they come for our attractions. We are the heart of Georgian bay tourists come for what surrounds Midland and eat and sleep in Midland…it’s a win-win!”

    Imagine, next year, three cruise ships will be visiting Midland! Word of Midland and her history is cerrtainly getting out into the world. Through word of mouth, hopefully their friends will also visit in the near future!

    My response:

    If you are satisfied that we are doing all the we can to greet them, promote our culture and introduce them to our wares, then fine, I guess we have nothing to improve on?

    When I get off cruise ships anywhere else in the world it sure feels different than our empty dock… why not roll out the red carpet… have vendors… sell local crafts and snacks… souvenirs, have local dancers or artists setup there with easy to buy art… the list goes on.

    I am disappointed that Councillor Oschefski has resigned himself to the mediocre luke warm greeting we dish out now. We can and should be doing much more.

    1. I was disappointed with Cody’s flip response to a query of mine over the meager amount the town extends to tourism, a mere $500,000 for an industry this town depends on….but then I saw him post about his first plane trip and his awe of the shops in Vancouver. How can someone who has not been much of a tourist understand what they want or what we need to provide?

    2. Careful, he is still pouting at me for concluding he lacked life experience when I noted the same thing… maybe once he’s had a “few more circles around the sun” he will be more receptive to the insight from those who don’t live on facebook…

  4. Not sure if the museum has the capacity to issue a charitable receipt for the full asking value the current owner wants… it is some serious money… and then there is mooring and maintenance.

  5. Staff met with the cruise director took them on FAMtours. They have very tight schedules, are gone all morning then back for lunch and gone all afternoon. This is great for our local attractions. We have shuttles that take them downtown to shop. We have entertainment for them, we greet them with staff in costume from Saint Marie. The ships love Midland and love coming to Midland because of the attractions. They don’t want events for their passengers the passengers want to go to Saint Marie the Shrine and the Keewatin. Their time lines are very tight and they are provided with food on board. We have offered them matinees with the MCC but they were not interested. We keep in constant contact with the ships and will improve over the years but they are extremely happy and are sending a third ship to the Great Lakes and our Port next year. They arrive around 8am are off in buses and back in time to head off…this is what the passengers pay for. We have someone from Midland go on board and do a history presentation again this is what the passengers want. The are called “scholar cruises” the passengers aren’t looking for special events they want to learn about history and culture! That’s why they come for our attractions. We are the heart of Georgian bay tourists come for what surrounds Midland and eat and sleep in Midland…it’s a win-win!

  6. After reading this article I feel the need to clarify some points brought up in your post. As with any event many tasks occur behind scenes that may not be visible to those not involved. The following are all things that have occurred to ensure that our valued guests of the Pearl Mist feel welcomed in our beautiful town:

    – Prior to their arrival the Cruise Director was e-mailed PDF versions of various brochures.These brochures include: a map of Midland, mural guide, BIA downtown store map, and brochures on many of our local attractions. I know for a fact that the cruise director has posted/printed the relevant information as many of the passengers actually have the town map, mural guide etc. in their hands when I have greeted them as they have come off the ship in the morning.
    – We post on social media welcoming the Pearl Mist.
    – On the first of it’s 4 visits this year the Pearl Mist was greeted by our Harbour Master, former Mayor of Midland/Councillor, and a Tourism and Harbour student. At this time the Captain was given a gift in appreciation for coming to our port.
    -Each visit passengers are warmly welcomed as they disembark the ship by our Tourism and Harbour students and when possible the Sainte Marie among the Hurons representative.
    – Passengers are handed Midland Tourism bags filled with a post card of Midland, Southern Georgian Bay Visitor Guidebook, Heart of Georgian Bay brochure, a Town of Midland pin, BIA downtown dollars, a downtown Midland map outlining the stores, and of course a butter tart. An unknown delicacy for many.
    – Throughout the day there is one vendor at Midland Harbour selling jewelry.
    – In the afternoon there is a local musician who plays for the visitors. Many of our guests listen on the pier or go to their balcony and listen to the music.
    – Throughout the day there are shuttles that go to their chosen attraction as well as downtown.
    – We continue to have ongoing conversations with the staff of the Pearl Mist on how to enhance their passengers experiences at this port of call.

    For the first two years that the Pearl Mist docked in the harbour I had the privilege of taking our guests on a tour bus and being their guide for the day. Before departing off the bus at the end of the tour I always asked for feedback (positive and negative) as to how we can improve future visits. Many guests have spoken highly of our welcoming community and mentioned that Midland was their favourite port so far on their journey. The Pearl Mist visited Midland Harbour their first year 3 times and this year they are here 10 times so they must be pleased with their passengers response to our port.We are always looking for ways to enhance this relationship.

    I hope this gives some new insight into how we welcome the Pearl Mist guests to our picturesque town. It is our goal to greet all the guests and residents who come to the Visitor Information Centre with friendly service and helpful advice on how to enjoy our town and the many things it has to offer.

    1. Dear Jackie Bray, your thought provoking letter was very informative, I am certain our readers could have been equipped with information at a much earlier date and thus helped in welcoming passengers and crew, that was then this is now. On its first visit to town last year a Midland couple was on board. They were embarrassed by reception ship received, I would cordially invite you in future to bring Midlanders up to date, re arrival times, special events et al. We have cruised the world from Hong Kong to Greece from North Vietnam to Venice….at each stop the red carpet was out big time….. Even on a recent Rhine River cruise we were treated like royalty. Please accept this invitation to write a first person story as to what you think Midlanders could do to be more welcoming….the stage is yours. We look forward to future enlightening guest articles from you a talented writer. You are the kind of writer we could have used back in the old Free Press days. Thanks again for your dedication, professionalism and good will. All the very best. Doug Reed

  7. An excellent response was posted as a comment on the website story. Go there to read it. We get some super input in the website from readers without social media or who don’t frequent Facebook (more than you think)

  8. While the article is completely on point, the fact that you had to include a dig at Cody, however you want to spin it, is unprofessional bordering on douchy. The entire message could be lost just because you don’t see eye to eye with this councillor. I agree that there needs to be more fanfare for the arriving ship and so much potential is being lost but leave your jabs out of it.

    1. After much debate and clarification from the author it should be stated that a glee club is not negative connotation to our communities older residents (85%+) and it was never the authors intention to offend the councillor. The fact that younger people seem to take that term as a negative is bewildering but beyond our control. We’ve talked to the councillor about this. People are wound too tight sometimes and political correctness is not our strong suit. Sorry for anyone who doesn’t like glee.

  9. I visuallized what Willemien suggests at the dock, personally it sounds like a circus. I would not want to feel that kinda of pressure, already rushing to board or depart a shuttle bus . I also feel the Keewatin needs to stay in Port why take one of the only attractions that town has, Port has been robbed too many times in history, the Keewatin is their history. My opinion.

    1. I agree. Besides, where would you park it?! There is so much water traffic there from the town dock as well as Pete Peterson park, the sailing club and Bayport that it would cause too much congestion and cause accidents. Having our local vendors and artisans set up for when they disembark (on the dock or even up the street in the empty lot where they have the movie nights) is a great idea. 🙂

    2. Check the comments on the web version of this article. It seems more is happening now than anyone knew and while one vendor is there now there is room for expansion.

    1. Love that idea. Are any left out there (above the waves)? A marine museum would be a great idea and may fit nicely with the museums bid to retrofit space to showcase other artifacts – they got put off for funding until they had a better plan.

    2. Gary, they were used as part of the convoys protection screen against German U-Boats during the battle of the Atlantic. Winston Churchill himself once said if it wasn’t for the Corvette we probably would’ve lost the Battle of the Atlantic and in turn the Second World War.They were instrumental in getting supplies, ammunition, and troops across the pond and to the European Theater to combat Hitler and the Nazi regime.

    3. Lmao! You would Jo! That Boefers AA Gun they had on board could be taversed down below the horizon and could turn a U-Boat that happened to be unfortunate enough to be caught on the surface into instant scrap metal. Another one of our Canadian navel marvels at the time cheap and fast to build but tough as nails and deadly to boot!

  10. Not everything has to be set up and done by council. You said you had such a huge following with ourmidland, just curious as to why you don’t get your posse to set up a welcoming committee if you feel that what council is already doing isn’t sufficient? I’m a huge advocate for “if you don’t like the way something is happening, do something to change it.. Or quit complaining”. Writing an article (yes I know it wasn’t you who wrote it) isn’t going to change things. You and the rest of ourmidland are a part of this town, and you can also help make this place better. I agreed with the article (except the glee club part. Funny how we teach kids not to name call, yet some adults still do it) we should take advantage. However, I wasn’t aware of all the things midland already did, as apparently the author wasn’t either. Therefore, if you’re going to write articles, get your facts straight first 🙂

    1. Council is responsible to make initiatives like the one in question happen. They don’t have to do the task but they should make sure it is done and done well and know what is being done if asked.

      So to follow through on your thinking: if I don’t like the fact that my street has unpatched potholes I should get a paving team together and fix them?

      Sorry Jodi you are applying child teaching analogies to civic responsibility. We are talking about our local economy and tourism initiatives. That falls squarely in the laps of council and the groups they direct. We won’t stop pointing out areas for improvement nor will we form citizen posses to do what our taxes and those paid by our taxes should be doing for us.

      As for the “name calling” I’ve responded to this in many places already. You’re offended by something that is not offensive to others. Sorry you attribute negativity to a glee club and the community spirit that they are formed to promote. Perhaps you are being overly sensitive and looking for ways to be offended since you take such an adversarial stance against the group.

      As for the “facts” we and almost everyone in town were unaware of what is being done now – and there is room for improvement – but none of this would be discussed had the article not asked the questions it did. That’s what we do Jodi. We start conversations. Where it goes is up to the community.

      Thanks for your input regardless of my agreeing with it. Others will read this thread and draw their own conclusions. That’s what makes the democracy work.

    2. Jo Midland you are a glass half empty person aren’t you? I am not being overly sensitive, as you always seem to think that I am considering my relationship with Councillor Oschefski. You must have missed the point where I said I agreed with the article. Just as many will miss the point of your article because of the glee club comment. Here’s an idea, from now on just call whoever you are talking about by their real name? This is our town, if we want to make a change we ALL need to start being more positive, and taking initiative to make things better.

      Willemien Brummelhuis-Knol I know you are frustrated with the Edgehill thing, I honestly don’t know enough about that situation to say anything, so I can’t agree or disagree with council. I just feel like in regards to a welcoming committee that ourmidland is saying we so desperately need, why not round a bunch of locals (which can’t be hard since Jo said he has a such a huge following) who hand out coupons for downtown businesses and greet the boat and tell them all the best places to go! Maybe you could even get flyers or coupons handed out for the bakery :).

    3. it is an all inclusive trip Jodi I had a very nice lady from north carolina in the store and she told me all food and drinks are provided. but i would like to point this out, I was at the harbour a few weeks ago when the ship was in and was amazed that they almost blocked off the whole dock for local and non boat tourist . Not very non boat tourist friendly i think

  11. Take the revenue you r making off the two tugs that r parked on the midland landing waterfront and invest the monies into a docking port at the former. coal dock area.
    With walking path to downtown.

  12. We forgot to add Mike Ross to the glee club! Both he and Cody have been responsible for most of the fun events in town lately… So cheers to both of them. Fun events continue with Floatie Fest and the nighttime screening of Jaws in little lake… I’m coming but I’m bringing salt… got leeches on me last time I waded around there 🙁

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Cruise Ship Comes & Goes Without Fanfare

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