It’s Canada Day weekend, and that means the arrival of the annual cruise ships, bringing people from all over the place to both of the twin Saults to check out the sights and sounds.
The Pearl Mist, docked at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion, let cruisers off to enjoy vendors at the tent as well as local attractions.
One of these attractions was the Bushplane Museum. which everyone SaultOnline spoke to said they enjoyed thoroughly.
Bushplane Museum Executive Director Edie Suriano, who’s been involved with this for years, told SaultOnline that she loves this yearly event.
“We (always) greet them at the door, to welcome them to the Bushplane and to Sault Ste. Marie.
“(The reception is always) awesome,” she said. “They usually in awe, especially after they see the wildfires movie…and they’re very impressed with our collection and we try to keep it nice and friendly and make them have an awesome experience with us.”
Nicole Mickler and her friend and Linda Stuck, both from Jacksonville, Florida, said they’ve had a fabulous experience on the cruise so far.
“We love getting off and learning about little towns that we’ve stopped at and the history behind them – it’s very informative,” Mickler said.
“It’s a bucket list trip, and it’s been very fantastic,” Stuck mirrored.
Both women said they enjoyed their experience at the Bushplane Museum and would come back to Sault Ste. Marie.
Sidney Smith, from Fort Wayne, Idaho, told SaultOnline he loved his first experience both in the Sault and at the Bushplane Museum.
“(The museum) was a lot more than I expected,” he said. “There are a lot of interesting things – the films were terrific, and very insightful.”
Suriano said this is a great boost for tourism in Sault Ste. Marie and for the Bushplane Museum as well.
“Being a non-profit organization, we need visitation to keep coming, we need these cruise ships to keep coming,” she explained.
“When the Pearl Mist comes, every second visit is for the whole day, so then they are experiencing all of Sault Ste. Marie. Today they’re only here for three and a half hours, so they only have time to go to both the Ermatinger Clergue and ourselves as excursions.
“(However), when they’re here all day, they can be over at the mall shopping, they don’t have to eat their lunches on the ship; they can walk around downtown and many will say ‘where’s the closest restaurants?’ and they like to walk – it’s easy walking the block, so to speak.”
She said she thinks the day-long excursions get more people into the downtown core of the city, helping excite people and making them want to come back.
“It’s not necessarily about the people on this ship; they’re going to tell their families and then hopefully those families come back and maybe drive and stay. So that’s what we’re relying on – give them a good experience while they’re here, they will come back.”
More ships are on the way for the rest of the season , various cruises will dock in Sault Ste. Marie on July 7, 18, 22, 29 August 5, 13, 20, 23, 27, September 3, 10, 20, 28, October 8 and 16, making it a banner year for local tourism.