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Transportation commission postpones May launch of Manitoulin ferry

COVID-19 precautions have put a hold on May 1 season kickoff
The Chi-Cheemaun ferry travels between South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula. Its May 1 launch has been postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Supplied photo/OSTC)

The Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) has postponed the start of the 2020 sailing season for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The ferry – which sails between South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula in Georgian Bay in Lake Huron – was slated to set sail on May 1.

“Ferry services between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island scheduled to begin on May 1 have been delayed until further notice,” said the OSTC, a government agency, in a March 25 statement.

“The government is monitoring the situation closely and will provide an update closer to the date.”

The province said all reservations, group functions and the Spring Cruise between ports have also been cancelled.

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The OSTC said it would be in contact with customers who had made reservations and would help to reschedule their trips for a later date. Customers with tickets for the Spring Cruise will be given a refund.

Customers can now text OPT IN to 613-703-9026 to receive updates to the ChiCheemaun ferry service directly to their phones.

More information on refunds and rescheduling is available by emailing

The OSTC has been operating a ferry along the Manitoulin route since its inception in 1921.

Acquired in 1974, the Chi-Cheemaun – which translates to “big canoe” from Ojibwe – can transport 600 people and 150 vehicles at a time, and primarily serves the tourism industry.