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Georgian Bay ferry kicks off 2019 season

Chi-Cheemaun’s first crossing slated for May 3, elevator temporarily out of service
The MS Chi-Cheemaun will set sail for its maiden voyage of 2019 on Friday, May 3. (Supplied photo)

The Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) has announced the start of the 2019 season for the MS Chi-Cheemaun.

The ferry runs in Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, between Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island, between May and October. Sailing time is roughly 90 minutes.

Its first voyage of the season is slated for Friday, May 3 at 8:50 a.m. when the ship will set sail from Tobermory.

The OSTC noted that the ship’s 45-year-old elevator will remain temporarily out of service to replace a damaged part in the lifting mechanism. The elevator will be unavailable for roughly four to five weeks while a new component is manufactured to replace it.

The MS Chi-Cheemaun was put into service in 1974 as a replacement for the MS Norgoma and SS Norisle. The name ‘Chi-Cheemaun’ translates to ‘big canoe’ in Ojibwe.

Though its primary purpose is to shuttle vehicular and pedestrian traffic across Georgian Bay, in recent years the OSTC has added leisure sailing events to boost ridership and promote tourism in the area.

Popular events include cruises featuring performances by local musicians, stargazing opportunities, and evening dinner cruises. New this year is the inaugural Festival Fireworks Cruise, scheduled for early June.