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Agawa Canyon train getting tech upgrade

Improving experience part of expanded plan to increase ridership
2017-09-09 Agawa Canyon Tour Train DMH-3
The Agawa Canyon Tour Train out of Sault Ste. Marie is getting money for some technology upgrades. (Donna Hopper/SooToday)

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is getting an upgrade thanks to FedNor funding of $150,000.

Announced on April 11, the funds will go toward the purchase of high-definition monitors, external cameras and on-board Wi-Fi, which the government says will create “an even better experience. “

“We know tourism and economic growth go hand in hand, and the results of investing in and promoting tourism means supporting local businesses, which in turn continues to foster economic growth for everyone,” Sault MP Terry Sheehan said in a news release.

Based out of Sault Ste. Marie, the tour train operates through the summer and fall months, taking travellers on a day-long excursion to the Agawa Canyon, located about 183 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie.

The funding follows an earlier provincial announcement of $5 million for a proposed new tourism project, part of which includes establishing a new train station at the former St. Marys Paper mill site.

The tourist attraction is the city’s most popular, although the future of the train remains uncertain, as a 10-year agreement between CN Rail, the city’s economic development corporation, and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund expires after the 2020 tourism season.

In March, the Sault EDC issued a request for proposals to seek out a consultant to help develop an expanded business case and operating model for the attraction, in an effort to boost ridership and generate additional revenue.