These once-bustling areas were impacted severely by this, and towns once full of thousands of residents dwindled down to the hundreds as many sought employment elsewhere. Still, Lake Superior’s North Shore communities held on, maintaining several local industries while creating a new one – tourism. Surrounded by virtually untouched, magnificent nature, this next endeavor was an obvious choice. Initially, North Shore tourism was only regional, bringing in visitors from nearby areas for weekend getaways and outdoor adventures. Attractions like Silver Islet, known for its underwater silver mine, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Battle Island, and Kakabeka Falls (the Niagara of the North) were the most popular places to visit, located close to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Countless others were found along the Lake Superior region, leaving the North Shore dotted with locales primed for tourists. Conveniently, many of these destinations could be reached by Lake Superior boat tours, allowing an even better experience of the massive, seemingly endless Great Lake.
Primed for Expedition Cruising
Once locals and Great Lakes tour operators began to see the potential held for Lake Superior cruises, it was only a matter of time before it was proposed as an all-new destination for expedition cruising. This charge was led by Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruise Association, with the establishment of the “Lake Superior North Shore Inside Passage.” This new route would take a Great Lakes cruise ship along the top portion of the lake, from Thunder Bay to the beachfront city of Terrace Bay.
Aside from Thunder Bay, the journey brought the small group of cruising experts to the communities of Silver Islet, Red Rock, and Rossport. In between these destinations, they stopped at locations like Battle Island, where they climbed the historic Battle Island Lighthouse. Famously, the lighthouse had several of its top-level windows broken by a wave during a dangerous 1977 storm, 117 feet above the water below. Other finds included the Silver Islet Mine, a now underwater chasm that continues almost 1300 feet into the lakebed, and the Fort Williams Historical Park, the site where the North Shore’s fur trade took off due to a collaboration between the French Canadian and Ojibwe peoples.
More Great Lakes Cruise Ships to Visit the North Shore
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