Friday, April 13, 2012

Urban Angling Abounds in Canada's Best Outdoor City

he re-branding Thunder Bay as Canada's Best Outdoor City gains more and more equity with every small complimentary contribution from our industry and media partners.

Capitalizing on the fact that we are on the shore of the world's largest freshwater lake, overlooks one of Canada's most spectacular Provincial Parks and is gateway to some of the Continent's best known parks and protected areas makes for a logical fit.

Along the way, its always been important to ensure that this outdoor branding does not alienate our urban tourism partners and opportunities. Urban angling is one such experience that doesn't get enough attention. With no fewer than five rivers winding through the city and emptying in the big lake (Kaminisitqua, Neebing, Mcintyre, Current Rivers and McVikar creek) and ample opportunities along the Lake's shore itself, one does not have to go far to find good angling. In 2009, the Angler Young Angler North American tournament record walleye was caught right in the Kam River.

The idea of being able to catch great fish without trekking out of the community is a simply awesome thing to consider. Not only does it make angling more accessible to youth and local residents without the budget for boats and extensive gear, it can offer visitors something unique that they can fit into a relatively short stay or if they don't have the time to head out on the water with our charter operators (which, by the way, offer some pretty spectacular big lake fishing experiences - a must do). The local spring tradition of smelting is in a lot of our bloods. Imagine the fun for visiting mining, education or health care executives to partake in the spring smelt run while here or cast a line with a local down at the Lake. Its something that extends a visitor's experience in the community.

One such great angling location is Prince Arthur's Landing and its great to see anglers continuing to drop lines there. I think its a fantastic experiential addition to the enhancements made to this park and will offer visitors and residents another activity to participate in while there. This past week, urban angling got some positive attention from the CBC's own Gord Ellis, a national icon in the outdoor world and someone who is proud to call the city home. In the clip, Gord chats with two teenagers pike fishing down at Prince Arthur's Landing last weekend. Its a great story for a couple of reasons. It showcases another activity to partake in while at the park, its another way to connect to the lake and it shows how Thunder Bay's youth are excited, not only about the park but in enjoying outdoor experiences here. You can catch the audio clip here.

Engaging youth in the outdoors and in our city's activities is critical to building good citizens and encouraging them to consider their future opportunities in the city. Encouraging our young citizens to appreciate and enjoy the city's many opportunities can encourage them to consider building their futures and careers here. While they may migrate to the big cities and schools, a lot are returning to raise their families and find career opportunities in the entrepreneurial, mining and health sciences sectors in particular.

Its our connection to our unique natural environment that sets the city apart and makes it a great place to live and work. AS the city celebrates its current cultural and economic renaissance, out intimacy with our natural surroundings will be critical to our growth and sustainable success.

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