by Noreen Young

Magical Bus Tour
Photo © Shawn DeSalvo

“This is a familiarization tour, if anyone asks”, says Shirley Deugo of Fulton’s Pancake House. “They’re so valuable!”

Funded by the Town’s Community and Economic Development Committee, the tour was organized and hosted by Tiffany MacLaren and Bonnie Hawkins. Councillors Shaun McLaughlin, Duncan Abbott and Paul Watters were on board to show their support and share their knowledge of the local landmarks.

“This is a great chance for our business people to be prepared for the tourist season” declared Diana Bridges Lachapelle of the Almonte Antique Market. “We’re the front line for tourists coming to town and we have to know what’s happening out there so we can promote our local attractions.”

Fully equipped with coffee from Equator Coffee Roasters, and after a brief behind-the-scenes look at the coffee roasting process, the group set off to see the sights.

With Tiffany and Bonnie keeping everyone on a tight schedule, the morning began with a stop at the Riverside Inn and Menzies House B & B to get a look at some of the wonderful accommodation that’s available in town. Then to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum where everyone had a chance to admire the beautiful gallery and permanent collection of textile manufacturing artifacts.

Everyone back on the bus! We’re off to see the sights in Appleton, Clayton and then lunch at the Mill of Kintail!!

“Wow! Some places I’ve never seen before!” admitted Jeff Banks of JB Arts.

During lunch, representatives from our summer festivals and special events had a chance to give a short briefing on all the exciting new things to expect this year. It’s going to be a busy schedule.

Then off to Cedar Hill and Pakenham!! Everyone is now feeling comfortable and getting to know each other a lot better. All kinds of ideas and partnerships are being discussed.

“None of us can be in business by ourselves”, declares Vic Bode of Carnivic Lodge and Scoops ice cream in Pakenham. “The greatest asset that Mississippi Mills has is the people – individuals with so much passion they make things work.”

The tour ends at the Pakenham General Store where everyone gathers up their pamphlets and brochures from all the places they’ve visited and climbs back on the bus for the trip back to Almonte.

To say that this familiarization trip was a success is an understatement. Tiffany and Bonnie are warmly congratulated on doing such a great job and everyone is full of positive comments.

“What a good tour!” “I’m thrilled!” “This is the first time we’ve done it, let’s do it again!!”

And we will.