Superior Picnic Adventures to showcase food, beauty of the region
Seven north shore communities will be spotlighted by Superior Country
The Superior Picnic Adventures initiative is looking to combine two popular activities in northwestern Ontario — eating and outdoor adventure like hiking, biking and foraging.
Superior Country is piloting this initiative to promote the wealth of regional opportunities, as well as the food found in the area.
The tourism organization has developed the pilot project through the Lake Superior North Shore Tourism Project.
Suzanne Kukko, North Shore Tourism coordinator for the group, She said the idea for the Superior Picnic Adventures came about while they were putting together a culinary product development strategy.
Kukko said that plan is not quite finalized yet, but while gathering data and looking at some research, the idea of developing food itineraries along the north shore came about.
"We wanted a program that was relatively easy for operators and restaurants to take part in," said Kukko.
"So we thought of the picnic program and it's a perfect match for the season. And also it's very covid-friendly. So it's a perfect fit."
Launching Monday, June 14, Superior Picnic Adventures is a set of itineraries for seven areas along the north shore, from Dorion to Manitouwadge.
She said it was developed to encourage people in the region to continue exploring their own backyards, while supporting local businesses.
Each itinerary includes one or more picnic specials, a suggested picnic spot, and "adventure" which can be a hiking, biking or ATV trail to experience.
"Whichever trails we are promoting, we ensure they are maintained, signed, insured, etc.," said Kukko." So that if a visitor has never been there before, they can just show up and be confident that they will not get lost and that it is a pleasant experience."
Kukko noted that they have a participating restaurant in each community. She said picnic menu items include everything from burgers and fries to pickerel tacos to salad. People can also mix and match items they see fit.
As for the adventure side, Kukko said they feature everything from semi-urban hikes below the Nipigon Bridge to a rugged walk on Pebble Beach at Marathon.
"My personal favourite spot is the Hurkett Conservation area near Dorion," said Kukko. "It's got a beautiful, covered, sheltered picnic spot with three picnic tables in there. And right beside that picnic area is a nature trail. it's relatively easy to do. There's no big climbing or anything like that."
To compliment the picnic adventures experience, Superior Country has a contest to go along with it. Kukko said they will be giving away two Lake Superior charcuterie boards hand painted by Thunder Bay artist Yuk-Sem Won.
"So people will be asked to take a selfie of themselves eating their picnic special at their recommended picnic spot," she said. "Share it and tag us to be entered to win."
Kukko said one board will be given away at the end of July and one at the end of August. People can even enter more than once if they go on more than one picnic.
"They are beautiful,"said Kukko," and they retail at about $150 so they are a cool potential bonus to a great picnic."
The Superior Picnic Adventures run from June 14 until August 31.