Monday, February 19, 2018

Reflections on the Cedar Rapids Iowa Sportsman’s Show 2018

by Sophie Castonguay

It was our first time in Iowa. We drove 16 hours to get there and thought to ourselves... as if anyone this far away is going to know where Red Lake Ontario was. Boy, were we in for a surprise!

It was a joy to set up our brand new display at Hawkeye Downs Arena in Cedar Rapids. Standing at 20 feet long, our new backdrop, courtesy of the RED Grant, is big and beautiful! It showcases everything that is special about our community. The fishing , the aircrafts , the mining, the natural beauty, the Aboriginal culture, the openness of our community, etc... We were proud to host this beautiful booth!

The maps drew them in to our booth, the memories kept them grounded there. We were delighted to see that 90% of people that stopped by our booth knew where our region was! Many had memories of their father or grandfather coming up Hwy 105 fifteen to twenty years ago . Many have been coming up to Hwy 105 for 10 years + themselves. We also encountered many people who have been going to Perrault Falls or Ear Falls for years and years without driving that extra 45 minutes to get to Red Lake. We highly encouraged them to travel the extra miles to discover our vibrant community. 

Overall,  the Iowans we encountered had very positive, almost wistful memories of the Red Lake area. The nostalgia and longing for a return to simple, peaceful days spent in nature was the overall sentiment we took away from Americans in Iowa vis a vis our area of the world. They view Northwestern Ontario as a land of pure, crystal clear lakes, unpolluted air, peace and quiet.

Although many were interested in the fresh fish in our lakes, in particular in our trophy size Northern Pike and Muskie, many more said they couldn't care less about the fish, they only wanted to be surrounded in our untouched wilderness with the opportunity to photograph it. These nature lovers wanted the chance to escape in a canoe or be dropped off into a remote lake via our bush planes to absorb and relish every moment spent in the rejuvenating isolation that only nature can provide.

We were the only ones on Hwy 105 represented at the Cedar Rapids Sportsman's Show. For this reason, we felt it was very important that we were there to represent our members, promote them and spark a flame in people's spirit that will lead them down Hwy 105 in the near future. Iowans were very grateful to us for having made the long trek to Iowa to bring them news and hope for a peaceful and invigorating trip up Hwy 105 in the near future.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Report from the 2017 Minneapolis All Canada Show

Here is a report from Bill & Marilou Paryniuk of their attendance at the Minneapolis show to represent The Hwy 105 Tourism & Marketing Board.

"The All Canada Sport Show was held at the Canterbury Downs facility in the Shakopee suburb of Minneapolis. This was a four day show beginning on Thursday February 9 and ending on Sunday, February 12. The attendance at this show was somewhat lower than last year but,  I would say there was more genuine interest in people intending to book a vacation trip into the Red Lake region.  

The main request from prospective vacationers was for road accessible resorts and also for modified American Plan. There seemed to be a lack of interest for fly-in remote outposts. After talking with prospective vacationers we provided literature which we deemed suitable to the persons requirement. If there were resorts attending this show that suited a particular vacationer's needs and were a Publicity Board member we would take these prospective people and personally introduce them to the resort owner(s). This was highly appreciated by the prospective vacationer and we believe this resulted in actually bookings at the show. We were disappointed that not all Publicity Board members provided brochures or enough brochures to  distribute to prospective vacationers.

This being the second attendance of this show we would recommend a third attendance as we saw a better than average attitude of people intending to come to Canada for a trip. Having Red Lake represented  here will certainly aid in procuring clientele for the region. We would also recommend more of the Road accessible Resorts and American plan resorts attend this show as we believe they would be rewarded with new clientele."

We have one more Sport show to go in Eau Claire Wisconsin at the Menards Conference Center at Old Mill Plaza on March 17, 18 and 19th. Duane Riddell will be representing us at that show. We'll report back after the show...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Green Bay Loves Red Lake: A Report from the 2017 All Canada Show

This past weekend, my husband and I represented Red Lake, Ear Falls and Perrault Falls at the Hwy 105 Trade Show. Being our first time in Green Bay and our first time at an All Canada Show, we didn't really know what to expect... We walked away from the show super impressed at the Pack aficionados knowledge and love for our area!

The first thing I learnt was that Green Bay is all about football...more precisely, its all about the Green Bay Packers. 80% of people walk around with some kind of Pack merchandise all the time. Packer shirts, hats, coats, pants, flags, car ornaments, you name it, you will definitely see it everywhere in Green Bay. After a few days in this football centric town and I couldn't help but become a football fan as I caught the contagious bug of football frenzy.

The second thing I learnt in Green Bay was that people know their fishing and hunting and are big fans of Northwestern Ontario! Actually, the majority of people we met at the show have been coming to visit us every summer for the past 10, 20, 30 years! And the rest of the folks we greeted at our booth cannot wait to start the tradition of coming to see us every year.

We were so pleased to hear the smart, knowledgeable and precise questions from the GreenBayites and so excited to connect with the many camp owners from our area that were on location.We loved being able to refer clients to our amazing camp owners to help them plan their unforgettable Canadian Adventure.

As I reported on our Facebook Page:
We have the best selection of Camps & Outposts based along Hwy 105! The Red Lake region hospitality is like no other. So proud to promote such dedicated camp owners and their outstanding businesses! #AllCanGB17#redlakeontario #perraultfalls #earfalls

Meet a few of our camp owners who were on location at the Green Bay All Canada Show 2017:
Big Hook Camps featuring Evie, Steve & Nathan Hartle
CFF featuring Dianne & Stan Manning
Chimo Camps & Air Sevice featuring Peter Hagedorn
Five Lakes Lodge featuring Drew & Ian Cooke
Golden Hook Camp featuring Keith Boyer, Scott Hendrickson & long time guest Jake Corey
Howey Bay Resort featuring Dave McLeod & some loyal guests
Manotak Lodge featuring Christine & Steve Swafford
Nungesser Lake Lodge featuring Cathy & Doug VanDusen
Rainbow Point Lodge featuring Bob & Gale Extence
Woman River Camp featuring Debbie & Paul Mossip

We are indeed so proud to represent these and a multitude of other quality camps located in and around Hwy 105. There truly is a camp for every taste and goal. See the complete list of our camps here.

From basic to luxury camps,  from all inclusive American Plan packages to Housekeeping Packages to dropping you off at a camp on a lake where you are the only one to fend for yourself in the great outdoors, for family getaways to guys only fishing or hunting trips, to couple getaways there is something for everyone in our area. 

One thing that unites everyone that decides to vacation in Red Lake: the love of nature, the love of the great outdoors, the love of Canada and the love of Red Lake, Perault Falls & Ear Falls. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Norseman Festival & Norseman Memorabilia Time!

🎤🎼 It's the most wonderful time of the year.... Norseman days are upon us and we've got an action packed festival in store for all this year!

It all kicks off on Thursday July 21st with a BBQ cooking competition and a Ribfest. There is something for everyone on Friday July 22nd. A movie night with the wildly entertaining movie: Zootopia is going on at the Red Lake Heritage Centre Museum while downtown, a Fish Fry, a Slow Pitch ball tournament and Beer Gardens with dazzling DJ Ironwill are also going on.

On to Saturday July 23...  A full day of entertainment awaits you at Centennial Park. Live music, magic, acrobats, games for the entire family, Norseman Sightseeing trips, food booths, the Norseman Vendor Village, Slow Pitch Tournament and so much more.... The beer gardens at night will feature DJ and live local music and will be highlighted with the annual Norseman fireworks display over Howey Bay.

Last but definitely not least, Sunday July 24th is Family Day at Centennial Park and will feature more music, games, Norseman sightseeing trips, vendor booth? Corn Roast and much more! As a grand finale at 5pm, the Bush Plane Fly Past will feature Otters,  Beavers, Beech 18 and of course our two local Norduyn Norsemans KAO and JIN plus a third Norseman to crown the occasion. Get more info about the festival here: Norsesman Festival


Speaking of Norseman Aircraft, if you are a Norseman and Bush Plane fan, a brand new Norseman Shop has opened on the Norseman Festival website and features all kinds of Norseman Memorabilia! 

You have the option of buying memorabilia online or you can buy at our booth in Centennial Park on Saturday or Sunday. Actually, we are having a Show Special. For only $100 you can own the Collectors Edition and decide which of these artistic and detailed posters you would like to frame for your home or camp. Get more details here: Norseman Shop

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Red Lake: Where Aviation Runs Through Our Blood

by Sophie Castonguay

Is there a more beautiful sight than a float plane coming in for a landing in crystal clear waters? And how awesome is it when the aerodrome is downtown where everyone can enjoy the daily show of planes including the many historic Norseman planes, Beavers and Otters taking off and landing in Howey Bay! From the moment I saw the nonstop buzz of planes of all types flying in and around Red Lake, I was hooked. I knew Red Lake was where I belonged...and I also knew I had to get up there and get a pilot license of my own.

Aviation has played a major role in Red Lake's history and definitely still plays a big role in the identity of the community. The freedom of float plane flying is the ultimate in adventure flying and allows one to capture the breathtaking beauty of our numerous lakes.  Northwestern Ontario has approximately 100,000 bodies of water from small to one million acres in size. On these lakes are some of the highest quality wilderness resorts that vary from complete housekeeping packages to complete privacy on your own lake with no neighbors. There are so many lakes in and around Red Lake that you could spend every summer in the area and never fish the same lake!

The Red Lake Airport is also a hub of activity for aviation in Canada. Even though our town has a population of slightly under 5000, it is actually one of the busiest small airports in Canada. According to a study by Statistics Canada in October 2014, take offs and landings at 116 Canadian airports without traffic control towers reached a total of 47, 773 movements. Red Lake was the third busiest of these 3 behind Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and Peterborough, Ontario.

From its early beginnings in 1926, commercial air service in the Red Lake area using Howey Bay as a float and sea plane base has been instrumental in developing the gold mines and the community. Howey Bay was indeed recognized as the busiest airport in the world during 1936 and 1937. The Red Lake Heritage Center Museum does an excellent job of featuring the Golden Age of Aviation at the museum and on their website here: Red Lake Regional Heritage Center.

If aviation thrills you like it does me and you want to get your very own pilot license, you are in luck! As of August 2014, we have our very own flight school in Red Lake. The Huron Flight Centre provides some of the highest quality training available in the market today. Whether you simply want a recreational permit, a private license or a commercial license, Jason Brent, the chief flight instructor can make your dream a reality. If you want a float rating or a commercial multi IFR program, Huron Flight School can help you achieve your goal.

Every summer, the Norseman Festival features aviation in all its glory in Red Lake. This annual celebration is full of activities for everyone. The first celebration: Rock the Runway will combine Canada Day and the love of aviation this year on July 1st. The airport will be rocking with a night time concert, mini Norseman rides on the Norseman Xpress for kids, static displays during the day and a whole lot more. Then on July 21-24th, the Norseman Family Weekend is happening. Come fly in a Norseman floatplane from the town docks, check out the booths, the entertainment the static displays, the traditional Norseman Fly-By and much much more... Save the dates- July 21-24th is when it's all happening this year!

Here is an exerpt from the Norseman Festival Website to give you a taste of what Red Lake is all about...
"Red Lake and the Norseman were made for each other. The town was and is an end-of-the-road community, supplying many smaller communities further north with goods and services. It is located within reasonable distance of almost countless small lakes boasting excellent fish and wildlife populations. It is also home to some of Canada’s richest and most long lived gold mines and some of the most promising mineral opportunities in the country. The Norseman, with its reputation for hard work and low maintenance, was the aircraft of choice for many. Eventually people looked around and realized that there were more Noorduyn Norsemans flying there than anywhere else – and Red Lake became known as the Norseman Capital of the World."

We hope to greet you in Red Lake this summer and share with you the love of aviation and of our gorgeous Boreal Forests and thousands of lakes!

Monday, April 25, 2016


Join us as we celebrate the history of commercial fishing in Red Lake with great food, live entertainment and donated prizes!

Saturday, May 7, 2016
Tickets cost $70.
Tickets Available @ Forever Green Gift Boutique-Red Lake,ON & Red Lake Airport

Call us at 807-727-3021 or e-mail us at

Live Music - Drive Your Crazy

The funds raised at the Sportsman's Dinner and Dance allow the Red Lake Publicity Board to promote Highway 105 - Red Lake District, Ear Falls and Perrault Falls (Adventure Guide & Map, Partnerships, Online Promotion, Sport Show Marketing, Highway Signage and MUCH MORE)

Your attendance and/or contribution is a significant part of the Sportsman's annual success!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Report From Sport Shows 2016

The 2016 Sport Show season has come to an end for the Red Lake Publicity Board and what a season it was! We attended a grand total of 4 shows this year, 3 of them being All Canada Shows in Minneapolis, Green Bay and Chicago and one mixed show in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The All Canada Shows had a special Red Lake feature where we had a huge booth for people to walk into and discover Red Lake.

Here is a report from Bill & Mary Lou Paryniuk who attended the All Canada Minneapolis Sport Show 2016:

After a hiatus of not having an “All Canada” sport show in Minneapolis, promoters decided to try this area again. The venue was held at the “Canterbury Downs” center which is at the south end of
Minneapolis in a less populated area.This was a four day show with shortened hours. The opening day saw what I would consider a modest turnout, but, increased as the week progressed.

Young & Older attended in great numbers. Here is Dar Wood`s great grandson
The major difference was that a good percentage of the show attendees were actually shopping for a fishing/hunting trip to N.W.Ontario. Being a representative for the Red Lake area and a representative for the members of the Red Lake Publicity Board we conversed with many prospective visitors as they felt we were impartial and would steer them in the right direction or, confirm, their choice of resort/outfitter.  To us, there were a more than normal amount of “”New”” bookings taken on the floor by varied resorts and in general, operators were quite pleased. These days, taking a “new” booking on the floor is rare.

The Prospectors tent, local memorabilia and artifacts were a big hit with people.This booth was a key attractant and provided a location where potential visitors could come and chat about their wants, misconceptions, opinions and expectations of what Red Lake had to offer. This proved to be invaluable environment where we could eliminate some misconceptions people had,

In conclusion, this was a very well run show and brought in a more than normal amount of vacationers who were actually shopping for a trip and some “did” book trips at the show. That was impressive. Great Show and Great Booth…..

Now for Richard & Sophie Castonguay`s report on the Eau Claire, Wisconsin show...

People in Eau Claire love Canada! So many people told us how much they love our country and can`t wait to get back to our lush natural environment! In addition to the general love of Canada, so many people stopped by our booth to chat about their experiences in Red Lake, Perrault Falls and Ear Falls. They spoke of hot summer days fishing on pristine and expansive lakes, shore lunches on untouched islands and the peace of hearing a loon`s chant as the sun sets on another gorgeous Canadian day. Some old timers told us tales of coming up to Red Lake before there was even Highway 105! There are some dedicated Red Lake and area fans in Eau Claire! We absolutely loved chatting with these people who were very interested in coming up to delight in our natural environment this summer..

The show itself was held at the Menard`s Convention Centre and was the perfect location for the show. It was a three day show and all three days saw lots of traffic although Saturday was definitely the busiest. As there were no other camp owners from Hwy 105 region with their own booth, it was so important that we were there to represent our camp owner members.  The show was very well marketed and as a result, people came from all around Eau Claire to attend the event. The weather was ideal and brought people out in droves. 

In conclusion, the show was quite successful due to the fact that we represented Red Lake in a community that otherwise would not have thought of coming to the Hwy 105 community although they were already hooked on the fact that Canada is an awesome area to vacation in. The people were very open to suggestions and we handed out many Adventure guides and individual pamphlets from our members. Eau Claire Wisconsin will definitely be a good area to return in the future due to the openness of the people and their love of our True North Strong & Free!

Finally, let me conclude with a word from one of the organizers of the All Canada Shows, Steve Cegielski....

It was great to have Red Lake tourism a part of the All-Canada Show 2016.  The Red Lake Historical display brought much attention to the Red Lake, Ontario tourism area at the All-Canada Show. Thousands of All-Canada Show guests toured the Red Lake Historical display.  Many artifacts from past generations of mining, fishing, and forestry sparked questions about the Red Lake area from the past to current tourism opportunities that exist today.  

All-Canada Show 2016 has seen a growing interest in Canadian Hunting and Fishing adventures from Americans.  Show guest numbers have been increasing over past 3 years, with 2016 being the best attended shows in over 10 years.   All-Canada Show strives to bring attention to the outdoor adventures Canada has to offer, by offering show features like the Red Lake Area Historical display in 2016.

Thanks for all the support at the 2016 All-Canada Show....looking forward to working with the Red Lake, Ont. area in 2017.