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​Great Lakes Cruise Strategy

Canada's second-largest province has been described as the “Land of Shining Waters”. With 70 percent of the land covered in forest and 20 percent by water, this splendid beauty is enhanced by the five Great Lakes, the greatest body of fresh water in the world, accessed through the Saint Lawrence Seaway. These Lakes offer spectacular and rugged scenery, some outstanding boating and a number of small, charming towns that offer visitors a warm and inviting welcome. From Toronto, North America’s fourth largest city, to historic towns dating back 300 years and more, the wealth of indigenous culture and a plethora of attractions and sights, cruising the Great Lakes is a wonderful introduction to the iconic sights, sounds and scenery of Ontario.

A number of Ontario ports are keen to welcome cruise guests to their shores, to offer experiences found only in this province. Canada’s first marine park, Fathom Five at the mouth of Georgian Bay is a magnet for scuba divers and snorkellers with its 22 shipwrecks ready for exploration. The world’s longest freshwater beach is in Ontario as is one of the world’s most spectacular natural sights – Niagara Falls. The Bruce Trail at over 800 kilometres (496 miles) is the oldest and longest hiking trail in Canada. Add four UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, impressive, wide-ranging dining, local award-winning wines, and most importantly, a friendly populace encompassing 160 cultural groups and a heritage to be proud of – this is Ontario.

A driving force

Ontario intends to be the driver for Great Lakes Cruising in the years to come. The majority of ports visited by cruise lines on the Great Lakes in both the US and ​Canada are situated in the Province of Ontario and the potential for incremental port calls is exponential. With the concurrent growth of the number of small, luxury and expedition ships being launched, the Great Lakes cruising region is an ideal area for both itinerary expansion and to attract greater consumer interest during the season from May to mid-October (Canadian Thanksgiving). Toronto has a globally ranked major international airport to welcome cruise guests and the Canadian currency provides exceptional value, especially for American clients.

​Growth projections 2019-2028

• Growth is expected to reach a minimum of 318,000 guests and a maximum of 356,000 over this 10 year period

• More than 170 ships operated by over 70 cruise lines will be capable of transiting the Great Lakes

• Repeat cruise guests are seeking new itineraries and Canada offers primary appeal​.

For more details, check out the Great Lakes Cruise Strategy and Cruising Great Lakes documents below.

 Great Lakes Cruise Strategy Documents

​​​Map of the Great Lakes Ports


Andy Campbell

Director of Engineering

Town of Midland

705-526-4275 ext. 2267


Nicole Major

Tourism and Special Events Manager

Town of Midland

705-526-4275 ext. 3206