We offer a variety of maritime services on the waters around Manitoulin. From the Killarney region to the western reaches of the North Channel – our events program is comprised of regularly scheduled adventures offered to the public. Our public events calendar is then carefully woven in with a busy private charter and motor coach agenda.
Where to park:
There are three full day municipal parking lots in Little Current within a 300-meter walk.
-The first is at the far east end of the waterfront under the bluff near the large metal staircase.
-A second can be found behind the LCBO store at corner of Meredith Street and Manitowaning Road at the back corner gravel lot.
-Another lot is found by continuing down Water street heading west and turning into Boyle Marina at the Lighthouse, then turn left into the parking field.
After you have parked head to the address 1 Water St West where the boarding process will begin anytime after 9:00am.
1 Water St West:
At the east end of the building is an asphalt driveway where you will find our check in booth. Please physical distance 6-feet per group while waiting to go through the boarding process. Please adhere to these safety measures.
When you arrive at the booth to receive your wristband you will be asked to provide your names. Please do not bring a paper copy of the confirmation that was emailed to you.
Before receiving a wristband confirming you may board please be ready to answer the following questions for:
1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
2. Do you have a fever and difficulty breathing?
3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?
5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering while inside the cabin or unable to properly physically distance?
6. Passengers will also be required to declare any out-of-country travel made in the
preceding 14 days.
Once you have received your wristband you will also be given options as to where you will be seated for the day. Passengers begin boarding the Grand Heron at 9:30am by assigned table number. As you are boarding you will be required to use the hand sanitizer station before entering or touching the ramp.
The Grand Heron:
Passengers will be assigned their seats based on party size and first come first serve choice.
We ask passengers to remain seated for as much of the passage as possible. Out of respect for the safety of others on board, it is requested that face coverings be worn at all times when you are on your feet to move through the cabin, while using the heads (restrooms) or when physical distancing is an issue (ie: moving past other guests on the outside decks to enter the cabin space). Masks should only be removed while a passenger is seated. Tables will be placed no closer than 6 ft from one another.
A safety briefing will commence shortly before departure.
Food Service: Prepackaged food will be served to passengers at their assigned seats. We recommend that meals and beverages be consumed on the outside decks.
Morning snack: Prepackaged muffins
Lunch: Prepackaged box lunch (on Benjamin Islands and Baie Fine Tours)
Afternoon snack: Pizza
Bar Service: Designate one person from your group to go to the bar for beverages. Contactless payment options such as Visa or Mastercard are encouraged. (sorry no debit)
Arrival at Destination:
Disembarking the boat will happen in an organized manner. When your table number is called you will be able to leave to explore.
You will be given a window of time that you will need to be back to board the boat. It will be staggered so we do not get passengers congregating in one area. Passengers can return to their assigned seating area
Arrival back in Little Current:
Passengers will disembark by table section.
Please do not park all day on the downtown main street (water street east) or the main downtown parking lot. The main steet and lot have time limits that may be exceeded by the duration of our cruises and it is important to the main street businesses that these parking areas turn over through the day.
There are three full day municipal parking lots in Little Current within a 300 meter walk. The first is at the far east end of the waterfront under the bluff near the large metal staircase. A second can be found behind the LCBO store at corner of Meredith Street and Manitowaning Road at the back corner gravel lot. Another lot is found by continuing down Water street heading west and turning into Boyle Marina at the Lighthouse, then turn left into the parking field. For those with special accessibility needs, just let us know if the driver needs a ride back and we will be happy to give them a ride.
The Grand Heron is an impressive 107 gross tonnes an measures 75’ long by 30’ wide and is floated on three large hulls, making it remarkably stable in any sea condition. Beginning her service life in 2007, this state of the art vessel is equipped with a full pantry, liquor license and a spacious layout with capacity for up to 100 passengers.
With the comfort of our guests and taking into account the possibility of rain during some tours, we typically limit the passenger number well below 100 as this will afford everyone a seat in the enclosed part of the boat comfortably.
Once a booking is made, there will not be any refunds issued for cancellations by the purchaser within 5 days from the start of the tour. Tickets sales are final and non transferable. Cancellation due to weather or unforeseen circumstance will be made if departure from port is not possible within two hours of the scheduled tour and are at the discretion of management. If a tour is cancelled by management, refund will be issued.
Due to the remarkable stability, gross tonnage, large panoramic windows and comfortable inside seating available on our vessel it would be extremely rare that we would need to cancel a voyage based on weather. However, If North Channel Tour Company management determine that the voyage could be unsafe due to threatening weather, we will cancel and fully refund fares paid in advance.
Booking in advance will avoid disappointment. Due to the popularity of our cruises, there will be departures that sell out in advance, while others may only have a handful of passengers aboard. It can be very difficult to predict the volume on any tour up until the moment it departs. We welcome walk aboard passengers up to the moment of departure if we are not sold out.
Our boat is quite suitable for wheelchairs as our decks are 5′ wide and everything is on one level. Our ramp accommodates the loading of passengers in wheelchairs under 28″ in overall width. Being a boat, our washrooms aren’t massive but they are reasonably spacious. If you identify accessibility requirements in advance we would be pleased to work on this with you.
We welcome all passengers aboard our tour, however we strongly suggest guardians consider if the tour is suitable for their wee ones. The duration of our adventures are often full day duration and can make for a long day.
Parents/Guardians are responsible for the entertainment and behavior of their little ones. Due to the length of many of our adventures it is recommended that parents come prepared with a plan to entertain their children along the passage.
For the comfort and safety of our passengers we do not allow pets aboard. Service dogs are permitted.
We sure do. Please be sure to specify if you will be booking on any passengers under 40kg as we have a limited number of childrens life jackets.
Grand Heron’s construction began in 2006 and she was completed and put into service in 2008. She spent several seasons operating within the Magdalen Islands on the North Atlantic Ocean but the tour business in that area unfortunately became unviable and she was left drydocked for several years before being fully restored and given a second chance with the North Channel Cruise Line.
Grand Heron is 107 gross tonnes and is a 75’ trimaran style tour boat (floated on three large hulls) with a breadth of 30’. Her top cruising speed is 8 knots and has a draft of a mere 0.6 meters. She is constructed entirely out of top quality aluminum and built at a reputable ship yard on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Quebec.
Grand Heron is designed to carry up to 100 passengers but many of our full day tours will be capped at 50 to ensure an inside seat for every passenger and to enhance comfort aboard. The boat and crew are inspected and examined annually by Transport Canada to ensure compliance with the strict safety regulations governing this industry.
Because of this vessel’s design, the boat is amazingly stable in any sea condition. There is no pitch or roll as might be encountered on a single hull vessel. Grand Heron truly impresses even those that are shy to venture out on the water. Grand Heron was acquired & repositioned from her original home in autumn 2013 from the Magdalen Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean – outer perimeter of Gulf of St. Lawrence, a 3200KM journey. This was a true test for the vessel’s design, handling and reliability. She passed with flying colours! Grand Heron is powered by twin diesel Volvo engines and outfit with the latest in navigational computer equipment. Inside the vessel you can view the local navigation charts on the wall, as well as follow the route and current position on the 50 inch colour display inside the main cabin.
The vessel is available for private charter to groups wishing to entertain guests for any type of reception or corporate event. Grand Heron is complete with a licensed bar with light meals available from the onboard food service galley.
With her interior fully renovated, Grand Heron regularly offers tour options to the public weekly to North Channel locations such as the Benjamin Islands, Baie Fine, and Killarney with dinner, sunset and beach party options available for private charter. Join us aboard for unforgettable up close and distant views of Manitoulin Island, Georgian Bay and Lake Huron’s North Channel!