SUDBURY -- The tourism sector in northern Ontario is getting ready to welcome visitors once it is safe to do so. More than $473,000 in funding from Ottawa will allow three tourism-related projects in the Algoma-Manitoulin region to move forward.

On Manitoulin Island, the Dawson Citizens Improvement Association will receive $254,700, which will be used to upgrade and restore the Meldrum Bay marina boardwalk, wharf and docks.

The improvements will help attract American boaters and encourage extended stays. Officials said the funding will also support the installation of three fully serviced docks that will accommodate larger vessels -- 40 feet or bigger.

Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates will receive $64,200 to improve cycling infrastructure. The money will allow the organization to create a network of 20 electric bicycles for rent and build seven quick charging stations in strategic locations across the island, which features 14 cycling routes totalling more than 850 kilometres.

Local advocates said thanks to those routes, cycle tourism is gaining in popularity.

“Many of our recommendation providers, MICA members, report back annually that over 20 per cent of their annual income is due to cyclist tourism on Manitoulin, and that’s significant,” said Maja Mielonen, president of Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA).

Charging stations across the Island 

"We have great counts from the ferry, too, that most of them come walking on or some come racked and there’s over 5,000 that they count every year."

Mielonen said the charging stations will be located at South Bay, Manitowaning, Little Current, Kagawong, Gore Bay, Mindemoya and Providence Bay.

The third recipient is the Blind River, where $155,000 will be used to implement the next phase of town's waterfront and downtown revitalization project. It will help maximize the tourism and economic potential of its waterfront development area, including the construction of a new boardwalk and pavilion, and marketing to promote the site as inclusive and fully accessible.

Sault Ste Marie MP Terry Sheehan made the announcement Friday on behalf of FedNor. He said the announcement is all about enabling domestic tourism to flourish once it is safe to do so.

“When we build tourism infrastructure, it certainly has a great economic value of bringing tourists into the area, but it also supports the quality of life for the great people who live there because they also get the opportunity to use all this infrastructure," Sheehan said. "So it also is attracting and maintain our population in northern Ontario.”

Together, the projects are expected to create three new jobs and maintain five tourism-related jobs.