Archive & Accolades

Press Release, April 1 2023

Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates creates a dynamic tourism experience that travels with users


Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) is partnering with app developer Driftscape to offer new and innovative ways for visitors to discover the Island through a series of story driven tours called the Manitoulin Outdoor Digital Experience Museum, or MODEM for short.


MICA tours have primarily provided experiences for cyclists during the non-profits' 10+ years of operation, however, these new excursions will expand their offerings to all visitors including hikers and motorists alike.


The tours are an in depth collection of writing, images and videos, comprising over 180 points of interest (also called "stops") that can be instantly accessed on a smartphone through the app. Even better, the tours boast audio recordings that auto play after starting a tour and when you are near a stop, which allows cyclists and motorists to safely enjoy a hands-free experience while exploring Manitoulin. The routes highlight the Island's multicultural history, local stories, its wide variety of fauna and flora as well as geological facts and quirky anecdotes. MODEM tours are currently available in English and French, both in written and audio format, and will eventually be translated into other languages to provide inclusivity to the broad range of visitors that MICA attracts to the Island each year.


There are currently 11 cycling tours of varying distance that start in 7 different Island locations, with some more suitable for leisurely riders and others ideal for hard-core adventurers. There are also 2 vehicular itineraries that make for perfect cross-island road trips. Future plans and expansions to MODEM include walking tours and scavenger hunts, as well as opportunities for local businesses and organizations to put themselves on the map.


MODEM tours can be accessed by downloading the Driftscape app, which is free and available on Android and iOS devices, but they can also be browsed on However, the app is highly recommended for the best possible experience as it is intended to be your guide while exploring Manitoulin.


"We (Manitoulin) are known for being the largest freshwater island in the world, but I think we are probably also going to be the largest tours in the digital world as well!" says Maja Mielonen, President of MICA. "MODEM will continually evolve and grow and we will be able to maximize its potential by adding more to it, ideally the stories that you want us to tell."


Ms. Mielonen will be reaching out and seeking new opportunities to work with more groups such as municipalities to further highlight and promote the region of Manitoulin and the Islands. MODEM is and will continue to be free for all to access for the next two years while developing a sustainable strategy that can be inclusive and beneficial to those it serves. This project was made possible with funds from FedNor's Covid Tourism Recovery Fund, Destination Northern Ontario and MICA.


MICA would like to thank the many diligent story tellers and collectors, translation team and data entry folks for all their hard work.


For more information, or if you have a story you would like to tell, please email

Destinaton Northern Ontario




This award recognizes an organization, individual or business that has implemented an innovative new product or enhancement to a product that has contributed to the success of the business.

Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA)

This award recognizes an organization, individual or business that has implemented an innovative new product or enhancement to a product that has contributed to the success of the business.

Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) offer All Inclusive Cycling Vacation packages in June and September. MICA looks after you for five days, brings you to the funky places found on the Island, and your lake side stay experience will have you coming back for more. 


The Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) was the recipient of the 2019 Wheels of Change Organization of the Year award at the two day Share the Road Bike Summit April 1 -2 2019 in Toronto.


MICA’s President Maja Mielonen says that she felt very honoured to receive this award on behalf of the not for profit organization she has presided over since 2010. “It is an honour to get recognition from peer organizations that we have been working with for nearly a decade”.


Together we have now successfully connected the cycle world from the north to the south with safe road infrastructure for all road users. MICA’s intense lobby efforts have resulted in safety infrastructure in the form of paved shoulders along Hwy 6 2010, Hwy 551 2015, Hwy 6 Ten Mile Point to Little Current in 2018, Little Current to Honora Bay 2018 and Honora Bay to Kagawong 2019. MICA’s 2012 vision for the 1000 km Georgian Bay Cycle Route concept is now finished signed by The Waterfront Regeneration Trust as part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail from Parry Sound to Midland to Owen Sound all the way to Espanola and west to Sault St Marie as well as east to Sudbury. Partnering with Destination Northern Ontario and FedNor made erecting 8 Trailhead kiosks along with 60 information signs possible in spring of 2018.


The 4th edition of MICA’s beloved Cycle and Road map has sold over 11,000 copies so far and is available on line on our bilingual MICA website We have increased the cycle count on the ferry from 1200 in 2012 to well over 5400 cycles counted each year in the past 5 years. Our Manitoulin Passage Ride event draws folks from all over Ontario, Quebec and the USA and our 4  All Inclusive 5 day cycling four night stay at lake side cottages Alvar tours packages are filling up quickly for 2019. Manitoulin is now well known as one of the best Cycling Destinations in Canada.  The March 2, 2019 Globe and Mail article called, “Five Provinces, Two Wheels” featured Manitoulin alongside side the company of the well known trails like  P’tit train Du North, QC, On and Off The Trail in the Okanagan Valley, BC, The Viking Trail, NL., Prince Edward County, ON, and the Ice Fields Parkway, AB.


It is very good to see our efforts attracting this NEW Cycle Tourism to the Island as they leave no trace other than economic stimuli often in the shoulder season. Seeing so many cyclists along the roadways over the years has resulted in local residents picking up cycling as well. We are very happy to see that more and more children are cycling to school as well. MICA encouraged all Municipalities to include Mobility Plans into their strategic planning that consider the safety for all road users to make the road safe for people between 8-80 years of age. Please join us at MICA’s AGM, Monday May 6, 7:00pm at the CMPS library. Find out how you can make your business cycling friendly and benefit from Cycle Tourism this coming season and many more to come.


For more info see



12 May 2014 Implementation Plan


Acknowledgements The Georgian Bay Cycling Route (GBCyR) Feasibility Study was made possible by funding from FedNor, the Ontario Government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.


It was administered by the LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) & Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates

and overseen by the GBCyR Steering Committee:


LAMBAC John Foster, Chair; Adam Hayden, Secretary; Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates, President  Maja Mielonen; Peter Ford, Guy Nielen, Regional Tourism Organization 7, Paul Crysler; Regional Tourism Organization 12, Peter Daleman; Sudbury Cyclists Union, Rachelle Niemela, Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Marlaine Koehler; Route Planner, Denis Baldwin.


Spring of 2018 Ribbon cutting of 8 Way finding Trailheads


This Island wide project was possible with funding from FedNor, Destination Northern Ontario and the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates. 


Assisting thousands of visitors to navigate the largest fresh water Island in the world.  


2010 Paved Shoulders on Highway 6


After intense lobby efforts we received a pilot project in fall of 2010 from MTO Minister  Kathleen Wynne. Paved Shoulders on Hwy 6, between South Baymouth and Ten Mile Point on Manitoulin Island.


2013 Paved Shoulders on Highway 551


July 13, 2013 Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) received word from Minister of Transportation Glen Murray that their lobbying efforts had once again paid off, as Islanders will see the portion of road connecting Highway 540 at M’Chigeeng to the intersection in downtown Mindemoya at Highway 542 paved (11.8 kilometres) along Highway 551.


2018 Paved Shoulders on Highway 540


Honourable Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced that Hwy 540 will receive paved shoulders between Little Current and Kagawong, one of the busiest roads with great vistas over the North Channel 


MICA was very happy to hear that our lobby efforts had paid off again. The safety of all road users is now dramatically improved on 3 of 4 provincial Highways on Manitoulin Island.  

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