Rendez-Vous Canada in Winnipeg
May. 15, 2010
As mentioned over the winter in this newsletter, Winnipeg was host to travel agents and buyers from around the globe! Rendez-Vous Canada is a yearly showcase for our country. It pairs buyers and sellers of who are interested in international travel to Canada. The event ran from May 8-12 in Winnipeg. It was the first time we at Aikens attended the show, but it certainly won't be the last time. Gerry was our representative in Winnipeg. He introduced Aikens and the pristine fly-in experience to a whole new set of people that had never seen this type of adventure before. Gerry met with over 30 buyers who all expressed a keen interest in the unique aspect of a fly-in fishing adventure! Many of them were scheduled to come on the post-trip entitled "Pathways of the Voyageur" at Aikens Lake. Aikens Lake was the site for a quick 36 hour tour for 17 international buyers and hosts from Travel Manitoba. For the two days after the conference, it was a cultural and special experience at Aikens for the buyers from places like Australia, China, Japan, India, UK, and Luxembourg. We combined our usual world-class fishing experience with some new twists. Georges and Florence Beaudry came to Aikens to help explain and interpret the history of the Voyageur to our special guests. The group walked the short portage that connects Moosehead Bay to the river (that walk would save a traveler several hours of paddling.) A camp had been setup along the path, and everyone was treated to authentic stories, clothing, music, and accessories like muskets and animal hides from the fur-trade era. That evening, there was also the traditional "Homme du Nord" ceremony. All of the members of the group made their "promesses" and shared in several toasts by drinking Caribou - a fortified wine. After the toasts, they were all presented with the traditional red sash. This "Ceinture Flechée", as it is called in french, was a very traditional piece of gear for fur-trade era voyageurs and has a lot of symbolism for the french Voyageurs. The group also had the opportunity to fish both mornings and have great shorelunches. Our guests from India even introduced us to new ways of preparing walleye in curry sauces! Many from the group had never even dropped a line before, and they quickly appreciated why angling is such a popular activity... especially on a lake as special as Aikens! Everyone was amazed by the vastness of our forests, and the pure solitude one can enjoy when they are away from the urban jungle. Though the timelines were short for fishing, everyone boated nice fish and had a very enjoyable time with the guides. This experience was a real eye opener for all involved - including us. It made us realize how truly world-class and desired a wilderness experience like the one we offer really is. Although our sales have historically nearly all been focused from within North America, there is certainly a role in the future for us to share our wonderful lake in the pristine boreal forest with international travellers. Next year RVC will be held in Québec City. We look forward to seeing many of our new friends there and further cementing a role in the international travel industry.