Salish Sea trip nets award for Maple Leaf Adventures

Victoria-based Maple Leaf Adventures has won a new award that recognizes visitors’ experiences in the Island region.

The cruise company received Tourism Vancouver Island’s Remarkable Experience of the Year for its Salish Sea expedition in April.

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The award was presented at the Mary Winspear Centre on Sept. 20, along with a number of other tourism-industry honours.

Maple Leaf Adventures received the remarkable experience award for its Salish Sea Spring Expedition with Florence James and Canadian Geographic, which took place aboard the MV Swell converted tugboat April 15-19.

A couple from California who joined the tour said they were inspired by the local islands and the guides, including Penelakut elder Florence James and geographer Briony Penn, to learn and share more about the cultural history and nature of their own home, near Joshua Tree National Park.

The company will offer the Salish Sea expedition again in 2018, from April 20-24.

Other tourism awards handed out included the Innovator of the Year Award, given to the Southern Gulf Islands Tourism Consortium for its work marketing five Gulf islands as a year-round destination, with catchy taglines such as Explore the Island Next Door.

The Tourism Employee of the Year Award was presented to Capt. Wayne Garton of Stubbs Island Whale Watching, who was nominated by his staff for his passion, ethical marine wildlife practices and creating the best experience for his customers.

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