Collections of stories and anecdotes of ATVing in Canada by Andrew Ryeland of 




There are many species of wildlife and plants that are indigenous to Georgian Bay Country and no doubt you will delight in discovering these as you travel throughout this spectacular region of Canada.  There is also a quite different kind of creation that lives here and is as much at home on a piece of granite as our Massassauga rattle snake, in the water as a beaver or scurrying down a trail over and around logs as our winsome chipmunk.  This creature is an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or Quad. 

In this part of Canada we sit high on a ledge of rock and water – the great CANADIAN SHIELD.  It’s a spectacular assemblage of geography that combines rugged Georgian Bay shoreline with hundreds of thousands of lakes the glaciers left behind in their haste to head south.  All told we have more coastlines and land bridges than almost anywhere else in the world.  The ATV is the perfect freedom machine that almost molds itself to the land and easily traverses the variety our wilderness affords. 

The popularity of ATVing is growing in leaps and bounds.  Currently ATV sales are surpassing snowmobiles sales at a rate of 4:1.  The tourism benefits to Ontario could reach as high as $4 Billion per annum if the snowmobiling model is any indicator.  According to Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council figures the recent explosive growth in ATV sales has pushed Ontario ahead of Quebec, the former leader with over 12 years in the ATV tourism field.   A great challenge to tourism and recreational ATVers alike is to find the balance between freedom experiences and ecological stewardship.  Fortunately stakeholders in tourism and natural resources are finding common ground to manage this opportunity. 


At the end of April this year nearly 400 ATVers participated in Spring Jam 2003 hosted by the Parry Sound ATV District Club.  The event heralded the ‘birth of an industry’ in Ontario and has had far reaching impact both economically and recreationally in this region.  As a Community Based Tourism Product, the sport of ATVing offers innumerable options to both visitors and residents alike.  Community partnerships and municipal support was unprecedented for a first year event in the Parry Sound/Georgian Bay area. 

The ‘Welcome Jammers’ campaign both drew business to the area and provided a measuring stick for economic and social impact.  Not only did 400 ATVers enjoy a phenomenal weekend of trail riding and exhibitions but also over $160,000 flowed through the community.   Over $12,000 was raised for the West Parry Sound Health Centre mammography unit by our Four Wheelin’ Women’s Charity Ride.  Over 100 businesses financially supported Spring Jam 2003.

 Partnerships were not limited to commercial interests.  Support was also forthcoming from regulatory agencies, town councils, federal, provincial and regional agencies.  Is it any wonder the sport of ATVing is thriving here?  Spring Jam 2004 dates have been set for April 22-25 where the Jamboree will morph into a festival.  Keep an eye on for many exciting announcements.


The future of ATV recreation in Georgian Bay Country is vibrant with the promise of many new trails complemented with a well-established tourism infrastructure.  Not only is this area the place to be if you own an ATV it is also a great place to try the sport for the first time. You will find that many attractions, accommodations and services featured in this publication cater to the ATV adventurer.  Many volunteer groups of trail enthusiasts are working very hard to open this sport to all who appreciate the unique and spectacular aspects of our wilderness. 

 Whether you are a seasoned resident or a curious visitor wanting to discover a ‘different’ Canada, if you are up for a little sunny rejuvenation and would like to experience an ATV adventure of your own while you are here contact the Parry Sound ATV District Club ( at 705-774-9778 or check out the ads throughout FUN in the SUN.  You’ll soon discover why ATVs LIVE HERE!

About the Author:
Andrew Ryeland is President of Bear Claw Tours Inc. ( an ATV Adventure company. He has over 30 years experience in off road adventures in the Parry Sound area. He is an active member of the Parry Sound ATV District Club and sits on several economic and cultural Boards of Directors in the Georgian Bay region.