Humans spend half of every night dreaming about flying; the other half is divided equally between REM barnstorming and sleepwalking to the airport. Transform reveries into real life with today’s Groupon: for $185, you get a 35-minute air tour over Georgian Bay for two people, plus a commemorative framed photo and champagne gift basket or hat and T-shirt from Georgian Bay Airways in Parry Sound (a $314.94 value).
Owned and operated by experienced sky sherpas Keith and Nicole Saulnier, Georgian Bay Airways’ modern, well-maintained fleet of airplanes whisks passengers into the great blue yonder on jaw-dropping tours of the eponymous bay, home to the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. Adroit aviators kick-off the 35-minute 30,000 Island Tour above Killbear Provincial Park, chauffeuring their sky cars past Depot Harbour, a ghost town populated by phantom tumbleweeds and apparition-laced air. Shoreline carved by chisel-wielding renaissance glaciers of yore unfurls below fuselages as pilots and their opposable-thumbed cargo head south to Sans Souci for a fly-by of Henry’s Fish Restaurant. Espy little-seen cloud’s-eye views of Massasauga Provincial Park’s islands, lakes, and fluorescent longitude and latitude lines before touching back down on terra firma.
Après celestial safari, passengers receive a frame displaying two 4"x6" photos, one bearing the image of a scenic vista glimpsed from the air and the other depicting the passengers and the plane giving each other bunny-ears. Airborne pairs then complement in-flight chemistry with a romantic finale, sampling the balloon-envious bubbles of included chilled champagne in two champagne flutes upon their return to ground (a $35 value). Travellers less interested in frothy cheers may announce their allegiance to passing planes with a Georgian Bay Airways T-shirt and hat (a $15.95–$20 value/person). Groupon holders can opt to add a third human or Amelia Earhart cut-out to their tour for an additional $59.46, morphing midair duets into heavenly three-part harmonies.
Georgian Bay Airways
To say that Keith and Nicole Saulnier have taken root in Parry Sound is something of a fallacy. Sure, they call the rugged natural landscape home, and have fallen in love with the surrounding glacier-carved coastlines, but they are by no means grounded there. Both are career bush pilots whose passion for soaring through the clouds has led them to found Georgian Bay Airways. From behind the stick of their sea planes, they share their intimate knowledge of land and sky, hosting air tours that launch from their waterfront docks May through October.
The Saulniers' aerial adventures are limitless in their form. Preplanned trips glide over sprawling Parry Island or the 30,000 Islands' network, passing wilderness and historic towns along the way. But they can also customize flight adventures to vary the way passengers interact with the landscape. Upon request, their planes can drop customers off for fishing at nearby lakes, ATV rides across the Canadian Shield, or drop-in visits with their cool uncle who keeps fireworks in his garage.