It is hard to believe, but after more than 33 years, 2 well used coffee mugs, three kids transformed into three new families producing 7 grand kids, numerous pilots moving on to fly heavy metal, guests who have become friends rather than customers, the catch and release of countless fish, and tens of thousands of hours of safe flights, Karen and I are hanging up the work boots and planning to take a little time to hopefully fish a bit ourselves. It is with mixed emotions that we have decided to turn our life’s work over to a young and ambitious couple.
As of Jan 1, 2019 Evan and Thia Stewart will be the new hosts and owners of Ignace Outposts and Ignace Airways. Evan and Thia are both committed to continue to provide a fine tradition of Canadian hospitality. Evan is the smiling guy that has been working around our seaplane base for the last several years keeping our fleet in the air. Many of you may have noticed that Evan was quietly in the background last summer meeting guests and absorbing the experience of providing some of the finest service in the outpost industry.
It was a mere 3 plus decades ago that Karen and I arrived in Ignace, young and full of ambition ourselves. Karen committed a minimum of 5 years to see if this “thing I wanted to do” would work, with a maximum of 10 years so she could put this dream to bed and we could get on with life. Somehow that dream became our passion and that passion ended up being our career. We have no regrets. We worked side by side daily, and were fortunate to have children and eventually their spouses who helped us immensely. They had little choice. Our parents also dug in and did more for us than we could thank them for. Many friends quickly found out that an invite to Ignace often turned into a work trip doing everything from painting cabins to cutting and splitting firewood. A few even had the privilege to dig an outhouse hole or two! We do indeed thank all these “volunteers” for being such good sports.
Together, with excellent staff, we are proud to have built a business that has attracted sportsmen, year after year from around the world, to experience the best of Northwestern Ontario. We can only thank our team, who did what had to be done safely and courteously for so many years. Randy Winters, our chief pilot, has been walking this road with us since 1988 and he intends to return next summer to work with Evan, delivering guests safely and efficiently to and from our camps. Tim will return to fly with Randy and Ted and Mike will stay on at the outposts. I hope to fly part time too.
Karen and I are not going to disappear. We are moving on down the road – literally. And we are working closely with Evan and Thia to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Our goal is that your Ignace Outposts adventure remains a high-quality wilderness experience. We will be at the Milwaukee and St. Charles All Canada Sport Shows with Evan and Thia. During the summer, we will try to see as many of our guests/friends as possible. But if we happen to not be around when you arrive in Ignace, we may actually be fishing.
To our friends and guests, we encourage you to continue with Evan and Thia as you would with us. We are thrilled for them and with their youthful outlook and ambition we only see better things ahead for Ignace Outposts and Airways. They will work hard to provide an experience that they would enjoy themselves. The time has come to pass the torch. Rest assured we are leaving you in good hands.
Thank you for your friendship and business over the years.
Brad and Karen