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Short tour of duty for controversial tourism guide mastermind

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When looking for retirement spots, if North Bay is not “just north enough to be perfect,” there’s always Cochrane.
Former Tourism North Bay executive director Stephen Hollingshead stepped down from his post after a little more than one year on the job on Thursday.

Hollingshead was embroiled in a local controversy last spring that involved the production and distribution of a tourism guide with “North Bay” splashed across its cover accompanying a dark photograph of a frozen lake and ice huts.

Included on the cover of that North Bay tourism guide is the motto “Truly northern experiences for over 100 years.” Some found this choice of words interesting after the owners of the ice huts revealed that the photo had been taken on Big Lake Abitibi, near Cochrane, Ont.

Hollingshead defended his choice to select a professional photo for the cover of the guide produced by Clark Communications, saying it captured the message they were trying to convey to tourists. The story gained some traction across media platforms and Hollingshead seemed to embrace the controversy when he gave a CBC Radio interview.

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In the aftermath of the tour guide cover furor, Tourism North Bay suggested that a contest would be held in the future to select photos for a tourism guide. The guide eventually was distributed with the Cochrane photo and can still be found in tourism centres in Ontario.

No reason has been released for his abrupt retirement but Hollingshead had been recently touting plans for the summer tourism season at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

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