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Exciting weekend celebrations for all ages in Manitouwadge (12 photos)

Weekend of family fun in Manitouwadge.

MANITOWUADGE -- There was something for everyone on Saturday, starting in the morning with the older folks’ ‘Coffee & Tea for Senior’s Month’ at the Golden Age Centre, sponsored by the mayor, Council and the Township of Manitouwadge, where a lovely assortment of fruit, pastries and beverages were served.

Then the real fun started, with the official ‘Kick Off to Summer’ event! Science North’s Great Northern Ontario Roadshow was onsite with their displays and demonstrations. There were interesting games and exhibits designed to teach science, nature, mechanics, and biology in a fun, colourful atmosphere. Kids of all ages were encouraged to test their balancing skills at giant Jenga, clock their puck shooting abilities at a speed tested mini-rink, listen to and identify different sounds in nature, put together a mechanical vehicle and see how varying surfaces can affect their speed, and much more!  Dave, one of the Science North educations team, thrilled the crowd as he lit butane filled bubbles on fire, and blew up cannisters of cheesy poof dust with a bang.

Taking a break from science, Barrick/Hemlo provided a bouncy castle for the kids, as well as a barbecue lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers for all. There was a marketplace for vendors selling their wares, such as beauty and bath products, locally hand made chocolates, and maple syrup made by a multi-generational company in Komoka, Ont.

John Levoie, a member of the Manitouwadge Archival and Historical Society, and a great proponent of all things natural, set up a display booth about monarch butterflies. He explained that the butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed and then the newly hatched caterpillars consume the plant. He had some milkweed seedlings for the public to take home and plant in their own gardens.

Beth and her staff from the Manitouwadge Public Library were on hand to encourage people to read this summer through the TD Summer Reading Club. A sign-up sheet to keep track of your pages read, and with every 500 pages, you will earn an entry in to the draws happening through July and August. There was a total of 136,855 pages read in the last contest; can we beat that number?

At 2 p.m., a two kilometre ‘Fun Run’ got off to a great start, led by the Manitouwadge volunteer firefighters. There was a competition between the four schools and the general population to see who could have the largest percentage of their population attend. Whoever the winner turns out to be, all active minutes can go toward our town’s ‘Participaction Community Better Challenge’ numbers. We are currently in 12th place in all of Ontario!

Finally, the long-awaited Grand Opening of the skateboard park took place, with speeches from Mayor John MacEachern, Brad Law, Cody Keough and Margaret Turner, all folks who have had a hand in the creation of the park. Although a skateboard park had been a dream for over 25 years, it wasn’t until 2014 that the wheels really started rolling on the project. The Manitouwadge Extreme Plaza committee were able to raise money through fundraisers and donations, and the park was finally completed in 2020. There were unable to host the Grand opening because of COVID, but today, it’s official. To end off the day, a group of pro skaters from Thunder Bay put on a demonstration of their skills. and those who wished to try out the sport were given access to loaner boards.

So, it’s official. Summer has officially started in Manitouwadge. Get out there and enjoy it!

Marya Kalen

About the Author: Marya Kalen

Marya is a self-described wordsmith: a reporter, a writer of novels and short stories, and an artist, dabbling in many mediums.
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