The level of activity on Manitoulin during this past weekend and in the days leading up to it gave our small communities something of a city atmosphere in terms of business but this was tempered by the good, common sense approach that typifies Manitoulin and, indeed, most rural and agricultural areas of Canada.
The Manitoulin Trade Fair, the twelfth such event in the past quarter century, was one of the busiest in recent history with a constant coming and going of cars and people entering and leaving Little current, specifically because of the Trade Fair.
There has been the observation made that Manitoulin Trade Fair years typically and generally lead to prosperous spring, summer and fall seasons for Manitoulin Island businesses.
Based on the hustle and bustle that characterized the most recent event, and the typical comments by a large number of business participants that the show had “been good” for them, the seasons ahead should also be prosperous ones for businesses here.
The Trade Fair was one thing. The new Manitoulin Hotel and Conference entre is another and this new facility, the first Manitoulin hotel built within a century, hosted a myriad of events and activities last week and last weekend. As Chief Clarence Louie, the guest speaker at an event held at the facility last week observed, “it’s quite an achievement, unique across Canada, that six First Nations communities cooperated on a major project not on a First Nation.”
While there were a myriad of unique activities happening simultaneously, there was remarkably enough people to make them all successful.
The United Church of Canada’s Manitou Conference, encompassing the United Church pastoral charges of almost all of Northeastern Ontario, met for its biennial conference this time in Mindemoya and brought with it over 100 adult and 30 youth delegates. The Moderator of the United Church of Canada, Very Rev. Garry Patterson, was part of the event and a crowd that likely topped 300 somehow managed to fit into Mindemoya United Church to hear Very Rev. Patterson speak Sunday afternoon and to see two new ministers from the North ordained by him.
Just down the road in Mindemoya, at St. Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, the Bishop of the Diocese Algoma, the Right Rev. Stephen Andrews was on hand to celebrate, also on Sunday, the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of Rev. Canon Bain Peever, the rector of the Anglican parish that encompasses Manitowaning, South Baymouth, Mindemoya and area.
The weekend saw the first powwow of the season, hosted as usual by the Aundek Omni Kaning First Nation.
The memories of veterans of Manitoulin, Canada and her allies were recognized in the annual solemn ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Manitoulin District Cenotaph with a large crowd braving cold winds to pay homage.
In Wikwemikong, the annual mud bog races took place (there’s been enough rain lately so the participating trucks’ mud covering would have been accomplished quickly) and, of course, there was the usual plethora of weekend yard sales and milestone anniversaries.
It was a good week and weekend. It’s a good thing to be busy.
It’s also a good thing to be busy with grace and a friendly face and that’s what makes a busy Manitoulin so much different from an equally busy urban environment.