Harbour Days brings community, visitors together for summer fun on the Gore Bay waterfront

Dignitary representatives Connie Mackenzie and Linda Wilson hold the ribbon while Caroline Lane-Rock and Mayor Ron Lane cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open Gore Bay’s new breakwater. photo by Steph Burt Hillyard

by Steph Burt Hillyard

GORE BAY—Heat advisory warnings weren’t enough to keep locals and tourists alike away from the Gore Bay waterfront during Harbour Days weekend.

Kicking Harbour Days off with a bang, the Farmers’ Market enticed people in with fresh baking, just-picked produce, handcrafted wares and live music. Just down the road, the Town of Gore Bay officially ‘opened’ the new breakwater with a public dedication ceremony.

“We’re here for a breakwater dedication, but really we’re here for a celebration of this town,” said Mayor Ron Lane. “I refer to this breakwall as the roof for the rest of the harbour. If you build a house and give it a good foundation and good walls, and you put contents in it, wouldn’t you want to protect it? That’s what this breakwater is doing for our harbour.” The breakwater, also referred to as the breakwall, is made entirely of Manitoulin limestone.

Avery Nodecker holds up his catch from the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club fish pond. 
Avery Nodecker holds up his catch from the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club fish pond.

Mayor Lane also noted that without the support of their sponsors including Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), FedNor and Doug Smith, the 1.4 million dollar project would never have been possible.

Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane, and dignitaries NOHFC Board of Directors member Gore Bay representative Caroline Lane-Rock, MPP representative Linda Wilson speaking on behalf of Michael Mantha and Carol Hughes, representative Connie Mackenzie, cut the appropriately anchor-embellished ribbon to officially open the newest piece of Gore Bay construction.

Festivities nearly took a turn for the worse when a float plane owned by Richard Peever was overturned in the bay by some strong wind. Mr. Peever, who was in town on behalf of his company, Huron District Contracting in Goderich, for the dedication ceremony, was rescued unscathed and his plane was retrieved from the water.

Later that day the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Big Bike took a tour of the bay, and The Uppers performed at the Lions Club’s Beer Gardens.

Saturday morning promised fun in the sun, and with bellies full of pancakes from the Gore Bay Rotary pancake breakfast, spectators were ready to jump into day two of Harbour Days Weekend. While kids rode their cars down Meredith St. in the Lions Club Soapbox Derby or took part in Science North’s 3! 2! 1! Blast Off—an adventure in all things space event, runners warmed up for the ‘Firefighters 5K Around the Bay’ at the Harbour Centre. The 35 participants could choose to run or walk either five or eight kilometres in a marked path around Gore Bay. Approximately $2,000 was raised for upgrades to equipment at the firehall.

Kids dive into a pool of bubbles during the kids ‘foam party’ hosted by ‘It’s Not a  Party Without Us.’
Kids dive into a pool of bubbles during the kids ‘foam party’ hosted by ‘It’s Not a
Party Without Us.’

“Thank you to our sponsors large and small for being so generous and for having a good time at this community event,” said organizer Skip Bloxham. “Particular thanks to Greg Bond from Manitoulin Transport—an experienced runner whose guidance was a huge asset.” He also cited some of the larger sponsors including Manitoulin Transport, H&R Noble Construction, Split Rail Brewing, Guardian Central Pharmacy, McQuarrie Motors, McLaughlin Real Estate, Fogal’s of Manitoulin and Island Promotional Products. Winners of the 5K Men’s and Women’s runs were Greg Bond and Elizabeth VanEvery with runners-up Ory Menzies, Jim Stewart, Cindy Beaulieu and Marla Haring. Winners of the Men’s and Women’s 8K run were Brad Wright and Lindsay Moreau-Verla, with runners-up John Gordon, Scott Kirkness, Lily Gambin and Terri Lynn Leighton. Winners of the 8K walk were Rae Mason and Steve Mason, and winners of the 5K walk were Barb Rayner and Colleen Smith.

Lunchtime featured the Lions Club’s famous beef on a bun, an ice cream sundae bar, kite flying for kids, handwriting analysis, and the annual cardboard boat race. Winners of the family cardboard boat race were Cody Woods and Kowan Orford with runners-up Grayson and Trav Orford and Aaron and Kathy Frazier. In the 12 and under category Nick and Lindsay Sheppard took home first place, Cody Woods and Kowan Orford took second and Trevor White and Ben Dewar came in third. In the Open category the team of Trevor White and Ben Dewar took home the prize of a CYC (Canadian Yacht Charters) Charter to the Benjamin Islands provided by CYC.

Onlookers young and old watch as kids take to the street in their homemade  boxcars during the Lions Soapbox Derby.
Onlookers young and old watch as kids take to the street in their homemade boxcars during the Lions Soapbox Derby.

Armed with miniature rods, kids also had the opportunity to bring home dinner with swimming pool fishing at the Red Roof Pavillion. Hosted by the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club and with trout provided by Meeker’s Aquaculture, kids got to keep what they caught.

Later that evening the Gore Bay Rotary Club served over 200 pounds of fish to 400 hungry people, kids and teens had a chance to cool off in some good clean fun during a foam party hosted by It’s Not a Party Without Us, a Sudbury company that specializes in party rentals, and also provided the kids’ inflatables in the morning, and adults moved and grooved to the tunes of the band Tin Gypsy at the annual Harbour Days Dance.

The ‘Gore Bay Bluffers’ set out on the Heart and Stroke Big Bike.
The ‘Gore Bay Bluffers’ set out on the Heart and Stroke Big Bike.

Sunday dawned cloudy and drizzly, but over 100 people packed themselves into the tent at the waterfront for the annual Eccumenical Service—a joint collaboration between the Island Community, United, Anglican and Catholic churches.

Two exhibitions, ‘Natural Progression,’ fibre art and ‘Purvis Fishery,’ photography, as well as a reading of the handwritten letters concluded the weekend.

Automobiles lined up at the Classic Car Show.
Automobiles lined up at the Classic Car Show.