Katie Harper on to Miss Teenage Canada

SUDBURY—Of the 41 contestants across the North that competed in the Miss North Ontario Pageant in Sudbury last weekend, not only was Manitoulin represented by two contestants, Miss Manitoulin Katie Harper of Little Current and Miss Wikwemikong Brittany Manitowabi, both Islanders took the top two spots in the talent portion of the pageant, in addition to snagging several other awards.

Following Friday night’s evening dress competition at the two-day pageant held at Laurentian University, Ms. Manitowabi and Ms. Harper dominated the talent competition, both making it into the top two.

During the awards gala Saturday evening, Ms. Manitowabi wowed audiences with her original song ‘Fields of Dreams,’ while Katie brought Broadway to Sudbury with her rendition of ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ from the musical ‘Funny Girl.’

Both Manitoulin maestros were note for note, but in the end Ms. Harper was crowned and received a scholarship to Mas Acting Studios.

“When we went into Saturday night we said either way the Island wins,” Ms. Harper told The Expositor following the pageant. “We were both just so happy to be representing Manitoulin and that we had made it into the top two.”

Ms. Harper’s performance won her two standing ovations, first from her peers Friday night and from the entire audience Saturday night.

Miss Manitoulin Katie Harper took  home the Talent Award for her standing ovation  causing rendition of ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade.’
Miss Manitoulin Katie Harper took home the Talent Award for her standing ovation
causing rendition of ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade.’

Ms. Harper was also awarded the Pageant Promotion Award for promoting herself and the Miss North Ontario pageant, and placed in the top 15.

“I was very honoured,” said 17-year-old Ms. Harper of her awards, “and it was such a huge honour to receive standing ovations for my performance, especially from the other contestants Friday night. The entire pageant was a great experience. I learned so much and everyone was so positive. I also made some new friends. All the girls were so nice, it felt like a sisterhood.”

In addition to her award, Ms. Harper was selected as one of six contestants to attend Miss Teenage Canada this August in Toronto.

Nineteen-year-old Ms. Manitowabi also excelled at the Miss North Ontario pageant, not only making it into the top two for talent, but was also chosen for the top three in the Top Model competition within the pageant.

“Unfortunately, I can’t go on to the Top Model competition in Toronto because I don’t meet the height requirements (Ms. Manitowabi is 5’3”, but the requirement is 5’6”), but it’s ok, I was honoured to just be selected. They, the judges, said that I had potential to go other places. It was just awesome to be recognized.”

“The whole pageant was an awesome experience,” continued Ms. Manitowabi. “I am so happy I decided to participate. I met some awesome girls and it was really the experience of a lifetime.”

Born and raised on the Island, Ms. Manitowabi just completed her first year at Laurentian University studying social work.

Ms. Manitowabi was approached by Miss North Ontario President Cheryl Kozera who asked her to apply to participate in the pageant after seeing photos of her by Wikwemikong photographer and fashion designer Bruno Henry.

Ms. Harper, a Grade 11 Sudbury Secondary School (SSS), student calls Little Current home, but lives in Sudbury during the week enabling her to attend the SSS arts program. Ms. Harper was crowned Miss Manitoulin at the 2014 pageant during Little Current’s Haweater Weekend after wowing judges with her positive attitude, confidence and amazing singing voice.

Kara Fillion of Hearst was crowned Miss North Ontario 2015, while first runner up went to Hannah Fedechko-Conroy of New Liskeard, second runner up to Madison Kvaltin of Sudbury District, third runnerup to Emilie Tremblay-Aubin of Kapuskasing and fourth runner up Healey Gardiner of Thunder Bay.

Ms. Kozera commented to The Expositor how impressed she was with Island delegates Ms. Harper and Ms. Manitowabi and relayed that they, along with the other Miss North Ontario Pageant delegates, raised $30,000 for Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer making the annual pageant donation since 2006 to over $200,000.

Be sure to check out The Manitoulin Expositor on Facebook for videos of both Ms. Harper’s and Ms. Manitowabi’s award winning talent performances at the Miss North Ontario Pageant.