Manitoulin food convention and market to be held in Gore Bay

GORE BAY—A Manitoulin food convention and market, to be held in Gore Bay, is being planned for this May.

“This is a great idea, anything that helps to bring people to Gore Bay is a good thing,” said Ron Lane, a member of the Gore Bay general government committee, after a presentation by Barb Erskine, acting manager of Split Rail Brewing Company. Ms. Erskine outlined a proposal for the event, being hosted by  Split Rail and Genevieve Sartor of New Grain Kitchen. “And you are proposing to use our community hall, which we are very proud of.”

“I also think this is a great idea,” stated Gore Bay Councillor Leeanne Woestenenk.

“I want to thank the committee members, councillors and town staff for your time to hear this presentation tonight,” Ms. Erskine told the committee at a meeting last week. She outlined the grass roots effort is being scheduled for May 28-29, “and its purpose is to provide people the opportunity to network and develop food group connections and partnerships.”

Mr. Erskine explained, “on May 28, we would hold the educational convention piece of the event in the Gore Bay (community) hall, with speakers, farmers, producers, and agency representatives, mostly local, (although some from other areas) discussing food product development and farming. And it is definitely open to members of the public. A fee would be at a minimal cost of $5 and those who attend can stay for as many sessions as they would like, or stay for the entire day.”

The event would take place in the town’s community hall, “which is a lovely venue, stage, and auditorium. It is an ideal space to hold an event like this,” said Ms. Erskine.

“On May 29, a market would take place at Split Rail, with food producers having food products on hand (and for sale),” said Ms. Erskine. “This is what we are proposing. How would it benefit Gore Bay? All the events would take place in Gore Bay. It would be getting people out in the community to take part and provide another attraction for people to visit Gore Bay and we would advertise this generously.”

The organizers of the event are requesting an in-kind contribution of the use of the community hall on May 28 and use of the stage, auditorium, and projector screen for the event. “This would be a non-alcoholic event,” Ms. Erskine told the committee. 

“We feel this would be a really good event for the town and a lot of fun,” stated Ms. Erskine.

Gore Bay Councillor Jack Clark inquired as to what the projected number of vendors and presenters would be at the event.

“There could be a dozen presenters, say 10-12, and in terms of the vendors’ market, about 12-15 spaces,” said Ms. Erskine.

“Have you been to or seen something like this type of food convention and market in other locations?” asked Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne.

“Not for quite some time, but I’ve seen this type of event in big centres. And I went specifically to a similar event in Prince Edward County, which was just rocking for the food fair, there were a lot of people and it was fun,” said Ms. Erskine.

“You have 100 percent backing of the event from this committee,” stated committee chair and councillor Kevin Woestenenk.

The committee passed a motion recommending town council support the proposal for the event and to donate the community hall and necessary equipment needed by the group to put on the educational component of the convention.