Manitoulin’s Island holiday

MANITOULIN—All is quiet on the Monday of rifle season. After the hustle and bustle of the weekend—trucks and trailers streaming onto Manitoulin’s highways—the downtown cores of the Island’s communities are still and hushed, not unlike a holiday Monday. In fact, the first day of the hunt could be considered Manitoulin’s unofficial holiday.

To prove this point, The Expositor spent some time Monday morning talking to Island businesses about their staff complement.

A first call to Manitowaning Mill Home Building Centre yielded nary a soul, at which point this reporter recalled this particular business always honours this ‘holiday’ by closing its doors this first day of deer season, allowing its staff to partake in all its festivities.

At Pat Noble Lumber in Gore Bay, staffer Kim Lentir explained that only one lucky employee took this day off, as well as the rest of the week—it was business as usual on the Noble Sideroad.

A phone call to Manitoulin Chrysler proved the opposite. Asking for proprietor Owen Legge, Jenna Sinclair informed this hunting week sleuth that the main man was out for a hunt and that the business was using this opportunity to list its parts inventory. Three out of 15 employees were there on Monday with the gas station running as usual.

“On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday someone will be here from 10 am – 3 pm, but for emergencies only,” Ms. Sinclair said of their mechanics. “The gas pumps are on, and that’s about it.”

At the Northeast Town, a phone call to CAO Dave Williamson didn’t yield much—the municipality’s top administrator was out enjoying the holiday, and he wasn’t the only one. Six of the Northeast Town’s staff has booked the week off. In Gore Bay, however, only one staff person took the week off, while another will be missing from action until Wednesday.

The Expositor spoke with long-time Tim’s and Company RONA Building Centre employee Phil Bowerman in Little Current.

“There’s only five on staff today out of 10—we’re running at 50 percent,” he said. “It will be like that until Wednesday, and then we’re up to six staff. We have a lot of hunters here.”

Art Madore at McQuarrie Motors in Gore Bay said staff at Manitoulin’s GM/Chevrolet dealership were working with three, missing six employees, but just for the holiday Monday.

At Manitoulin Fuels, based out of Little Current, Debbie Bekker-Fawcett told The Expositor Monday that three workers were out of the office for the holiday, and just one missing for the whole of hunting week.

At Allen’s Automotive, three of 13 staffers were partaking in holiday merrymaking in the bush on Monday.

Back in Little Current, two of Highway 6 Service Centre’s four mechanics were also “in the bush,” with the return of one employee expected by mid-week.

The Expositor staff, none of which took the holiday Monday off, wishes hunters across Manitoulin a safe and happy hunting holiday on the world’s largest freshwater island.

Alicia McCutcheon