Pride Manitoulin makes its return to the Island this weekend

You may notice the colourful sidewalks during the week in downtown Little Current.

MANITOULIN—The pedestrian crosswalks in Little Current are once again flanked by rainbows as the Island looks toward a week of Pride Manitoulin events. This year’s edition of Pride will see some changes from previous years, some due to scheduling issues, others to pandemic precautions and yet others thanks to new opportunities and partnerships.

“We are very excited to be back,” said organizer Sarah Seabrook. “We are so pleased to be working in collaboration with so many partners.”

Pride Manitoulin hoodies designed by Kagawong’s Wild Creations will be available and the Manitoulin Pride flags will be available for $50.

One thing that will be missing this year is the popular North Channel Cruise Lines Pride cruise. “It just wasn’t possible this year as the vessel is booked,” said Ms. Seabrook. “Another change is that our events are more spread out across the Island this year. Everything isn’t just in Little Current and M’Chigeeng and most events are free to make Pride as accessible as possible.”

The first event takes place on Friday at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation in M’Chigeeng as artist and author Mark Seabrook will be providing an art workshop from 10 am to 12 pm. This event is free with light refreshments. “This will be a great opportunity to explore art and culture.”

“Something really different this year is a you-pick harvest experience from 3:30 to 4:30 pm on Friday at Island Roots Flower Farm where you can pick a fresh rainbow bouquet. They are offering a 24-ounce glass jar that you can fill with flowers for free,” she said. Island Roots Flower Farm is located at 6875 Highway 551 in Mindemoya.

“One of the events that we always look forward to is the drum circle,” said Ms. Seabrook. The drum circle will be facilitated by Veronica Johnny and sponsored by Noojmowin Teg and takes place in the Nooj hillside tipi in Aundeck Omni Kaning on Friday at 12 noon. All nations are welcome and hand drums will be available for participants. There is no cost for this event and a free lunch will be provided

The Pride flag will once again be raised on the docks in Little Current, near Wally’s Dock Service. “We are really hoping more people will come out for the flag raising,” said Ms. Seabrook. This event takes place at 6:30 pm on Friday. Then it’s off to Little Current’s Manitoulin Brewing Company for the reveal of that company’s newest beer label.

Friday evening will feature karaoke at Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Little Current with drag queens Lucy Flawless and Ophelia Manson and DJ Tom-A-Haw from 9 pm to 11 pm. There is no cover for this event which features a cash bar. Top off Friday evening from 11 pm to 12:30 am with Queer Trivia at the Legion hosted by the hostest with the mostest, Caitlin.

“We are really excited about the Medicine Walk with Joe Pitawanakwat,” said Ms. Seabrook. This Saturday morning event is sponsored by Mnaamodzawin Health Services and takes place at the Sheguiandah First Nation Round House from 10 am to 12 pm and is free. Mr. Pitawanakwat has dedicated his life to preserving Indigenous knowledge of the medicinal plants around us.

Gore Bay’s Split Rail Brewery will be featuring live music from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday at their location 31 Water Street in Gore Bay.

Artistry 67 will be hosting a Decorative Paddle Workshop with an entry cost of $85 at 1 pm on Saturday. “There will be some beautiful painted paddle work come out of this,” said Ms. Seabrook. “This workshop will teach the participant how to paint a 4.5-foot-long paddle using Fusion Mineral Paint,” she explained. “This paddle can be used indoor or outdoors once finished—the possibilities are endless. Each participant will sand, tape, and paint their paddle.” This workshop takes place at the Mutchmor Café and Gallery in Providence Bay.

Events will take a short break following the paddle painting. “We wanted to give people some time to be able to explore the Whitefish River First Nation powwow,” explained Ms. Seabrook.

Maja’s Garden in Mindemoya will be hosting a Gourmet Garden Gig where participants can enjoy organic food from the garden of Maja Mielonen with a tribute to JJ Cale being performed by Dan Walsh. Fans of slide guitar will be in seventh chord heaven. Cost is $65 and a reservation is required.

Saturday’s signature event will be the Drag Show and Dance at the Legion in Little Current. This is a 19+ licenced event with a $5 cover charge.

Defy any lingering Saturday night effects with a five-kilometre run on Sunday morning. The run starts at the NEMI Public Library at 9 am, with $15 registration starting at 8:30 am. A Pride Christian worship will take place at Little Current United Church at 10 am.

Then it’s the Pride Parade, starting out from the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current, moving along Water Street and through the downtown. Following the parade there will be a community barbecue, with face painting and music by DJ Tom-A-Haw at the Little Current United Church. “There will be no bouncy castles this year,” said Ms. Seabrook. “We made the decision that during this time it would not be advisable to have children bouncing around in an eight-by-eight space. Hopefully, things will be different next year.”

Among the vendors setting up at the barbecue will be Réseau ACCESS Network out of Sudbury. “They will be providing free testing for hepatitis C and HIV in a safe and confidential way,” said Ms. Seabrook.”

The organizers of Pride Manitoulin 2022 wish to invite any vendors that wish to set up at the Sunday event to come on down. Ms. Seabrook can be reached at 705-348-1964. “Text is really the best way to contact me,” she said.

Happy Pride!