There’s plenty for snowbirds to do right here at home this winter


Winter pursuits: Part I of a series

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a series looking at ways Island communities are keeping their older adults active this fall and winter.

MANITOULIN – With snowbirds unable to flock to warmer climes this year, many Island municipalities are planning their winter community programming accordingly, or helping to connect seniors with the many goings on  on Manitoulin to help them adjust to a winter at home.

In Central Manitoulin, community development and outreach co-ordinator Marcus Mohr has been busy with this goal in mind.

Effective this week, there will be indoor social walking at the Mindemoya Community Centre Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 11 am (closed on holidays). Clean walking shoes are required and masks and physical distancing protocols must be adhered to. Mr. Mohr said contract tracing sheets must be signed whenever a walker comes for exercise.

Central Manitoulin has also partnered with the Manitoulin Pickleball Club to provide this fun physical activity this winter season, upstairs in the Mindemoya Community Hall. 

“The club is made up of players 50-plus years of age and has a close to even split of female and male players,” Mr. Mohr explained. “The club is affiliated with Ontario Pickle Ball Association and Pickleball Canada and welcomes community interest and is eager to introduce new players to the game. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport among adults in North America.”

Pickleball begins this month, ending in May 2021, on Mondays from 2 to 4 pm, Wednesdays from 1 to 3 pm and Fridays from 10 am to 12 noon. Start and end dates/times are subject to change but will be advertised. The cost is $2/person per two-hour session plus a one-time $35 fee to the Manitoulin Pickleball Club for supplies and registration and insurance with the Ontario Pickleball Association. Cleaning, distancing and gathering rules will be followed. For more information or to register, contact George Ballantyne at 705-805-2385 or Bud Hebner at 705-368-1521.

There are many other Central Manitoulin events seniors can get involved in this winter such as tai chi in Spring Bay, contact Jean Pearce at 705-377-5845 or email her at; Big Lake Community Association, contact Jeannine Desmarais at 705-348-0816 or; or try the SS#1 Manitou Merrymakers at the Sandfield Schoolhouse hall, contact Hal Love at 705-859-3855 or 

“The municipality is always looking for popular programming ideas and people to help run them for all ages,” Mr. Mohr said, encouraging people to contact him with ideas by phoning 705-377-5726 or emailing him at

If handiwork is your thing, or you’ve always wanted to give it a try, why not take up quilting? The Quilters Guild can be reached by contacting Pat Pepper at 705-368-2633; Twilight Club Quilting, Marlene, 705-377-6112, or Current Quilts and Stitchery, Carrie Moore, 705-368-9913.

The Northeast Town has lost its indoor walking space at the recreation centre hall due to the venue’s current use a COVID-19 field hospital-in-waiting (in the hopes that it doesn’t get used), but you can be sure that events co-ordinator Lisa Hallaert will have plenty more of her popular Facebook Live events in the offing. Be sure to check the Northeast Town’s weekly ad on Page 10 of this newspaper as well as the municipal Facebook page for upcoming events. The Manitoulin Community Fitness Centre is also open and memberships can be purchased by giving Kerrene Tilson a call at 249-997-0009.

There are many options for Manitoulin’s most-loved card game, euchre, across the Island, too. So, if it’s a card game you’re after, you can probably find one each and every day.

In Assiginack, adult kickboxing classes begin tonight, Wednesday, November 4, and continue each Wednesday night until December 2 from 7 to 8 pm in the Assiginack Arena atrium. The cost is $20 and registration in advance is a must by calling the municipal office at 705-859-3196 or dropping by the office at 156 Arthur Street, Manitowaning. Adults are to wear comfortable clothing, running shoes and bring a water bottle. Adults must wear masks and social distancing rules will be in effect.

There will also be free public skating at the Assiginack Arena all season long on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm, Fridays from 7:30 to 9 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 3 pm.

Indoor walking will also be offered at the Assiginack Arena atrium each Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Walking poles are available upon request.

Jackie White, Assiginack events co-ordinator, is also hosting a stitch’n chat group each Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Assiginack Arena in the ‘Create Room.’ There is no cost to attend, but please bring your own equipment. A few sewing machines will be available for use. Sewists, quilters, needlework participants or any other crafters are welcome. The group’s last meeting will be December 16. Ms. White is also hoping to see cooking classes start up in the Create Room, so stay tuned to for announcements.

Adult yoga classes are also scheduled to begin this week at the Assiginack Arena atrium. Pre-registration is required at the municipal office and the cost for the sessions, ending December 17 (but continuing in the New Year) is $84. Masks and yoga mats are required.