MANITOULIN––Look around you. Nature, as usual, is blessing Manitoulin with several weeks of ‘Harvest Glory Days’ even on this wet fall Monday, as this is being written.
Communities and individuals from the length and breadth of Manitoulin have responded to The Expositor Office’s challenge to decorate their homes, businesses and community institutions to reflect nature’s fall palate with an emphasis on the harvest bounty theme as we approach Thanksgiving.
There is a “fall driving tour map” of Manitoulin on Page 5A that shows the communities, and in some cases individual homes and businesses, that have registered as participants and, following Thanksgiving, judges will determine which community has best pulled together in a spirited attempt to win the first “Best Decorated Community” honours and the roadside sign that will proclaim a particular community as the winner. The sign is being produced for The Expositor’s contest with the generous support of Beacon Images of Tehkummah.
In the meantime, though, Manitoulin Islanders, their visitors and visiting tourists can follow some or all of the points shown on the map to see for themselves how Manitoulin is decked out this year for Thanksgiving.
The extra day this long weekend could be the perfect day for such a jaunt which could begin at any point on the map, which should not be seen to be all-inclusive because other communities have suggested they would be decorating but had not registered their intentions as of press time so they’re not shown on the map.
The Aundek Omni Kaning community has gone all-out to decorate its community health centre, the Mnanaamodzawin Health Centre just behind it and the Seniors Centre across from the band office. A nice display in a tight pattern. There are homes along the highway also decorated in AOK.
In nearby Birch Island, the community centre that faces Highway 6 is also well decorated for passers-by.
In Kagawong, the community organizes an annual scarecrow hunt at just this time of the year. It begins at Bridal Veil Esso, meanders down the pathway that follows the Kagawong River where it leaves the Bridal Veil Falls pool and continues down to the North Channel. You can watch for scarecrows here on the dry side of the trail and also look, on the wet side, for salmon hopefully beating their way uphill through the stream to spawn. The last scarecrow is around the Austin Hunt Marina. Downtown Kagawong is colourful too, especially the Chocolate Works and a nearby home, at least so far.
Another community that, so far, has gotten all decked out is Spring Bay where the 4-H Club became the local champion for the friendly community challenge and has helped virtually everyone along the stretch of Highway 542 that passes through the community to decorate.
The Town of Gore Bay has raided a corn patch and the downtown theme is corn stalks that adorn lampposts, the community hall and various businesses. It looks good.
The surrounding Township of Gordon/Barrie Island is totally rural and there has been an ongoing “decorate your farm gate” competition going on there for several years. There are 12 entrants in the local contest this year with a prime example at the entrance to the Manitoulin Island Country Club golf course. There are some more along Highway 540 past Pat Noble Lumber and another at the Laura Lane entrance to Nameless Lake along Highway 542. Otherwise, drive up a few sideroads to see them all.
The Northeast Town is decorating its town office and other public buildings in Little Current as well as the new sign near the swing bridge. The Manitoulin Tourism Association (MTA) is decorating the nearby information centre. The Manitoulin Centennial Manor is decorating too.
In the West End, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation is decorating the entrance into the community, which is accessed through Sheshegwaning First Nation, and in the neighbouring community of Silver Water the firefighters have gone all out to decorate the fire hall in the Harvest Glory Days theme.
In Mindemoya, two businesses (the mini-mall named Mainstreet Business Centre located across from Keller’s Garage and Deb’s Unisex Hairstyling, across from Island Foodland) have indicated they’re going to decorate, along with a residence on Douglas Drive. Likely there will be more.
In M’Chigeeng, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute is decorating (they’re beside UCCM/Castle Building Supply) and so is their satellite Ojibwe immersion program for tots located at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. Check out MSS too.
If you can go by Big Lake on your scenic tour, have a look at No. 29 Digby’s Sideroad.
In Manitowaning, the Guardian Pharmacy looks great as do other downtown businesses, the Assiginack Township Office and the Medical Centre (both across from St. Paul’s Church).
The Wikwemikong seniors are decorating their Amikook Centre, the log building on Amikook Street but visible from Wikwemikong Way.
That brings us up to Sheguiandah where the Sheguiandah First Nation’s Count Fineday Haunted House site on Highway 6 is in on the fun as is the Sheguiandah residence at 115 Townline Road.
That’s it as of press time on Monday, but we’ve heard from several this day so likely there will be other displays to enjoy in your fall tour.
Once again, check the tour map on Page 5A and enjoy scenic Manitoulin and keep your eyes open for even more displays.