The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Grand River Métis Council (GRMC) was honoured and excited to host the 2017 MNO Youth Canoe Expedition in Guelph on June 22, 2017. Although the day started out as very cloudy and wet it did not deter nor dampen the enthusiasm of preparing for the Canoe Expedition’s arrival.
The Canoe Expedition was to be net at the Guelph Boating Club on property on Guelph Lake. Guelph Lake is a manmade lake that feeds into the Grand River. It is fully stocked with fish and many enjoy boating, canoeing, fishing and swimming in its waters.
The MNO GRMC transformed the Boating Club’s crew quarters into a trading post, lovingly named “Lake in the Woods.” Furs, hides and traps were hung. Blankets were laid out and the Métis flag was hung in the window. An assortment of sashes, hats and furs adorned a table. An area was set up for crafts and snacks. MNO staff set up an information table near the door to welcome guests and give out gifts. Outside the post, Fire Keepers George Parkinson and Ron Parkinson started a fire in preparation for the arrival of the young voyageurs.
MNO GRMC citizens and community members were joined by reporters from Guelph, Kitchener and CTV as well as Guelph Mayor Cameron Guthrie and Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield, both wishing us a great celebration and congratulations to the Métis paddlers.
When the canoe arrived there was a lot of cheering from those on the shore. The young canoeists shared stories and answered questions. They presented the MNO GRMC with a beautiful paddle, which had been signed by every member of the Expedition. In return, the MNO GRMC presented the youth with fiddle key chains and Métis Infinity earrings. Guelph Boat Club Commodore, Mark Parkinson, helped President Jennifer Parkinson raise both the Métis blue and red flags. It was exciting to see. The MNO GRMC presented Commodore Parkinson with a Métis sash as a token of appreciation for the Boating Club opening up their property for the MNO GRMC event.
Grassroots Catering provided an awesome meal of bison burgers, salad, fresh fruit and strawberry juice. Thank you Malcom and Christine!
Our youth paddlers then fiddled and taught us some jigging. The day went way too fast and before long the MNO Canoe Expedition had to move on to their next stop.
The MNO GRMC wishes to extend a special “Marsii” to the Guelph Boating Club for the use of their menu; and to the MNO Youth Expedition for coming to Guelph and sharing your adventure. “Marsii” also goes out to all Council and community members whose hard work and dedication make events like this one so successful.