Coming together: Culture, Family and Fun

From left, Julia Menetrier, Kim Carter, Marina Zago display their just-completed painted rocks at Cultural Family Fun Day in Clergue Park, Friday. Kim Carter is a Rotary Youth Exchange Councillor for the two Rotary Youth Exchange students. Both are in Grade 11 at St. Mary’s College. Julia, 15, is from Nantes France while Marina, 16, hails from Santos, São Paulo, Brazil .

Friday marked the start of Ontario Culture Days 2023. Sault Ste. Marie kicked off the month with a Culture Family Fun Day at Clergue Park.

Opening ceremonies got underway at 10 a.m, and the event continued through until 3 p.m. Ward 1 Councillor Sandra Hollingsworth told a gathering in front of the James L. McIntyre Centennial Library that the day was important to Sault Ste. Marie, the Algoma and the province. “It’s a privilege to be here, and learn more about culture,” said Hollingsworth, “because it brings us all together.”

Five-year-old Emilia Lauzon holds still while Olga Losik carefully applies paint to her face at the face-painting Cultural Family Fun Day Friday at Clergue Park.

The annual event, organized by the Public Library and several community partners, featured a number of activities, for all ages, and free demonstrations, highlighting cultural diversity.

Gurpreet Kaur conducts hand-painting for Selena Gamino.

Matt MacDonald, CEO of the Library, says culture will be a key component in the library board’s new strategic plan, which is nearing completion. “Community engagement, diversity, inclusion and equity, as well as heritage and culture are just some if the pillars of this new plan. Our goal is to be a diverse and welcoming community hub.”

Laurie Hubbard assists her grand-daughter, Charlotte Ritchie, 4, at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre’s ‘Flight of the Day’ contest, part of Cultural Family Fun Day held Friday at Clergue Park.

Kyrstiana Bourdage, Northern Coordinator for Ontario Culture Days, praised the hard work and dedication of the many partners pulled together to organize Friday’s fun day. “Ontario Culture Days lives at the local level,” said Bourdage, “and it’s through a network of communities, like yours that champion and celebrate our culture in our day to day, that make it possible.

Ontario Culture Days began in 2010 as a project of the Ontario Arts Council and the provincial government. It’s evolved, said Bourdage, to become a festival of multiple weeks, featuring thousands of free arts and culture events across the province


  • Ron Jokelainen

    Ron has returned to writing and reporting after 27 years with Ontario Lottery & Gaming. He began as a staff writer with OLG in 1994 before moving to Sports Marketing in 1997. He retired as a Senior sports analyst in 2021. Prior to OLG, Ron worked in radio and print journalism in the Sault and Simcoe. Folks may remember Ron "Williams" with CFYN-CHAS in the early 90s A graduate of Windsor's St. Clair College Journalism program, Ron lists drumming, gardening and walking among his favourite hobbies.

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