The South Wind Brigade will be making a stop in Merrickville on June 28, bringing the wonderful sight of fourteen or fifteen big Voyageur-style canoes to the Village. [See details on the South Wind Brigade on the front page]. It is expected that around 140 people will be part of the canoe flotilla, in addition to the support crew that will be travelling by car.
The Brigade hope to arrive at the Blockhouse Park between 2 and 3 pm, and plans are being made to take residents for short trips in the canoes during the afternoon. A guided tour by canoe of the bird sanctuary is also being arranged for the early evening, and there will be a special dinner event in the evening at the Legion Hall. The Village of Merrickville-Wolford has been working with the NG Times and Ann Martin of the Merrickville and District Historical Society to provide an appropriate welcome to the South Wind Brigade. Dr. David Shanahan will be guest speaker at the Legion dinner, and will be speaking about the history of First Nations and the Rideau.
It is going to be a busy week on the Rideau Canal, as the Dragons Abreast Rideau Challenge will also be passing through Merrickville as part of their journey between Kingston and Ottawa. Dragons Abreast is one of the world’s first Breast Cancer survivor teams, and raises awareness of the importance of physical activity and leading a full and active life after breast cancer. A registered charity, it offers support programs for adults, teens and children living with cancer along with their families and friends. On Monday, June 26, their 12-metre long dragon boat, powered by 20 breast cancer survivors, will be arriving in Merrickville. On Tuesday, they move from Merrickville Locks to Burritts Rapids Lock, before leaving Burritt’s Rapids on Wednesday, the day the South Wind Brigade arrive in Merrickville.
The big canoes of the Brigade will be quite a sight as they arrive at the park, flags flying and each one crewed by between fourteen and sixteen paddlers, bringing a sense of history to the Village to add to the atmosphere created by the Blockhouse festivities of last weekend. As it says elsewhere in this issue, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so don’t miss a wonderful week of colour and fun on the Rideau!