River Canard Canoe Co.

River Canard gets picture perfect Christmas tree, Santa arrives in a canoe



By Christian Bouchard


The community of River Canard is getting in the holiday spirit.

Ron Lapointe, owner of the Outpost General Store in River Canard created the first “Sproose the Bruce” event. Held in the heart of the community, the event sees a 45-foot evergreen tree being transformed into a fully lit and decorated Christmas tree that plays music throughout the night.

Lapointe came up with the idea to decorate the tree during the summer when he realized there used to be willow trees next to the current Christmas tree. Once the willow trees were damaged and taken down, he thought how nice of a Christmas tree it would make next to the river.

The River Canard Outpost General Store has recently illuminated a Christmas tree.

“People skate and hangout here all the time,” said Lapointe. “It’s a postcard picture.”

Kelsea Cookson is a resident of the River Canard community and had the honour of lighting the Christmas tree for the first time. Cookson entered a contest which allowed anyone under 12 years of age to enter their name in a ballot box at the Outpost General Store.

“I’m excited to light the tree,” said Cookson. “I want to thank Ron, the store owner for giving me the chance to light the tree. Hopefully even more people come out next year.”

“Buddy the Elf” posed with Kelsea Cookson (right) minutes before the first annual “Sproose the Bruce” tree lighting ceremony. Cookson entered a contest which allowed her to be the very first person to light the tree.

According to Lapointe, it took approximately 8 hours to decorate the 45-foot tree and make sure all the lights and music were working appropriately. After trying to get boom trucks to help with the installation of lights he ran into issues with trucks not operating.

“There were no donations, no government handout or anything,” added Lapointe. “We used ladders and poles and it came out great. It’s nice to see we’re getting people involved and bringing the community together.”

Santa Claus arrived in a canoe again this year to the Outpost General Store in River Canard.

The store owner believes next year will be bigger and better. The lighting of the Christmas tree will now be an annual event with lights staying on until Jan. 10.

On Sunday, the Christmas festivities continued as local youth gathered on and around the River Canard bridge near the store as Santa Claus arrived in a canoe.





Earth Day cleanup held by River Canard Canoe Co.


By Jonathan Martin


River Canard’s waterfowl have gotten their spring cleaning done – with a little help from local humans.

Around 75 environmental enthusiasts from across Windsor-Essex congregated around River Canard Canoe Co., both in celebration of Earth Day and to spiff up their feathered friends’ home.  The canoe company’s owner, Ron LaPointe, put the event together.  By the end of the day, though, it became a community effort.

The River Canard Canoe Co. provided canoes and garbage bags so the cleanup’s volunteers could get out onto the water to take care of floating litter.  When they got back on dry land, they could toss the litter into a bin lent by Countryside Disposal Service.  As the bin filled up, they could turn to the water, admire their work and partake in the refreshments donated by Bulls Eye Pizza.

Scott Beneteau, Brad Cookson, Jodi Beneteau, Kelsea Cookson and Kristy Cookson stand behind the trailer of litter they pulled from the Canard River last Sunday
afternoon. A River Canard cleanup was organized by River Canard Canoe Co.

The old, the young, families, friends, acquaintances and strangers all buzzed about the river, bags in hand, trying to do their part to keep their hamlet healthy.

Wanda Carr said she filled up three garbage bags in under an hour.

“It’s really sad to see so much garbage,” she said.  “But it’s really fantastic to see so many people here.  What a sense of community!”

Carr said she trudged along the riverbank while her friends, Sheri Blair-Weatherbie and Lauren Kawai, paddled around in the water.

“We saw a lot of wildlife,” Kawai said.  “Animals scurrying across the ground and fish jumping out of the water.  When you see a little critter and a piece of garbage right next to it, you realize how important this is.”

The river is pockmarked by what LaPointe describes as “hotspots.”  Based on the ebb and flow of the water, detritus tends to gather in particular areas.  One of them is the Hancock and Dean 1812 Bridge to Nationhood.  From there, three small trailers’ worth of refuse was removed from the waterway.

“There are sections of the river we didn’t even get to this year,” said LaPointe.  “The watershed is just so big.  There’s lots to clean.”

Sheri Blair-Weatherbie, Wanda Carr and Lauren Kawai stand behind a canoe at River Canard Canoe Co. in River Canard last Sunday. The three friends helped clean up the river in celebration of Earth Day.

LaPointe said he plans to hold the event again next year, declaring that it will be “bigger and better.”  He said he’s well on his way.

“Last year was the first year I did this,” he said.  “We only had five people show up.”

This year, the event saw a 1,400 per cent increase in patronage.

If the trend continues, at least the ducks’ home will be clean for its many, many guests.



Santa Claus floats down Canard River via canoe



By Jolene Perron


Santa Claus traded in his sleigh for a canoe over the weekend, and made his way down River Canard to stop in for a visit at a local store.

For the second year, the River Canard Outpost General Store and the River Canard Canoe Co. have brought a unique Christmas themed event to the community, highlighting their waterway and bringing families together.

Santa Claus came down River Canard by canoe Sunday afternoon to greet families along the waterfront.

Owner Ron Lapointe explained they wanted to show off what they have in their area as far as tourism goes. He said River Canard is a community all in itself.

“People seemed to respond to our event very positively, it’s great for the kids, it’s great for the families, and where else can you see Santa Claus come in to town by boat?” said Lapointe.

Their Santa was particularly unique. Not only did he travel down the river in a canoe, paddled by his elves, he did a full magic show and brought with him a number of helping elves to paint faces and play Christmas games.

“We were invited by our friend to come out to see Santa come down the river,” explained Debra Flores, mother of two. “When we went online we saw a lot of other things taking place too so we’re excited about that. The kids didn’t know so it was a nice surprise for them. We are looking forward to the hot chocolate and the games.

After canoeing down the river and under the bridge, Santa had a chance to meet with children on the shores behind the River Canard Outpost General Store Dec. 3.

“It’s different, if the river was frozen it might have added a bit more to it, but it’s still great.”

Lapointe said the turnout this year doubled, with a crowd of parents and children overlooking the waterfront. He said it’s just their way of saying thank you to the community for supporting them throughout the year.