Ron Lapointe

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.

Phantom of the Canard returns for seventh year

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

For those who prefer an authentic fright this Halloween season, a local business is mixing history and horror with a one-of-a-kind canoe and walking tour.

“We have done extensive research into the River Canard area, including the 1812 war for our heritage tours and became aware of many creepy events that led to the creation of this tour,” said River Canard Canoe Co. owner Ron LaPointe.

The Phantom of the Canard tour features a number of historically accurate ghost stories along River Canard, based in 1812. They use a number of props to enhance their storytelling and authenticity, including period clothing and an authentic noose.

The tour lasts approximately two hours, which includes a walkabout and a canoe trip at night time.

Tour guide Heidi Lewis explained, the tour starts off with a solid recap of the War of 1812 for those who don’t remember from their history classes. It includes factually researched stories, which Lewis has done a lot of herself.
“We try to creep it up for Halloween so I did a lot of research to find real haunted stories, of which there are many,” explained Lewis. “The Tales of the Canard is essentially panic on the Canard. The Americans are coming, the war has begun, and we have to get to Fort Malden to safety before they blow us to bits with canons.”

The Phantom of the Canard tour features a number of historically accurate ghost stories along River Canard, based in 1812. They use a number of props to enhance their storytelling and authenticity, including period clothing and an authentic noose.

The tour includes reenactments, “selfies” near “the hanging tree,” a canoe ride down River Canard, under the bridge, and a walkabout, all ending with hot cider back at the River Canard Outpost General Store.

Tours run every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. for the month of October.

“Unlike other tours, which are set up as scare house, ours is authentic and you will experience River Canard and it’s present and past glory and dark times while paddling under a moonlit sky,” said LaPointe.

Mural installed at River Canard general store to celebrate Canada 150

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The River Canard Canoeing Company has joined in on Canada 150 festivities, with their most recent contribution being a mural installed at the River Canard Outpost General Store.

Owner Ron Lapointe had a mural commissioned for the store, located at the corner of Malden Road and County Road 8, with the work being completed by local artist Jacqueline Raulin. It is a permanent installation and is found near the store’s main entrance.

“I always wanted to do something like this and Canada 150 seemed like a good time,” said Lapointe. “This was thought of even before Canada 150.”

The mural was completed without any sort of grant funding, Lapointe pointed out, with it featuring a map of “downtown River Canard.” It features the history of the area, depicts the two churches (original and current), wildlife known in the region, and historical figures and moments including General Brock, Chief Tecumseh, the skirmishes that came at the start of the War of 1812 and other features.

River Canard Outpost general store owner Ron Lapointe and artist Jacqueline Raulin stand with the newly installed mural that Raulin painted for the business. Lapointe said he had it commissioned for Canada 150 and had no grant funding to help him pay for it.

River Canard Outpost general store owner Ron Lapointe and artist Jacqueline Raulin stand with the newly installed mural that Raulin painted for the business. Lapointe said he had it commissioned for Canada 150 and had no grant funding to help him pay for it. (Submitted photo)

“The feedback has been great,” said Lapointe.”We’ve got a bit of everything. We’re quite proud of it.”

The mural took about three months in the studio to complete before it was mounted to the exterior wall of the roughly 80-year-old building.

“I think it’s great for the community,” he said.

Lapointe said the River Canard Canoeing Company works with the town and other groups such as cadets, schools and other clubs. He also recently hosted a Canada 150 event that was co-ordinated by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

More than 200 paddlers celebrated Canada 150 by paddling on the Detroit River and its tributaries, including the Canard River with ERCA stating it was part of a national initiative to celebrate our Heritage Rivers.

That event was held recently in partnership with local canoe and kayak organizations Paddle Anywhere, Windsor Adventure Inc. and River Canard Canoe Company, events were be held on the Little River, Detroit River, River Canard and Turkey Creek to celebrate Canada’s 150th and the cultural heritage, natural heritage and recreational values of this Canadian Heritage River.

Visitors to the River Canard Canoe Company paddle on the Canard River during a recent Canada 150 event presented in conjunction with ERCA.

Visitors to the River Canard Canoe Company paddle on the Canard River during a recent Canada 150 event presented in conjunction with ERCA.

“We’re trying to get people on the water and engaged with the Detroit River and the tributaries,” said ERCA staff member Laura Monforton, during the recent visit.

Monforton said people were able to learn about the Canard River from Lapointe and his staff and see the river from a different perspective.

“They got to go for a paddle and experience River Canard first-hand and learn why it is important for the environment,” she said.

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS)is Canada’s national river conservation program. Established in 1984, the CHRS gives national recognition to Canada’s outstanding rivers and encourages their long-term management to conserve their natural, cultural and recreational values for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians, now and in the future.

There are currently 42 Canadian Heritage Rivers across the country, Monforton pointed out. They total close to 12,000 kilometres.

The Detroit River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2001, and is the only river in North America with both Canadian and American Heritage River designations.