Historical Native Re-enactment Group

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Richmond Hill Winter Carnival - February 4 and 5, 2012

This was our second year being invited to this event - which was the 44th annual Richmond Hill Winter Carnival at Mill Pond. This year the 1812 Winter Encampment was set amongst some trees at the south end of the Pond, while the Vikings (yes, Vikings) returned to their usual spot at the Pond's north end (where we were located last year) after taking a year off. Our location meant we were often bombarded by the various carnival sounds, and the constant aroma of pancakes and sausages coming from the Carnival Tent. Not so bad really.

Under primarily grey skies and a wet thaw by the afternoon of both days, the sun did manage to peek out for a bit. Due to the persistently mild weather this winter, many of last year's attractions (bouncy castles, horse-drawn sleigh rides, pond skating, ice sculptures, etc.) could not take place. Nevertheless the encampment, which included Captain Larry Hanna and the men of the Canadian Volunteers, saw a good flow of people both days. Happily this year, the Volunteers' firing and drilling demonstrations included the actual firing of blackpowder from their muskets, much to the enjoyment of the public.

As usual, our own demonstrations revolved primarily around the fur trade, and handcrafts such as twining and finger-weaving. Attending from On-Gwe-Ho-Way this year was Rainbow Weaver, Checomick, Dark Pool, Big Fish, and Tecumseh (on Sunday).

For the first time in recent memory, the pond was not sufficiently frozen this year, so the finalist Elementary Hockey Games had to take place later in the Bond Lake Arena, instead of on the Pond. This no doubt reduced the attendance numbers this year, but this was hardly noticable from our perspective. However, the absence of lots of young boys may have impacted Richmond Hill native Sutler Cyrus (Jeff Wakefield) and his games of chance.

Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, representing Richmond Hill, came by the encampment on Saturday for the obligatory photo ops. In the House of Commons in January, Costas highlighted the event, in particular a "spectacular 1812 outdoor re-enactment" (watch on YouTube)

Sadly, Dr. Phineas Quimby (Bob Allan), was not able to make it this year. We're hoping that the good Doctor can join us if we're lucky enough to return next year!