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Northern youth make an impression at national leadership event

Northern youth make an impression at national leadership event

The highlight of the trip was a two-day canoe trip in Jacques-Cartier National Park

The hunting and outdoor survival skills of five Junior Canadian Rangers from Northern Ontario made an impression on Junior Rangers from across Canada at a national leadership training event in Quebec.

“Their outdoor skills impressed,” said Sgt. Steven Botelho, a Junior Ranger instructor who accompanied the five to the event. “They passed their skills along and it was nice to see them doing it.”

The five representing Ontario at the event were among 36 top Junior Rangers who completed an eight-day annual leadership course, called the National Leadership Enhanced Training Session, at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, just north of Quebec City. The Junior Rangers is a Canadian Army program for youth aged 12 to 18 living in remote and isolated communities across the Canadian North.

The five were McCartney Beardy of North Caribou Lake, Ryan Kakekaspan of Fort Severn, Thunder O’Keese of Kasabonika Lake, Summer Southwind of Lac Seul, and Madden Taylor of Constance Lake

“They all enjoyed their time and they all learned something new about leadership skills that they can take back to their communities,” Botelho said. “They had a good time and they learned a lot.”

The training included instruction in classrooms and in the outdoors. They were kept busy for eight days.

Outdoor events included a challenging but fun zip line, shooting, canoeing, a visit to a bowling alley, a shopping mall, and one to the cultural centre at the Huron Wendat First Nation.

A highlight of the training was a two-day canoe trip on the spectacular Jacques-Cartier River in Jacques-Cartier National Park, 50 kilometres north of Quebec City. It included challenging portages, negotiating white water rapids, and working together.

“It was the best thing we did,” said Beardy, whose canoe partner was a Junior Ranger from Nunavut. “Connecting with her was great. We talked about our different backgrounds, how we hunted, and how we lived differently. We learned from each other.”

The Junior Rangers from Ontario and those from elsewhere in Canada encountered, some for the first time, living with the French language.

“Yes, I wasn’t used to it,” McCartney said. “I found it fascinating to find out how different some lives were to mine.”

“The kids helped each other in communicating with Junior Rangers who either could not speak English well or spoke no English,” Botelho said. “It was nice to see. It was all part of their learning process.” 

Sgt. Peter Moon is a Canadian Ranger with the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden

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Antoine Mountain ski resort hosts first ‘Pride Ski’ event in Northern Ontario

Antoine Mountain ski resort hosts first 'Pride Ski' event in Northern Ontario

To wrap up the 2021-22 ski season, Antoine Mountain ski resort in Mattawan is going out with a bang.

The ski hill is holding it’s first ‘Pride Ski’ event in northern Ontario featuring drag queens and performers coming from North Bay and beyond to hit the slopes and hold a drag show.

Decked out in their special ski gear, three drag queens shred the high hills.

Antoine Mountain Pride Ski Drag Queens

“I have two ski outfits. This red one is the one for me getting my ski legs back because I haven’t skied in over a decade,” explained Drag Queen Dixie.

It’s the final ski weekend at Antoine Mountain. Beginning the season on Boxing Day, Sunday is the last day before the skis and snowboards are put away until next winter.

The hill wanted to go out with a blast of colour by hosting a DJ, drag show and downhill skiing for all.

“It was was a fantastic year. We were very excited to be open for a full season,” explained Antoine Mountain Spokesperson Sarina Goad. “We’re welcoming everybody and anybody. Everyone needs to get out there and have some fun and be inclusive.”

Other southern Ontario and Quebec ski hills have hosted downhill Pride events and Antonie Mountain wanted to be the first hill to bring the festivities to northern Ontario.

Antoine Mountain Pride Ski Flag

“The 2SLGBTQ+ community is everywhere,” explained North Bay Pride spokesman Jason Maclennan. “It’s about time we accept everybody for who they are.”

Maclennan says online attacks and bullying still occurs for members for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, especially in the north.

“Northern Ontario has struggled a little bit. We’ve experienced a little bit of hate, homophobia, transphobia,” he explained. “It’s kind of surprising we’re in 2022 and we’re still experiencing that.”

Antoine Mountain is looking at making ‘Pride Ski’ a yearly tradition in order to be open and inclusive for all.

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St Patrick’s Day 2022: Events and activities across Northern Ireland this March 17

St Patrick’s Day 2022: Events and activities across Northern Ireland this March 17

It was around this time two years ago that people across Northern Ireland were beginning to hear more and more about the Covid-19 virus that was spreading across the globe.

he first official case in NI was recorded on February 27 and soon after, it was announced that St Patrick’s Day events here would be cancelled.

Now, with a multitude of activities and festivities confirmed for the first time in three years, many councils and event organisers are seeing this year’s March 17 as an opportunity to not only commemorate the death of Ireland’s patron saint in the fifth century, but to celebrate a renewed sense of freedom and good news across NI.

The Belfast Telegraph has compiled a list of all the greatest gatherings and goings-on throughout all six counties on the big day itself.

Co Tyrone

For those looking to experience a truly traditional St Patrick’s Day, the Ulster American Folk Park just outside Omagh will be letting families discover the food, stories, customs and even dancing that would have taken place on March 17 during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Of course everyone can also join in on the fun and festivities of the Strabane St Patrick’s Day Parade, and there’s plenty more similar events across the county, including music, face painting, Irish dancing and amusements at Dungannon’s Hill of The O’Neill.

For something a bit different, you could enjoy a visit to the Wild Atlantic Distillery in Castlederg for their Distillery Tour, where you can hear how they have been inspired by the people and the landscape to create their famous gin, vodka and whiskey.

Co Armagh

Armagh city, where St Patrick built his great stone church in 445AD, making it the centre of the church in Ireland, will be hosting a special Home of Saint Patrick festival, which began on March 10 and is running right until Saturday, March 19. It will combine live music, comedy, art, poetry, theatre, film, dance, debate, history and adventure.

At 2.30pm on March 17, the St Patrick’s Day Community Parade will kick off — a celebration of the Irish patron saint, followed by a family-fun afternoon [with free admission] in the Shambles Market until 5pm.

Co Down

Fancy a Big Paddy Paddle at the Mourne Outdoor Festival? The Life Adventure Centre is inviting people to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in a style similar to that of Patrick when he first arrived locally — by canoe, SUP Board, or kayak — it’s your choice!

It’s a self-guided paddle around Castlewellan and tickets are £29 per person, which includes all your equipment and support on the day.

You can also do something similar in Warrenpoint and begin the day in style on the beautiful shoreline of Carlingford Lough with a Family Paddle from 9.30 to 11.30am or the Paddy’s Day Paddle & Pints from 12.30 to 2.30pm.

The second session of the day follows a similar theme to the morning one, but is followed by drinks off the water and is for adults only. Check out for details on how to buy tickets for any of these activities.

Co Antrim

The traditional St Patrick’s Day climb of Slemish will see thousands return for the first time since 2019, with outdoor entertainment in Broughshane village afterwards, including performances from the lively band, Ragaire, the 20-strong Portglenone Comhaltas Group, more traditional music and dance, street theatre, crafts and face painting.

Colin Glen Forest Park is also going mega green for the day with activities including the Black Bull Run and Forest Flyover Zipline sessions from 11am to 3pm. In addition, there will be a bouncy castle, face painting, Irish dancing and a special St Patrick’s Gruffalo and Leprechaun Hunt for little ones, who will get to take home their very own Julia Donaldson and Friends book, sticker and certificate.

Visit online to book tickets for any of the day’s activities.

Co Londonderry

Derry City is hosting a Spring Carnival Parade on March 17 and it aims to feature more than 500 participants.

Guildhall Square will be turned into an incredible live show with animations and local choirs, while Waterloo Place will be filled with traditional Irish musicians, dancers and homegrown delicacies.

The Peace Garden in Foyle Street will be transformed into the Colourful Land of the Little People where children can make a wish on the fairy tree and dance until their feet are sore from 1 to 6pm.

The Spring Carnival Parade will begin at Bishop Street from 3pm with a mythical theme of ‘Rebirth & Renewal’.

Co Fermanagh

Enniskillen town centre will come alive once again with street entertainment including the best of local talent with music from Roslea CCE featuring Blathnaid, Saoirse and Darragh Rooney, Irish dancers Aoife Rooney and Caitlin Flanagan, and Sophie Armstrong from Erne Highland Dancers.

Enniskillen Castle will also be hosting an exciting programme for the whole family with food vendors, market stalls, live music, balloon modelling and a craft fair.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council confirmed that entertainment will continue into the evening “with so much on offer in the wonderful hospitality and entertainment venues across the Island Town on this global day of celebration”.

Belfast city centre

With plenty of hype around Belfast City Council’s 11-day celebratory lead-up to the main events of March 17, there will be no shortage of things to do on St Patrick’s Day itself.

Try the city’s best-poured pints of Guinness at Bittles on Upper Church Lane or Whites Tavern, one of the oldest taverns in Belfast.

Kelly’s Cellars, built in 1720, is also one of the city’s longest-running pubs and will be full of trad music and great Guinness on the big day too. Another fundamentally Irish-themed pub to try is The Points, which will be hosting an all-day Dublin Road block party, to include 20 bands and DJs over six stages inside with free entry.

Of course, this will have to wait until after you attend this year’s new look St Patrick’s Day parade by Beat Carnival — a colourful, carnival pageant of costume, music, dance, circus and theatrical performance.

Watch as Patrick travels through the streets of Belfast with his giant hound, Spiorad-Spirit (spirit of adventure). He’ll be donning a giant cloak, elegantly patchwork-fashioned from expressions of people and groups throughout Belfast.

All manner of individuals and community organisations in the parade will celebrate their part in the future: varied and different yet strongly united by the instinct for moving forwards together — a cavalcade of carnival dancers, circus artists and musicians reminding us that We are all Patrick, we are all Belfast. The pageant parade will leave from City Hall at 1pm and will travel along Donegall Place, into High Street, Bridge Street, Waring Street and finish on Donegall Street close to Writers Square.