© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Taking an old-fashioned sleigh ride in the snow through in the woods was a great way to spend Islander Day Monday. Kenny Cousins guides John and Prince, the big Belgians, through the woods at Potts’ Sleigh Rides in Argyle Shore. Islanders spent the day off doing many things, from skating to sledding. There were also plenty of indoor activities around the province.
Islanders from tip-to-tip on P.E.I. celebrated their home province in a number of ways Monday, from the tradition of kitchen parties to outdoor winter activities.
Islander Day brought out families from across the province to a number of different activities to celebrate living in the cradle of Confederation.
With no school being held on the now statutory provincial holiday, Monday gave many parents the chance to have some winter fun with their children.
Cody Farrell of Charlottetown was one father who spent the day with his family, which includes wife, Shanna, and two daughters, Lilly and Mattie.
“It’s great for the day to take the family and do something outdoors in the wintertime,” said Farrell.
The Farrells weren’t the only ones enjoying the great outdoors. Sleigh rides were also offered at Terpstra Family farm in Winsloe as well as a number of other activities throughout the province.
Held on the third Monday of February since being introduced in 2009, the celebration is a version of Family Day, which is held on the third Monday of February in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In Manitoba, it’s called Louis Riel Day.
Mill River Provincial Ski Park drew out more than 1,000 people to its celebrations throughout the day.
“The crowd is really enjoying it,” said ski shop employee Donna Rayner. “It’s really busy.”
The family-friendly event included a ski clinic, sleigh rides, a scavenger hunt, prize draws and much more.
“And we’re ending the day with a big bonfire,” added Rayner.
Not all Islander Day activities were outdoors.
In Summerside, a record-breaking sold-out crowd of 4,017 at Credit Union Place watched the Storm take on the Quebec Kebs in the afternoon.
While the Kebs ultimately downed the Storm 123-114, those who attended the game said it was a close and entertaining match, especially for a team that is now out of playoff contention.
The game also raised more than $1,500 for the Bring Bobbi-Jo Home Campaign by collecting donations in a bucket that was passed around the crowd.
That money is being added to ticket sales from last week to support Bobbi-Jo LeClair. The game also saw a special cheque presentation of $4,058 to the Three Oaks High School basketball program from 50/50 funds.
In Queens County, a large crowd was drawn to Brookvale Winter Activity Park from fresh powder received over the past week as well as a buy-one, get-one-free deal on lift passes and ski or snowboard rentals.
“We have a big number out today,” said superintendent Allan Matters.
“We’ve had well over 1,000 at the alpine and 500 at the Nordic centre. It’s a beautiful day and snow in people’s backyard really draws them out.”
Outdoor activities were also held at Dalvay National Park, where snowshoeing and cross-country skiing were available. People could also warm up with some marshmallow roasting near Dalvay Lake while enjoying a live performance by Island musician Dave Connolly.
Outdoor skating and sledding was also held all day at the Terry Fox Sports Complex in Cornwall.
Those looking for an even more “traditional” style Islander Day took part in a provincewide kitchen party organized by the Islanders by Choice Alliance. The parties took place in Charlottetown, Summerside, Souris, Morell, Tyne Valley, Murray River and O’Leary.