A beautiful sunny day in July 2022, provided the perfect backdrop for celebrating the 55th anniversary of Bonnechere Park and the 30th anniversary of the Friends of Bonnechere Parks.
Park Superintendent Jason Mask kicked off the event by welcoming several hundred invited guests, campers, Park staff, and current and past FBP Board members and volunteers.
FBP President Anne Burchat gave a brief history of the organization and outlined several major accomplishments achieved in collaboration with Park staff over the past 30 years from the first project, a wetlands viewing platform on the Bonnechere River, to hosting the highly popular Wolf Howl with Michael Runtz for three decades.
MP John Yakabuski, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, presented the FBP and Park Superintendent Jason Mask with congratulatory letters on behalf of the government of Ontario. Mr Yakabuski spoke about the rich history of the Little Bonnechere River, and the importance of Bonnechere Provincial Park to the local community, visiting campers and the regional tourism sector.
Due to delays caused by COVID, two annual Director Awards were presented to very deserving partners for 2021 and 2022.
The 2021 Award was presented to Mayor Janice Tiedje of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Township, in appreciation for the many years of collaborative support towards enhancing the Park experience for local residents, visitors and campers. In accepting the award, Mayor Tiedje thanked the FBP Board, and spoke enthusiastically about the partnership that supports the long running swim program hosted each summer for local children and youth at the Bonnechere Park beach.
Founding FBP Board member Jane Duff presented Chris Andersen with the 2022 Directors Award. For many years Mr Andersen, Regional Archaeologist with the Ontario Ministry of Culture, played a key role in discovering the hidden heritage of the Bonnechere Park and the watershed. In receiving his award, Chris spoke about the honour of being recognized by the FBP and thanked his family and friends — particularly fellow archaeologist and historian Rory Mackay — for sharing the day with him.
To mark this 30|50 milestone, a set of handmade wood signs were unveiled featuring the new brand identities for both the FBP and Bonnechere Park. The signs were commissioned by local maker Helena Potvin of My Back Country Studio, who was on hand to share in the unveiling.
The celebrations were topped off with cupcakes for everyone!
Photo (l to r): KHR Mayor Janice Tiedje, FBP President Anne Burchat, Park Superintendent Jason Mask and MPP John Yakabuski.