Saturday, 3 December 2016

Elliot Lake KNOWS how to Celebrate - especially at Christmas!

Elliot Lake KNOWS how to Celebrate 

- especially at Christmas!

When we first moved up to Elliot Lake, just three-and-a-half years ago, we knew we'd love the surrounding scenery, and we'd already met a few of the townsfolk and had been impressed by the welcome and sense of belonging that exuded from them. However, we were really surprised in other ways. 

The very first Canada Day fireworks display left us feeling stunned at the sheer size and quality of the event. We thought it would be over within 5 minutes, but were treated by tremendous light displays that continued for nearly 30 minutes! It was every bit as good as any display we'd seen in the GTA. It felt like half the population had turned out to Westview Park to share in the occasion. We didn't know a single soul at that gathering, but had the feeling that we'd make a few friends from among them. Little did we know just how many people would embrace us and take us into their hearts. 

In the time we have been here, we have learned that this city knows how to celebrate - and Christmas is no exception. 

We'd spent a busy day in the Soo, and didn't arrive back until 5:30, leaving us just one hour to have dinner and get ready to go out again to watch the Santa Claus Parade, here in town. Grabbing our friend, Michelle - who lives in our building - we parked near to Kathy's Brew HaHa! and went inside to enjoy a warm drink before the parade was due to start. Kathy had decided to extent her hours so that everyone could enjoy some warmth on this chilly evening. 

So many people gathered at Kathy's Brew HaHa

We were greeted by a gentleman who was giving out free hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies to the kids, and the place was full people doing the same as us - fueling up ready for the big event. We met a few people we knew and sat with them to enjoy our brew. 

At the appointed time, we ventured outside and found a spot from where we would be able to get a good view of the floats as they passed by. Again, we thought there would be about half a dozen floats and a few organizations that would be represented. Boy, were we wrong about that!

While waiting, we saw a couple of friends in the crowd and got chatting with them, and also spotted several others with whom we had become acquainted. 

Vicki, Brandon, and their beautiful family

We were also delighted to see so many beautiful dogs, so we had our doggy fix, too!

The crowd excitedly awaits the arrival of the parade.

Sure enough, a fire truck sounded it's horn, announcing the arrival of the parade.  (Our friend, William Elliot - a well-loved individual in town - knows how to grab one's attention!!). 

A fire truck announces the beginning of the parade

Antique fire truck - driven by William Elliot - the 'man about town'

What followed left us with our mouths wide open! Float after float passed by, interspersed by various groups on foot proudly displaying their banners. The floats were so festively decorated and the coloured lights were dazzling. The women, men, and children of Elliot Lake were all having fun - and it showed. 

Lots of dogs were walking in the parade

We thought the Animal Shelter's 'Dalmatian Car' was cool

Illuminated Peace Dove

The Grinch makes his appearance

Great Igloo float

Proud to have our Pride group represented!

Charlie Brown and Snoopy - wouldn't be the same without them!

Canada Post - serving us proudly!

One of many dogs enjoying the parade

'Howie' - suitably dressed and driven by Greg

A walking mailbox

Jolly Nutcracker

(Unfortunately, our cell phone does not take night pictures very well, so some of these pics are a little blurry. Nevertheless, you'll be able to get the feel of celebration from them. Our short video clips are much clearer, so we've included a few of them, here). 

This snowman was made completely out of rubber tires.

Villa Francaise des Jeunes is a French-language Middle school and High school

Finally, the Big Man, Himself, made his appearance and wished us all the Merriest of Christmases!

Santa Arrives!

After the parade ended, we popped back in to Kathy's Brew HaHa! as we noticed that our friend, Ann Russ Foy, had joined Kathy behind the counter. Rushing up to hug her, we noticed that there were a few women dressed the same and realized that Ann's singing group, The Jewels of Harmony, were about to perform! Talk about lucking in! We were treated to 20 minutes of cheery Christmas songs, starting with 'It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas' and finishing with 'Silent Night' (an all time favourite of ours). They also did an encore of 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer' at the request of a young man who bravely ventured forward from his table. 

'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas'

'Silver Bells' - with audience participation

'Carol of the Bells'

On the way home, we couldn't resist taking a few pics of various houses about town which have done themselves proud with their decorative light displays.

This whole experience encapsulates the extraordinary spirit of the people of Elliot Lake. After facing the challenges of the closing of the mines over several years, and the tragic collapse of the mall, back in 2012, this city is quietly busy rebuilding itself, which speaks of the indomitable courage of the townsfolk. There is a determination to celebrate themselves at every opportunity which is a fitting way to honour the memory of those who lost their lives on that fateful day in June, 2012, and of the heroic miners whose names are enshrined in the Miners' Memorial, on Horne Lake. 

A memorial in Elliot Lake to the two women who lost their lives in the roof collapse at the Algo Centre Mall

(Courtesy of

Mining Monument and Memorial honours the community's mining legacy.

(Courtesy of

Elliot Lake stands as a beacon of hope - just like Christmas, itself. It's people can be proud of what they are accomplishing - and we feel honoured to be living among them. 


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