Serving the Children of the World

Description of Dickinson Day Weekend Event, June 2-4, 2017

On the first weekend in June, the village of Manotick celebrates the founder of Manotick and the first mayor of Ottawa, Moss Kent Dickinson (who was mayor at the time of Confederation). For this reason, the 150 Anniversary of Canada is especially poignant for Manotick.  The Kiwanis Club of Manotick intends to make the 2017 Dickinson Weekend truly memorable.

The launch of the event starts with a Friday night parade through the village. It will begin at the arena where the floats, marchers, bands and other participants will be organized. Local politicians at all levels of government will be invited to participate. Prior to the parade, the club will solicit all participants to adopt the theme of Canada’s 150 Anniversary for their float or costumes, interpreting the anniversary in their own way.  The bands will be encouraged to play music from that era as well. As the parade winds its way through the village, literature and sweets (red and white) will be handed-out to the crowd. The parade will stop at select places for the floats and performers to perform special routines for the watching crowd. An ancient re-furbished pumper fire truck will spray bystanders as part of the fun.  The parade ends back at the arena.

After the parade is over, there will be a children’s show in the arena to entertain the local village youth. It is planned that clowns and a number of bands will perform for the spectators until the late evening. Then, there will be a spectacular fireworks display in Centennial Park to highlight the opening day of the event, emphasizing Canada’s anniversary.

The next day, on Saturday, there will be a family pancake breakfast for the villagers. The breakfast is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with family and friends. The breakfast tent, located in the historic village core opposite Watson’s Mill, will be decorated to reflect the theme of the event. Following the breakfast, local food producers, merchants and businesspeople will be allowed to set up kiosks to promote their businesses and market merchandise. The kiosks will be encouraged to promote the Canada 150 theme and decorate their booths accordingly. As well, the Manotick Historical Society will set up a display to commemorate Moss Dickinson and Canada’s anniversary through historical records and photographs. A Catch and Release fishing derby will be held for children on the dam located behind Watson’s Mill, and inflatable children’s play structures will be available to provide a diversion for the children. During the evening, there will be family entertainment in the main tent (no alcohol will be sold during the Dickinson Day event).

The weekend will be the first opportunity for villagers to see the new Remembrance Park, a heritage park adjoining the village Cenotaph and Dickinson Square.  The park, due to begin construction this September and officially open on July 1, 2017, will commemorate the many contributions of Canada’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Merchant Marines and Peacekeepers over the past 150 years.

On Sunday the Kiwanis Club of Manotick is planning to carry out its first "Great Manotick Kiwanis Turtle Race"  on the Rideau River, between the Long Island Aquatic Club and White Horse Park.  The purpose of this event will be to raise funds for a number of service projects that the Club undertakes in Manotick and surrounding area.  Recent projects include ROSSS, Miller's Oven, Kiwanis Music Festival, Manotick Food Cupboard, Army Cadets, the local Scout Troop and scholarships for the three local high schools. One thousand rubber turtles will be released into the river from the Village of Manotick where they will float with the current to a finish line at White Horse Park.  The turtles will be wearing ‘150th Canada Celebration’ collars.   Small Canada flags will be distributed to children and spectators.  Police and Fire Services will be in attendance.    All proceeds raised, estimated at approximately $8,500, will be donated to a registered charity.   Prizes in the value of at least $2,500 will be awarded to the winners with the first three turtles crossing the finish line.

On Sunday afternoon, Watson’s Mill is planning to hold a community luncheon with entertainment in the tent, giving people a great opportunity to meet and socialize.  Many young people who have gone on to careers and lives away from Manotick return to the village for this weekend, and will be looking for places to congregate and events around which to plan their reunions with family and friends.

Watson’s Mill, the only working museum in Ottawa and one of the few remaining working grist mills in North America, will welcome the public as part of Doors Open Ottawa.  Across the street, local historians in period costume will tour visitors around Dickinson House, which was once used by Sir John A. Macdonald as his campaign headquarters and now serves as a museum of local history.  Next door, the Ayers Building, a nineteenth century Royal Bank building and now the home of Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS), will also welcome visitors interested in the history of this unique Rideau River village.

Planning for the many and varied components of this full weekend of community activities will be underway shortly.  The Planning Committee meets monthly commencing  in January untill May.  The Kiwanis Club of Manotick hosts the events and coordinates all participating bodies through a series of monthly meetings. The Club will work with the City to obtain all the necessary permits, effect the street closures, plan security measures with the Ottawa Police and Fire Departments, and ensure that a safe and successful community event occurs. 

The Dickinson Days weekend has been the single most important community event held in Manotick for over 40 years.  It is entirely run by volunteers, and with the exception of the pancake breakfast, free to the public.  As a result, thousands of people attend part or all of the many activities that make up the weekend.  In the past, the Club has been successful in soliciting funds to help defray financial burden of putting on such an event.  However, it is expected that in 2017, the single largest benefactor, Leimerk Developments Ltd., will not be in a position to make their customary donation.  Their generous donations have covered the cost of putting on the fireworks display on the Friday night, a $5000 expenditure that the Club is unable to underwrite from funds that are earmarked for local charities and youth programs.