Scarborough-Pickering community braves the cold for some winter fun

A cold mix of rain and snow couldn’t keep Scarborough and Pickering residents away from a fun festival.

Winterfest, now in its 16th year, was held Saturday at the Port Union Community Recreation Centre.

Zephine Weiloo, the community recreations programmer at Port Union RC, said that she was expecting about 1,500 attendants but was happy that the centre managed to hit the thousand-person mark.

“We have taken our expected numbers down this year,” she said. “The weather is just so up and down.”

Although the weather saw events like snowshoeing cancelled, the centre still drew a crowd.

Located on Lawrence Ave. East and Port Union, festival goers were treated to a day of games, food and fun.

Some outdoor events thrived in the cold conditions, namely the ice carvers.

Gresham Bayley and Mike Heddington of iceculture Inc spent the event outside turning blocks of ice into Smurfs characters and a penguin.

“We had a better day inside.“But it was still a very good day.”

– Zephine Welloo

Indoors, attendants were treated to live music by local bands, clowns making balloons for children, and Toronto Public Library’s Bingo Marathon.

Matthew Parish, the senior library assistant for Port Union library, says the event is regarded as a marathon because it’s two hours straight of playing bingo.

“This is the second year we’ve done it,” Parish said. “The winners get prizes that were donated from people in the community.”

The art of woodcarving was on display during Saturday’s event.

Jim Foster, a relief woodcarver, displayed a piece he was in the process of completing, and said creating images out of wood is not easy.

“You have to be able to think in the fourth dimension to carve,” Foster said.

Tracy MacCharles, the Liberal MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East, the only riding in the GTA that covers two municipalities, participated in her first Winterfest.

“As the MPP for the area I wanted to come out and meet everybody participating in Winterfest,” she said. “We have 106,000 people in Pickering-Scarborough East so there’s always opportunity to meet more people.”

MacCharles says next on her list of appearances is a town hall meeting at the Legion hall on Lawson Road on Feb. 15.

“The timing’s really good,” MacCharles said. “It’s right before the provincial budget and before the legislature goes back on Feb.  21.”

All-in-all Weiloo believes this year’s Winterfest went as planned.

“We had a better day inside,” Weiloo said. “But it was still a very good day.”

One comment:

  1. great article, touched on the lives of ordinary people living in a neighbourhood which provides means of escaping the winter along with what is happening in their community. What makes your community great?

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