The year-long Manitoba Homecoming 2010 celebration to draw in former provincial residents and attract new ones appears to have exceeded its own expectations.
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. is contributing the seven percent increase in tourism to the city during that year partially due to its efforts with the campaign. Statistics Canada released figures last week showing visitor expenditures also increased by five percent.
Marina James, the CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., says the organization takes credit for at least $14.7 million of the $506 million in expenditures that year.
“Total attendance at some 400 Homecoming-affiliated events was over 200,000, and those additional visitors contributed to Homecoming’s economic impact,” James said.
Winnipeg would normally see visitor expenditure growth in the range of 1.7 to 2 percent during any given year, according to James.
Homecoming 2010 was an initiative created jointly by Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg, and supported by the province. The campaign’s $3.5 million budget was spent largely on marketing across Manitoba, throughout Canada and internationally.
A year-long campaign to attract former Manitobans back to the province will wind down today.
Manitoba Homecoming lit a Safe Journeys fire in January 2010 as a symbolic blessing for safe travels for all family, friends and visitors as they arrived and departed Manitoba as part of the 2010 Homecoming activities
The fire was extinguished at the completion of the ceremony and its ashes were kept safe.
The ashes will be returned to The Forks this afternoon and the flame will be lit again to mark the end of Manitoba Homecoming 2010.
The fire will burn for 36 hours beginning at 2 p.m. in the teepee near the Historic Port.
A film following the works of a made-in-Manitoba musical legend will make its homecoming debut in Virden next Thursday.
David C. Rockola was famous for manufacturing the iconic jukeboxes in 1935 that now bear his name. The Rock-Ola, along with the Wurlitzer, Seeburg and AMI models, became a work of art in its own right. Collectors around the world covet, stalk and restore the best of these glowing neon temples of tunes.
Dave Gaudet is one of the many collectors of the Rock-Ola and created a documentary that follows his journey to locate the elusive Rock-Ola 1428 model and load it with entirely made-in-Manitoba hits, including music from Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Neil Young, Tom Cochrane and Ray St. Germain.
“Drop the Nickel” is a documentary from Winnipeg’s Farpoint Films and Scotfree Productions, that follows a quest to locate the jukebox and fill it with hits that defined generations.
The film is currently available on MTS Winnipeg On Demand, but will screen at the Aud Theatre in Virden on Thursday, November 18 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
MTS, Manitoba Homecoming and Fairpoint Films are presenting the special screening.
The 45-minute long film will be followed by a reception and Q&A session with the director, Scott Leary.
CLEAR LAKE, Man. — Ghosts and goblins don’t usually appear until late October, but in Clear Lake over the weekend, an exception was made.
Children ran up and down the streets of Wasagaming, Manitoba on Saturday collecting candy as part of Manitoba Homecoming 2010’s weekend celebrations.
Stores and restaurants in the downtown area handed out sugary treats to anyone dressed up in a costume for “Boo in the Park” — adults excluded, of course. The New Chalet hotel drew the most attention for their makeshift cemetery display, complete with a fogging machine and freshly-dug grave sites.
Further down Wasagaming Drive, it was shoulder to shoulder foot traffic as tourists wandered in and out of shops under sunny skies and mild August temperatures. Washington, Minnesota, Alberta, B.C., and Ontario — just some of the out-of-province licence plates that lined the street on Saturday.
The highlight of the evening was the spectacular concert put on my Winnipeg songstress Sierra Noble and Portage la Prairie’s Doc Walker. By early Saturday morning, crews were setting up the stage in the lakefront park, testing lights and performing sound check. Mere hours later, eager fans were already setting up their lawn chairs front and centre on the grass.
By 7 p.m. the show was underway and it was a challenge to find a foot that wasn’t tapping to the beat. Sierra Noble took the stage first and engaged the crowd in a conversation about her admiration for Folklorama. After getting her feel for the audience and becoming set in her groove, Noble performed a stellar rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” who she introduced as four guys from England whom you may know as The Beatles.
Noble ended her set with an extended fast-paced song on the fiddle, which she is known for more than her singing. “I want everybody to get up,” she belted, as the laid back audience made up of both young and old fans stood up from their lawn chairs.
Following what was an energizing opening act, Noble urged those in attendance to stick around and meet her in the nearby bandstand gazebo, even if it was a small plug to go and buy her CD. Money definitely well spent for those who took her up on the offer.
As the crowd stretched and walked around during a 35-minute intermission while Doc Walker prepared to go on, the sun began to set on what couldn’t have been a more perfect day in Riding Mountain National Park.
The stage lights were brought up again at around 8:30 p.m. as Chris Thorsteinson, Dave Wasyliw and Murray Pulver greeted the fans who were cheering the band’s name for several minutes before they appeared.
While the atmosphere was more relaxed for Sierra Noble, the crowd clearly came for Doc Walker, as it was standing room only for most of the show as bright LCD screens could be seen above heads as pictures from every angle were being snapped.
And it wouldn’t be a Doc Walker concert without hearing their smash hit, That’s All. Even if you aren’t a country music fan, or aren’t familiar with the genre, you would have recognized the song from the air play it received, which helped the band pick up five CCMAs in 2008 for their album Beautiful Life.
Organizers on scene estimated about 5,000 people were in attendance, which Parks Canada says is the most people Clear Lake has seen in recent memory. With so many people converging on what’s normally a quiet resort town, parking was hard to come by. The main strip was full by 11 a.m., and overflow spots were being taken advantage of, including some creative, yet not so legal, parking jobs.
The three days of events at Clear Lake began Friday, and organizers did a fantastic job of every bit of it. Both Parks Canada and Manitoba Homecoming 2010 were running as well-oiled machines to make sure everyone was having a fun time. On the crime front, the RCMP weren’t reporting any major incidents, as additional officers were brought in from surrounding detachments to handle crowd control.
Following a rash of vandalism in the Wasgaming town site on August 12, including smashed store windows and an overturned Parks Canada electric vehicle, there was a subdued, peaceful feeling over the weekend, in what many considered the last big hurrah of the summer.
Riding Mountain National Park is the place to be this weekend, as the town of Wasagaming and Manitoba Homecoming 2010 present three days of family-oriented events.
The highlight of the weekend will be a free outdoor concert featuring Manitoba acts Doc Walker and Sierra Noble on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Leading up to what’s sure to be a stellar performance, organizers are planning a whole range of events to keep visitors occupied.
Check out what’s happening below:
Friday, August 20
10 a.m. — Grasshopper Valley Hike*
2 p.m. — Interpreter in Action Station: Escarpment Dept.
7 p.m. — Bear-in’ it All Campfire: Wasagaming Campground Campfire Circle
7 p.m. — The Merry Woodmen: Bandstand
Saturday, August 21
10 a.m. — George Creek Hike*
Boo in the Park — Halloween Activities for the whole family. Activities include:
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Trick or Treating / Haunted House
1 p.m. and 5 p.m. — Kids Game Stations / Hay Rides / Blow Up Bouncer
2 p.m. — Interpreter in Action Station: Rolling River Fire Olympics
7 p.m. — Songs of Riding Mountain Campfire
7 p.m. — Doc Walker and Sierra Noble
Sunday, August 22
9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Sandcastle Building Contest (Register with Friends of RMNP)
10 a.m. — Historical Sunday Stroll*
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Face Painting: Bandstand
2 p.m. — Great Grassland Adventure Puppet Show: Playground
7 p.m. — Call of the Wild Car Caravan*
9:30 p.m. — Dusk Discoveries: Black Bears: Wasagaming Campground
*Register at the Visitor Centre. Fees apply.
Environment Canada is calling for temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s this weekend in Clear Lake.
Manitoba Homecoming 2010 is holding a contest for one lucky Manitoban to bring their family back home for Thanksgiving.
“Coming home is what Manitoba Homecoming is all about,” said Kevin Walters, Executive Director, Manitoba Homecoming 2010. “Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather family and friends and we want to make it easier for a lucky Manitoba family.”
The winner will receive airfare to fly two family members home to Manitoba from anywhere in Canada for Thanksgiving dinner. The winning family will also receive an in-home, gourmet Thanksgiving dinner catered for up to 18 people with turkey and all the trimmings prepared by Granny’s resident Chef Jason Wortzman.
“In addition, nine lucky winners will each win a pair of tickets to Winnipeg’s own Crash Test Dummies Homecoming concert on October 9th at the Burton Cumming Theatre,” said Walters. Concert tickets will be given away over the summer by participating radio stations.
People can enter by visiting Grannys.ca and submitting a short story describing why this would be a special time to bring loved ones home or share the best/worst Thanksgiving experience.
A free outdoor concert this summer will have the normally quiet town of Clear Lake set into party mode.
Manitoba Homecoming 2010 and Riding Mountain National Park are presenting Doc Walker and Sierra Noble on Saturday, August 21 in the Wasagaming town site.
“There’s nothing like enjoying great Manitoba talent on an outdoor stage,” said Kevin Walters, Executive Director, Manitoba Homecoming 2010. “This concert will definitely be worth coming home for!”
The bands will hit the stage at 6:30 p.m.
Other events at Clear Lake this summer include:
Canada Day — Citizenship ceremony, mixed with cultural and local entertainment (free entry)
July 17 — Parks Day (free entry)
July 24-25 — Clear Lake Celebration Weekend
August 6-8 — Wasagaming Weekend
In addition to the August 21 concert, the Wasagaming community plans to host several activities during Homecoming weekend including the annual Boo in the Park event celebrating Halloween in summer. More information on activities is available at www.pc.gc.ca/riding.
Manitoba Homecoming 2010 is pulling out all the stops for a big name concert lineup on Saturday, July 3 to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II‘s visit to Winnipeg.
The Scotiabank stage at The Forks will host the free Concert for Human Rights, including a set of performers with local ties to the city.
The list of performers include Chantal Kreviazuk, Chic Gamine, Eagle & Hawk, Sierra Noble, Inward Eye, Keith and Renee, Dominique Reynolds, The Duhks, Corneille, Les Surveillantes, and both the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
A bilingual concert will follow the Queen’s visit, and will air on TFO later this year.
“We look forward to kicking off summer with a concert that not only showcases great local talent but promotes human rights at the same time,” said Kevin Walters, Executive Director of Manitoba Homecoming 2010.
Manitoba Homecoming 2010 is welcoming back two great acts this summer as part of a concert series taking place at the McPhillips Station Casino.
Graham Shaw & The Sincere Serenaders with guest Jennifer Hanson will perform Thursday, July 22.
“The reunion of the group is going to be a joyous occasion, because we were tight as friends as well,” said Graham Shaw. “We’re happy to be sparking up the band and the reunion with the folks who would come out frequently or on occasion to see the band is happiness in itself. It’s going to be great!”
The Homecoming Reunion Concert Series also includes The Aboriginal Express with host Ray St. Germain at the McPhillips Station Casino on June 21 and Kenny Shields & Streetheart at Club Regent on August 21.
Tickets are available at CasinosofWinnipeg.com or through Ticketmaster.
Manitobans from all over gathered Saturday in what was dubbed the “World’s Largest Social” for Manitoba Homecoming 2010. Over 2,000 people turned out for the local social at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, as 62 other communities in the province celebrated at the same time.
The bands were a hit, the food was delicious and expats reminisced of the good times they once experienced here.