Mush! Slush! The 8th Annual Cannington Dog Sled Races & Winter Festival

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Left: Carla Balabanowicz, Communications Coordinator, Bronwyn Whyte, Grants Officer 

I have to admit I was sad when I heard the actual races were cancelled. I even contemplated not going -- but Carla reminded me that there would still be lots to do, and urged me to come. Thank goodness for Carla, because Cannington was hopping that Saturday morning.

We arrived in Cannington in time to enjoy the delicious pancake breakfast. Being a pancake enthusiast, I was impressed. They were made from scratch – none of that box stuff – and were some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever encountered.  

A highlight for me, was the tater toss where we attempted to catapult potatoes 25 feet through the air towards a large target. My personal best was about three feet in front of me, catching little-to-no air. The guys leading the toss were very kind and said I had nice form despite many unsuccessful attempts.  

Next up was a lesson in ice sculpting. I never knew that an ice sculptor never reveals what they are carving. Instead, it slowly unfolds in front of you. Of course when I asked them what they were carving they were very polite to explain this tradition. While I didn’t get to see the final product my guess was that it was going to be a dogsled. 

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Finally, my partner and I had the opportunity to go for a whirl on one of the dog sleds there that day. The owners – from Moonstone, Ontario were happy to accommodate the growing line of individuals and families seeking a dog sled thrill.

The trip to Canningtons’ Dog Sledding Festival was a reminder of how we can enjoy the long winter months. 

It's true that sometimes we need a reminder that winter can be one of Ontario's most exciting seasons. Like Bronwyn, I was hoping to see some dog sledding in Cannington, however, the cancellation of the races shows us just how much they care about the safety and well-being of the dogs. Organizers told us that because of the changing weather, the trails had turned to ice. It was a snowy day, the kind of wet snow that turns the ground to ice and instantly gives you chapped lips. The weather certainly added to the spirit of the winter festival and I had a fantastic time. 

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The highlight for me was chatting with a Greenbelt apple grower and cider producer from Durham’s Geissberger Farmhouse Cider, petting the miniature horses from Little Creek Stable in Beaverton, learning about Metis culture from Mr. Martin, hanging out with some beautiful Clydesdale horses from a farm near Newmarket, meeting the pups of the Jamaican Dog Sled Team, and of course…getting in the spirit and having my face painted like a real Husky with Bronwyn. We certainly turned some heads and persuaded some adults to follow suit!

All in all —a great and educational day out in the Greenbelt and a festival that I look forward to again next year. Check out the highlights of our visit on YouTube.  

--Carla Balabanowicz, Communications Coordinator & Bronwyn Whyte, Grants Officer

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