The Queen's representatives to both Canada and Manitoba are heading north this week and both plan to absorb some of Flin Flon's culture.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Janice Filmon and Governor General Julie Payette will be in Flin Flon this week. Filmon and her husband, former premier Gary Filmon, will come to the north Sept. 25, first coming to The Pas before heading to Cranberry Portage and Flin Flon the next day. Payette, who will be in Churchill Sept. 25, will rendezvous with the provincial group Sept. 26.
The visit will begin at 2 p.m. at Hapnot Collegiate, where the delegation will participate in Culture Days festivities. After that, the Governor General will go canoeing with a group of École McIsaac School students while the Lieutenant Governor will head on a heritage tour of the community, all before heading to an official dinner hosted by the City of Flin Flon.
On Friday, the Governor General will host a walk around Flinty’s Boardwalk starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by a visit to Hudbay’s Flin Flon facilities before heading back east. The Lieutenant Governor will stay until Saturday to participate in Culture Days events, including the second day of events at Hapnot and the Human Books event at the Flin Flon Public Library.
“We are in full planning mode,” said Flin Flon Arts Council cultural coordinator and Culture Days lead organizer Crystal Kolt of the upcoming visit.
Another event will be the dedication of trees in honour of local historians Gerry Clark and Don Peake, who were each awarded Lieutenant Governor’s Heritage Awards last year for their work in preserving Flin Flon’s history. The trees will be planted at the Flin Flon Station Museum Sept. 28 at 9:30 a.m.
The Lieutenant Governor and Governor General will also visit some locations in Cranberry Portage before arriving in Flin Flon, including the Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum and Frontier Collegiate.
City councillor Ken Pawlachuk will wear his now-familiar hat as a tour guide during the Friday heritage tour. That said, familiarity with Flin Flon and its stories is little comfort for Pawlachuk - while he’s conducted dozens of community tours for visitors, this one is different.
“I’m terrified, to tell you the truth,” he said.
“I did a tour for the Lieutenant Governor a few years ago and I didn’t know what I was getting into. Now, I know what I’m getting into and it’s going to be alright.”
Pawlachuk said having the dignitaries come is a testament to the communities’ drive for new events and cultural exhibits.
“They’re interested a lot in our culture and our heritage. That’s why they’re coming here. They’re looking at the kids. It’s about our community, basically,”
“We take what we get. We won’t refuse it.”
“Obviously, it means we’re on the map. To have people of that calibre visiting our community, we’re on the map,” added councillor Colleen McKee.