Flourishing ice-fishing village near Val-d'Or helps raise funds for brain injury survivors

·2 min read
René Corriveau, a volunteer with the organization, is often at the ice-fishing village early in the morning to welcome fishermen.  (Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada - image credit)
René Corriveau, a volunteer with the organization, is often at the ice-fishing village early in the morning to welcome fishermen. (Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada - image credit)

René Corriveau can often be spotted early in morning on the frozen Thompson River in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, ready to help fishermen who rent one of the ice-fishing shacks set up near the bridge.

Ice fishing has been in full swing for the past several weeks at this winter fishing village near Val-d'Or, about 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

Winter fishing enthusiasts rent a shack by the day from Le Pillier, a non-profit group that uses the funds to support survivors of brain injuries living in the region.

Corriveau, who manages the ice-fishing shacks, was himself the victim of a brain injury in 1993.

"I found it challenging to spend the long winters at home, and so I presented the idea of the project to Alain Beaulieu, who works with Pilier," said Corriveau in an interview with Radio-Canada.

"He managed to find some sponsors for the equipment, and I was able to build the cabins at home in my garage with the help of a few volunteers from the organization."

The shacks come equipped with lines, hooks and firewood to make the time fishing as comfortable as possible.

Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada
Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada

"We have several regulars, and when it's full of people, the atmosphere is incredible," said Corriveau. "It's really beautiful to see."

"It's a good place for catching fish, but for most, it's just the opportunity to get some fresh air and go out and have fun with their kids."

Frozen fingertips forgotten

Keven Cormier and Joffrey Constant were among those who braved the cold last Saturday for a chance to catch a fish.

Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada
Marc-André Landry/Radio-Canada

"My fingertips were frozen when I arrived at 8 o'clock this morning, but it doesn't matter. It's a passion for me," Cormier said.

"We have fun, we catch fish and we support a good cause. It's a great way to escape," said Constant. "With everything going on these days, you need to take time to release all that stress."

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