Plenty of songs, laughter at annual carnaval activities

Songs and laughter filled the Timmins Square today as hundreds of francophone students met Bonhomme.

The students were taking part in activities hosted by Centre culturel La Ronde to celebrate Carnaval d'hiver de Timmins.

The event originally had an outdoor component with an obstacle course and slide, but due to weather concerns the activities were kept inside at the mall.

Events like this are important for students to know the roots of their culture and where traditions come from, said École publique Lionel-Gauthier principal Natalie Lévesque-Racicot.

“We work very hard in the French school system to share the traditions and pass them on from generation to generation,” said Lévesque-Racicot. “It’s our job to pass on the culture and traditions.”

She said the events and activities can bring the adults back to their own fond childhood memories of carnaval.

“It takes us back to what we did when we were growing up and to share those traditions and just to have fun with each other,” she added. “It’s very important.”

Over 300 kids took part in the activities today and more students will be taking part in activities tomorrow, said La Ronde executive director Lisa Bertrand.

“We had to cancel the outside activities but there are five stations for the kids with le bec sucre, L’Alliance de la francophone and Collège Boréal that were out with their mascot, and some hot chocolate and some snacks for the kids, and each child gets to take a photo with the Bonhomme," said Bertrand.

Volunteers from École publique Renaissance even helped out at the last minute when the event shifted to an indoor focus.

The volunteers led activities with the younger students and helped with photo opportunities with Bonhomme as well.

“It was really on the fly,” said Bertrand. “They’re doing such a great job.”

The event is one of many that have been held throughout the city to celebrate carnaval.

La Ronde threw a ball hockey tournament last weekend with Full Beard Brewing. There was also a seniors' event with food, darts, crib and 500 (a card game similar to euchre) tournaments.

“We’ve had so much support and so much fun,” said Bertrand.

The celebration continues this week and wraps up on Saturday.

There is a show with Yannick Bergeron the chemist at the Dante Club at 11 a.m. It's free for La Ronde members and $10 for non-members.

A dinner and performance by the Swompes Rats is the final celebration of the annual event. It's when this year's Bonhomme will also be revealed. The candidates are Pierre Vien, Sylvie Lamothe or Ernest Plante

Tickets are are $60 for members and $70 for non-members.

Register for the kids' event or concert here.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,