Article by Anna Wright, Canadian Sun writer.
Manitou is one of the longest established communities on The Great Canadian Grid. It encompasses six connected regions and is hosted and run by Winter Silversmith. Winter describes the community, “The Regional Municipality of Manitou, founded in 1801, is a six region community with a well balanced mix of residential dwellings and a commercial district. The community features several public greenspaces, a modern harbour and several historical sites. The town is owned by Manitou Tourism, a division of Silversmith Estates, and the CAO is Winter Silversmith. “
The regions are named Manitou, Massey, Midland, Meaford, Minesing and Muskoka and the community has it's own tourist website.
When you wander through the pathways, streets and sidewalks of Manitou you get a real feeling of past meets present. Winter does a great job of blending old world and modern architecture in his virtual homeland that he shares with GCG residents who need one too. I was struck by the feeling of being in a European town but it also has the distinct flavour of many long established real life Canadian towns, in particular Ontario and Eastern Canada. Part of the Canadian feel is the park like nature of the design. Winter shared his experience with region design from Second Life and how what he enjoyed creating there has carried over into GCG.
“The first land I owned in SL I turned into a park, and later became the region manager, so I like parks.”
The Manitou regions are all inviting, walkable and ambient. The community works together to maintain a certain feeling to the build that Winter has set a tone for. For example, the lighting is very intentional so that residents and visitors can enjoy the space in day and night cycle environment settings.
Manitou offers residential and commercial space to GCG residents who need homes and shops free of charge. The community upholds specific guidelines to keep it themed, friendly and safe. The people who live there want the continued experience of that small town feel they've grown to love. Winter's goal is for residents to feel at home and also entertained and his methods are not without humour. Look for a kitchy tourist attraction in your wanderings that is literally a giant roll of duct tape and two cans of WD 40. That kind of thing has small town Canadiana fun written all over it. It's like the giant Easter egg in Vegreville, Alberta. There is an optional role play aspect to living in Manitou and Winter creates local news stories about places and people in his town that residents can take in and add to the realism. He's dreamed up a fantastic history for Manitou that dates back to the 1400s.
The role play news stories as well as non role play related stories about the regions and GCG in general are posted in the long running Corran Journal. The Corran Journal is the oldest independent publication in The Great Canadian Grid. It's website can be found here.
Manitou also hosts a memorial park available to any GCG resident who wishes for a place to honour a loved one who has passed, avatar, human or animal. Adjacent are public monuments and memorials to Canadians who haven fallen in the service of working for the greater good of humanity such as police and firefighters. The monuments are simple tasteful remembrances that cross all worlds and connect us in compassion.
Winter states that he still plans for more growth within the project as time goes on. The regions are lovely to just stroll through. There are places to take in local recreation such as the charming and slightly haunting Wretched Raven pub. The market is ongoing and there are offerings such as concerts every so often. It's worth joining the group for notices to stay apprised of those events and connected to Manitou as it grows with the Great Canadian Grid. This is a community and encompassing space with a lot of infrastructure, intention and heart.
"After loyally serving the Great Canadian Grid for over six months with her GCG Hunts campaign Cayia Keegan has left our community", announced Winter Silversmith in a press conference he called earlier this morning in Manitou. "It would appear that the 'red monster of drama' has claimed another victim" he continued.
"I am very disappointed with the cycles we seem to be going through, this is not SecondLife, drama is not welcome here and quite frankly if you want to try and make this grid like SL you can get the hell out" Winter said passionately. "I have managed to avoid most of the drama it would seem, as I know very little of the recent copybotting crap I have read about in forums." Mr. Silversmith was referring to the recent posting by Bastien Falconvale on the Great Canadian Grid Forums discussion group General Board.
"I apologize in advance that I did not get permission to repeat this but it is a sentiment I have been hearing a lot lately. 'GCG is far from what it used to be..family feeling and friendship and being at home here having fun are all gone, i am leaving for a break.' Let me make this clear, since people just love to twist things, it is not Roddie's or Bastien's or anyone else working for GCG's responsibility to make your world 'fun'. First, this comment does not imply that but I wanted to make that clear because it enforces my second point. People hate drama and people hate people who cause drama. As long as drama continues we will continue to lose a lot of good people because of it." Winter said as he slammed his hand down on the desk.
The Great Canadian Grid recently lost another dedicated resident, jen smith, and while 'drama' was not stated as the cause she told her fans that she 'just needed to take a break'. "No, I do not think drama was the reason she left, jen worked her butt off providing our community with a massive variety of live entertainers from places like SecondLife and InWorldz and I think she was just stretched too thin." Winter remarked. "Though I would not blame anyone for leaving because of drama" he said "people come here to have fun and it sucks when one or two or a group of people have to ruin it for dozens of others."
Have you ever wanted to own a business inworld but did not have the capital to make your dream a reality? Now you can with this unique business opportunity provided by Manitou Tourism, GCG.
The Elk Bones Tavern is a historical landmark built in the RolePlay community of the Regional Municipality of Manitou (recently featured in the Canadian Sun magazine). Elk Bones Tavern was built in 1854 by Louis deVanner and furnished as a tavern by Amethyst Jetmaine and Winter Silversmith.
The Tavern has a great main floor setup of tables and food. The second and third floors are empty and perfect for a small medieval themed business or living quarters.
The building must contain a Tavern on the main floor and be open to the public. We recommend the name of the tavern remain the same for its historical value and recognition.
The Fine Print ~ We offer you 500 prims, the current Tavern setup on the main floor is a bonus and not counted against your prims unless you desire to change it. You may not change or re-texture the structure of the building. We offer a simple Covenant that encourages a low lag environment. We will co-promote and co-sponsor, when possible, any events or activities you wish to hold in the tavern. The Cost to you? MC$ 0 ~ while we welcome tips and gratuities they are not required for you to take over this business and treat it and our community as your home. You do not have to live in Manitou to run this business.
We want this Tavern used and to play an active role in our community.
Contact Winter Silversmith inworld via NoteCard or InstantMessage today.
Music in the Mall returns to Manitou on a brand new stage. We are currently seeking live performers to appear on stage here at the Manitou Market Mall. Send your bio via notecard to Winter Silversmith inworld asap, we're hoping to have the first performance in the first week of October. NC Winter Silversmith today!
"It is, unfortunately, a sign of things to come" said Stormy Waters, Weather Prognosticator for Lloydminster Abbey. "While Manitou residents can expect 'winter' to arrive on December first on the calendar Mother Nature does not always check her dates". The region of Muskoka, part of the Regional Municipality of Manitou, has a higher elevation and is located in the north-east where warm and cold GCG Ocean winds blow year round. "Typically the first light snowfall is in late October in Muskoka, followed by a more seasonal fall along the river basin in mid-Manitou around November", Stormy said.
"We are pleased to announce that the renumeration project for Manitou is over eighty percent complete" said Winter Silversmith, Chief Administrative Officer for Manitou Tourism. "Only the storefronts in Meaford still have to be numbered physically however these units were assigned numbers when they were first constructed."
There are nine new street names to share with you including their proper pronunciation and meaning. The names were chosen from Scottish heritage to support the RolePlay history of the Regional Municipality of Manitou.
"Sawney Close" (SAW-nee) meaning is defender, helper, guardian of people. It is ironic perhaps that one of Scotland's infamous mass murderers should also be named Sawney Bean. Sawney Close is home to the Manitou Emergency Operations Centre and the head office of Corran Journal and Manitou Tourism.
"Teasag Trail" (CHAW-sag). Teasag is a Scottish diminutive of Jane. Jane originates in Hebrew language and means 'God is merciful'. Teasag Trail connects the park and Abbey in west Midland.
"Irving Lane" (UR-ving) means 'water of green'. The most famous Irving would be Washington Irving, American author. The Manitou marshland is located north of Irving Lane off Sawney Close and is originally believed to connect to a green river that ran south ending near Silversmith Farm.
"Aileas Close" (AH-lus), a variant of Alice, means nobel and graceful. Alice Northgate, daughter of William and Mary, died during her birth in 1805. Aileas Close is located on the former Silversmith Farm grounds near Winters Island.
"Greig Path" (GREG), Greig is a diminutive of Gregory. Gregory is an English name, derived from the Greek name 'Gregorios', which means 'to be awake or watchful'. Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. Greig Path includes the Harbour District and Elmwood Faire.
"Arran Trail" (AR-an) means 'a person who lives on an island'. The Isle of Arran is the seventh largest island in Scotland. It is also the name of a Municipality in Ontario, Canada, Arran-Elderslie. Arran Trail is the main access in Midland running past the Silversmith Studios Gallery.
"Forbes Path" (FORBS), Forbes originates in Gaelic languages and means 'from a field'. The most famous 'Forbes' would be the owner of Forbes Magazine in the United States. Forbes Path connects Midland to Massey regions.
"Fraser Trail" (FRAY-zer) Fraser is a Scottish clan name that is a variant of the names Frazer and Frazier. It is a locational name and implies that the bearer comes from a place called Fraisse. The name 'Fraisse' itself means 'strawberry' as the Fraser Clan come from strawberry growing areas. Fraser Trail is the entrance to Massey Estate where several large gardens of strawberry plants once grew.
"There are undoubtedly a few missing civic addressed but we are working on having it one hundred percent complete by October first", Winter said.
Manitoulin Historical Society met Sunday evening to decide on which old sites in Manitou would be officially declared as 'historical site' and receive special protection under the Planning and Development Act of 2015. The society members voted and approved six sites across Manitou for historical status.
The Massey Manor House, built in 1847 by the Northgate family is the largest greenspace region in the municipality. The back grounds of the estate overlook the Harbour District while much of the foreground has been redeveloped as residential condo units.
While not old, the Knight Watch sentinels have been added to the historical listing. The towers guard the outer most corners of the community standing watch against the fury of the Great Canadian ocean.
Lloydminster Abbey was built by the Catholic church in 1874 and remains in use today. It was sold to a non-denominational church in the late 1990s.
Elk Bones Tavern, closed in 2016, the building has been in the community since Louis deVanner first opened its doors in 1854.
The Manitoulin Lighthouse was constructed in 1840 with stone from the Paulstone Quarry of, then, Manitoulin Islands. The lighthouse marked the original entry into the harbour district. Technological advances in 2002 rendered the lighthouse obsolete and it was turned into commercial property.
Built in 1840 to connect the growing town to other ports and allowing for the import and export of goods to the world the Worthington Harbour was built in 1840. Worthington Industries, located in Toronto Canada built the harbour as part of their relationship with the Huston Bae Company. The ships departing the harbour carried corn, grain and fruit from the Manitoulin region to larger city ports for trade. The proceeds of these sales helped to develop the village as a town and a notable presence in the national trade scene.
And last but not least the Paulstone Manor House and Quarry. Established in 1806 the stone from the nearby quarry, and three other sites across the regions, were used to build many of the early homes and shops of the town of Manitoulin. The Paulstone family owned the home until 1979 when the family suffered economic ruin and the structure was abandoned. The town of Manitou purchased the bankrupt estate land in 1984 and fundraising efforts restored the house to its former glory. The ruins of the barn can be seen on the south lawn bordering the parcel that once held the historic Silversmith farm.
The listing will go to council in late September for final approval, this will allow the society to appropriate funds to preserve and protect the sites from unfavourable re-development.
Citing tough economic times Elk Bones Tavern owner Tanner Macleod sadly announced the closing of the favourite watering hole this week. "The Elk Bones Tavern has served the community of Manitou since 1854 and has changed hands nine times since its establishment in 1854" Tanner told the Corran Journal this morning. "The best time in its history, other than when I ran it of course, would be the Roaring Twenties. The ale flowed as easily as the women from one young lad to another. It was a different time indeed and the success enjoyed during that time kept it alive during the tough war years."
The Elk Bones Tavern has been in operation since Louis deVanner first opened its doors 162 years ago next month. The Tavern was open every day to the public, except Sundays of course, except during 1941 when it was enlisted to help with the war effort by serving troops stationed in Manitou. The Tavern almost closed in the late seventies, due to the recession and collapse of the oil markets, but managed to scrape by an existence until the economy recovered.
"They thought of modernizing it in the nineties to include computers and internet but the patrons said 'no way' they loved the medieval feel to the Tavern and the owners scrapped the idea" said Tanner. "It's a good thing too, we would not have bought it in 2009 if it had been turned into some lousy internet cafe." Unfortunately the refusal to advance to modern times may have been a contributing factor in its closing this week. The dated atmosphere appeals to an aging crowd and they are not spending Maples the way they used to.
"It is a different time now" said CAO Winter Silversmith who enjoyed a weekly pint of mead at the Tavern since late 2015. "Clubs and watering holes like Elk Bones are suffering with a significant loss of patrons. Avatars just don't have the extra Maples to spend on drink and dancing these days. The additional exchange fees charged by Podex certainly do not help regardless of the 'break' they are giving Canadians to buy currency on their own grid."
The municipality has one other tavern in operation, the Wretched Raven Tavern in Midland. Corran Journal spoke to the owner, Reid Vansloven, this week and he agreed that the economy is tough and they are struggling to stay open. "We opened this tavern in 1996. The building was originally located in another town and we paid about MC$15,000 to have it moved to its current location. The municipality was starting to grow and we got in here just as the housing boom started up throughout the rural regions." Wretched Raven Tavern is located across from the Manitou Emergency Operations Centre in Midland region of Manitou.
"Our head office is located across the street" said Winter "I try to stop in there for a light lunch when I'm actually working in my office." The Wretched Raven offers light lunch of sandwiches and soups and an international selection of ales and lagers. It is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm. "We are considering opening for supper now that Elk Bones is closed" said Reid "there's still some avatars who want to sit and chat and enjoy the atmosphere free of the noise pollution of cellphones and laptops".
"We still feel we, as Canadians, are getting screwed by Podex's reasoning for charging us the US exchange rate but in the end we've decided to end our boycott against Podex." This was the announcement by Manitou Tourism CAO Winter Silversmith early this morning. The boycott started just over three months ago when the exchange rate from Canadian dollars to Canadian Maples made a sharp decline and, despite exchange rate increases in RealLife, continues to decline.
"Recently we learned that all three clubs owned by Dreamland Group and the Marina Bay Club closed displacing over 1,050 members. I have always been a strong supporter of the Great Canadian Grid, both financially and morally and I could not bear to see such a substantial loss in the entertainment world here" Winter told the Corran Journal. "I decided to lift the boycott not because I feel Podex is right, I still think the exchange is unfair, but because we wish to start up our 'Music in the Mall' program to help fill the gap in the events calendar".
Events in the Manitou Market Mall will begin again in October or November and will be announced on the GCG Events Calendar when they have been determined.
The performers will be broadcast across the mall parcel to all shops and services with only a couple exceptions. This means that all shoppers will hear the performances along with those in the immediate area of the stage. "We usually choose live performances first before DJ's as many of our shoppers love to attend live events. So if any live singers and performers are out there and want to appear at our venue please send your notecard bio and info to Winter Silversmith beginning September 20th. We don't have a lot of Maples to pay but you also receive 100% of your tips" Winter said. Manitou Tourism office is closed from September 6 to September 20 for vacation.
As the winter season is quickly approaching in Manitou (November 1) a special tent shelter has been set up for those who just want to sit and listen to the music.
The members of the Manitou Town Council met on the evening of September first to discuss a variety of community issues and most importantly the upcoming projects listing for the town. The next project was slated to be the inventory of existing utility services on the continent including wind power, transmission of electricity pathways and accessibility of emergency services.
Council decided instead that the next project must be the renumeration of street addresses in the municipality. "We developed our community in sections with little regard to the consistency of structure addressing" said Imman Erdly of the Manitou Clerks' Office. The town originally included a meta-national park, shopping district, four residential districts and a memorial park compacted into three regions. Manitou has expanded to six regions with a population of approximately twenty residents and forty-five merchants.
The community is described as "The Regional Municipality of Manitou, founded in 1801, is a six region community with a well balanced mix of residential dwellings and a commercial district. The community features several public greenspaces, a modern harbour and several historical sites. The town is owned by Manitou Tourism, a division of Silversmith Estates, and the CAO is Winter Silversmith. "
"We need to bring harmony and consistency to our community through the unification of neighbourhoods. This harmony can be achieved when the addressing system makes sense" said Manitou Tourism CAO Winter Silversmith. "We will be naming streets in the continent and then re-numbering the houses and businesses starting around October first" he said. The project will take approximately a week to complete. "It is no small task," said Imman, "we've never considered it before last month when it was realized that the community has grown about as much as it is going to."
Street names will be chosen based on historical landmarks and founding residents of the community. Addresses and numbering will be determined after the street names have been clearly identified and passed by town council. Economic Planning will oversee the project and has included a budget for signage of historical landmarks and public spaces. "We have a lot of history in our community and we need to present it to our residents and visitors in a reader friendly manner" said Mylo Veofbuck of the Manitou Economic Planning Department. "With the restoration of the Manitou Farm we were able to complete the boardwalk for visitors to view the marshlands from a non-invasive viewpoint". The Corran Journal reported on May twenty-ninth the discovery of a rare plant species, the Aliendonia Flexibolus, in the marshland, by the Northgate Conservation Group.
When asked if this identification of streets would lead to development of motorized vehicle roadways and highways Winter Silversmith had this to say, "No, we are a pedestrian oriented community and we will remain that way. We allow small vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles and we feel that is sufficient enough means for residents and visitors to explore our town."
Not everyone was satisfied with the change of projects for the community, Red E'Lite, Fire Chief for Manitou Emergency Services, voiced his opposition during the public feedback portion of the meeting. "We have a serious deficiency of fire hydrants and fire suppression utilities in our town and the inventory would provide council with the data needed to increase our budget in these areas" he said. The community installed several fire hydrants following the devastating fire that destroyed the historic Silversmith Farm RP area in spring of this year. "It's not enough, we still lack sufficient services to protect the residents from fires. The community has increased greenspaces by over fifty percent in the last month, this means more trees and more flammable materials" he expressed to council members. In spite of this passionate opposition council voted unanimously to postpone the inventory until November after the renumeration assessment.
Manitou Tourism office will be closed from September sixth to twentieth for vacation, the renumeration is expected to commence before the end of the month.