The cat was let out of the bag at tonight’s Huntsville town council meeting. Randy Mitson, the Marketing Director for Algonquin Outfitters, let the town know the paddle art contest will be happening again in 2018. This comes after this year’s contest had over 200 paddles submitted for auction, and over $20,000 was raised.

Mitson was also awarded a commemorative plaque for his work on the contest during tonight’s meeting, and he presented the town with a cheque for over $4,000 to go into the fund for future public art acquisitions. The town also received the first blank paddle of next year’s contest from Mitson.

The paddle art contest was created to commemorate Tom Thomson and the 100th anniversary of his death. Anyone who wanted to take part could sign up and decorate a blank canoe paddle supplied by Algonquin Outfitters. Some were painted, others carved, and one was even turned into a mini guitar. All of the finished products were then auctioned off online this fall, and the money raised is going into local arts initiatives. That includes Huntsville’s public art fund as well as the Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture.

Mitson says his original goal was to bring in 100 paddles, one for every year since Thomson died, but ended up more than doubling that number. He says people from far and wide bid on the paddles online, with the furthest one being bought and shipped to London, England.

Mitson says more details about the contest will be released in the spring.


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Decorate a paddle and support local arts