The ALFRED150 organisation kick-started their celebration events on Sunday, June 27th with a traveling show that paraded through the village among hundreds of spectators enjoying it from their balconies, porches or sidewalk; two guest artists, Brian St-Pierre and Martine Parisien performed for over three hours in very hot conditions to a very appreciative audience; a community barbecue was held at Alfred’s Value-Mart; a celebration was also held at St.Victor Catholic church, a commemorative mass streamed ‘live’ on Facebook; 750 tickets were sold for a fundraising draw that saw Suzanne Gagné and Lyne Gagné-Lalonde win the grand prize of 3000$.
Those events are only a few ‘hors-d’oeuvre’ of everything that the ‘Alfred je t’aime’ organising committee has planned for this year of celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the parish; the core of its programme will be held in mid-September, moved from the original St. Jean Baptiste weekend for obvious Covid reasons. Please refer to the group’s Facebook site for more details!
While You Are In The Neighbourhood…
Throughout this summer or fall, you are invited to drive a few kilometres south-east of the village on Peat Moss road and (re)discover the very unique Alfred Bog, ‘a provincially significant wetland and area of significant natural and scientific interest’. It has been building for 10,000 years at the confluence of the Ottawa and South Nation rivers: peat bogs are extremely rare habitats and Alfred’s spans over 10,200 acres supporting rare species in Canadian flora and fauna. The bog is now under the jurisdiction of Ontario Parks and is managed as a Nature Reserve; a 272-metre boardwalk is accessible to the public.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) points out that for a long time, ‘swamps, bogs and marshes that make up wetlands were thought of as wastelands; they were drained and filled for agriculture and development, peat extracted for fuel and gardening; today, less than 40% of original wetlands remain. Now, wetlands are internationally recognized as habitats that support biodiversity and provide key ecosystem services that help slow the effects of climate change.’ The NCC and partners got involved in the protection of the Bog in the 1980s, mainly by raising funds to purchase sections of the Bog that are still private lands.
The Bog’s vegetation is characteristic of boreal forest, normally found much farther north: trees are mostly swamp birches, black spruce, tamarack and red maple, many varieties of small fruit bushes and grasses, some rare species of orchid, the ‘White Fringe’; fauna specimens include many varieties of turtles, waterfowls, butterflies and the most southerly moose population. In 1984, the Ontario government designated the Bog as an area of Nature and Scientific Area (ANSI) and a Class 1 Wetland, the highest level of protection available, all while beginning the process of regulating it as a full-fledge provincial park.
Back in the village after your excursion at the Bog, don’t forget to enrich your photo album with a family shot among the giant blue ALFRED letters located in the heart of the village or to tour the community flower barrels exhibition throughout the village: a nice healthy walk on St. Phillipe’s recently renovated street and sidewalks to build up your appetite for the chip stand, the food truck or under the tent! Enjoy!