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The Ottawa fishing festival takes place July 14–15 at Brewer Park. To find out more or to purchase tickets, go to OttawaFishingFestival.ca
By Jane Lytvynenko
After a 35-year hiatus, Dr. Ben Fong rekindled his childhood love for fishing, this time hoping to involve the Ottawa community. He has taken to organizing the city’s first Ottawa fishing festival on July 14¬–15.
“Fishing is a great source of relaxation with that bit of excitement when you catch the big one,” he said, and that’s exactly what attendees of the Ottawa Fishing Festival will try to do.
Although fishing activities don’t make up the entirety of the festival, beginners and professionals alike can take part in catching “the big one.” If a certain tagged fish is caught during tournament hours, the lucky angler can walk away with a $15,000 Pontoon boat, sponsored by Laurentian Marine Sales.
All the fish caught during this festival from the Rideau River will be released in an attempt to emphasize fishing conservation. However, if it’s a meal you want to take home, you can catch yourself a farmed trout while the kids play at one of Ottawa Fishing Festival’s many attractions.
For Dr. Fong, one of the biggest goals of the festival was to get youth involved. There are obstacle courses, inflatable structures, carnival attractions and fish golf kids can enjoy. There will also be a Kid’s Martial Arts demonstration, the winner of which will be determined through YouTube—videos of each demonstration will be posted on Ottawa Fishing Festival’s channel.
“We are trying to bring fishing to a younger generation,” Dr. Fong said. “It’s a way to bring the family together.”
Dr. Fong said he had donated $500 worth of tickets to boys and girls clubs across the capital region, who will also be able to enjoy a reptile show on-site at the Brewer Park. The festival has had significant interest from the community surrounding the park, including Carleton University students.
There is no fishing license required to enjoy the event, as it coincides with the Ontario License Free Family Fishing Weekend. Furthermore, true fishing fanatics will be able to meet “Big Jim” McLaughlin, a notorious fisherman and celebrity in the Canadian fishing community.
Dr. Fong said organizing the event was not easy. He had a hard time getting sponsors and finalizing events while keeping to the schedule. However, he has found it to be a rewarding experience.
“The city has never seen anything like this before, and with so many avid fishermen in the area I am excited about organizing Ottawa’s first ever Fishing Festival. It’s a brand new event that gives everyone a chance to experience something new and have a whole lot of fun, and raises funds for the incredible cancer research happening at the CHEO Research Institute.” The Ottawa Fishing Festival has partnered with Angels of Hope, a branch of the CHEO Foundation.
Although it is a lone-man venture, Dr. Fong is hoping the Ottawa Fishing Festival will truly bring together a community, be it over fishing, family, or simply a weekend of trying something new.
More info: http://www.ottawafishingfestival.ca/
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