MAPLE RIDGE — The current ownership of Maple Ridge Centre held their final annual Victoria Day ‘Family Fun Day’ at Maple Ridge Centre, drawing a substantial crowd and happy vendors under sunny skies.
Initially buying the former Maple Ridge Senior Public School to accommodate the warehousing requirements of their now-defunct pet food distributorship, owners Rachel and Conrad Potvin pivoted to leasing out commercial space to multiple tenants at the sprawling facility — and to hosting special paid events and parties at the private, taxpaying property that they’ve also called home for the last several years.
‘Family Fun Days’ at Maple Ridge became a staple event on the calendar, coinciding with big holidays like Victoria Day.
Early yesterday afternoon, Rachel Potvin was happily taking video of the crowd enjoying the bouncy castles, live music and Vanderlaand the Barnyard Zoo pony rides. She was about to head off to the airport in 10 minutes to catch a flight to Kentucky as she continued training for her new “dream job” as a consumer specialist with Advanced Bionics, makers of the cochlear implant technology that restored her sense of hearing in both ears. Because she’s been jet-setting around the continent for the last several weeks, this year’s “final” Victoria Day Family Fun Day was organized almost entirely without her, she said, smiling with obvious relief at the turn of events in her life.
Slated to move to Ohio later this year, she and her husband have put the North Dundas property up for sale with Clayton Oldford of Royal LePage Team Realty in Winchester. The adjoining sports field is listed separately, marketed as a potential subdivision site.
Ruth Vanderlaan of the Barnyard Zoo expressed hope that someone else would buy the site and continue to host special events. As children swarmed past the rabbits, goats and ducklings to take $5 pony rides, Vanderlaan observed that Monday’s Family Fun Day was the best yet in terms of cash receipts for her business. And it followed very successful Family Fun days coinciding with Easter and Christmas, she said.
Vendor Anne Carriere of Simply Baked Catering said her kiosk had run out of food by 1:30 p.m., such was the demand at the event.
The event drew more than locals, with visitors from the Nation’s Capital enjoying a drive into the country especially for Family Fun Day at Maple Ridge. “We heard about it through Facebook,” said Barrhaven’s Holly Meilleur as her two young sons, Mathew, 7, and Brenin, 4, enjoyed pink cotton candy while sitting on the expansive lawn. “It’s fun. For sure we’d come back.”
Jamie MacDougall of Ottawa smiled as she watched her two-and-a-half-year-old niece, Audrey, ride small wheeled toy down a little slide. She and her family were also drawn to the event through Facebook, she said.
See a few scenes below of the final ‘Family Fun Day’ put on by current Maple Ridge Centre owners Rachel and Conrad Potvin, soon moving to Ohio. The music comes courtesy of Cory M. Coons, performing a track live off his new studio album, “The Long Road Home,” at the event. Coons is accompanied by Marc Muir of Cornwall on guitar as they sing “Once Too Many, Twice Not Enough.”