We are pleased to introduce the newly appointed President of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association! Pit Turenne, General Manager and Partner for Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge was named last week the head of the M.L.O.A. This association unites over 200 members which represent every facet of outdoor tourism in Manitoba; including fishing, hunting, and eco-tourism. This prestigious title was bestowed upon our boss after a vote of his peers during the annual meetings. Pit’s two-year appointment follows his father Gerry’s footsteps as a past M.L.O.A. president. Bravo Pit, yet another feather in your hat! Visit the M.L.O.A. website at: www.mloa.com.
With that yule time cheer, Aikens Lake Lodge is set to send out thousands of its new calendar/brochure to its guests and contacts. This year we have redesigned the calendar and have chosen some truly breath taking pictures to illustrate our one-of-a-kind lodge. Also, we’ve included a DVD of our “Call of the Tundra” tournament which was filmed at the lake in August. You can expect this bundle to arrive by Christmas. If we don’t have your information yet you would like a copy, please contact us at email@example.com. Enjoy!
Many of you know Pat simply as “M. Concombre”, after his many seasons on a french children’s television show. His acting career continues, as this fall he has starred in the “Le Cercle Molière’s” rendition of Driving Miss Daisy. The local french theatre group, of which Pat has been a part of as an actor/technician/sound/etc since his tweens, is the longest running theatre group in Canada (since 1925). In their second of four productions for the winter 2008/09 season, they retell the tale of Driving Miss Daisy. The Winnipeg Free Press’s Bryan Rivers gave the play 4 out of 5 stars, which is a fantastic rating by this knowledgeable and honest critic. Here are a few excerpts from Bryan’s review (courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press):
“The latest offering of the Cercle Molière, En Conduisant Miss Daisy, which opened Friday night (Nov 14th), is an engaging and heart-warming translation of Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer winning play, Driving Miss Daisy.
The play is challenging because it requires actors to age over a 20-year span. It also requires a montage of different scenes as Miss Daisy is driven from one location to another. Makeup and costuming captured the passage of years effectively.
Patrick Trudel was convincing as Daisy’s son, Boolie. The trademark cigar of the businessman, the body language of the tired son, frustrated husband and cautious employer created a compelling character. There is a genial conspirational aspect to his relationship with Hoke as they work together to take care of Daisy without her realizing the full extent of their co-operation.
This is a production that is comic, compelling in the authenticity of the relationships and a celebration of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend age, race, colour, and the passage of time.”
Congratulations Pat! Another successful venture for our tireless friend. After a busy season at the lodge where you started to take on the larger role that Aikens has in store for you, you started rehearsing immediately upon your return and I am sure that you can’t wait to kick those feet up on Dec 6th! You certainly deserve the rest!
It is evident that the staff at Aikens love working together. It comes as no surprise that when Chef Jimmy was chartered to design and manage the kitchen of a new local eatery, many of the lodge’s kitchen staff came to his aid. This new restaurant and lounge which opened two weeks ago is named “Le Garage Café”.
Nestled on the main drag of Provencher Blvd. in St.-Boniface (Winnipeg’s french quarter), it has been creating quite the buzz. Open concept construction and trendy decor make this hot-spot a destination on many people’s night-life circuit. Live music and nightly entertainment assures the Garage’s clientele an enjoyable evening. And Chef Jimmy’s menu is sure to please everyone as many of you are already aware!
Other Aikens notables at the Garage : Janelle Potvin, Aisha Diallo, Élise Blouin, and David Smith. Julien Desaulniers has been on stage with his band, playing many classic tunes that have also graced the porch at Big Molly’s Bar.
If you’re passing through Winnipeg this winter, make sure to drop in at “Le Garage”. Say hi to Jimmy and the gang!
Introducing Rachelle (formerly Vandale) and Hayster Soriano! Last Saturday (Oct 18th), amidst a large group of friends and family, the happy couple walked down the aisle with smiles and pride in their gaze. Rachelle, looking absolutely stunning in her bridal gown, was greeted by a dashing Hayster at the alter. They both professed each others love for one another while everyone (some with tears of joy) looked on. The ceremony was a mix of both French-Canadian and Filipino traditions, and true to form, the church’s congregation cheered the newly-weds upon their exit.
The reception was held later that evening in downtown Winnipeg. The hall, decked out in satin and candle-light, complemented the ladies in the bridal party’s burgundy dresses and the gents’ black tuxes perfectly. Rach’s Bridesmaids were numerous. Three of them former (and active) Aikens Team members: Geneviève Paquin (Rosset), Ludivine Coudière and Julie Turenne as the Maid of Honour. Annika and Martin (Pit&Julie’s children) contributed as flowergirl and ringbearer respectively. But wait there’s more… Pit was the co-emcee for the festivities. As you all know, his sharp wit had the crowd in stitches (Editor’s note… quit sucking up Pat!). Funny anecdotes and touching speeches were shared by both sides of this great union. Then a truly one-of-a-kind First dance saw Rach&Hayster start a slow waltz which broke out into a choreographed hip-hop dance. This set the tone for the rest of the guests who tore up the dance floor till the wee hours. Levity, happiness and laughter was the “Ordre du Jour” as all rejoiced in the atmosphere of the happy nuptials.
We are extremely proud of this radiant couple. Both are invaluable volunteers to the lodge, often times we are found beseeching their services at Aikens (most notably during our “Mollies & Dollies Week), or away from Aikens (picking up supplies for us in Winnipeg). Tante (Auntie) Rachelle and Mononcle (Uncle) Hayster are some of Annika and Martin’s favorite babysitters too!
On behalf of all of us here at Aikens, and the Aikens family in general, congratulations on your union and we wish you all the best for the years to come!
Prairie Toyota’s Dealers and Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge invite all of our newsletter readers to tune into the “Call of the Tundra” airing on Global Television this weekend. Those of you unable to catch the show, not to worry, we will be adding a copy of it to our mail-out in December. If we don’t have your information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get a copy out to you. Let’s see who rolls off in a brand-new 2008 Toyota Tundra!!
(Alberta) Oct.11 @ 4 pm. Global
(Manitoba&Sask.) Oct.12 @ 10:30 pm. Global
Yet another addition to the long list of improvements to be announced! This brainchild of Léo and Gabe (our heating and refrigeration expert) was spawned over lengthy discussions as to how we could better our already efficient hot water system. See last year’s post here (Re-circ line). We’re trying to minimize our carbon foot print on the environment (and save money on pricy fuel) so Léo and Gabe decided to find a way to eliminate our propane water heaters. We conferred with Jim Knoeck, a longstanding Aikens guest, from Knoeck Inc. Jim’s company specializes in heating and cooling products. He had just what we needed, a compact and effecient wood boiler that could fit inside the otter! He personally drove the unit from his shop in Wisconsin to the float base at Silver Falls. We poured a cement pad and housed the machine in what is now aptly called the “Fire-Fly”. It is situated beside our laundry facility the “Caillebo”.
In its first week of operation it has saved us huge amounts of fuel and has left no trace but a few shovels worth of ashes! With over 250 gallons of hot water on demand running through camp heated by our own natural ressource, we are proud to say that Aikens is greener than ever!
We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and now we’ve waved goodbye to our final guests for the 2008 season! This morning, the Bluewater planes whisked away the last of our valued and loyal guests! We are now in the process of winterizing the camp which should take up the next few weeks.
Pit and Julie would like to extend a very special thank you to all of our guests this summer. It was one of the busiest in recent memory! It appears that the lure of the “Aikens Experience” is just that much stronger than the outside economic factors that worried and affected most of of the fly-in fishing industry this year! We started off the year with a bang, having almost no room left to book in our first two weeks. The “Season Opening” special has been a very popular promotion, and it certainly has brought a great number of guests to our camp to get the season started right.
June was a busy month with many families and friends coming up to Aikens. We had a high number of father/son trips, as well as couples! The month was filled with planes (nearly 2.5/day) escorting an army of small groups in and out of the lodge. Logistically, it was tough to keep up to the flight schedule and guide schedule, but both Julie & Pat were on top of it and there were no snafus to speak of!
July afforded us our regular break for the staff. We generally black out 7-10 days early in the month to send everyone home for a break. As you know, the 7-day a week schedule can take its toll and having that chance to recharge the batteries is a must for us and our staff. This year, the boys planned another golf outing (Pat’s birthday is the official excuse to get on the course) during the break. There was also the Winnipeg Folk Fest and Dauphin Country Fest that kept our staff entertained. When we reopened during the 2nd week, we played host to many corporate groups, the largest of which was the group from Komatsu USA.
August was an incredibly busy month. We have a very loyal group of people and businesses that reserve their same weeks year after year. By early June, we could no longer accept any more bookings from Aug 3-29th this year! We also played host to the “2008 Toyota Call of the Tundra”, which was a very exciting event for Aikens. You will be able to see the 30 minute show on Global TV in Canada next month. We will also send out a DVD copy in December to everyone on our mailing list. If you would like to be added, please email us your contact info.
September, as is normally the case, was a very relaxed and enjoyable month. Most of the staff returned home to go to school this fall. We had our small “September Crew” help out again this year with the handful of groups that wanted to take advantage of September’s great walleye fishing. Now that we are at mid-month, we have reached the end of the line for bookings this year! We had our final shorelunch yesterday and bid farewell to a great season on the water. Thank you to all for visiting us this year. We hope that your “Aikens Experience” was better than ever, and we hope to be able to top it again next summer!
We would also like to send out a very special thank you to our staff. Once again, they were the stick that stirred the Aikens drink. The “Aikens Experience” for our guests is based largely on the world-class service, but also on the interaction and laughs they share with our young and vibrant staff. For our staff, working at Aikens instills a very strong work ethic yet at the same time they have the opportunity to unwind and have fun with everyone that visits us! There is a great balance of work vs. play at Aikens Lake. Our staff wakes up every day ready to tackle that day’s needs & projects, and for that we want to thank them a million times over!
Of course, the “Aikens Experience” is never complete without thanking our business partners at Bluewater Aviation and OTours for their incredible service. They shuttle all our guests from Winnipeg to Silver Falls (OTours) and then Silver Falls to Aikens (Bluewater). We heard nothing but postive comments about the service and great first impression people have about our operation before they ever step foot on our docks! Thank you Michelle & Roger along with your great drivers. Thank you Ed & Steve and all your attentive staff and ace pilots!
Well, that about wraps it up for the 60th season at Aikens. The first paid customers arrived here in 1948… making Aikens Lake the oldest fly-in fishing lodge in Manitoba! We are proud of our history and heritage here at Aikens. Although we have revamped many of the cabins and boats, the past is always a part of the present. It has been a long haul to get where we are today, and it has all been very worthwhile. Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge would not be where it is without our valued guests! Thanks again and see you next year!
ps - We will continue to update the website on a hopefully weekly basis over the offseason.
Hi everyone… Sorry for the lack of posts recently. While a lot has happened, both Pit and Pat have not found time to add a news item… this is very unlike us!
Let us take you back to when the 2008 Toyota Call of the Tundra left town (Aug 25th). We greeted three groups at that time. Two of the groups were regulars that had been coming for years. The third group was new, this one from Kansas City. All three groups had great experiences here… especially the new group that loved it so much that they may grow from 8 to 20 people next year!
After this, we had a relatively calm September Long Weekend. Pat became “mini-boss” again while Pit and Julie went to the city. Pat did admirably in making sure that everyone here had the time of their lives! Meanwhile in Winnipeg, Julie had an ultrasound that went very well. For those that haven’t heard, Pit and Julie are expecting their 3rd child in mid-January! With such a short window of opportunity for a due date, it appears that the three kids will have birthdays within 3 weeks of each other. That’s the way it goes when you operate a fishing lodge!
Since then, we’ve had a large (and rowdy… hello guys!) group stay at GGO followed by another at the main lodge (a group of 22 to help us end off the season on a high note). We have only 3 groups left this weekend then we close another chapter of Aikens lore and legend! Most of the staff has already returned home to school now, and we want to thank them for their endless energy and charisma that makes the “Aikens Experience” so special! Stay tuned for a few final postings as we close up camp for the winter.
With over 25 hours worth of footage in the can, Prairie Toyota Dealers’ “Call Of The Tundra” promotion is set to air on Global in mid-October. As mentioned in past newsletter posts, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge is extremely proud to have hosted this great event (see past item here). For the past four days, the camp has been buzzing with excitement as camera crews scoured the lake and the peninsula capturing the contestants’ experience. The tournament-style contest had five lucky contestants fishing for the keys to a brand-new 2008 Toyota Tundra!
In two morning sessions of fishing each angler scored the total length of their five biggest fish (total of ten fish). The first morning of tournament fishing challenged the anglers with high West winds and cooler temperatures. Many fish were boated and each competitor got back to the dock eager to up their scores on day two. However, Mother Nature had other plans. Day two began with heavy winds and constant rain… Not conducive to filming. A revised plan had our guests fishing with the guides for fun and everyone enjoyed a classic Aikens shore lunch at the Gray Owl site, warming their hands by the fire and their bellies with deliciously prepared walleye.
Having practiced their hook-sets and rested up for the last day’s event, the competitors (staff and film crew alike) were over-joyed to wake up to a beautiful sunny day for the final tournament session. The Back Bay had a magical fog hanging thick making for some awesome pictures. Our host Dave Mercer (creator and host of “Facts of Fishing“) sounded the air horn to set off the five competing guide boats for an exiting Shot-Gun start to day three. At high Noon, everyone congregated at shore lunch knowing that one of them would soon be the proud owner of a new truck! The afternoon was spent on the lake fishing, while back at the lodge, scores were tallied and the dining room was readied for the award ceremony. Lights, camera and action filled the lodge while Dave Mercer entertained the crowd before handing the keys to the winner. It was a very cool event to host in our spacious lodge.
Congratulations to all the the contestants for having participated in such a one-of-a-kind event. Aikens is proud to have partnered with Prairie Toyota Dealers’ and Travel Manitoba in hosting this televised competition which promoted Toyota Tundra Trucks, Aikens Lake Lodge and Manitoba wilderness! Also, a very special thanks to Dave Mercer for having made everyone laugh and enjoy their experience at Aikens. You are a true showman and your fishing tips gave everyone that extra edge needed to angle their way into a new Tundra!
Many of you are probably asking who left the lodge with such a huge prize? Well, the answer will be aired on Global during a weekend this October. We will be posting the show time here on the newsletter as soon as the production team finishes editing their footage.