Jul 29, 2021
The Friends of the Mouth Park in Massey, a recently organized group dedicated to caring for and beautifying the Mouth Park where the Sables River runs into the Spanish, is holding its first photography contest this month.
The theme of the contest is ‘Wildlife at the Mouth.’ Contestants are encouraged to share photos on the group’s Facebook page showing all the beauty and wonders of plants and wildlife at the Mouth. The contest ends on July 31 with all entries in by noon on that day. The Nature Nook is donating a surprise gift bag as the prize.
Although the group is not yet sanctioned by the town according to the group’s founder Jayson Stewart, says, “We haven’t heard anything official yet. I have spoken with Paul Anderson the recreation director, and with parks and recreation chair Phillips and we are in the process of determining what the relationship will be.”
Voting in the contest is simple. The public is encouraged to ‘like’ the photos they enjoy the most.
“The photos with the greatest number of likes (moderated for the number of days it has been posted in the group) will win,” says Stewart.
He is looking for businesses in the area to sponsor future contests involving the Mouth Park.
Although the group does not have an official membership yet, Stewart is working towards setting the group up as a long-term local group.
“We don’t have set members yet, but are playing with the idea of an executive and committees/teams (beautification, events, junior park ‘rangers’, etc.) as ways for people to be involved,” Stewart said.
As is the case with most local groups the Friends of the Mouth is a “community-driven volunteer organization,” says Stewart.
He is confident and excited looking forward to an endorsement from the town.
“The parks and recreation department, under the direction of council, has some shelf-ready ideas that are really going to make a difference at Mouth Park. We’re excited to formalize our partnership with them throughout the summer and make some fantastic plans for next season.
“Personally, I would like to see a change room built, a nature trail, a flower garden, and easier access in the near future. I personally would love to see an event, something like an annual Mouth Park Festival at the park,” he says.
Go to The Friends of the Mouth Facebook page to participate in the photography contest and find out more about this volunteer group.
July 01, 2021
There is a hidden gem in Massey perhaps known only to local residents, it’s kind of hard to find but well worth looking for. It’s a park where picnics take place, children and adults swim and families congregate on hot summer days on its sandy beach. It’s called the Mouth Park.
Some would say the Mouth Park is lacking in conveniences and is neglected in its upkeep. Recently, Massey resident Jayson Stewart started a group to maintain and promote this gem.
“The Friends of Mouth Park is a non-profit community group, run by volunteers, that works with the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers, local businesses, charities, the provincial and federal governments, and families to maintain, beautify, celebrate and promote the history and future of Mouth Park in Massey,” Stewart said recently.
Stewart calls this park “a gem in the crown that is Massey.” He believes the Mouth Park is “in need of a little polishing.”
The park sits at the bottom of Carl Albert Street that runs off Bell Street, the first street on the south side when entering Massey from the east. Although this park is lacking in certain conveniences, many families still enjoy its natural. It sits on a small patch of land where the Sables River empties into the larger Spanish River. Tripadvisor gives this park a less than glowing review: “The Mouth Park in Massey is a great little park with a beach — not the cleanest and not maintained (watch out for dog poop in the grass), no garbage cans in sight, and just a Porta-potty for toilets/changing,” the Tripadvisor review read.
“The Friends of the Mouth would work with the municipality and volunteers to clean up the Park, improve the landscaping, create gardens, and make it more accessible for all. The Friends could install maps of the area, historical plaques, nature signs, flower gardens, and new infrastructure like a gazebo, change rooms, wheelchair accessibility, improved parking, public chessboards, and a replacement of the old wire fence with something more functional and attractive,” Stewart said.
So, when The Friends of the Mouth is recognized and given the go-ahead from the town council, Stewart and his group have plans that include improving and enhancing the park’s beauty, and, increasing potential uses of Massey’s little gem. The group is looking at holding special activities such as workshops, concerts, and other events.
“Imagine having a full calendar of events like plain air painting lessons, outdoor movie nights, historical talks, wildlife studies, sandcastle contests, BBQs, water sports competitions and more.”
Stewart, high school teacher at Espanola High, sees the park as a great venue for educational uses.
“The Friends of the Mouth can work with local schools, Science North, ecological groups, Indigenous educators and other groups to run educational programming in this beautiful outdoor classroom, a community group (which is) committed to protecting and celebrating Massey’s Natural Gem,” he believes.
A former local politician, Stewart has seen and heard much talk about the Mouth Park over the years.
“Having been on council, I know that the Mouth is something that has always been talked about, but there is rarely any action. I think a dedicated group of volunteers, users of the Mouth, creative and enthusiastic people with a vested interest will do wonders to polish this beautiful gem.”
With a large family Stewart makes the Mouth a go-to destination on hot summer days.
“The Mouth is a beautiful place, one that my family loves to visit. Every time I visit, I imagine what it could be, what amenities are needed, what my children would benefit from, what families want. There is just so much potential and very little has been done to improve the park for many decades.”
Stewart is awaiting a reply from the mayor and council on his proposal to make Friends of the Mouth an official group charged with tending to the little park.
In 2019, before the pandemic put large outside activities on hold, many Massey residents spent Canada Day celebrating at the Mouth.
Stewart and the group are determined to get started on making things better.