By Larissa Campbell
Who had a pet rock as a child? If you did, I’m assuming it wasn’t the most exciting or fond memory you had as a child. But who said rocks can’t be fun…or that rocks can’t bring together two of the hottest things in Winnipeg right now: the 2017 Canada Games and “Winnipeg Rocks”!
For those of you unfamiliar with “Winnipeg Rocks”, it’s Winnipeg’s hottest way to get outdoors, get your creative juices flowing, and enjoy a free and fun treasure hunt! Founded by Winnipegger Lorna Kroeker and with close to 5,000 members, “Winnipeg Rocks” is a cross between geocaching and geology with super simple rules. Keep your eyes peeled when walking in Winnipeg. If you see a rock that is colourful, painted or unique in some way -- congratulations! You have found a “Winnipeg Rock”! Once you find a “Winnipeg Rock”, be sure to take a picture of yourself with the rock and post it to the “Winnipeg Rocks” Facebook page. From here, you can decide whether to keep the rock or hide it again in a new location. Now, if searching for rocks is not how you roll, you can always design, paint and hide a rock. Just be sure to write or paint “Winnipeg Rocks” on the back of it to help direct newcomers to the “Winnipeg Rocks” Facebook page so that they, too, can get involved in the fun!
But wait a minute…how does “Winnipeg Rocks” relate to the 2017 Canada Games? Actually, many Winnipeggers have taken this quirky trend to the next level by hiding “Winnipeg Rocks” at many of the Canada Games venue locations. From the Sargent Park Beach Volleyball Centre to the Forks Festival, “Winnipeg Rocks” have been an ever-present (albeit hidden) component of the 2017 Canada Games! One such “Winnipeg Rock”, was an adorable rock painted to look like a strawberry. This rock took a long journey, just like many of the athletes, only to end up at a Canada Games venue! Initially painted and hidden in River Park South by Kristin Bishop, the rock was then found by Stephanie Rose, who later hid it at the Canada Games beach volleyball venue. Eventually, the adorable strawberry rock was found at a Canada Games beach volleyball game by Pam Cychowski’s seven-year-old child. Pam later took to Facebook where she exclaimed with excitement that they “will have to paint some of [their] own” rocks!
Many other Winnipeggers including “Winnipeg Rocks” Facebook group member Marnie Rae have urged other members of the Winnipeg community to design Canada Games inspired rocks and hide them at Canada Games venues in and around Winnipeg. We completely agree with Marnie, and would love to see many of the Canada Games athletes, coaches, and visitors take home unique hand-painted souvenirs courtesy of “Winnipeg Rocks”; both marking their time spent in the creative city of Winnipeg and commemorating the 2017 Canada Games. So, if this sounds like a fun way to spend a summer afternoon, get your paintbrushes, walking shoes and Canada Games tickets…because here at the Canada Games, we all agree that Winnipeg is a city that rocks!