Recovery Day Festival Recognized at City Hall

Marty GoldNews

WINNIPEG – A special luncheon was held at City Hall to recognize the importance of Recovery Day, a free day-long festival at The Forks Saturday to celebrate sobriety and overcome the stigma surrounding addictions.

Mayor Brian Bowman has emerged as a strong ally for recovering addicts and the agencies that save lives and bring hope. A number of councillors were in attendance, including Speaker Devi Sharma, Deputy Mayor Markus Chambers, and Coun. John Orlikow.

Bowman introduced Ian Rabb of Aurora Recovery Centres, who spoke briefly of his own journey since 2001 and his admiration for the many at the ceremony who’ve endured their own recovery experience.

Aurora, along with the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada taking place this weekend, St. Raphael Wellness Centre, Sober Families Alliance and Manitoba Training, have organized the Festival. This kind of celebratory event has taken place in major cities across Canada, and the first Recovery Day Winnipeg is on Saturday, September 14, starting at 10 AM.

A festival highlight will be American actor Mackenzie Phillips from One Day at a Time and Orange is The New Black. She will speak at 12.45 on Saturday about her dysfunctional Hollywood childhood and the long road in her journey to recovery.

Phillips has become a leading role model and has helped hundreds as a counsellor for those battling addictions. There are other truly inspiring speakers scheduled listed here

The free festival starts at 10:00 a.m. with a free yoga class, with free exercise classes every hour after that. It will include a kids zone, all-day entertainment hosted by 94.3FM’s Tom McGouran, live music, variety performances from local artists and dancers, resource booths, food vendors, and a farmers market.

I spoke to former Winnipeg Councilor Russ Wyatt at the luncheon and he told me, “The stigma of addiction and mental health needs to be overcome or else many more will die from their disease needlessly. No one wakes up and says hey, I want to become an alcoholic or drug addict or both.”

There is a special solidarity I see at every event involving families affected by harsh realities, caused by addictions in Manitoba. It cuts across all income levels and neighbourhoods, and those affected and service providers are reaching out to the rest of the community to create discussions and build recovery supports. It saves lives.

We just saw a provincial election full of campaign promises, and this Festival is about the folks counting on help from the newly elected Legislature. I hope some of the new MLA’s attend the Forks on Saturday and get engaged with the people that need their leadership and support.

{ Marty Gold has been around City Hall and the Legislature for over 30 years bringing unique news and analysis to public attention on radio, TV and online. His local news blog is at}