Norm Miller MPP Parry Sound - Muskoka

Statement from Norm Miller in the Ontario Legislative Assembly

December 1st, 2011

Trek to Bethlehem

Mr. Norm Miller: It is often said it takes a whole village to raise a child. On this coming Saturday night, it will take the whole town to successfully stage the annual Trek to Bethlehem in Bala, Muskoka, a town of just over 500 year-round residents. I would like to pay tribute to one of the finest examples of community spirit in this entire province.

Patricia Gidley, chairperson of the organizing committee, tells me that at least one out of every five people in Bala contributes to making the town’s Trek to Bethlehem a success. That includes those who voluntarily turn off their house lights along the route, others who make sandwiches for hungry visitors at the Bala Arena, volunteers who turn out to sing carols for hours on end at the community centre and many others who never get recognized. A small team of men with hammers spends all day Friday knocking together the sets that will come alive on Saturday night, and then shows up on Sunday to take it all down again.

This is the 19th year in a row that Bala has turned the circle of streets into a biblical village that tells the story of how Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. Year after year, it has attracted hundreds of visitors from around Ontario.

The trek’s success owes a lot to the organizing efforts of people like Patricia Gidley, Nan Allen, Jack Hutton and many others, but the real credit goes to the entire town of Bala. This year’s trek takes place this Saturday evening, December 3, and I would like to encourage all members to come to Bala and congratulate the village of Bala on this great event.