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Magnetawan introduces beach toy lending program. Rock snake gets its head back

There is no charge to borrow the toys. The public is simply asked to return them at the end of the day
Magnetawan Deputy Clerk Laura Brandt says the municipality is providing the public with beach toys for their children this summer in case they forget to bring their own. The municipality has four sacks each containing 22 small toys. The toys can be signed out at no charge from the Heritage Museum.

If you're heading to the Centennial Park beach in Magnetawan this summer with your little ones and forget to bring along their toys, don't worry, Deputy Clerk Laura Brandt has you covered for the day.

As a municipal service, Brandt has bought a small collection of beach toys parents can sign out at the Heritage Museum when arriving for a day at the beach.

The toys are in their own sacks. Brandt says there are four sacks, each with 22 small toys.

“So there are buckets, toy trucks, shovels, and sculpting tools,” she said.

There is no charge to borrow the toys. The public is simply asked to return them at the end of the day. Brandt says the lending program is designed for both local residents and tourists.

A local resident who saw the beach toy lending program being promoted on social media suggested it to Brandt. 

Brandt also says while walking toward the beach, the public will also notice that Maggie the Rock Snake has her head back. Brandt says the head was removed to spruce it up for another season.

See: Rocks painted by students becomes a snake named Maggie

The rock snake program was started a few years ago and consists of small rocks people paint and lay on the ground one behind the other to form a trail to the beach. So far, about 400 rocks line the trail and the goal is to lay down as many more rocks as possible this year to get the snake's tail to the beach. That means people painting and laying down roughly another 400 rocks.

Brandt says when the Heritage Museum opens at the end of June, it will again set up an area inside where people can paint the rocks to add to the snake. The museum provides the rocks at no charge and will varnish the finished pieces to protect them from the weather for as long as possible. Brandt says people can also paint the rocks on their own time in their homes and lay them down anytime at the tail's end.

However, she points out the museum can't weather-seal these rocks.

Brandt says the public can paint whatever appropriate image they like, adding the sky's the limit. The rock snake so far displays a wide array of colours and images. She adds vandalism at the site has not been much of an issue. But Brandt notes someone did steal a rock coloured and shaped like a watermelon.

“It was really cute,” she said. “So the vandalism hasn't been too bad. It could be worse.”

The public can paint the rocks at the museum through the Labour Day weekend.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.