I turn 50 this year and this is a celebration for me so I understand the people from Salon Expert Chasse, Pêche et Camping (the Hunting, Fishing and Camping Show). After all it was 50 years ago Father Marcel de la Sablonnière founded the Salon Camping et Famille, which has developed into this Montreal mainstay.

Each year I return to see what’s new, look at old favourites and estimate how something could help my time with the land better. It’s all about survival, the way Crees live with the land and to know what can make life better. Once again survival doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Every Cree knows the feeling of their way of life.

If you’re going to find something that enables you to better survive happier, then the largest outdoor show in Quebec will have something for you to think about.

There are over 250 exhibitors – including major and surprisingly minor but interesting manufacturers of boats, ATVs, trailers and hunting, fishing and camping equipment.

One of my favourite stops was the Italian custom-made gun company. These are handmade beauties that not many can afford to hold tenderly and with the utmost respect. I drooled with a desire just to experience the moment of perfection feeling the gun butt move against your shoulder when you shoot.

Now that you’re feeling that, let me add to it by telling you the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows, a non-profit organization, has given over $31 million to support nature conservation and protection. Now isn’t that something to tell PETA. How much have you given in the last 50 years?

This year was particularly child friendly with a baby lynx to snuggle up to, even the baby skunk got a few advances.

Though some young ones tried their luck, it was mostly adults, including myself, who gave the crossbow a chance to interest us in a variation of archery.

The great thing is it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for the latest fishing tackle, next generation of outdoor gear, a latest ecological miracle or expert advice on how to call more geese, this annual event is worth every moment you spend at it.

You can’t just cruise through

the sprawling openness of Place Bonaventure without realizing it’s a place to talk and learn from skilled people.

The show for me has become another thing, a sign in itself. Late spring is a time of hope in the Cree communities. The winters are legend to people in the south. Even at the end of April we see the lakes, streams and most rivers covered in ice, but through signs we know the warmth of summer will eventually come. Now is the time of the spring goose hunt. It is a time to go back to our roots. Yes, the camps have modern conveniences and the geese will fly. Later the walleye will spawn and Crees will be ready.

Our memories are kindled and fire up the anticipation of what has been an annual rite of spring for the Cree, a celebration of a cherished way of life and a place where families can grow together. There’s more, of course, but you’ll have to experience it for yourself at next year’s Salon.