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Niagara Falls
Monday, May 27, 2024
Hunt for golden egg a full day’s work, but it paid off
The kids were smiling ear-to-ear after we found the golden egg. From left, Alanna McDonald, Landon Archibald (with egg), Richard Harley, Liam Archibald. (Supplied)

Late at night on Friday (or early Saturday morning), Stefan Regier snuck out of his house, careful that nobody was watching him.

He had a top-secret mission — hide this year’s golden egg somewhere in one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s parks.

It has to be a secret, because whoever finds it receives the grand prize — this year it was $500 cash.

It’s an Easter tradition for all ages, one Regier has been doing for eight years.

This is a story about how my family, with determination, found the golden egg this year.

We left the house at about 7:30 a.m., headed out to scour NOTL parks. Living in Chautauqua, the first natural place to look was Chautauqua Park — there are plenty of bushes, a back corner where kids like to hide and a playground.

It could have been the spot. But so could Ryerson Park, or maybe Simcoe? Our guess was as good as anyone’s.

Our morning search led us through Chautauqua Park, Ryerson Park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Simcoe Park, Queen’s Royal Park, Newark Park and the little tennis parkette in Garrison Village.

We had heard through NOTL’s plentiful grapevines that the egg tends to stay around Old Town, so we didn’t venture out to St. Davids or Queenston.

But we didn’t find it.

A look at Regier’s Facebook page showed a video reel that confirmed: “It’s out there … Right now …” followed by a taunting picture of a golden egg, set to the tune of “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.

We could tell this day was going to be interesting.

A break at about 9:30 a.m. for the Kinsmen egg hunt and Bunny Trail put us back on the hunt by 11 a.m.

From there, we headed out to Rye Heritage Park and Centennial Sports Park, determined to find the egg.

But no luck!

Hmm, where could this egg be? And what does it even look like?

Questions were burning in our minds as much as our legs were burning from hiking up and down hills and paths. Our boots and shoes were soggy and muddy.

Then came another video from Regier … “How about a clue?” it said.

“How about, no,” it followed.

Now we were sure he was taunting us. A trickster of immense proportion. A rascal. A scallywag.

But it only fuelled our hunt.

One of our boys wasn’t feeling the best, but he pushed through, with hopes of a fancy new toy at the end of the day.

Running out of parks to search, we decided to try some again. Back to Queen’s Royal, back to Simcoe, back to Rye Park and Chautauqua again — this time searching a bit harder, now that we were awake and the boys had a boost of energy from chocolate eggs and banana bread from the nursery school’s bake sale.

But by lunch time we weren’t any closer to finding it. Not that we knew, at least.

At this point the boys, Liam and Landon, 8 and 6, were losing steam. We’d been searching for a while, with nothing but soakers to show for our efforts, so I got two toonies out of my pocket and strategically placed them so each kid would find one. It gave them a bit of a second wind.

Heading home for some lunch and a quick rest, we saw a third video from Regier.

“I see you … You’re six feet away … Question is … Who are you?”

OK — now that’s a real clue, we thought for a moment. Or maybe not. Was he talking to us, or someone else in a completely different park?

Thinking about it, we realized this was the best prank of all. Anyone like us who was searching and saw the video was probably retracing their steps at that point.

And we played into it. The time stamp of the video and thinking about where we were just before it was posted put us near the back of Rye Park.

So after sandwiches and snacks, we headed back for a third time.

Up and down the park we searched … and this time, I found something … it was a lone golden egg laying in the field.

But it wasn’t THE golden egg we were looking for and I realized it right away.

This one was a foil-wrapped chocolate egg with a couple of bunnies on it. And it was more of a shiny yellow than gold. But it didn’t stop me from playing my own trick on my family.

“Look!” I shouted. “I found a golden egg!”

We chuckled at the irony and slim chances we’d find a different golden egg in the field. And we began to think maybe someone else had found the real one.

We suspected it would be in a “traditional” park — one with a playground and not a massive one like Niagara Shores Park. But after a full day of searching, we decided it couldn’t hurt to try there, too.

So at about 2:30 p.m., off to Niagara Shores we went. This is one of our favourite places to take a walk, anyway. We love to see the wildlife and look for mushrooms.

On our way, we saw the fourth video reel from Regier.

“3 p.m., first clue,” it said.

So nobody else had found it yet! Fantastic!

We hustled our walk so we’d be back to the car in time to get the clue and speed off if we recognized where it was.

At 2:59 p.m. we arrived at the car, all of us in suspense.

We were tired and had lost most hope of finding the egg, but there was a renewed enthusiasm now, knowing we might get a genuine clue.

3:01 … 3:02 … 3:03 … We waited. Until it finally came.

“Every Thursday … Dinner starts at 4 p.m. After that … head for a swim,” it said.

The video was set to the tune “Fish and Chips and Vinegar” by Sharon, Lois & Bram — but we didn’t need the song to clue in.

We’re fish fry people. And we knew we were headed to the Legion.

With the second part about the swimming pool, we guessed it was likely right in between the Legion and the pool at Memorial Park.

Already in the car, we headed straight there, parking near the pool. When we arrived two families were already searching. They’d been following Regier’s videos, too.

The race was on and the adrenalin kicked in. Everybody was searching frantically, hoping to be the one to find it.

And within about 10 minutes, a flock of treasure hunters had descended on the park. Dozens of people were running around. It was madness.

Families, couples, solo hunters — all of us in the park, searching under every stone and tree trunk.

Then, to my disbelief, I spotted it. It was nested under a tree, barely visible.

Almost everyone there had walked by it several times — I had walked past it early in the morning.

I snuck over and tried to keep it secret that I’d found it, because my partner and the kids were on the other side of the park and I wanted them to be there.

But kneeling down, I felt like I was doing a bad job of hiding an idol I’d just found on the show “Survivor.”

I turned around to see if anyone was watching and was spotted by none other than Ryan Gaio.

“Did you find it?” he asked.

I couldn’t hold it in.

“Yes!”

The news spread like wildfire through the park and everyone came up to see the golden prize.

It was an egg shell, hollowed out and painted gold, with a rolled-up note inside.

It said to call Regier and speak the secret password to claim the prize. The password was “abacus.”

The boys were screaming they were so excited.

“This is the best day ever!” Landon exclaimed.

We went home tired, but thankful. And the boys are still deciding whether they want to spend the prize money on hoverboards or a VR headset.

But that’s up to mom!

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