Thunder Bay

Pokemon Go reignites player's love of Thunder Bay

Andrew Mayo-White says he's discovering the beauty of downtown and getting lots of exercise

Andrew Mayo-White says he's discovering the beauty of downtown and getting lots of exercise

Andrew Mayo-White, left, poses with his LU Radio Thunder Geeks co-hosts Meagan McEathron and Kyle Wrightson and several Pokemon. Mayo-White said Pokemon Go is helping him notice how nice downtown Thunder Bay looks. (Andrew Mayo-White)

One Thunder Bay, Ont., man says playing Pokemon Go has reinvigorated his relationship with the city.

Walking and cycling around town trying to capture the anime characters with the new smart phone game has caused Andrew Mayo-White to notice "all the work that's gone into our downtown and our parks," he said.

"I've started noticing really cool art pieces," said Mayo-White, who hosts the Thunder Geeks radio program on LU Radio.

"I never noticed on the skate park at the marina they have these medallions that are on the marina that show microbiology that's in Lake Superior, and I thought that was really cool," he said.

"From playing Pokemon of all things, I started appreciating the city and going 'wow, our downtown actually looks really really nice.'"

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game in which players wander the city looking for Pokemons.

When the characters are close by, they appear on the user's smartphone screen.

The user can then click on the image to activate the smartphone's camera, which superimposes the image of the creature onto the scenery captured by the camera lens.

Players hurl virtual pokeballs at the Pokemon on their screen to capture it.

The game also allows users to join teams and battle for control of territories, known as gyms, that often correspond to local parks and monuments.

In addition, players can hatch new Pokemon from eggs — but only by travelling certain distances on foot or by bicycle.

'The most exercise I've gotten since I was 10'

That last feature has Mayo-White getting plenty of exercise, he said.

"In the past couple days I've done at least 20 kilometres hatching eggs. It's the most exercise I've gotten since I was 10," he said.

Pokemon Go hasn't officially been released in Canada yet, but already, dozens of players in Thunder Bay have downloaded it using workarounds.

Mayo-White said he saw around 30 people playing at Waverly Park and on the waterfront on Monday. 

"It was raining off and on ... and people just whipped out their umbrellas and kept going," he said. "I've never seen people on a Monday wanting to be in a park on a rainy day."   

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