Kingston Waterfront, ON - Mary Farrar

My Watermark is the Kingston Waterfront of Lake Ontario.

My most powerful memory of the Kingston Waterfront was the time when we did the Shoreline Shuffle! What an awesome event with sculptures set up for the day - all along the waterfront. And it actually led to Kingston creating a Waterfront Master Plan! Yay!

Also I have been involved for the past two years protecting turtle nests in Doug Fluhrer Park. How magical! Watching the turtles lay their eggs, count their eggs, walk on the water and quietly slip in.

I have a passion for the turtles in the inner harbour. We have been trying to block the Wellington Street extension from coming through the waterfront harbour for 7-8 years now. As part of that we decided to look at the turtles and see what the turtle population was like in the inner harbour. We started this last year in 2016, and continued it again this year in 2017. We have been utterly blown away by the turtles!

Last year we recovered over 100 nests in a small area. Who would have known that there were so many turtles there. Of course, we have learned so much about the turtles, and there hasn’t been much research done on fresh water turtles. A lot of research has been done on sea turtles, but nothing much on fresh water turtles.

We’ve learned all this magical stuff, like turtles are suppose to have 10X the sense of smell that dogs have. Turtles are suppose to communicate with each other in embryo, within the egg so that they all hatch together, and that turtles are in fact the species most at risk globally. They're dying at huge numbers with their habitats being destroyed. Therefore, we feel a sense of urgency and a deep sense of protection for these creatures. In the Northern Mountains the turtles are definitely at risk.

This has caused us to connect with the indigenous community because the turtles are so important to those of indigenous culture. It also very magically connects to women with respect to the thirteen segments on the turtle’s back which correspond to the 13 moons in native culture and 13 menstrual cycles women have through the course of the year. All of this stuff has become known to us, that we had no idea about either. It’s amazing watching these pre-historic creatures make a come back in this very cold, polluted and industrialized area. They are also leading the way in terms of helping the planet heal. The turtles have caused me to have a very deep connection with nature, and the indigenous community.

A part of our concern this past summer, was the creation of a new trail in Kingston. And it totally destroyed the environment. We were very curious about how the turtles were going to survive that. We are very grateful that the city unbeknownst to them covered the park with gravel, and then grass seed-created the most perfect nesting area for the turtles. It was not intentional, but the city did create a beautiful sandy area for the turtles to lay eggs. South River Park is a place I would say is an excellent place for turtle nesting!

I grew up in Toronto, then my husband and I got married at Queens, and I became a teacher in Kingston. I made a career as a teacher back when we had a big farm with chickens, and everything. It was a big change moving to Kingston 10 years ago, and so we did change our lives totally. We became very involved in Kingston. Specifically the Inner Harbour Heritage Trail and K&P trail. The K&P trail is now at its official opening,and the Inner Harbour 20km cycling trail is in the books. We feel we have been somewhat successful. We are very happy with what has happened so far.

Another powerful memory was meeting Grandmother Josephine (Water Walker 2017).

The Kingston Waterfront is important to me because water is life. Cells don't divide without water. We are water.

Lake Ontario, ON
Dana Jackson
Mary Farrar

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