Northumberland Strait, PEI - Savoy Howe
My name is Savoy Howe, I’m originally a Miramicher from New Brunswick.
I’ve been living in Toronto for 30 years and I run a womens boxing gym in Toronto where we open it up to not only women, but transgender people and we let the boys in twice a week. I came to the National Water Centre this weekend quite serendipitously. Every year I go away to a writing retreat - this year I couldn’t pull it off, I was quite disappointed by that and then within a week I get a call from Dave Bidnini asking me if I wanted to come here for something having to do with water and I looked at the site on the internet and I was like yes I will come there! I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I am always up for serendipitous excursions.
I have a theatre degree. I never ever considered getting into boxing but somehow I fell into boxing and I still have one foot involved in theatre. I love writing 10-min pieces and getting spots in cabarets and theatre festivals where I can present my piece. Our gym is kind of like a theatre, one of the best boxing stages in my world is a boxing ring so we do a lot of different types of performances in the gym. After hearing the speech yesterday about what your amazing organization is all about and doing, I want to take notes from that speech because there is so much great information given in it and so many things that I had no idea about. So I really want to take notes from that speech and create a 10-minute piece that I can do in the gym, do it in theatre festivals.
Right now the working title is Waterkeeper. Although I don’t want to steal that title away from your guys, it is just a working title. I love the theme of swim, fish, drink. So I think I’ll be writing something and performing it to my students and anywhere where I can. Growing up on the Miramichi, the Northumberland Strait was a big part of my life until I left when I was 18. I grew up on an air force base at Chatnam. When my family decided to build a house, they moved down to Tabusintac and my father built my mom a house right next to her homestead and it was on Mulpack Road. Five minutes down Mulpak Road is Mulpak Beach and 3 miles out is a sandbar called Le Dune. It is a sandbar that is not very wide but about 5 miles long, it is Crown land. On the other side is the crashing ocean.
When I was about 13, my father built a little cabin no bigger than a baby barn where the beds folded out and the tabled folded out and in the winter time when this side of the water froze over, he put it on skis and hauled it out on his truck, put it out on four big posts on Le Dune and that was our family cottage for over 15 years. The only time I ever thought about water, not the only time, like every time I flush the toilet and I think oh my gosh, so much water when some people in some countries have to walk 5 miles to get clean water, and we had the black out in Toronto and all of a sudden we didn’t have water and it was like oh my gosh, I don’t have water for a day and this could go on, it got me really thinking wow, some people go through this all year long.
As I was hearing the great speech, it made me realize wait a minute I grew up on water. We dug clams all day and fished mackerel. Once in a while the fishermen would come in and bring us lobster and codfish. For the potatoes and hotdogs that we brought out in case we didn’t get food, we never ate the hot dogs because we lived off the land out there so that’s gonna be my Watermark.
Give me an audience, just in boxing alone, sometimes people invite me to thing and they’ll be like “enough, enough” but I’d be like, “But I’m not finished my story!” So I love story-telling. I promise I won’t go over, especially the more I think about my watermark story and all the fun we had out there. Fifteen people would stay in camps and we’d feed them all out of this tiny shed, I’m very excited to share my story. Thank you very much for inviting me, this has been an amazing experience. I can’t believe the company I am in. I keep sending my friends these little messages and they’ve been saying ask the space man about this and this and this and I’m like well okay, I’ll find the right time.