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Kingston Life July 2016
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    JAMES REID Furnishing your home since 1854 Visit our two store locations: 250 PRINCESS ST. | 613-548-3022 1880 JOHN COUNTER BLVD. | 613-544-4415 JULY/AUGUST 2016 | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | KINGSTON LIFE 9

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    2016 IMPREZA Different for many reasons. IIHS SUPERIOR FRONT CRASH PREVENTION * † (WITH OPTIONAL EYESIGHT ® ) RESIDUAL VALUE AWARD MIDSIZE CAR SEGMENT

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    Viewpoint personality | city file | the reporter | home game personality DRIVEN BY CHANGE BY KIRSTEEN MACLEOD Young water activist strives to make communities more water aware Photo by Tim Forbes In many ways, Kingston’s Robyn Hamlyn is a typical 17-year-old. She lives with her family — mother Joanne, father Terry, brother Connor, 13, and their two dogs, Sparky, a Tibetan terrier, and Misty, a feisty sheltie. She is about to graduate from Grade 12 at Bayridge Secondary School, loves playing soccer, hanging out with her friends and listening to music. But Hamlyn is also known as a water warrior. Unlike most teenagers, her summers, March breaks and weekends are often spent travelling across Ontario to speak to municipalities, to schools and at events about water conservation. “My goal is to make every community in Canada a Blue Community,” says the young activist. “I eventually want to make my way up to speaking to the premiers of each of our provinces and then, eventually, to our prime minister.” Hamlyn’s big plans build on her big successes. Youth-LeadeR.org Magazine, an online publication dedicated to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, called Hamlyn “one of the most important people on the planet.” In high demand as a speaker, she’s been talking to school groups and at events across Ontario. “Last week I did presentations to two schools here in Kingston,” says Hamlyn. “I was a speaker at the Water Docs festival in Toronto recently, and I’m doing a presentation at a big event called H2Awesome in Guelph, a get-together of school speakers all talking about water preservation. Last year, I presented to 600 kids there, and Severn Cullis-Suzuki was another speaker.” Here in the Limestone City, people may remember Hamlyn as the Grade 7 student who convinced city council to make Kingston a Blue Community. Just before, she’d seen Blue Gold: World Water Wars at school. “The documentary said that the planet was JULY/AUGUST 2016 | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | KINGSTON LIFE 11

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    personality I city file LOCAL EATS running out of water,” Hamlyn recalls. “For a 12-year-old to hear that was really scary. It said that future wars would be fought over water.” Hamlyn, who describes herself as a “passionate, stubborn, sensitive kid,” went home terrified — and determined to take action. On her mother’s advice, she wrote to Kingston’s then-mayor Mark Gerretsen about water issues, and to her surprise, was invited to meet with him. Hamlyn decided she had to ask the mayor to do something specific, and she learned about the Blue Communities Project, a joint initiative of the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Municipalities that sign on agree to three key resolutions: to ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events; to recognize water as a human right; and to promote publicly owned, financed and operated water and waste services. “When I met Mayor Gerretsen, I asked, ‘Why don’t you make Kingston a Blue Community?’ says Hamlyn. “He said, ‘Why don’t you make Kingston a Blue Community?’” Not long after — with hands shaking and palms sweating — she made a successful pitch to the mayor and city council. “That’s how it all got started,” she says, and since Kingston went blue five years ago, Hamlyn hasn’t looked back. She’s made countless pitches to other mayors and city councillors to encourage them to follow suit, and she’s succeeded in many Ontario communities, including Ajax, Bancroft, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Thorold and Welland. So what’s next for Hamlyn and her wave of change? She has been accepted at various universities — she’s leaning toward environmental sciences at University of Waterloo, and a career as a wildlife biologist. However her plan is to ask for a year’s deferral. “I want to take next year off to work on my activism with more focus,” Hamlyn says. “I’m hoping also to do a big walk around the Great Lakes next summer to raise awareness about our water crisis and about Blue Communities.” Hamlyn feels great urgency about water issues, and is ready to move forward. “I’m in the middle of getting my driver’s licence, so look out!” she says. “I want to hit Toronto and to spread out, to go to Quebec, and (also to) speak across the country.” Working for change, she adds, feels great. “Water is life . . . it’s what everyone needs to survive. The thrill I get from going and inspiring people and feeling I’m making a difference — it’s intoxicating.” FARM FRESH BY Want to eat fresh, seasonal, local, organic vegetables without getting your hands dirty? Fortunately, many small Kingstonarea farms will sell you a share in their harvest. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby an eater buys a share in a farmer’s crop, is a co-operative exchange that’s popular in the area. For an investment in the spring — many CSAs will be sold out by summer — customers receive regular seasonal vegetables, and sometimes meat, apples, eggs, milk, honey and other local foods. Members pay up front, which gives farmers capital for seeds, supplies and other costs — and provides an assured market. And if there’s a poor harvest, due to bad weather perhaps, the loss is borne by farmers and shareholders together. This way, farmers can survive, and eaters are supporting the local economy. Relationships between those who grow food and those who eat it, show how CSAs also create deeper connections. “It’s a real privilege to have people buy food from you — they’re putting it in their bodies,” notes farmer Megan Hamilton of The Kitchen Garden. “And it’s amazing to have people support our business with such dedication. More than customers, they feel like our friends and our community.” Here’s a list of Kingston-area farms that offer CSAs. KIRSTEEN MACLEOD 12 KINGSTON LIFE | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | JULY/AUGUST 2016

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    city file FARE WELL FARM www.farewellfarm.ca From mid-June to Thanksgiving, farmers Crista Thor and Mike Bayne share the bounty of their fields. In spring, customers can invest in a Veggie Lover’s share, or a full share, or a half share, and receive a list of what produce to expect each month. The farmers don’t use pesticides or other chemicals, and much of what they grow is from their own seeds, including eight varieties of potatoes. ROOT RADICAL www.rootradicalrows.com Root Radical has been delivering local organic products to the Kingston area for more than a decade. Emily Dowling, the main CSA farmer, works with her partner, Aric, and her family of organic dairy farmers. Root Radical grows about 40 types of vegetables and herbs. CSA favourites include cherry tomatoes, carrots and spinach, and members also have access to eggs, garden plants and Emily’s family’s beef. FAT CHANCE FARMSTEAD www.fatchancefarmstead.com Josh Suppan and Jen Valberg have operated this small organic farm north of Kingston since 2012. Their weekly food box program starts mid-June and runs through mid-October. Fat Chance Farmstead members eat with the seasons, each week taking home a variety of organic vegetables, strawberries, shiitake mushrooms and freshly baked bread. FREEDOM FARM www.freedom-farm.ca For nine seasons, Sharon and Will Freeman have been supplying Kingstonians with freshly picked organic produce grown at their farm near Dog Lake in Battersea. Members sign up for weekly or biweekly pickups or deliveries of seasonal veggies and herbs. For less familiar vegetables, or when there’s a bumper crop of zucchini or other produce, handy recipes for eaters to try out are provided. Email for winter share information, or talk to the farmers at the Memorial Centre Farmers Market. MAIN STREET MARKET www.mainstreetmarket.ca Urban farmers Tim and Tracy Lyon grow organic veggies, fruits and herbs on borrowed land downtown and offer it to weekly CSA shareholders. Shares also include shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Options include a half share, full share, 15-basket share or 10-basket share, Workshare or Wintershare. Pickups are available at CFB Kingston on Wednesdays from June 15 to Thanksgiving. Inside Kingston, Main Street Market has Green Delivery where your food will be delivered by bicycle. PATCHWORK GARDENS www.patchworkgardens.ca Now in its 11th CSA season, this 12-acre farm in Battersea, co-owned by Eric Williams, Megan Joslin and Ian Stutt, offers spring/summer and winter shares of organic vegetables. For the past two seasons, members have also been able to choose what they’d like from Patchwork’s Kingston Market stall. The CSA program also includes recipes and cooking suggestions. ROOTS DOWN ORGANIC FARM www.rootsdown.ca Jeff and Sue Klug’s certified organic farm near Seeley’s Bay was first cleared in the 1850s and has been farmed ever since. The farm offers members the option of a full share of 18 weeks or a half share of nine weeks, picked up every other week. As well, members can buy combination summer/ fall shares. To cut back on waste, the farmers ask that you bring your own bags and boxes when picking up at predetermined locations and times. SALT OF THE EARTH FARM www.saltofkingston.com In its third year, Salt of the Earth Farm, operated by Charles Summers and Morgan Alger, offers a regular share of eight to 12 seasonal selections of produce, or a deluxe share, which also includes herbs, special selections, offerings of bumper crops for freezing and canning, and, occasionally, bouquets of cut flowers. Members also get a free pass to visit the farm’s 300-plus acres, located five kilometres from downtown Kingston near the St. Lawrence River, and can purchase pasteurized pork, beef and free-range eggs. THE KITCHEN GARDEN www.thekitchengarden.ca Rather than a weekly box of veggies, farmers Evan Quigley and Megan Hamilton offer a “free choice” CSA, where members come to The Kitchen Garden stall at the Kingston Market to choose from what’s available. For eight years now, they’ve been sharing food from their two-acre organic vegetable farm in Wilton, Ont., where they follow biodynamic principles. With the help of their hardworking staff, they grow more than 40 different vegetable varieties. They have recently started foraging, which means chanterelles, black trumpets, oyster mushrooms and other treats are at their stall from time to time. JULY/AUGUST 2016 | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | KINGSTON LIFE 13

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    the reporter Fresh Appeal How tourism stakeholders are using the cool and creative to market the city BY HARVEY SCHACHTER The Kingston Alley pop-up event in Ottawa. Fresh made daily. It sounds like a commercial for orange juice or a bakery. But it’s actually the new tourism pitch for Kingston, also designed to beguile the senses, seducing potential visitors to experience a rich, authentic, full-flavoured experience in this city. It marks a departure from the past, with a new, carefully targeted market. It also marks the coming together – after signing a memorandum of agreement – of the two main tourism promoters for this city, following years of wariness if not, at times, antagonism. It builds on the city’s motto – “Where history and innovation thrive” — by highlighting the so-called “maker movement,” creative people of all genres, from artisans to chefs to craft beermeisters, who ply their trades in a historic city laced with architectural grandeur. The broader message, in the words of Violette Hiebert, director of tourism marketing and development for the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO): “Come to Kingston as it’s authentically hip, culturally vibrant and constantly evolving.” In other words, if you’re looking for the touristy experience of Banff, Alta., or Niagara Falls, this isn’t it. But if you want to be immersed in the actual history and exciting culture of a city in a unique way while visiting, Kingston is the place. Hiebert notes that people can visit New York for the many tourist sites, such as the Empire State Building. Or they can visit and dip into the charm of Brooklyn. “Kingston is like Brooklyn to Toronto – a cool neighbourhood that is always changing and surprising,” she says. “We are not a formal city. We are informal and informed. We speak with the confidence of a 300-year-old city.” The campaign takes this message into the realm of social media and experiential showcases, putting less emphasis on other media. This campaign was, of course, not made in a day. In some ways it traces back to 2004, when Kingston hoteliers, upset there was little budget money left over — after Tourism Kingston paid for essentials like brochures and the staff at the tourism reception centre — for an effective external marketing campaign, decided to put up some of their own money toward that important task. It was not an original idea but followed fast on the heels of what had occurred in Toronto and Ottawa. And it wasn’t strictly their own money: A levy was put on hotel rooms to fund the campaign. Photo courtesy of Alphabet Creative 14 KINGSTON LIFE | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | JULY/AUGUST 2016

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    the reporter “We are not a formal city. We are informal and informed. We speak with the confidence of a 300-year-old city.” It met with great initial success and hotels were packed. But hoteliers faced a fresh challenge in 2007 to 2009 when four new hotels opened. “We needed to increase tourists by 28 per cent to keep the occupancy rate level with the new hotel rooms available,” says Murray Matheson, executive director of Kingston Accommodation Partners (KAP), the association of hoteliers (with Fort Henry and Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises and Trolley Tours as associate members). “We are now starting to achieve the occupancy of 2007 and 2008.” The association also was hit by the imposition of the HST, which eliminated the favourable tax rate in place for hotels. For two years the province offered a subsidy to compensate but now, again following Toronto and Ottawa, hotels pay KAP three per cent of their previous month’s room revenues, with all but one siphoning that from a fee their room patrons pay. Beyond those funding issues, the city’s overall tourist marketing was divided between two groups that were not co-operating all that effectively – KAP and KEDCO — with different websites and themes and activities. There was no agreement on what Kingston’s brand should be and to whom the city should be marketed. In February 2015, KAP hired consultant Greg Klassen, perhaps the best-known individual in Canadian tourism. He had served for 13 years in senior leadership positions at the Canadian Tourism Commission and had recently started an Ottawabased consultancy. He met in 90-minute sessions with major tourism stakeholders in the city, from the mayor and chief administrative officer through to members of the cultural community. Unexpectedly, a theme emerged, serendipitously, in each interview: Every September, Kingston is forced by the young people flocking to our town as students to reinvent itself. From music offerings to restaurant menus to items for sale in local shops, retooling and reinvention is required. Matheson remembers Dean Byrnes — the chair of KEDCO and co-founder of Eikon Device Inc., which supplies needles and other equipment for the tattoo industry — exulting about bringing tattoo artists to Kingston. They loved the buildings, shopping and restaurants, and found the city vibrant and creative. “Greg didn’t lead people to a conclusion,” stresses Matheson. “But they were all excited when they came to the conclusion they did. We realized the creative community is the biggest asset of the community.” Cultural tourism is not new. But there is hesitation to even use that term with this campaign. Cultural tourism might conventionally bring people to see the Agnes Etherington and take in a concert in the splendour of The Isabel. And that still counts. But this is broader, seeing culture in pubs housed in historic buildings, buskers, artisans, creative culinary offerings and splendid architecture nestled close to waterways. It’s mainstream, not highbrow, culture. The target, it was decided, would be millennials and the so-called millennially inclined, people who share their interests and digital communication preferences so they might receive the messages in the same preferred marketing channels. As that campaign started to take form, a strange thing happened. Donna Gillespie, interim CEO of KEDCO, called Matheson and asked if there was anything she could do to help the new effort. “I give a lot of credit to Donna Gillespie. She opened the door and I charged through,” he says. A memorandum of agreement was signed, and the two organizations began to work together — still separate entities, but joined in a new website, branding and tag lines, with weekly meetings to co-ordinate immediate activities and a monthly session looking ahead at the next few months. “From a marketing and external communications strategy, it’s all one,” he says. It’s also different from what conventionally has been done in marketing. Take the Kingston Alley, which you actually won’t find in that form in Kingston as it’s the moniker for a taste of Kingston pop-up shop that has been offered in Ottawa (as a one-night trial during the Hintonburg Happening event), and then over three days in a festival on Toronto’s Ossington Street. People who attended those events could sample Kingston food, meet some artisans and try locally made brew. In Toronto, they were even treated to musical concerts: Emily Fennell, PS I Love You and Wolfe Island Revellers on successive nights, exemplifying the different styles of Kingston’s music scene. Participants have included Chez Piggy/ Pan Chancho, Black Dog Hospitality (Le Chen Noir, Atomica, Harper’s, and Diane’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse), Stone City Ales, MacKinnon Brothers Brewing, and Skeleton Park Brewery. Essentially, the tourism team see themselves as providing a venue that Kingston makers can take advantage of — and hopefully entice people to visit our city. As well, there are contests — win a weekend in Kingston — and a hashtag on which people attending are encouraged to offer comments and pictures to be shared with their friends and the social media world. The two events were expensive in time and money but it felt worthwhile to reach out and to better understand the approach. In time, the Kingston Alley is more likely to become a smaller presence at festivals where the target market hangs out rather than a complete, pop-up Kingston shop. At the premier Rendez-vous Canada gathering for the international tourism industry, a Kingston cafe was set up. Designer-printer Vincent Perez, owner of Everlovin’ Press, provided samples of his quirky Kingston-themed T-shirts, which will also be for sale in the tourism office at the train station this summer. They feature Old Tomorrow Sir John A., Tragically Hip lyrics and Don Cherry mottos. “People were fighting over them at the trade show,” says Hiebert. Supporting makers also means offering some seed money for events. This year that included boosting the Limestone City Tattoo and Arts Festival, which will be held in September, bringing tattoo artists from around the world to the city. There has also been an attempt to cultivate local bloggers and get them to contribute to the campaign. Somewhat more conventionally, but again carefully targeted, the first three ad pages in the May/June issue of Edible Ottawa were bought to feature short vignettes on Kingston’s edible offerings — and on the next ad page was a list of Kingston events of interest. Concern has arisen in the Canadian tourism industry because millennials seem to be more interested in travelling abroad than in this country. But Hiebert isn’t worried. She says Kingston is appealing to the Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and upper New York State markets, which are felt will be an attractive fit. “We’re perfectly positioned. It’s easy to get here for a weekend and you’re not paying $300 or $400 for a hotel room, yet we have all the amenities of Toronto and Montreal. And we’re different,” she says. Matheson says it will take a few years to tweak the program and know its impact for sure. But he is confident. Invariably, people are surprised by what they find when they come to Kingston. This city is fresh made daily, and he hopes the message will draw more people to enjoy the experience. JULY/AUGUST 2016 | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | KINGSTON LIFE 15

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    home game Puckstruck* Learning the hard way to take it easy BY LAWRENCE SCANLAN The puck struck just below and outside my left kneecap – where a curious twoinch-long eyebrow of blood marked the spot. But the pain I felt on impact came from behind the knee, where my decadesold shin guards (there is a misnomer) offer little protection save for some felt as thick as the magazine you hold in your hands. That was a Wednesday, when some oldtimers playing at the Invista Centre had need of another warm body as their season wound down, and I had put up my hand. I’m in my late 60s and count myself a hockey old-timer, but many of these players were in their 70s and two of the goalies in this league, I was told, were 80. This should have been a pleasant $10 skate. They were an affable bunch who played smart positional hockey. As for that puck to the leg, I reckoned it would leave me with a bruise. Five days later, I am sitting on an Airbnb bed in San Diego, Calif., my leg elevated on pillows. I am scribbling these words in a small lime-green notebook that my wife bought for me on a trip to Germany. On the cover it reads: Am Ende wird alles / GUT / Wenn es nicht gut wird, / Ist es noch nicht / Das Ende. In the end / everything will be / fine. / If it’s not fine / It’s not yet/ the end. I had to admire the optimism. But how did a West Coast wedding invitation and hiking trip morph into bed confinement? Blame my generation’s refusal to quit. We won’t even quit our jobs to give younger folks entry into the workplace, but that’s another story. I’m talking about men – pensioners, seniors, grey beards – who insist on playing contact-ish sports. I skate, therefore I am. René Descartes, the French philosopher, wrote something similar but I don’t think he’d ever been inside a dressing room and heard the wisecrackers holding court. I play hockey September to May, twice a week. In my Monday bunch is a player in his early 70s (let’s call him Phil) who has had so many hockey-induced concussions that the dark joke among the rest of us is this: The one who accidentally fells him, thereby hastening his demise, will henceforth be made to wear a black sweater confessing to that crime. “I killed Phil,” the sweater will proclaim. So we skate delicately around Phil, and Phil – a rushing defenceman! – rushes on. Lord Stanley’s Cup by Kingston artist Mat Poirier uses pucks, white acrylic paint and elbow grease to create hockey images on boards. In another bunch I play with, three older players bowed out for the 2015-2016 season. John needed cardiac rehabilitation, André — our smallest player — had shoulder surgery following an unlucky brush with our largest player, and Tim awaits a new hip. Younger players took their places, and the game got faster. I did not get faster. The big defenceman who fired the puck that hit my leg must have had what goalies call a “heavy” shot. Maybe at different points in the game, two pucks met my unfortunate leg, with only one noticed, the other not. Maybe only one puck assailed me, but in two spots — almost at once, fore and aft — as I turned. Puck as anesthetic. The following day, a Thursday, I tried to respect the soreness, cutting short the dog walks. I limped, walked in stiff-legged slow motion and took stairs sideways to avoid bending the thickening knee. Friday, with my wife, Ulrike, I drove to Toronto to attend our son’s graduation show in industrial design from Humber College. His thesis project was a reconceived ambulance, and his 35-pound painted wooden model was one of several dozen projects on display at the Toronto Design Exchange. Two design firms sponsoring prizes at the show liked Kurt’s project – leading to two first-place awards and $1,200 in prize money. The good news? I was immensely proud of our son. The bad news? My leg did not thank me for three hours of standing at the show as a steady stream of friends and family came to congratulate Kurt, to admire his ambulance and to hear him expound on its many benefits and advantages. That’s what I needed: an ambulance. Next morning at dawn, Ulrike and I flew to a wedding north of San Diego where the celebration got the better of me. I would dance and dance, which later I would regret and regret. Sunday we attended a baseball game and watched as the St. Louis Cardinals pounded the hapless San Diego Padres in sun-filled Petco Park. We later walked the Gaslamp Quarter, with me trying to keep up with Ulrike, who had started calling me Gramps. That night we got lost walking back to Piece by Mat Poirier; Photograph by Lawrence Scanlan 16 KINGSTON LIFE | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | JULY/AUGUST 2016

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    AD{TS4651195} AD{TS4665896} home game our lodgings, veered far off course on an uphill climb and the leg issued a warming: Genug ist genug. Enough is enough. Now, it’s a Monday — day five of the injury. Ulrike is off exploring Balboa Park while I lie abed and ponder male pride. My left leg from the knee down is a swollen mass of an off-green-yellow colour (think unripe bananas), with my left foot, instep and ankle all a complementary black and purple (think thunderstorm skies). My inner calf muscle and outer knee are both warm and painful to the touch. Tingling abounds. “I picked the worst time to go on a West Coast hiking trip,” I opine over dinnertime takeout. “You picked the worst time to get a hockey injury,” comes the terse reply. Truth is, I don’t have a leg to stand on. The swelling of my leg has ebbed and flowed but never really subsided. (Even more than a month later, the ankle remains swollen and discoloured.) Abandoned by my useless brain, the leg is taking over the task of healing. “Rest,” the leg is saying. “Keep me elevated, or I will just go on swelling.” Brains may lie but bodies never do. I suspect I have a cracked bone (though X-rays in Kingston will later negate that diagnosis, and ultrasound imaging will nix a blood clot thesis), and I am actually toying with the idea of having the leg examined by a doctor in California. We do have medical coverage, but I have heard too many horror stories. Over breakfast the morning after the wedding, a retired Canadian stockbroker told the story of an erstwhile client of advanced years who inexplicably travelled to Florida – sans medical coverage. Heart trouble led to surgery down there and a quarter-million-dollar medical bill, which that particular geezer could well afford. This particular geezer cannot. So I have been resting my aching bones on propped pillows and reading – for four days. I have quickly exhausted my own reading material (the New Yorker, Harper’s and a fine crime novel set amid the wineries of Prince Edward County, The County Murders, by Picton writer J.D. Carpenter), and I am raiding my host’s shelf where I find The World’s Greatest Book of Useless Information, which informs, citing the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, that one joint in the human body is the largest, the most often and the most easily injured: the knee, of course. “You picked the worst time to get a hockey injury.” I identify as a writer and – impossible though it may seem – as an athlete, albeit an aging, amateur, unexceptional one. The writing will stop only when my brain ceases to generate words and sentences. The playing will cease only when the body refuses to co-operate, so that skiing, cycling and skating are all ruled out, at which point I suppose I could take up a less kinetic, more genteel sport. Golf, for example. But I never golfed as a child, and that slow and ponderous game (which, by the way, I stink at) has no appeal for me. We do take risks when we don skates and step out onto the ice, but I have been skating for 63 years and playing hockey for almost that long. And while whatever speed I possessed in my youth has vanished, the nostalgic appeal remains, and there is at least the illusion of speed. Cycling and skiing likewise pose risks yet offer all the rewards that come with motion. Motion to water the eyes and quicken the heart. Therein lies the joy. In his book, Our Life with the Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story, author Roch Carrier – best known for his kids’ book, The Hockey Sweater – describes inline skating along De Maisonneuve Boulevard in Montreal on May 31, 1998, his 61st birthday. He had not skated in a long, long time but the exhilaration he felt as a child returns almost immediately – and in defiance of his slow going. “Skating is flying,” he writes. “Skating means having wings.” So I continue my rehab here in Little Italy, up on the heights overlooking the city of San Diego and its airport. The planes fly so incredibly low as they make their descent that I have this thought: An outfielder in baseball with an exceptional arm could strike the undercarriage of one with a hard throw. (To all government spy agencies monitoring me: Please note that I am not advocating such action. This is merely hypothetical — a metaphor to make a point. OK?) The mere thought of such a toss makes my own arm sore and I put it (the thought, that is, not the arm) to rest, along with my gimpy, grumpy appendage. (*The title for this column is used with the kind permission of Stephen Smith, who wrote a rich and passionate book on hockey by the same name. Smith toiled with me at The Whig-Standard in the 1980s.) Mary Ambrose & Danielle Ambrose 513 CHERYL PLACE $439,000 MLS ® www.WeSellKingstonHomes.ca C’est un plaisir de vous servir en français maryambrose SALES REPRESENTATIVE 613.985.1559 mambrose@royallepage.ca danielleambrose SALES REPRESENTATIVE 613.328.0504 dambrose@royallepage.ca Registered with Brookfield Global Relocation Services MARY & DANIELLE AMBROSE PLUMBING PLUS DESIGN | SALES | INSTALLATIONS | SERVICE connecting style and price with good advice BELLEVILLE Northland CTR. Hwy 62 613-968-3461 Featuring Vapora by KINGSTON 655 Arlington Park Place 613-389-5724 www.plumbingplus.com complete renovations & new home plumbing/service work JULY/AUGUST 2016 | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | KINGSTON LIFE 17

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    A CITY OF FESTIVALS Funding, audiences, headliners, even naming conventions — nothing is certain in the festival world In post, the artistic director cited financial hardship, the late March, Virginia Clark sent shockwaves through the city when she announced that the long-standing Wolfe Island Music Festival (WIMF) would not be held this summer — it would have been its 18th year. In a Facebook overabundance of festivals in the area and an evolving festival market as reasons behind the one-year hiatus. The comments that followed were virtually all a variation of “Keep the faith and look towards 2017!” One individual even wrote, “There must be a solution, so let’s figure it out!” “If there’s one hiccup, the consumer thinks, ‘Well, there’s a festival in Ottawa I can go to instead.’ In Toronto, there are probably 20 festivals that are the same kind of lineup as us.” By KELLY REID Photography by ROB WHELAN Such pluck is typical among festival folks. But the inexhaustible optimism belies an industry that is rife with struggle. Attracting performers, competing for audiences and securing funding — not to mention actually marketing and producing a festival once it gets legs — are ongoing jobs that are nearly always performed in a volunteer capacity by the organizers. Clark, who has undertaken all of this at Wolfe Island, was succinct about the decision to suspend what has consumed the last 18 years of her life: “I’ve had some really dark days.” Despite how tenuous success can be, even for well-established events such as WIMF, the festival market is booming both in Kingston and beyond. In Clark’s statement about the hiatus, she wrote, “When we first started the Festival, the only other similar event was Lollapalooza. A lot has changed in the festival market since then.” Indeed. Now, there are festivals like WayHome in Oro-Medonte, Field Trip and NXNE in Toronto, Osheaga in Montreal, SCENE music festival in St. Catharines, Bluesfest in Ottawa, Sandbanks Music Festival in Prince Edward County — and that is just the very beginning. And this list doesn’t even touch on more niche genres like jazz festivals or EDM (electronic dance music) festivals. Last year, when Wolfe Island experienced disrupted ferry service, WIMF ticket sales plummeted. Unable to recoup the losses from ticket sales, the festival was looking to plan 2016 already in the red from the previous year. “It really affects us when there’s a saturation of festivals in a small radius,” says Clark. “If there’s one hiccup, the consumer thinks, ‘Well, there’s a festival in Ottawa I can go to instead.’ In Toronto, there are probably 20 festivals that are the same kind of lineup as us.” It’s not just competition for audiences. The crashing dollar means that booking American acts has become prohibitively expensive for most festivals. While WIMF used to be one of a few events to feature an all-Canadian lineup, it now competes with festival giants in Toronto and Montreal to book the same acts. “We’re not a corporate festival with really deep pockets,” Clark says. “And we don’t want to be an event that has a VIP section or charges $300 for tickets.” The inability to compete financially means less likelihood of booking mustsee performers who draw audiences from a wider radius. Consider next that Wolfe Island technically isn’t part of the City of Kingston, and the odds seem insurmountable. This means that the festival isn’t eligible for grants from, say, the 18 KINGSTON LIFE | KINGSTONLIFE.CA | JULY/AUGUST 2016

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