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Music and reconciliation in Gananoque

·2 min read

GANANOQUE – Music mixed with the spirit of reconciliation over the weekend at the First Peoples Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands.

The performing arts festival "First, Now and Always" wrapped up on Sunday with an Indigenous Makers Market and a Water Walk that took off from the bandstand in Town Park and wound its way to the foot of Stone Street South for the dedication of the First Peoples Park of the Thousand Islands.

The park has been in the works for many years.

A group of both non-Indigenous and Indigenous people stopped at the three churches along Stone Street South, which was a new aspect of the walk.

The group stopped at the churches because of the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools and for everyone to take a moment to reflect on reconciliation from the churches.

"The churches have been taking responsibility... the whole point was to stop there and acknowledge that people are accepting that responsibility as the organization itself," said Kevin John Saylor, owner of the Royal Theatre of the Thousand Islands.

The air in the theatre filled with sounds of guitar strums and singing from the duo ALPHA, which finished the festival.

Some of the events throughout the three-day weekend were online as the Royal Theatre has only been able to have 40 guests. It is preparing to come back at full capacity as the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think it went well," said Saylor, adding he hopes that in the future the festival will become a weeklong event rather than just the weekend.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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