Walk For Peace
It is nothing short of magical how this Labyrinth came together. From beginning to end it is evident given the right time, the right people working together, each fulfilling which they were meant to...monuments of great beauty and meaning can be co-created .
Betty Conlin, a local artisan, first encountered a Labyrinth in Sedona, Arizona while on a photo shoot for her art work in the fall of 2000.On the plane trip home, she reminisced on the experience and what a profound effect it had on her. It was then she decided that this was a must for Kincardine.
FOUNDING THE LABYRINTH CORE GROUP
Within a week of her arrival home, Betty mentioned the idea to her friend Cheryl Murray, a local Reiki Master and co-founder of the Kincardine Holistic Health Centre and Betty Lamont, a driving force in the Kincardine Horticultural Society and Communities in Bloom. Both friends, who also had the opportunity of walking Labyrinths, agreed, Kincardine must have a Labyrinth. Early attempts at finding a location for the Labyrinth were unfruitful but Betty and Cheryl continued to talk to their friends about the project, and well they told two friends, and they told two friends... Both Betty and Cheryl went on to build Labyrinths in their own back yards.
Among those friends Cheryl told
were Sheila Burr, a retired school teacher and Trager
practitioner, she and friend Lynda Janzen, a Hypnotherapist and
professional promotions expert, had walked Labyrinths in London, Ottawa,Clifford, and Guelph.
SECURING THE LOCATION
By the fall of 2001, an impressive presentation was put together by Betty L and Martin Q and delivered to a hesitant but more than a little curious Town Council. Intrigued, council and Men of the Trees, graciously approved the use of space in Geddes Environmental Park for the project.
The Park is a lovely spot in the heart of town. Once a farm, owned by the Geddes family, horses used to roam the woods and trails along the river which marks its southern boundary. A place of tranquility, the small pasture, now wildflower meadow interspersed with lovingly planted trees, beckons nature enthusiasts to explore its trails. It is in this meadow, surrounded by forest and stream, that the Labyrinth lies.
All the work of course would have to be done by volunteers...and all the materials purchased out of pocket. Undaunted and enthusiastic, the group forged ahead.
The name, "Kincardine Labyrinth Peace Garden" was chosen to reflect the power of the Labyrinth, of "Peace in a world in Chaos". and the Truth that "Only by obtaining Peace within will we attain Peace without."
Our motto, simply put is Walk for Peace"
The group discussed what their vision for the Kincardine Labyrinth Peace Garden would be. These points were unanimously agreed upon:
- Community involvement in the project was essential-without it there could be no Labyrinth.
- The design and paths would be wide enough to facilitate wheel chairs and more than one person.
- The paths would be made of environmentally friendly material, such as "stone dust"
- The evolving pattern of colour in the flower beds would reflect that of the seven chakras- beginning with red flowers upon entry evolving to purple and white in the centre.
- A special focus would be on native flowers and plants- making the Labyrinth fit in with the theme of its location as an Environmental Park as well. Interpretative plaques would be placed at the locations of these plants/flowers.
- An information kiosk would be built outlining the history and uses of Labyrinths.
Originally constructing a traditional Seven Circuit Labyrinth was agreed upon. A beautiful design in itself but not condusive to wheelchair accessibility. A variation of what is called the Chalice Design Labyrinth was chosen. It is a somewhat simplified version of the eleven circuit Labyrinth found in the cathedral in Chartres,France.
THE BIG DIG
Friends continued to be told and by the time spring rolled around in 2002 there was quite a group of people who have become known as "Friends of the Labyrinth". In late April the town sent down a bulldozer to carve an 80' circle out of the chosen location. The best top soil scooped into four heaping mounds on the outer perimeter, these would later be used to build the flower beds.
An excellent proposal for a grant was presented by Lynda J to the TD Bank. It was hoped that money from the grant would be available to purchase the desired paving material. That did not happen, so plan B was implemented. For the first year, the Labyrinth would have paths of cedar chips. Again the town "chipped" in and and one day, a mountain of aromatic wood chips appeared on site- and a pile of valuable compost as well.
In mid-May, Betty L, Cheryl and her partner Keith, set out to map the Labyrinth on the ground, armed with 10 cans of fluorescent orange spray paint, hoes, string and scaled maps of the proposed Labyrinth as a guide. A day and a half later, working from the outside paths inward, the design was successfully inscribed on the ground...
THE CONSTRUCTION AND THE PLANTING
It cannot be commented enough how important all the volunteers were to the construction of the Labyrinth. Many of those who helped are listed on the Volunteers page of the site.
On Saturday, June 8, 2002 constructing the paths and flower beds began. Using wheelbarrows and shovels 24 hardworking Air Cadets headed by Bruce Clift and under the guidance of the Labyrinth Core Group moved mountains of woodchips and dirt. Others, including Ron Coristine and his son Tayler also contributed backbreaking hours to the project and within 6 hours the Labyrinth was a reality!
The following Saturday, June
15th 2002, the planting began in earnest. With donations
purchased and collected by friends from local shops the Labyrinth
blossomed under the loving hands of volunteers who planted pot
upon pot of flowers.
FUNDRAISING AND DONATIONS
T-shirts were designed by Cheryl Murray and Betty Conlin - with Betty doing all the leg work in getting them manufactured by a local company, Presto Crest. All profits from the sale of the T-shirts and Greeting Cards go directly into a fund that will be used to purchase paving materials, kiosk and drip hoses for the Labyrinth.
Sheila Burr's father, Fred
Burr, 91 years young and frequent visitor to the Labyrinth,
purchased several hundred feet of hose and a sprinkler that kept
the Labyrinth watered through drought like conditions. When most
gardens were floundering, the Labyrinth bloomed profusely.
COMMUNITIES IN BLOOM "FIVE BLOOMS" AWARD
The town of Kincardine was awarded the prestigious "Five Blooms" Award in September of 2002 and the National Award in 2003. The Labyrinth was credited with helping to capture the title. And indeed, it seems the Labyrinth has also captured the hearts of many townsfolk!
WHEEL CHAIR FRIENDLY PATHS
In May of 2004, enough money had been raised for the purchase of enough stone dust for the paths. With the help of many volunteers, and especially again the Kincardine Air Cadets under the leadership of Capt. Bruce Clift- two "mountains" of stone dust were shovelled, wheelbarrowed and raked level onto the paths. Then in October 2007 Isen Landscaping was contracted to place and compact even more stone dust, they did a beautiful job. The vision of creating a wheel chair friendly labyrinth in our town has finally been realized. Again thank you to all those volunteers who continue to maintain this lovely garden.
SPIRITUAL GARDENS DOCUMENTARY
In the summer of 2006 a film crew from Vision TV came to Kincardine to film a documentary on the Labyrinth Peace Garden- after seeing it first on this website and then in person, the director of the series was compelled to include it in the series. The documentary aired nationally in August of 2007 and portrays the story and use of the gardens in a heartwarming way.