September 29th and 30th, Topsy Farms offers a FREE EVENT FOR THE PUBLIC on Amherst Island. Watch and learn the ancient technique of dry stone walling, during a two-day festival of demonstrations, walling and stone-carving workshops; interactive displays; kids’ workshops, stories and colouring books. Topsy also offers walking trails, pet lambs, and nature to enjoy. Ferry leaves once an hour on the HALF hour – cost, $9 per car.
The theme of the Festival is “Farm to Table/Stone to Wall”. People may register on Dry Stone Canada’s festival site as a student, or are invited at no cost to come to Topsy and to experience and enjoy. Kids will learn the technique using lighter materials, as in the photo below. Dry Stone Canada came to Amherst Island a few years ago for its annual festival, and left a wonderful legacy opposite the school.
The first morning, Paul Carl an Indigenous community member from Katarokwi (now Kingston) will speak of the significance the grandfather and grandmother stones used to build our wall. We acknowledge we are merely the most recent caretakers of our land.
There will be two workshops during the festival (walling & stone carving) at the beginner/intermediate level. International & local invited guests will give talks & presentations open to the public. Our community booths, children’s area & learning program will explore the connections between rural traditional dry stone walling & local agriculture practices. A self-guided tour booklet of Amherst Island’s historic Irish settler drystone walls will also be available.
Sincere thanks to our sponsors:
Miller Thomson for generously supporting our local food and agriculture program.
Value Sciences Investment Counsel for supporting travel for our international guests (David Wilson and Louise Price)
Lafarge Canada for their generous donation.
Battlefield Equipment Rentals and McCormick Construction for their loan of equipment.
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing for keeping our thirsty workers working.
BGM Metalworks for funding.
David Baker and Grace E. Brown, Insurance, for festival Tee shirts
Thanks to the people of Amherst Island who opened their homes and hearts to accommodate about 90 wallers, students and their families a significant accomplishment for a population of about 450.
Deep gratitude to The Lodge on Amherst Island for generosity in providing accommodation, and a venue for talks, music and dinners at a special rate.
The Back Kitchen performed heroics, feeding the crowds at 3 different venues, working with a skeleton staff of all volunteers, too each of whom we send sincere thanks. To Lorna Willis, who worked and coordinated all, despite a full-time job and her campaign as a candidate for mayor of Loyalist Township.