Canada 150 Plus recognizes that the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, predates confederation by millennia. Topsy Farms is proud to have its products used and valued by many First Nations groups and individuals, as well as in events that celebrate Canada’s heritage since 1867.
We are fund-raising for the www.downie/wenjack.ca fund to help heal residential school survivors, to celebrate Canada 150 Plus.
The fund honours the memory of Chaney Wenjack, who died while trying to find his way home. Topsy designed a sock scarf similar to the ones worn by Gord in his 2016 series of concerts across Canada. $15 from each sale – $10 from the purchaser and $5 from Topsy Farms – is donated to the fund. We pay most of the shipping costs; coupon word GORD.
We have paid for services from native healers in the traditional way, with a gift of a blanket and tobacco. We provided bouquets for a big wedding, requesting a donation to a First Nations healing group in B.C. in return. Our Throws and Lap Robes have also been used at the South-west Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Chippawa.
A neighbour on Amherst Island was taught traditional leather hand stitching and beading by her grandmother on the reserve. Using our crafting shearling sheepskins, she has created magnificent mukluks and gauntlets for members of her family. She uses hides, prepared by people on the reserve in Deseronto.
For many years, Topsy has gathered and donated fresh food produce from Amherst Island gardeners to the hungry in Kingston, through the Partners in Mission Food Bank then more recently, through Loving Spoonful. Once our donation included elderberries, delivered to the Friendship Centre in Kingston. A maker of traditional medicines was delighted to receive them and to use them. That started a relationship with medicine makers from the reserve in Deseronto.
We will give seed corn for Three Sisters to anyone asking, who visits, to celebrate Canada 150 Plus.
Learning from native gardeners over eons, we plant a Three Sisters garden, using traditional corn and beans, though our own squash and pumpkin. The corn, provides height and structure for the Rattlesnake beans, which climb the stalks, and replenish the soil with much-needed nitrogen. We plant the squash and pumpkins in alternate hills to the other two foods, cover ground, controlling weeds and providing shade to the roots, helping moisture retention. These foods complement each other, providing a balanced diet we consume all winter.
Several of our products have been used in activities celebrating the 150 years of Confederation.
Here are two examples using pure wool yarn from Topsy:
Kate Munn created the Margaret’s Gift sweater for Canada’s 150th, using all natural pure wool yarn from Topsy Farms. There is a wonderful story behind this sweater design, described here.
The Ontario Science Centre is producing a coverlet using an historic Jacquard loom once owned by John Campbell. (photo) Volunteers are weaving one of John Campbell’s patterns that has not been woven for over 100 years on his loom that dates back to the 1840’s. The warp is of white cotton; the weft is a combination of white cotton and Topsy Farms red yarn. If you wish to see more of the process, there is a brief video here that describes the awesome complexity of the planning and setup, starting at minute 6. The overlet weaving progress may be viewed all summer at the Science Centre in Toronto.