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Annual General Meeting, Thursday, Nov 19, 2020 President’s Report

This report reflects the highlights of this year’s work as all of what we have done is readily available on the webpage –
For a full account click on the About tab and then the Monthly Updates tab.
This report also includes discussion about possible paths forward.

Our major event this season was organizing the community build of an Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe under the guidance of Algonquin Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Chuck Commanda.
The event had originally been planned for April but had to be postponed until September 7 – 27, 2020 due to COVID-19.
Grants were obtained from the City of Kingston Heritage Fund ($15,008.52) and (RTO9) Regional Tourism Ontario, District 9 (10,445.06) to cover expenses. Trailhead Kingston also contributed $1500 and agreed to display the canoe at their store following the event.
The following summary of this very successful event is on the Cataraqui Boatyard Project tab of the FKIH webpage –
Here is part of the summary:

“Chuck Commanda, an amazingly talented boat builder as well as a truly excellent, enthusiastic, and patient teacher, supervised the build in addition to answering questions from the many individuals, families and school groups who came to visit. On average we had between 30 and 50 interested observers each day including approximately 100 school children and university students.
Lead organizers were Michelle Webb, Mikmaq/Acadian and Mary Farrar. Volunteers were approximately 2/3 Indigenous and 1/3 non-Indigenous. We are especially grateful to Mireille La Pointe, Algonquin Head of Family Council, for her sage advice, Grandmother Barbara for her unwavering support, Lisa Cadue for her awesome venison chili, Randy Cadue for his sacred fire keeping, Lorie Young for her heart support, Brodrick Gabriel and the drummers and singers for their uplifting sounds, Tim Cadue, Carone Beaucage and Lumina Beaucage-Frost, Dorina Friedli, Penni Kernot, Rob Rittwage and the guys from Henry Trail Halfway House, and Kathy LaPointe for their hard work along with Graydon Doolittle, Bob McInnes, Elspeth Soper, Nancy Spencer and members of the Lyon family, Margaret Hughes for her wonderful window display at Novel Idea, Martine Bresson for her great photography, Lisa, Randy, Sophie Kiwala, Kathy LaPointe and so many others for sharing photos on Facebook, Matt Rogalsky for his media set-up, Sophie Grogan for helping with her life-saving and first-aid expertise, Dave McCallum for SO much work documenting and interviewing for an upcoming video, Pytor Hodgson and Kim Debassige for being Masters of Ceremony at the Saturday, Sept 26 Weekend Celebration and Pytor Hodgson and Brennan Googoo for hosting a titanic 3 hour live-streamed show featuring the canoe build and Algonquin culture on Saturday night. We are also most appreciative of everyone who showed up over the course of the three weeks to learn more about canoes, the build and Algonquin culture.”
As part of this project Interpretive Panels were constructed to accompany the canoe for future educational displays.
The canoe has been on display at Trailhead Kingston throughout October and November after which it will reside at the River Program (the Limestone Board of Education’s alternative Indigenous high school) throughout the winter months.
Discussions are ongoing as to other possible display sites.

Due to COVID our annual Trail Clean-up was later than usual, Sat, May 16.
There was no park clean-up this spring.
(Details available in monthly updates)
a) Engage for Change City Initiative (Re-hiring of First People’s Consultants)
b) Your Stories Our Histories City Initiative (including Sir John A. Issue)
c) Legal Art Wall (Now a reality!)
d) Kingston Water Walkers (Indigenous-led – protesting need for boiled water)
e) Tannery Development (Need to protect the shoreline turtle habitat)
f) Belle Park (Development currently on hold due to COVID)
g) Belle Island Caretaker’s Circle (On hold due to COVID)
h) North King’s Town Working Group (On hold due to COVID)
i) Repurposing or designation of Inner Harbour Heritage Buildings/Sites:
9 North St, Bailey Broom Company, National Grocer’s Building, Outer Station, Maplehurst, Davis Dry Dock (On hold due to COVID)
J) Quiet Streets Project (Under FKIH Umbrella)
k) Opposition to inappropriate Downtown High Rises: Capitol Theatre & Homestead properties at Queen and King Sts. (Delgations at OMB Challenges)
l) Density by Design City Initiative
m) Kingston Smart City Initiative
n) City Task Force on Housing + Homelessness + Integrated Care Hub + Zoning By-Law Project for Types of housing City-wide
o) Climate Leadership Division City Initiative
p) Third Crossing
q) Active Transportation Issues including Overpass over John Counter Blvd.
r) Protecting turtles: Pollutants, Road-kill issues
s) Provincial Government Environmental Legislation
t) Updates on Federal Great Lakes Initiatives
u) Forests
v) Open Budget
w) Local Endangered Species
x) COVID-19 in Kingston

Originally the plan had been to organize the community build of a “batteau”, to educate the public a little about early French presence in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. However due to COVID-19 and the canoe build occurring in September rather than April, we were not able to find the time to apply for grants during the fall. As a result, we are not planning a major build this spring.

Work is progressing on a film (and possibly also a series of short films) that will document the build as well as include interviews with participants, elders and historians. The focus will be on the importance of the canoe as the ideal vehicle for “exploring” and mapping Canada along with the essential cooperation of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Dave McCallum, videographer, has documented the build and done a number of interviews to date. A few more interviews are in the offing and then editing will begin in 2021. We hope to show it at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival in due course.


a) Having a weekend celebration to replace the one that was cancelled due to COVID. This might include a feast and naming of the boat and also include opportunities for visitors to get out on the water in one of three birch bark canoes. Two other birch bark canoes were offered for this purpose in September by Elspeth Soper and Jim MacLachlan. We hope they will also be made available for a potential June 2021 Out-on-the-Water event.

b) Partnership with the Thousand Islands Boat Museum. They are having a July 10 celebration of the completion of their museum and would like to work with us in some way to apply for grants. Perhaps this could be combined with our Out-on-the-water event in June?

c) The Calliope Collective is planning a water parade event on May 10 inspired by the Bosch Parade in the Netherlands. We are hoping to participate and use the canoe in some creative way.

d) Partnership with the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Paddling Trails group, the Cataraqui Canoe Club and MetalCraft Marine to create a Paddling Trailhead just north of the Kingston Marina boat ramp.

e) Outreach to the French and Metis communities in Kingston.

We have a list of over 150 individuals and groups we contacted about the build. It was our aim to perhaps do an Indigenous build one year and then a French boat the next. As stated earlier, due to COVID and missing the Fall grant application deadlines, organizing an actual build in 2021 does not seem possible at this point. Most likely we will be devoting our efforts to the alternative possibilities described above.

This season for the first time we were not actively involved in citizen-science work exploring and protecting turtles. We are extremely grateful that Lesley Rudy took this on and is completing a M.Sc degree with Dr. Steve Lougheed at Queen’s University.