After an amazing evening at the Elmhirst Inn, O2 was up at the crack of dawn to begin our day with Donna and Brian from the Westben Music Festival. After a warm welcome we went down to the barn. The closer we get to the barn we hear Brian playing a beautiful piano concerto inside. The seats in the barn have been brought in from other theatres and have been repurposed – they bought the Steinway piano off of Craigslist and repurposed it for their facility – a way to save things that might find themselves unnecessarily in a landfill.
Donna and Brian are passionate musicians and facilitators of Canadian art and music. Their defined community wasn’t geographical; it was the arts community. Though they do hold summer festivals with out-of-town artists they hold a lot of community events. This week alone saw the youth chorus; the high school stage band, the community chorus and a 60-piece high school orchestra perform in the space. They spend a lot of time inviting people from the community into the space and look for feedback on programming.
Next up was a visit to the CFB Trenton for a comprehensive tour of the LEED standard new buildings. The military has taken on sustainable replacement and expansion of their buildings. It’s nice to know that an established institution like the Canadian Forces can be forge ahead on important things like environmental sustainability. We even had the pleasure of meeting some troops!
With empty stomachs we were happy to arrive at the Huff Estates Winery to eat a locally grown lunch and wine tastings. The Mayor of Prince Edward County proudly introduced us to this area of the region that is experiencing a boom in wine tourism. One of the really cool initiatives coming from the region is community rural innovation. They are creating spaces for small start ups in the region – everything from gaming to other virtual services – showing how they are trying to diversify the economy of their community.
We met with the lock master and other Parks staff members about the Rideau Canal Locks to discuss the sustainability of tourism and the history of the locks. Recent government cuts have lead to conversations around the “hows” of keeping this UNESCO World Heritage Site open. When we think of the Rideau Canal we think of the Ottawa ice rink. It’s much more than that and the employees are passionate about the locks because they are the catalyst for tourism to many small towns along the way.
We then met with conference Alumni, Peter Boyle (2004 – NWT Group!) who took for a ride along the locks to his waterfront house for a BBQ and the opportunity to meet with members from the Kingston and District Labour Council. We were treated to great hospitality, delicious food and a very lively conversation about labour relations and politics.
I gotta say..the GGCLC is never boring!