Water Dance raises awareness in Gananoque

June 12, 2023

Gananoque welcomed a global event to its waterfront community this past weekend.

On Saturday at Confederation Park, at 11 a.m., 10 members of the community, varying in age from 58 to 82, were all decked out in white clothing and danced to numerous soothing songs. The Gananoque River glowed and flowed in the background.

The point was to bring awareness to the audience about water, including the Gananoque River, and the importance of its health and impact on communities. The Gananoque River is frequented by algae in the summer months.

This served as part of the Global Water Dance – an event that is done in 130 countries, all dealing with issues of water in their area.

“We’re teaching people in a different manner,” said Debbie Donaldson, the co-ordinator and choreographer of the event. “I always say that if one person comes away from it, thinks about it a bit more and tries to do something, we did our job.”

About 30 people attended Saturday’s dance. The final dance included participation from members of the crowd.

“This was great. I’m amazed by the turnout, the weather held up for us, the geese didn’t interrupt,” Donaldson laughed.

This is something that was also done two years ago in the town. That dance event dealt with climate change and the impacts it has on the environment in the area.

In two years, this event will occur again, with a different focus, said Donaldson.

“This is an every-two-year event, and this has been going on for 10 years,” said Donaldson.

“The last one was about climate change, this one was about algae and the next one will be about turtles. We have the Turtle Lady of Kingston, Mary Farrar, and so she goes into schools with her turtle costumes and turtles. We know turtles are having an issue. So, let’s bring awareness to it.”

Gretchen Huntley, the poet laureate for the town, was not in attendance, however, one of her poems was read aloud. Metis representative Clarice Gervais and Coun. Anne-Marie Koiner delivered speeches and took part in the dances. Town Crier Brian Mabee opened the event.

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)