North Hatley marina aims for reconciliation through renovation

By Jordan Dionne, Special to The Record

North Hatley marina operators, Steve Piercy and Josée Fontaine announced a plan on Wednesday to completely overhaul the space to create a gathering area for youth, First Nations, veterans, and the community as a whole. As a part of that announcement, a birch-bark canoe, used in the production of the 1991 film, Black Robe, was launched into the Massawippi River.
Greg Bishop, collaborator in the new vision of the marina, told The Record that the project is meant to be a step towards “reconciliation with our indigenous sisters and brothers” and that the canoe launch was the team’s way of honouring the indigenous peoples who were living in the area long before European settlers came into the picture.
“we are dropping a pebble in a pond—creating a ripple effect,” he said.
The plan for the reinvented marina involves building a two-story lodge-like building that will serve as a focal point for community gathering and support. He went on to say that the revitalization of the marina will “create a community focal point for fun, education, heritage, growth and healing that transcends cultural, linguistic, and any other barriers to love and unity.”
Bishop also noted that it is hoped the marina can build this new vision on a not-for-profit business model, with an eye to creating a safe environment for veterans of all sorts and survivors of PTSD where the focus will be on healing.
“The system is broken and does not provide much healing—just medication,” he said.
As of yet, there is no date for when construction will begin on the new Marina and no further details could be provided on the financing of the project.
When speaking before the launch of the canoe, Michael Page, the mayor of North Hatley mentioned that North Hatley takes a lot of pride in its marina.
“There are a lot of Hatleys in the area, but only North Hatley has a marina,” he said, adding that the day’s boat launch would “pay tribute to the ancestors when they hunted and fished in the area when it was just forests” and that he thinks “it can be more than just a marina.”

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