Kingston poetry, arts festival cancelled due to alleged incident of vandalism – Kingston

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The first of many festivals in 2019 at McBurney Park in Kingston was slated for the second weekend of February.

The Skeleton Park Arts Festival attracts poets from around the area for a day filled with written and read pottery and skating on the outdoor rink. This year, a poem written by a local grade 11 student, Olivia Ows, was chosen to be the centrepiece of the festivities. The boards for the rink were created with the teenager’s poem printed on each one that surrounded the ice.

Two days before the festival kicked off, though, the boards were found destroyed.

“I was walking with my son through the park and I was shocked [by] what I saw,” said Greg Tilson, artistic director for the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

“Olivia’s rink boards were torn apart, and after speaking with the organizers, we decided to cancel the event.”

Greg Tilson

In an attempt to remain positive about the situation, Ows told Global News that she is trying to look at this incident with a glass-half-full approach.

“When my poem was selected for the project, I was elated, and when I seen the finished rink with my poem ‘Sunrise on Ice’ built into the boards, I was speechless,” said Ows, who feels that this act has wasted people’s time and money.


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The poetry festival was intended to showcase local talent, with Ows’ work being honoured along with previous winners.

Greg Tilson

Global News

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Ows’ piece was a response to last year’s winning poem, “Night skaters, Skeleton Park,” by Steven Heighton. Ows says Heighton’s piece inspired her to build on his poem, which was about outdoor hockey during the daytime hours, by focusing on what takes place on the ice during the night hours when the park is calm.


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According to Tilson, the celebration is being put on hold for the next few weeks until the premiere of the Kingston poetry documentary, Who is Bruce Kauffman?,  where the organizers will honour Ows ahead of the screening.

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Police confirm vandalism after Coast Guard ship tumbled into water in N.S.

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A Canadian Coast Guard ship is partially submerged in water at a shipyard in Sambro Head, N.S., after falling from its secured cradle in a case Halifax police are investigating as suspected vandalism.

The Coast Guard tweeted late Saturday morning that the CCGS Corporal McLaren had released from the cradle at the shipyard and then slid down the slip into the water.

The vessel is at the shipyard for a refit.

Gregory Wilkie, the captain of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Corporal McLaren, says a salvage company will recover the boat from the water. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

Police said in a press release Saturday afternoon their preliminary investigation revealed that someone damaged the slip which caused the ship to slide into the ocean. Police are treating the incident as suspicious. 

Ray Gallant, vice-president of operations with Canadian Maritime Engineering, said Saturday the shipyard was « entered by vandals » on Friday night. He says they cut the cradle cable and safety chain.

He said Halifax police are investigating to determine who was involved in « the act of vandalism. »

Gallant said security checks determined the boat was still in its correct position around midnight. A subsequent check revealed the ship was in the water and the fire department was notified.

He said he is certain the cables were cut with a cordless mini-grinder.

« It’s very obvious. If a cable fails, it frays. This was a clean straight cut. »

He said the primary focus now is safety and the protection of the environment.

The vessel was at the shipyard for a scheduled refit. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

The Coast Guard sent environmental staff to the scene to examine the ship and try to prevent any risk to the marine environment.

Gallant says he believes minimal damage has been done to the vessel. The goal is to return it to its former position as quickly as possible to continue with the scheduled work on the ship.

Divers were in the water on Saturday to assess the situation.

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