Our Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is providing inspiration to other communities! We are so happy to be able to report that Perth, Ontario now has it's own community labyrinth - and Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator - Vanessa Compton
is leading the way to make this a reality. She has kindly agreed to having us publish the story here.
It didn't happen overnight... here's the story. (By Vanessa Compton)Year 2 of the Stewart Park Community Labyrinth.
After the success of last summer’s Stewart Park Festival labyrinth, a one-day installation immortalized by Perth Community Police Officer Bird as “some seniors’ spray-paint graffiti vandalism,” I was encouraged by Stewart Park Festival workshop organizer Julie McIntyre and my fellow members of Transition Perth
to plan a more durable version for the summer of 2015.
|Surveyor's tape - laying out the medieval 7-circuit labyrinth in Stewart Park.|
It would need to be easy and cheap to maintain, of minimal cost to the Town of Perth, and in harmony with the aesthetics and community guidelines of Stewart Park. With the help of the Town of Perth’s Karen Fox, Director of Special Events, Shellee Evans, Director of Community Services, Jim Niblock, Supervisor of Parks and Facilities, and Kari Clarke, Coordinator at Downtown Heritage Perth BIA,
who helped steer the project through Council, we were put in contact with Kat Watson, Coordinator of the Youth Action Kommittee
(YAK) Skills Link program, and Rick Woods, the Parks and Facilities go-to guy and keeper of the keys to the lawnmower.
|Enthusiastic YAK team members, help to make the Stewart Park Community Labyrinth a reality!|
Kat arranged for me to visit with the spring cohort of the YAK Skills Link program, to explain about labyrinths in the community, and what the project would involve. The young people were so enthusiastic about it, they were ready to haul stones and make a permanent masonry version that afternoon, and were annoyed to have to wait for Council approval. I had to laugh – they reminded me so much of my impatient younger self.
On a cold sunny day at the end of April, a team from YAK helped lay it out using surveyor’s flags and tape, and fence staples, a generous donation from the Perth Home Hardware store.
We had decided on a Medieval 7-circuit with x and y axes to make U-turns on the path. We made mistakes and laughed a lot and had to make emergency trips for more supplies, but finally the CAUTION tape went up and we waited for the grass to grow.
|First mowing by Jordan Lye-Lee, a YAK member planning to start his own landscape business.|
First mowing was May 8th. Jordan Lye-Lee, a YAK member planning to start his own landscape business, was our first volunteer. The lines are just starting to show!
|Perth Parks crew mow the labyrinth every Friday - the labyrinth starts to take shape!|
The mowing was scheduled for every Friday, when the Perth Parks crew would be on site. We alternated just mowing the path and mowing both the path and the lines at different heights. It was such a rainy spring and early summer that it sometimes took three passes to get the whole thing done.
|An information sign is installed at the entrance to the labyrinth.|
Thanks to Image Printing in Perth, an information sign was installed at the entrance to the labyrinth. By mid-July, we noticed that the path hardly needed mowing because it was getting beaten down from being used so much!
Two weeks before Stewart Park Festival, YAK was between Skills Link cohorts, so “Sherpa” Mike Fletcher mowed the thick vegetation. It looked like a scalp job, but by Festival weekend, the grass had grown in and the labyrinth looked serene and lush.
|By Festival weekend, the grass had grown in and the labyrinth looked serene and lush.|
Festival weekend dawned – rainy and hot. By Saturday the weather had cleared, and the labyrinth provided a cool sanctuary for people of all ages, over 500 by one account. During the hot afternoons, the labyrinth was a magnet for kids and families whether playing make-up-your-own-games or taking a break from the crowds and noise. It was a pleasure to walk barefoot on the cool springy clover turf… or run races, reinvent hopscotch (one of the historical origins of the turf labyrinth), stand on your head… even check your FaceBook!
|During the hot afternoons, the labyrinth was a magnet for kids and families.|
We’re looking forward to seeing the labyrinth through the fall, and experimenting with some judicious application of slow-release fertiliser. While the long term goal is to put a stone paver labyrinth in place eventually, mown turf labyrinths can last for decades, with a little maintenance. In the height of a hot summer day, there really is nothing more delightful than walking a fragrant clover labyrinth in your bare feet.
|There really is nothing more delightful than walking a fragrant clover labyrinth in your bare feet!|