Ontario WaterWalk Updates - 1998

[Cross Canada Waterwalk 1998]     [Waterwalk main page]


September 23rd - phonecall from Eloise in Montebello, Quebec
September 21th - walking schedule to Ottawa; plans in Ottawa
September 20th - email from North Bay, Ontario
September 13th - Eloise phones from Hearst, Ontario
September 11th - WaterWalk traveling fast - passes through Geraldton on Sept. 10th
September 1st - WaterWalk arrives in Thunderbay, Ontario

posted: September 23, 1998
source: phonecall from Eloise in Montebello, Quebec

On September 20th, Eloise, Emma and Kerry made an emergency trip to Montebello, Quebec from North Bay, Ontario, after they received news that the Charet family farm house, with three generations of possessions, photos and memories, was on fire. What follows is a very accurate pharaphrase of what Eloise had to say about the experience.

"We were gettin ready to leave North Bay and we got an unexpected call from my sister Jackie in Nelson, B.C. saying that the farmhouse was burning at that time and they couldn't find my mother and brother. Phil and Brennain Lloyd [our hosts] put food together quickly and within fifteen minutes we had the Flow-mo packed and were out of there. Kerry drove and we went down the road without stopping to pee until we ran out of gas in Ottawa. After that I drove and, needless to say, it was a very anxious drive. When we arrived [in Montebello] it was dark and we couldn't see anything, and the house wasn't there."

Fortunately nobody was home at the time of the fire, and everybody is safe, but feeling very sad about the loss of the family home.

WaterWalk will resume its previously announced schedule on Wednesday, September 23rd, with a planned stop in Rolphton.

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posted: September 21, 1998
source: WaterWalk handout (front side) sent by email from North Bay

Where is WaterWalk Now?

Last summer, Eloise Charet spent 7 weeks fasting in maximum security prison for attempting to protect our watersheds. This summer she continues her crusade for clean, pure water and is asking people to join in a nation-wide water walk, carrying an important message to Ottawa.

"Our Planet is Blue because most of its surface is covered with water. Water is Life. Unfortunately, our sources are polluted by individuals and industry, undermining the health of our nation. Our governments value the rights of corporations and multi-nationals over humanity and the earth. Their policies of exploitation have brought us to a point of global water crisis.

"As Canadians, if we do not speak up right now for sustainability; make a stand today, at this very moment for something that we believe in - something so simple as pure water - we shall lose it forever, dooming plants, animals, and our children to extinction. These are the times; this is that last stand for water, air earth; for life itself.

"Every step of WaterWalk is like a prayer, a drum beating the earth's vibration, empowering the simplest people to feel their voices resonate - and the politicians to hear."

WaterWalk is about to float into Ottawa!

Rolphton          September 23
Chalk River       September 24
Pembroke          September 25
Cobden            September 26
Haily Station     September 27
Renfrew           September 28
Arnprior          September 29
Antrim            September 30
Carleton          October 1
Nepean            October 2

Eloise will be completing her journey on October 2, with her walk from Nepean into Ottawa. The WaterWalk will depart from Crystal Bay Park in Nepean at 10 a.m., going along the walking/bike path of the Ottawa River Parkway towards the rear of the Parliament Buildings downtown (arrival at 2 p.m.) Departure from Parliament Hill to Victoria Island at 5 p.m. to present water to our spiritual elders. Departure at 9 p.m. to return to Parliament Buildings for a candle light vigil. There will be healing ceremonies on Victoria Island on Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th.

Join the WaterWalk and at Parliament Hill on October 2nd.
Bring samples of water, your bodies and your kids.
This is a walk of hope, for life, for the love of pure and fresh water.

October on Parliament Hill

Every weekday throughout October WaterWalk will be at Parliament Hill from sunrise to sunset (behind the Parliament Buildings, by the Ottawa River) waiting for an answer from the politicians about the quality and protection of water. A candlelight vigil will be held on Parliament Hill at 9 p.m. every Friday evening until All Souls Day (November 2).

"My grandmother told me that good government is equal to the quality of water that is given to the children.

"We've collected water as we walked across Canada, and people have brought water from around the world. Now we want to circle Parliament Hill with water, and the concerns that flow with it."

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posted: September 20, 1998
source: email from Eloise in North Bay, Ontario

We've finally completed the deadly northern route and are heading down to Ottawa. We have 365 km left and plan to do it in 12 days.

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posted: September 13, 1998
source: phonecall from Eloise in Hearst, Ontario

WaterWalk stayed overnight in Hearst, 403K east of Nipigon, on September 12th. Eloise, Kerry and Emma were hosted by John and Anne Siska, who had read about WaterWalk in the newspaper and then offered to put them up. Mike Kantymir of Thunderbay is continuing to assist with advance publicity, which has helped with recognition in the small towns.

Eloise said that the country they have been walking through is very isolated. The weather has either been cold or hot and muggy. It has been a record hot summer in the area, and trees look burned and are dropping their leaves early. The heat has meant almost no berries, so bears are appearing around human habitation in great numbers, and are being shot. WaterWalk has to be very alert both for bears and people trying to shoot the bears.

There has been heavy logging in the area, and many of the second growth trees show signs of disease. Eloise had a good talk with native loggers a few days ago. Since then, logging trucks have been honking when they pass the WaterWalk. Truckers generally have been supportive, and many honk and give a thumbs-up as they pass.

Eloise went to a PowWow at Pays Plat, shortly after passing through Nipigon. As in Grassy Narrows, she received good support. She was allowed to speak, a blanket dance was done in her honour, and $96 was raised for WaterWalk. Once again, Eloise heard about high diabetes rates on reserves in the area.

Taking the northern route has worked out, even though it is longer. The road is safer and less busy than in the south, and the people seem more receptive to hearing about water and trying to protect what water quality they still have. Many residents in the region are concerned about increasing rates of diabetes and cancer.

Cochrane is the next major stop, and the goal is to reach Northbay, Ontario by October 21st or 22nd.

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posted: September 11, 1998
source: phonecall from Mike Kantymir in Thunderbay, Ontario

WaterWalk is now traveling fast along Hwy. 11, the northern route past Lake Superior, in an attempt to reach Ottawa by October 2nd. This requires that the two walkers, Eloise and Kerry, cover 50-70K per day between them.

Mike Kantymir, who along with his wife Sandy hosted WaterWalk in Thunderbay, phoned the publisher of the Times Star in Geraldton, Ontario, 300K east of Thunderbay, to see if he had heard from Eloise. The publisher, Doug Brydges, said that Eloise had been in his office at around 10:30 on Thursday morning (September 10th), and had left after an hour, heading east. Doug provided her with some contacts in LongLac (about 30K to the east) before she left.

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posted: September 1, 1998
source: phonecall from Eloise in Thunderbay, Ontario

Currently on the WaterWalk are Eloise, her daughter Emma, and Kerry. The last week has been difficult. It has been getting cold, there has been a lot of rain and it has been damp. The oil pipeline from Edmonton to Ontario lies along the highway and is a real mess. The section of the Trans-Canada Highway they have been walking along recently is very narrow and dangerous, and the shoulder is slippery gravel. The people in Ontario have not been receptive. Also, police have stopped a number of times to ask what they are doing, although they relax a bit when given an explanation about the WaterWalk. A number of truckdrivers still seem supportive and acknowledge the walkers, having talked with one another about WaterWalk on their radios.

A very helpful couple in Thunderbay, Mike and Sandy Kantymir, searched for WaterWalk after reading about it in the Dryden newspaper and on the website. After a connection was finally made, Eloise, Emma and Kerry were put up for two nights in donated hotel rooms at the Valhalla Inn in Thunderbay. They have been well fed, and a fundraiser and event in the Oliver Road Cmmunity Centre in Thunderbay is being organized for Thursday evening, September 3rd. The mayor has been invited, and it is hoped that he, or a representive, will attend the event.

Thunderbay Television (TBT) will interview Eloise on Tuesday, September 1st.

There is currently a lot of concern about safe drinking water in Thunderbay. The city's water comes from two sources, Lake Superior and Loch Lomond. There is creosote pollution near the city's intake source on Lake Superior, and giardia parasites have been found in the waters of Loch Lamond, which is otherwise a beautiful, unspoiled lake. There are signs posted everywhere warning people not to drink the water as is.

Within a short time, a choice of route has to be made. The question is whether to proceed via Sault Ste. Marie, which is a more strenuous route with ups and downs and more populated areas, or whether to take a northern route, which is less populated, with more opportunities for camping and access to Reserves. The choice of route will be made by September 3rd or 4th and will be posted on the website.

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