For the past three years, Donna Reid has been a member of the Countdown Public Art Project team in North Hastings, Ontario. As Site Coordinator, Donna has advocated for the project with local councils, been an essential community connector between partners and community members, and worked tirelessly to spread the word about the project throughout the region.

On July 20, 2023, we presented a Countdown Digital Story Event at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft. Here is an excerpt from Donna’s opening remarks:

“In 2021 we came together to build a beautiful mosaic in Millennium Park. The Town of Bancroft was our civic partner. Then we moved north and partnered with the Municipality of Hastings Highlands to install a mosaic at Lookout Park in Combermere.

This year they are everywhere!! Over 100 mosaics that are dotted across North Hastings and even beyond. Many of these Stepping Stones are here in Bancroft, they are in Gilmour, L’Amable, Birds Creek, Maynooth, and even as far away as McKenzie Lake and Madawaska.

Some mosaics were donated to our partnering organizations, some were gifted to family or friends, and some were kept as a symbol that we are counting down to a world without gender-based violence.

The large mosaics are beautiful tributes to those who have survived gender-based violence and they are here to honour those who have not.

The Stepping Stones connect the two larger mosaics and spread the word throughout North Hastings that we will continue to bring awareness to gender-based violence until it is no longer an issue.

We could not have done any of this without our partners and the dedicated community members that came out to workshops and met with us online – some who have been engaged since the project began. We have made some incredible relationships.

We know that everyone is affected by gender-based violence. We also know that we are talking about it more than the generations before us. My mother and my grandmother didn’t talk about gender-based violence. We are making progress. There didn’t used to be anywhere that you could talk about this issue and now we have many safe spaces and many community members willing to listen and offer support. By participating in this project or coming here tonight, you have made North Hastings a safer and more inclusive place to live.”

Donna’s opening remarks were followed up by video screenings from the Countdown Digital Story collection. Check out the latest: Setting Seeds.

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