Established in 2012, the Dry Stone Walling Association of Canada (Dry Stone Canada) is an award-winning national heritage trade organization devoted to the art and craft of dry stone walling. We have been recognized for our contribution to this field by the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, Ontario Heritage Trust, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. The Association has an annual operating budget of $20,000 as a registered not-for-profit, reinvesting any surplus back into our programs. Our activities include, on average, ten workshops per year and an annual multi-day, community-based Dry Stone Festival. The festival draws wallers and enthusiasts from across Canada and the US, as well as Europe, the UK and Ireland.
Festivals bring together our walling community to build a unique feature, which remains as a gift to the host community. The festival feature makes the space accessible to the public, demonstrating the power of this historic craft to draw people together. Our international guests are a core part of the design and energy of dry stone festivals. The exchange of diverse insight and experiences contributes to our success, and the guests acquire new perspectives on their practices and assumptions. Beyond building a permanent legacy structure for public use and enjoyment, festivals include live demonstrations which promote appreciation of the craft and educate the public about dry stone construction. Learning is a fundamental value of Dry Stone Canada; it is built into our activities, from professional development for seasoned wallers, to workshops and formative experiences for children and youth through exploration and play.
The festival is a valuable opportunity to both enhance and showcase local knowledge and respect for built heritage.
- Beginner workshops
- Children’s Area
- Local Community Groups Information
- Learning Programs
Our festivals includes community engagement and why try to incorporate aspects of the following into our planning:
We can’t have such successful festivals without the support of so many people and associations. Corporate sponsorship, donations, and the support of individuals who give us their time, and in some cases their homes, that make running the festivals easier and fulfilling. Our thanks goes out to you.
We are grateful for the generous support of our funders, sponsors, community supporters, and federal, regional, and local governments.
A number of our festivals have been funded in part by the Ontario Trillium Foundation
Loyalist Township is a growingcommunity of 15,000+ people situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario between the Town of Greater Napanee and the City of Kingston. The Township is a blend of rural and urban areas with a number of smaller hamlets throughout, including its very own island community, accessible by ferry.
Thank you to Topsy Farms host of our 2018 Dry Stone Festival. Topsy Farms is a family-owned farm on Amherst Island in Lake Ontario. We specialize in ethically produced 100% pure wool products, Canadian wool blankets, sheepskins, and fresh or frozen lamb. Topsy Farms wool comes from a well-cared for flock of over 1100 breeding sheep. Developed through careful breeding, the flock grazes on tree-shaded pastures of Amherst Island at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. The farm hosts a number of environmental stewardship educational workshops through the year, a sheep adoption program, and runs The Wool Shed, where their quality wool products can be purchased.
Thank you Miller Thomson for generously supporting our local food and agriculture program.
Miller Thomson’s Agribusiness & Food Production group is a leader in Canada. We advise on the legal needs for all segments of this industry sector, from the farmer/producer, to the food manufacturer, to the end consumer – and virtually every other facet along the value chain. Agribusiness and food production gives rise to many complex and unique legal issues. Recognized by Chambers Canada as the leading law firm for Agribusiness and the only Canadian law firm to achieve Band 1 ranking, our Agribusiness & Food Production Group is the only Canadian law firm with the experience and in-depth expertise to cover the entire scope of the agriculture industry – from field to table. (Contact Morgan Camley, Partner)
Thank you Value Sciences Investment Counsel for supporting travel for our international guests (David Wilson and Louise Price).
Frances Connelly, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager, Value Sciences Inc., has been managing investment portfolios for over 25 years. Her clients have included pension funds, mutual funds, corporations and private individuals. Frances’ focus is on helping clients, both individual private clients and non-profit organizations, to define and achieve their investment goals, using research and her broad experience in managing risk and working with portfolios of different types of assets.
Thank you to the following sponsors for their support for the site and build.
David Baker (festival t-shirts)
Ontario Sheep Farmers is a producer operated organization which represents all aspects of the sheep, lamb and wool industry in the Province of Ontario. It was established to encourage, promote and represent the industry. Our activities work to improve the marketing of sheep, lamb and wool through producer education, promotional campaigns, consumer education and public awareness.
The Back Kitchen (incorporated as the Amherst Island Community Cafe) is Amherst Island’s volunteer managed restaurant that serves great quality food, supports local growers and businesses, hires and trains local students and promotes and hosts local events. The Back Kitchen exists to foster the Amherst Island community
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. is located on a bicentennial family farm, just outside of Kingston, Ontario. with over 200 years of farming heritage. They use the hops, wheat, and barley, grown right on their farm to brew beer which is emboldened with the unique character of rural Canada.
The Lodge offers gracious accommodation plus varied spaces for large and small group events (including workshops/instruction). There are many spaces to rest, read or work. The Lodge can provide overnight accommodation for up to 25 people. Holiday gatherings, workshops and getaway weekends are better at the Lodge.
Thank you very much for your support!
Loyalist Township is a growing community of 15,000+ people situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario between the Town of Greater Napanee and the City of Kingston. The Township is a blend of rural and urban areas with a number of smaller hamlets throughout, including its very own island community, accessible by ferry.
The County of Lennox & Addington in Eastern Ontario stretches from Lake Ontario to the rugged, rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield. The 2,777 square kilometre County is 130 kilometres long and is neighbour to Renfrew, Hastings, Prince Edward and Frontenac Counties.
From the United Empire Loyalist settlers to the American and European pioneers, the County has a rich past and offers you a chance to explore on your own among some of Canada’s oldest genealogical archives.
Close to nearly one-third of North America’s population, the economic outlook is bright in Lennox and Addington. A mix of farmland, open spaces, forests, and lakes provides a foundation for new business ventures, while stable, thriving communities offer an enticing home.
Member of Parliament for Hastings-Lennox & Addington, Mike Bossio.
Read more about Mike Bossio’s visit to Topsy Farms in August 2018 here.
- 2013: Walls, Alton Park, Village of Alton, Orangeville, Ontario
- 2014, Stone Features, Alton Mill, Village of Alton, Orangeville, Ontario
- 2015: Sungate at Amherst Island, Ontario
- 2016: Bridge at The Town of Perth, Ontario
- 2017: Wall Restoration Village of Barriefield, Kingston, Ontario
- 2018: Farm Wall, Topsy Farms, Amherst Island, Ontario
- 2019: Bayside Sitting Area, The Lodge, Amherst Island, Ontario
Dry Stone Canada held the Irish-Canadian Dry Stone Festival to celebrate the large concentration of historic Irish dry stone walls on Amherst Island. Some are close to 200 years old and date back to the first waves of Irish settlers to reach the province. The Association was awarded the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation in recognition of the Amherst Island Festival and the association’s involvement with restoring the Island’s historic Irish dry stone walls.
2016: The Town of Perth, Ontario
Dry Stone Canada collaborated with Algonquin College Heritage Trades and the Town of Perth to create a new legacy dry stone bridge and as well as a length of Scottish/Irish Fedein Wall in Stewart Park. The project was a huge success , with professional wallers attending from across our membership in Canada, in the US, Ireland, and Scotland, including the Queen’s Dry Stone Waller at Balmoral Castle. The build is now a significant permanent feature and attraction in the Town of Perth’s premier park. The project won an Honourable Mention Award at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for 2016.
2017: Village of Barriefield, Ontario
The Frontenac Heritage Foundation and the Barriefield Village Association collaborated with Dry Stone Canada to restore a historic dry stone wall and gate at St. Mark’s Anglican Church to commemorate Canada’s 150th Anniversary. The site has historical significance in relation to the military base close by, CFB Kingston.
The festival has grown over the past 5 years, from our first two years in Alton, Ontario, working with the Village and Alton Mill Arts Centre, to major municipal public projects involving almost 100 wallers in Perth over months of preparation and build time.
Our return to Amherst Island takes us back to the agricultural roots of the dry stone walling craft. We hope you will support our event at Topsy Farms this September.
Member at Large
Member at Large