I passed out flowers and sympathy cards to residents (and some visitors) of Silver Islet, Ontario, acknowledging the shuttering of their dock and the closure of the General Store. Now primarily a summer vacation spot, Silver Islet was once the site of the richest offshore silver mine in the world. In 2013 the federal government closed the wooden dock on the northern edge of Lake Superior due to safety concerns. The Silver Islet Store, the original general store for the mining company, stands silent, boarded up, for sale.
In case of a forest fire on the peninsula, the dock was the only way to quickly and efficiently evacuate 2,000 residents and campers at nearby Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
During Sorry For Your Loss I questioned people about their responses to the closings, both positive and negative. Several residents were fourth generation property owners on Sibley Peninsula, one a descendant of the original mine captain, James Cross.
I gained information about progress on the residents’ fight to rehabilitate the dock as they grapple with government bureaucracy. One resident pointed out, “There are very few votes in this area, so politicians don’t treat the dock as a priority.”
My expressions of sympathy included a nod to Robert Watt’s production of neon artist signatures questioning the nature of art and the value of art. In this case, my artist signature was on the sympathy card.