Tag Archives: Betty Conlin

Celebrate the summer solstice at the labyrinth

By Tammy Schneider

Tucked away in Geddes Park is a well-tended labyrinth that suits the needs of people seeking a place of peace and meditation, as well as those that enjoy horticulture and gardening. The Kincardine Peace Garden Labyrinth was the inspiration of Betty Conlin. Conlin, with a small group who saw the value of the project, set out to create a restful space in the heart of Kincardine that would welcome everyone to walk its paths. The project started about 15 years ago and relied on donations of plants and many volunteer hours to prepare the labyrinth. Betty Lamont, who served on the original committee, as well as serving as former chairperson of the Kincardine Communities in Bloom, recalls that Kincardine won national and international awards in 2005 for gardens that included the newly constructed labyrinth. Built in quadrants in the style of those seen in France, the history of a labyrinth is thought to go back over 3,500 years and is the symbol for unity, wholeness and peace. It is possibly the only one of its kind in the world that has incorporated flowers between the paths. The flowers begin with red, yellow, orange, green, blue and then purple, and provide a rainbow of colours for everyone to enjoy. Upon reaching the centre of the garden, visitors encounter the statue of Eirene, the Greek goddess of peace, crafted by Conlin. Volunteers that tend to the gardens have met visitors from as far away as California who have come to Kincardine specifically to view the labyrinth. Some visit to see the flowers while others visit for more spiritual reasons. “People walk it to admire the plants,” said Lamont. “It’s a garden of horticultural interest. They walk it for meditation and for purpose.” At 7 p.m. on June 21, the summer solstice, the public is invited to gather at Geddes Park to walk through the labyrinth and learn about its history. Visitors are encouraged to bring a candle with them if they wish. Lamont points out that many people use the terms labyrinth and maze interchangeably. They are, in fact, very different. People can get lost in a maze, then need to double back and change course. Following a labyrinth, on the other hand, is like following your path. Like life, the labyrinth paths wind and aren’t always straight, but you never get lost and you always keep going forward.”