Ghost walk stirs the spirit

Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site

Jamie Pyette as Captain Charles Roberts at last year’s Ghost Walk
© Parks Canada

By Jamie Pyette

Fort St. Joseph volunteer Jamie Pyette shares his involvement in the site's number one summer event—the annual Ghost Walk!

My name is Jamie Pyette and I am a proud volunteer for Parks Canada. I participated in the 2011 Ghost Walk at Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site and will be doing so again August 17 & 18, 2012. I have become a volunteerism advocate in the years past and my work with Parks Canada has only strengthened my resolve. The satisfaction which comes with volunteer work extends beyond the time and energy spent. The returns far outweigh the costs. There is an indelible feeling from participating in such an effort, not unlike playing on a sports team. I always notice a moment of self-awareness, when I know my role and others’ roles and I appreciate the importance of everyone’s contributions to the project. I know our goals and our challenges, and I feel confidence in myself and our team that we will be successful. This is the sort of experience that rarely is enjoyed through a solo effort.

The Ghost Walk is a special event, both because of the people and the location. Fort St. Joseph is cared for by a passionate group who look at their time there as much more than a job. They work with an initiative and drive that speaks of a desire to touch the lives of others. They are providing a necessary service which is vital in preserving the history of Northern Ontario and Canada. In relation to history, our country is still young, and Fort St. Joseph represents our incubation period. That period comes to life through re-enactments and narratives which can be enjoyed at the site today.

The site itself can best be described as a tribute to the majesty and beauty of northern nature. Atop the hill surrounded by the ruins, we are met with an almost 360 degree view of rippling waves, endless sky and distant islands, all bathed in a golden sun. The serene tall treed forests create a natural boundary for the ruins. A number of footpaths snake through these forests and make for an excellent stroll. Guarding the fort today is a Visitor Centre, which has within it an excellent museum and a number of other amenities to help you enjoy your visit.

I look forward to the upcoming Ghost Walk, as I feel that no matter the circumstances whether it be clear or rainy, calm or windy, we will all have a great time and will have accomplished what we set out to do. The sense of community, of pride, of unity we all feel is something which will carry forward in our lives and we will seek it out again. I feel the benefits of volunteerism have a greater impact than can be appreciated until one goes out and does it! I’d advise anyone considering volunteering to simply go out and do it. You’ll give a little of your time and your energy, and you’ll get back so much more in return!

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