Category Archives: Displays

Stories in Ink – Ken’s Story

Ken's tattoo - semi-colon

My name Ken, and I am or was the least likely guy to get a tattoo.

I was not “anti-tattoo”, in fact I was often intrigued by them, especially ones that carried a story.

Then in August 2014, I lost my son to depression, he like too many others suffered in silence, a victim not strictly of depression but of a stigma. 

In his memory I planned to get an elaborate tattoo that honoured his greatest passion, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Then I was introduced to the Semi Colon Project, a simple idea wth humble beginnings that has grown to become a symbol of suicide awareness. And a movement to end the stigma related to it

The idea is simple, it represents a point at which a story could end, but there is more to tell, the story is not over. For some it represents a point where they tuned away from suicide and decided they had more life to live, that they mattered, and for others it is a promise to lost loved ones that they too matter, and their story did not end with there time here on earth.

There was no turning back, the simplicity of the idea won me over, and six of us went to the parlour that day. Our stories are different but all of us with the same idea, to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

For me it is personal, a reminder that my son’s story did not end on August 21, 2014. His story is not over, he still matters.

And I welcome the opportunity it provides me to share with others.

You see talking openly about suicide and metal illness fights the stigma, and a stigma has a tipping point where it is eclipsed by acceptance.  And acceptance gives people like my son opportunity to make better choices

I encourage you to look up the Semicolon Project, especially the original posting by Amy Bleuel

And for my son, for her father and so many others help us end the stigma and start conversations. 

Thank you,



Stories in Ink – We want to see YOUR stories.

We want to see YOUR stories in ink!
Submit a good quality digital image of your tattoo, and tell us the story behind it. Why you got your tattoo and what it means to you. Be sure to tell us your first name and where you’re from. These stories will be shared with visitors in a virtual exhibit on the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre’s website. 

Send your STORIES IN INK to:

Submissions when posted on the website will be in the Category Virtual Displays and sub-category “Stories in Ink” and tagged “Tattoos”.


The Art of the Sailor – Exhibit for 2016

Mosaic article- May 2016 — reprinted with permission

written by Wendy Tomlinson, Curator and Manager

Art of the Sailor logo

The Community Waterfront Heritage Centre’s fascinating 2016 summer exhibit, The Art of the Sailor celebrates the timeless techniques of the sailors’ traditional folk arts – tattoos, scrimshaw, and knot tying, through an entertaining blend of artefacts, archival photos, and interactive elements. Share the story of your tattoo, design your own ‘flash art’, and try you luck at the ‘6 Knot Challenge’.

Discover the link between today’s vibrant tattoo culture and the maritime history that influenced it. For sailors, tattoos were a method of making something permanent in an otherwise unpredictable lifestyle and to document their own histories- receiving certain tattoos for crossing the Equator or the International Date Line. Certain images were believed to be good luck talismans and would save them in a shipwreck.

Like tattoo art, scrimshaw requires highly skilled artisans and the use of pigment, but instead of skin, images are etched on whalebone, whale teeth and ivory. First practiced by 19th and early 20th century whalemen, traditional scrimshaw pieces of this rare art form depict maritime life and whaling.

Ropes and knots are among the most ancient technologies ever developed by man, and were an essential part of life onboard a sailing vessel. Fancy knotting on a sailor’s ‘ditty bag’ would serve as his résumé. The ditty would have been the first test of an apprentice seaman: before he could be trusted with the fabrication of a sail. Likewise, on a vessel, fancy knot work is something akin to “boat jewelry”. Generally made during idle hours, fancywork is a visible token of pride and respect for the ship.

The Art of the Sailor will be at the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre, from May 29, 2016 until October 10, 2016.

Community Waterfront Heritage Centre celebrates and preserves the marine, rail and industrial history of the City and surrounding communities. For more details visit, like us on FaceBook, call 519-371-3333 or email Community Waterfront Heritage Centre is located at 1155 1st Ave West, Owen Sound and is open daily from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, or by appointment.


30 People 30 Pieces Display – The People

In 1985, a group of dedicated Owen Sounders came together to create a museum in the old CNR station. In 2015, we celebrate their foresight, along with three decades of community support that brings us to the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre. 30 People 30 pieces is a unique exhibition that matches some of our founders and builders with our significant artefacts. – Exhibit opened – July 4 at 2 p.m.

30 people exhibit logo

The Founders and Builders
#1 Peter Bowers

#2 Wayne Brown
#3 Marg and Don Capel
#4 Ken Carr
#5 Syd Jackson
#6 Daphne Johnson
#7 Donald McKay
#8 Betty Moran
#9 Paula Niall
#10 Murray Telford
#11 The Weaver Family
#12 Lloyd & Muriel Brannick
#13 Steve Briggs
#14 Scott Cameron
#15 Cliff Denny
#16 Izetta Fraser
#17 The Harrison Family
#18 Jim Henderson
#19 Wayne and Ken Hillyer
#20 Orris Hull
#21 Ross Kentner
#22 Wayne King
#23 Sean O’Donaghue
#24 Pat and Don Nicol
#25 Mary Smith
#26 Ken Thomson
#27 Ted Tizzard
#28 Owen Sound Transportation Company
#29 City of Owen Sound
#30 Residents of The City of Owen Sound (CWHC)

Be sure to visit the exhibit to see the artefact with which each founder or builder is paired. Some items are from private collections. Most are from the CWHC collection.

See examples of items on display Preview 1, Preview 2, Preview 3