Community Development

Funding level: Up to $50,000


The Halibana DrumFest will bring together people of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Haliburton’s strength, resilience and achievements through drumming, procession and storytelling. Halibana DrumFest will include facilitated workshops in costume-making, world rhythms, dance, stilt-walking, and story-craft - as preparation for the main event – a community procession that culminates in a community drum circle in the park. We will make ‘social music’ together to create a powerful expression of what it means to be a community of diverse individuals in rural Ontario today.

Haliburton history is rooted in the lumber trade of the 1800s, railways and more recently four season tourism and the Arts. Stories of the old days reveal the hardship of early settlement in an inhospitable land and climate. It takes perseverance and grit to live in Haliburton which remains an enchanting, but challenging, place to live and work. The township of Dysart et al has an old fashioned motto that sometimes brings a chuckle: "Cautiously yet confidently" These three words speak to the quiet reserve and steadfastness that characterizes this community of 5,500 that, today, is home to many descendants of its original families. It's a motto that has relevance for the new influx of settlers arriving from far off countries like Korea and Pakistan, and now Syria and city families seeking opportunity and a chance to make a future for their families.

Group music and rhythm-making is proven to be good for brains of all ages, to bring health benefits. The positive relationships derived from drumming in groups and similar activities nurture community well-being and break down social barriers. Communities that 'play' together tend to 'stay' together, and we seek to celebrate our accomplishments with joyful sound and gleeful procession in a big way with Halibana DrumFest.

Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre is a public art gallery located in Haliburton Village in the landmark 1878 rail station next to Head Lake Park. For the past ten years the gallery has been the venue for a community drum circle, two 24-hour drumathons, drum making workshops and, in 2016, a small scale Halibana parade with approximately 40 participants that was run on a shoestring by volunteers and summer students. That celebration resulted in some of the images that accompany this application.

With the underlying theme of a community-led celebration and help from others who have done this before we will learn to encourage local residents, both new and old, to participating in ways that are most culturally relevant and meaningful for them and to celebrate collectively what makes Haliburton a great place to live, work and play together.

We have contacts in the Ontario arts community who are skilled facilitators of community workshops, event management and procession and with the Aviva fund contribution Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre would like to make Halibana DrumFest more inclusive, meaningful and culturally significant to the Haliburton community.

Broker supported

Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre

Location: Haliburton