Wind Phone – inspired by Japanese tradition comes to Geddes Park in Kincardine

L to R – Janice Chalmers, Director, Huron Shores Hospice and Lion Hank VanMoorsel, Tiverton Lions Club. Photo by Lion Bill Stewart.

On November 3rd, the latest addition to Geddes Park in Kincardine was unveiled – a Wind Phone inspired by the Japanese “kaze no denwa” tradition. The Wind Phone offers a unique space for individuals to find solace and connect with lost loved ones. The Wind Phone concept originated more than a decade ago in northeastern Japan, where it provided a way to cope with grief and loss.

In 2010, Itaru Sasaki, a garden designer, set up the first Wind Phone in his garden as a personal means to grieve the loss of his cousin. He placed an unconnected rotary phone inside an old-fashioned phone booth and shared, “Because my thoughts could not be relayed over a regular phone line, I wanted them to be carried on the wind, said Sasaki.” When the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck in 2011, causing immense loss and devastation, Sasaki opened the phone to the public, providing a space for friends and relatives of the victims to find solace in their grief.

“The Wind Phone in Geddes Park is a place for grieving individuals to feel a connection with their departed loved ones. It allows people to express their thoughts, regrets, and love, providing a sense of comfort and closure, said Cathy Herbert, Executive Director, Huron Shores Hospice. “After the loss of a loved one I think there’s a sense of needing to say things, communicate, and still feel a connection. There is no one right way to grieve the loss of a loved one. We offer group Grief Recovery Method sessions, as well as one-on-one sessions in-person or online, and this is simply another way for people to express their grief.”

The Wind Phone at Geddes Park sits in a serene location, providing privacy for visitors to talk or allow the wind to create calming sounds, reminiscent of the ocean’s whispers, offering visitors a serene environment to process their emotions. It is complemented by a wooden bench, allowing individuals to sit and reflect as long as they desire.

A Wind Phone will also be installed in the gazebo in the Walk of Memories in Tiverton.

Replicas of the Wind Phone have been established in numerous countries worldwide. In Canada alone, Wind Phones have been installed in Newfoundland, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and now, Geddes Park in Kincardine.

The Wind Phone can be found in a wooden housing built and donated by Phil Armstrong from Old Guys Handyman Services in Kincardine. A plaque placed inside the housing reads, “Though I’ve lost you, I can hear your voice in the silent echoes of your absence. You speak to me through rustling leaves, whistling wind and bowing branches. Though I’ve lost you, I feel you here in this shrine of trees in nature’s sanctuary. This Wind Phone is for all who grieve. You are welcome to find solace here. Please use it to connect with those you have lost. To feel the comfort of their memory. May you hear their voices in the wind. May you be at peace with your losses” … Words by Millet Israeli”

Mayor Kenneth Craig expressed his enthusiasm for this unique addition to Geddes Park, stating, “We were happy to support Huron Shores Hospice in the installation of this additional support for people experiencing grief. If a wind phone assists anyone in processing their grief, then the Municipality’s small contribution has been very worthwhile.”

The Wind Phone is open to everyone, and individuals are encouraged to visit Geddes Park and experience its healing and comforting atmosphere. It offers a safe space to process grief, away from societal pressures to move on, and provides a unique opportunity to connect with loved ones who have passed away.

Huron Shores Hospice is a charitable not-for-profit, volunteer-driven, community-funded residential hospice, providing free quality end-of-life care, at no cost, to residents of Saugeen Shores, Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss and surrounding areas. Huron Shores Hospice also provides free programs for Grief Recovery, End-of-Life Doula services, Death Cafes and End-of-Life Planning workshops.