Wind Phones in Shelburne County
What is a wind phone? On the surface it is simply an old phone placed outside, somewhere quiet and a bit alone. The phone is not connected to anything – except the wind. You go to the phone and “dial” the name of a loved one who has died, and then have a conversation with them that is carried by the wind. It allows you to express your grief and to say things that may have been left unsaid. A wind phone becomes a wonderful source of healing, comfort and hope. Working through our griefs is vitally important, and a wind phone is a powerful tool to help us do exactly that.
Barrington Wind Phone
Sherose Island Nature Trail
(Sherose Island "Rocks" Trail)
GPS coordinates - 43.536784° N, 65.595041° W
If you are familiar with this walking trail, the Wind Phone is located between the head of the rock snake and the road. You can get to it by walking around the short loop, or even the longer loop - there are signs pointing toward it.
If the trail is new to you, head to the Sandy Wickens Memorial Arena on Sherose Island, and go to the end of the parking lot. You can park, and there is a sign telling you the trail begins there (just off the beginning of the short dirt road that goes to the boat launch).
The Wind Phone is just off the trail in a small, secluded little nook. It is in a white box on top of an old trunk, with another trunk next to it for you to sit on if you like. If you don't want to walk the trail, but just use the Wind Phone, you can drive down the dirt road, and park at the second set of colored rocks. (Just make sure not to block the road). The phone is not far up the trail straight ahead.
Lockeport Wind Phone
GPS coordinates - 43.70296° N, 65.12295° W
The Trestle Trail is a very popular walking loop in Lockeport. You can pop onto it at several locations, whether you park at the beach and get on to the boardwalk there, or park by the ballpark and get on there. If you are parked in town somewhere, you can also get onto the Trestle Trail at the end of Point St. (around the corner from Surf Lodge Nursing Home). You could also park behind the Fire Hall, and walk down Howe St. towards Point St.
The Wind Phone is located on a bench on the left side of Calf Island Rd. (which is just off of Brighton Rd., the main road into Lockeport). You can park pretty much next to the Wind Phone if you want to use it but not walk the trail.
NOTE - this Wind Phone has been put away for the winter, along with the bench it sits on. It will be brought back out again in the Spring.
Shelburne Wind Phone
Roseway River Trail
GPS coordinates - 43.76528° N, 65.33851° W
The Roseway River Trail is a stretch of abandoned railway bed in Shelburne. Approximately 1 km long, the trail crosses the Roseway River near Falls Lane, and leads to (or from) Islands Provincial Park. Parking is available by the Park. If you are driving into the Town of Shelburne by the Tim Horton's exit, you will turn right when you get to the intersection by Spencer's Garden Centre. You will drive past the trail on your way to Island's Park (which will be a left hand turn not long after you have gone by Spencer's). If you are coming from Birchtown direction, there should be a sign pointing you to turn right to go to Island's Park.
The Wind Phone is close to the Park, and is located just off the trail, sitting atop another old trunk and perched against a tree. If you are parking at Islands Park, then get out of your car and walk back up the road (away from the Park) - the trail is just past the 50km speed sign, and on your right. The Wind Phone is very shortly ahead on the trail on your left.
Origins of the Wind Phone
Created by Itaru Sasaki in Japan in 2010
Itaru Sasaki was a garden designer in Japan in 2010, when he learned that his cousin had been diagnosed with cancer and had three months to live. As part of his grieving process after his cousin died, he bought an old-fashioned phone booth and set it up in his garden. He installed an old rotary phone that wasn't connected to anything by any wires. It was connected only to the wind. Sasaki could feel a bond to his cousin by talking to him on this "telephone of the wind." It carries no religious connotations, but is only about grief, comfort and healing.
Then, in 2011, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake caused a tsunami that destroyed towns and claimed thousands of lives. Many bodies were swept out to sea and never recovered for burial. Itaru was able to salvage his phone booth, and set it up on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He welcomed visitors to come and use his telephone of the wind to make calls to loved ones who were lost. He hoped it would bring them comfort and connection and help them in their grief, as it had for him. To this day, grievers from around the world travel to this location to speak from their grief to their deceased loved ones, perhaps to say things that had been left unsaid. It is a place that is set apart and is quiet and peaceful, so as to allow people some space in which to work through their pain. The wind carries their words to their deceased loved ones.
You can read more about it for yourself, if you like -
Bell Gardia - home of the original Wind Phone (the site is in Japanese, though, so you'll need to translate it to read) - https://bell-gardia.jp/
My Wind Phone - a site that lists locations of Wind Phones around the world (these locations are submitted though, so it isn't necessarily a complete list) - https://www.mywindphone.com/
The Wikipedia entry on the Wind Phone (the references are good) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_phone
A Bloomberg news article about Wind Phones - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-10/japan-s-wind-phone-is-a-site-to-mediate-on-life-and-loss
And finally, an article about one woman's encounter with Itaru Sasaki and the Wind Phone - https://lithub.com/how-japans-wind-phone-became-a-bridge-between-life-and-death/
The Shelburne County Mental Health & Wellness Association would like to thank the Shelburne Community Health Board for the funding to enable us to install these Wind Phones.