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about

In the 1880’s the Island Communities were developing, and the eastern most stretch of Centre Island came to be known as Ward Island after the Ward family settled there in 1830, later developing it from a tent community. David Ward built his family’s cottage and reared his family on the Island, fishing in the Toronto Bay to earn a living.

On May 11, 1862 David’s son, William Ward, brought his five sisters Phoebe, Mary Ann, Jane, Cecilia, and Rose Ellen Ward out onto the water in a small sailboat despite the rough waters. After several hours of pleasure sailing the worsening winds caused their boat to capsize. William brought each of his sisters to safety on the capsized vessel before a second powerful gust again tossed them into the water. He clung to the hull of the boat as his sisters drowned around him.

Six years later on December 7, 1968, the Jane Anne Marsh, a heavy schooner, ran aground in the bay during a heavy snow squall. As redemption, William, along with a champion Oarsman, rescued the entire crew with a total of seven trips in their skiff. Ward received the Royal Humane Society’s Silver Medal for his efforts and went on over the course of his life to rescue one-hundred-and-sixty people from drowning in the Toronto bay.

lyrics

Father tried to warn me
That's an evil wind upon the harbour
When I returned alone broken by the lake
I couldn't meet my Mother's eyes

In my dreams I see
Five figures sinking slowly
Shrouded in white lace and just out of reach
In to the mouth of the deep

And how the wind came faster, faster now
And how the waves grew higher, higher now
My mother said be careful, careful son
My mother said be careful with my little girls

Show me Sister
Atonement only when it's over

It was no act of God
Not the familiar grip of Scarlett Fever
Just the crushing indifference of impetuous youth
And it will haunt me until I die

Some ghost am I
Some angel, some harbour's keeper
One hundred and sixty bodies pulled from the wreckage
But I'd trade them all back for you

And how the wind came faster, faster now
And how the waves grew higher, higher now
My mother said be careful, careful son
My mother said be careful with my little girls

Show me Sister
Atonement only when it's over

For a moment I held ten hands in mine
For a moment I held them tight

Show me Sister
Atonement only when it's over

Now I can't breathe, at last I can't breathe

credits

from Queen City: Volume Two, released July 21, 2015

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