2023 Guided Spirit Walks – George Rykert

The annual Guided Spirit Walks are back again this September and we’re excited to share the profiles of the historic people included this year, and our wonderful cast of volunteer performers who will portray them.

For our next character and actor profile, we’ll meet George Rykert and three very angry ladies who are curious about his work laying out the town plan.

Left to right: Joe Lamothe, Jaqueline Conway, Karen Donald, Rachelle Longtin next to the marker of George Rykert at Victoria Lawn.

A little about this scene…

Fictional settlers, (representing real opinions from historical sources) Abigail MacDonald, Jessie Frey, and Sarah Bryan have a bone to pick with Rykert after his town plan is laid out in the most awkward and disadvantageous ways. The scene unfolds quickly into familiar rants about road quality, property development, and the beginnings of urban settlement in our town.

A little about Joe…

Character: George Rykert
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 4 seasons.
Favourite Tour Year: 2019 – “as it was my first year participating and it was exciting for my never having acted before.”
Favourite Character: Court Baliff from 2019.
Favourite Costume: “This year’s costume because I get to wear a hat and funky old timey shoes.”
What can our audiences look forward to most? “Counting how many lines I have. A big jump from my non-speaking role in 2019!”

Joe, as court bailiff taking Armand away in this now infamous scene from our 2019 production.

A little about Jackie…

Character: Angry local, Abigail Macdonald
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 5 seasons.
Favourite Tour Year: 2022
Favourite Character: Persape, wife of Neshan, the Titanic survivor.
Favourite Costume: 2022, Persape’s dress.
What can our audiences look forward to most? “Audiences can look forward to an evening filled with many stories from the past, come alive before their eyes and are able to get a better understanding of how our city came to be and the people who played an important role of the creation of this city.”

Jackie as Persepe Krekorian, wife of Titanic survivor and St. Catharines resident Neshan Krekorian, from the 2022 walks.

A little about Karen…

Character: Angry local, Jessie Frey
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 5 seasons.
Favourite Tour Year: “I can’t pick a favourite year, each had unique stories.”
Favourite Character: “Artist Marion Hooker.  She lived a full and active life, was an artist, and pushed what a women could do in late 1800’s.”
Favourite Costume: Can’t pick a favourite costume.
What can our audiences look forward to most? “This year audiences get a snapshot into what the lives of the early European settlers were like and what their daily issues, wants and lives were like.  Not so different from today!”

Karen as Artist Marion Hooker Nelson in the 2021 walks. Karen actually painted during her scenes!

A little about Rachelle…

Character: Angry local, Jessie Frey
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 5 seasons.
Favourite Tour Year: 2021
Favourite Character: “Mary Burgoyne, erstwhile reporter for the St. Catharines Standard, a little flamboyant, but very knowledgeable (Jenny Pinnock is a close second)”
Favourite Costume: “Mary Burgoyne’s floral print shirt dress”
What can our audiences look forward to most? “An introduction to some of the characters that make St. Catharines more than just a place to live; it’s got a history as storied and interesting as … hmm 🧐 … Niagara Falls!”

Rachelle in her floral print as journalist and guide Mary Burgoyne in the 2021 walks.

A little about George Rykert:

Born on September 3, 1797, in New York State, George Rykert came with his family to lands in Grantham Township around 1810. During the War of 1812, he saw action as a volunteer. After the war, he became qualified as a provincial land surveyor. In this capacity, he was responsible for laying out the town plan for St. Catharines. he was a successful businessman. He engaged in politics, as a conservative but was defeated in his campaigns by moderate reformer William Hamilton Merritt. He was a member of town council, founder of Grantham Grammar School, and later, president of the Port Dalhousie and Thorold Railway. Rykert died November 1, 1857.

The 12th Annual Guided Spirit Walks

This year’s walks take place on September 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 6pm and 7pm. Tickets are $15.50 per person. Tickets go on sale on August 1 via our ActiveNet portal or over the phone (905.984.8880) or in-person at the St. Catharines Museum.

For More…

For more on how we put together the annual walks at Victoria Lawn, check out this run down of crafting the walks, our most popular program.

Leave a Reply