My Daughter’s First Visit To Marineland

A Special to Niagara At Large by Karl Dockstader

So my oldest daughter Kathryne and I took my youngest daughter Amelia to Marineland today. We caught wind that Marineland Animal Defense had a parade/march planned for this Victoria Day weekend so we figured we would tag along on this nice day.

Kathryne Dockstader on her first trip to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo courtesty of Karl Dockstacer

Kathryne Dockstader on her first trip to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo courtesy of Karl Dockstader

What a fitting way to start the day as “Marineland Mom” told her simple and humble story. She had asked if her child could not be sent to Marineland for an “educational” field trip and that Stoney Creek school decided that there would be no more trips to Marineland.

That mom’s thoughtful act of objecting to her child’s class trip to Marineland caught the hearts and minds of the public and the debate resumed catapulting Marineland’s dated practice of using animals for the joy of spectators to wrangle cash back into the spotlight. Enslavement is not entertainment, which was a theme of this day, and it’s not education either, which was her important point.

As the parade commenced we jarred tourists from emptying their pockets into the tourist traps en route across Niagara’s scenic roads. Our rallying cries were met with honks of support, cheering, shame filled avoidance of eye contact right down to disdainful head shaking at us. It was an un-orthodox parade of information but our crowd made it clear that “Marineland Sucks!” and it is time to “Shut it down!”

A march to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario as a voice for inprisoned marine mammals at that amusement park site.

A march to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario as a voice for inprisoned marine mammals at that amusement park site.

Kathryne, Amelia and I chanted our little hearts out. We hadn’t had this much fun in a march since #idlenomore. We snacked and chanted the crowd messages as we mingled, and we marched up and down all the hot spots in Niagara Falls with the group.

When we hit our destination, it was clear our journey was a success. Kathryne and I, who had been to Marineland separately on previous occasions, made Amelia’s first visit there a special one. And her visit was different from ours. Her visit was actually educational.

We didn’t watch starved trapped animals do parlor tricks to alleviate their hunger. We watched a determined inspired group of millennial’s feed the meter of hope. Amelia and Kathryne, like many children, love animals, but we now know that loving animals means more than admiring them.

Loving animals means that sometimes we have to go out of our way, even to great lengths, to show them that we respect and love them. We did that today, making Amelia’s first trip to Marineland a success.

The only drawback is that we may have to go back soon and often until everybody starts loving animals as much as we saw from the young people leading the March on Marineland today

Many hundreds protest in front of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario this May 17th despeite efforts by Marineland and the City of Niagara Falls council to stop them.

Many hundreds protest in front of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario this May 17th despeite efforts by Marineland and the City of Niagara Falls council to stop them. Photod by Karl Dockstader.

.Karl Dockstader is a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Turtle Island. He is a father, husband, and lover of all of creation, including animals, and is an occasional contributor to Niagara At Large.

(NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.)



3 responses to “My Daughter’s First Visit To Marineland

  1. Sheila Krekorian

    This was a very interesting article indeed. The author is described as “…a lover of all of creation, including animals…” and yet has written in this forum about his full support of deer hunting in Short Hills Park. How do you reconcile the two entities of animal lover and deer hunting proponent?


  2. My hat is off to Mr Dockstader and the rest of the folks who protested at Marineland. Unfortunately, due to prior family commitments, we were unable to attend.
    Unfortunately, the campaign to shame the Holer family is going to be a lengthy battle. Making money is more important to them than human decency.


  3. I enjoyed reading about your experience on taking your youngest daughter to the March on Marineland protest. I took my older daughter (24) with me to the protest march and I got choked up a few times seeing the amount of people who supported us and watching people come out towards the windows to see what all the commotion was on the streets. It warmed my heart to see so many people doing something about these captive sea mammals and land animals that I haven’t stopped reading and writing about this problem.

    I emailed and got a reply from the Government’s Fisheries and Oceans Canada Dept about Kiska being the last captive whale in Canada and this country should do something to free her from the tank she suffers in. Isolation is a terrible existance for an intelligent social creature like an Orca. Isolation is for criminals. The reply I received from Kevin Stringer Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ecosystems and Fisheries Dept was all fluff.

    I was told that in the province of Ontario animals are protected under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act… However, that means nothing to me when they can’t comprehend that these sea mammals live indoors with no fresh air and no sunlight during the long cold winter months with no stimulation or quality of life. This is cruelty. As I expected the Government will not help and because marineland brings in a lot of money through tourism to the city, nobody in government will support the people trying to defend the captive animals and mammals of marineland. Money talks so we need to talk louder. The more people we can get to do anything they can to not buy a ticket and support this outdated circus act, the better off the animals will be. The deer at marineland have no shelter from the people and kids who chase them. This is cruelty. Deer are afraid of people and they have no escape from them. The bear I’ve seen in the wild are so much larger than the bear at marineland and they are healthier looking than the deer at marineland. These bear stand in disgusting dirty water filled with cereal and who knows what else people drop into their sad living quarters to eat but it’s just terrible to see these skinny bears. The sea mammals have gone blind due to poor water quality. Kiska has had 5 calves and all of them are dead. Why the government doesn’t see this as cruelty is beyond anything I can comprehend. If the Government of Canada can’t see this as cruelty than it’s up to the people.

    Please don’t buy a ticket to marineland. By the way, my daughter and I are in the picture standing right behind your daughter at the protest. Good for everyone who cares for this cause. To the haters out there, we know there are other causes worth fighting. We also have lives and we also have jobs. We are regular people with a strong respect for
    the well being and quality of life these captive sea mammals and land animals are forced to endure all for a few minutes of outdated entertainment.


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