In the Mood for Peace

By Phyllis Wheaton

Literary Art, Music, Multidisciplinary, Visual Arts, Culture, Heritage

  • Donate $20 and Up

    Thank you for your donation to help us share our history through the arts! All donations of $20 and up will receive a tax receipt and an online Thank you at AND an Izzy Doll Song MP3 emailed to you !

    Donate $50 and Up

    Thank you! You are helping to preserve our history! All donations of $50 and up will receive all of the above AND a digital copy of Phyllis’ 11 track album called "In Harm’s Way", which includes the Izzy Doll Song !
  • Donate $100 and Up

    Thank you so much! You are contributing to the preservation of our history! All donations of $100 and up will receive all of the above AND an E-book of "In the Mood for Peace; The Story of the Izzy Doll" in PDF format !

    Donate $250 and Up

    Thank you very much for being a patron of the arts and our history! All donations of $250 and up will receive all of the above AND a wall plaque of the Izzy Doll statue in Peacekeeper Park !
  • Donate $500 and Up

    Thank you very much! We are grateful for your donation that will perpetuate our history! All donations of $500 and up will receive all of the above AND and a signed hard copy of book "In the Mood for Peace, The Story of the Izzy Doll"

    Donate $1000 and Up

    Thank you very much for your support! As a donor of $1000 and up you will receive all of the above AND a music visit to your home or office with up to 3 band members. We can discuss the songs you would like, either from the show or from Phyllis' other works.

About the Project

Why the Project?

Calgary is renowned for a lot of things; white hats, cowboys and the Rocky Mountain view quickly come to mind. However, there are two amazing stories that have a presence in Calgary that many people are unaware of; The Izzy Doll in Peacekeeper Park and the Stones of Signal Hill in Calgary SW.

The stories we treasure pay tribute to those who are 'doing what they can with what they have' and pays homage to those who have come before.

Your contributions will allow these great Canadian stories to be treasured and shared through the tradition of song and story telling; creating a greater awareness that honors our past and inspires our future.

About The Project

'Compelling' and 'gripping' describe the content of our show called In the Mood for Peace. We use the tradition of storytelling and song, which throughout the ages has been proven to be powerful and lasting.

Our show pays tribute to our past, celebrates our present and preserves our history for the next generation. This project is about sharing our history through our concert, for two very different audiences.

1) The first concert, scheduled for Friday August 7, is the chosen date to coincide with Peacekeeper Day ceremonies on the weekend. The Peacekeeper Veteran's guest will be Shirley O'Connell (the new Izzy Doll Mama). Because she will be in Calgary, this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the Izzy Doll phenomenon and our Calgary knitters. They will be delighted to meet Shirley who has been an instrument of peace carrying on the work of Carol Isfeld, the first Izzy Doll Mama. (see story below) A connection has been made with the Calgary Peacekeeper Veterans who are pleased to see that we are organizing a memorable celebration of the history behind the Izzy Doll statue in Peacekeeper's Park.

2) Our second concert will be in September for Calgary's youth. This is an opportunity to educate and inspire young people to embrace our history and to pass it on. Currently we have two Scout Troops signed up for the show. Seats are also available for donors at our shows.

The Concert

In the Mood for Peace began as a one hour concert about the Izzy Doll phenomenon. It has been performed across the prairies, in Ottawa at Encounters With Canada, and in British Columbia as part of the Peace Day weekend in 2014. In 2012 we performed six shows in Perth Ontario, where the mayor designated June 27 In the Mood for Peace Day.

The show starts with original music and videos about the Izzy Doll and stories about 'ordinary' people who have accomplished extraordinary things that are creating positive changes in the world.

The second set of the show is about Camp Sarcee and the Stones of Signal Hill, which are 100 years old this year. We make history memorable with more original songs, stories and video with archived photos of the actual soldiers stationed at Camp Sarcee.

Known for our harmonies the band is made up of singer/songwriter and author, Phyllis Wheaton with Tom Poole, Craig James, Diana Slater and Roberta Travis. Vocals, guitars, bass, banjo, fiddle and mandolin are our instruments. We are also known for the passion we have to share our history!

Funding Goals

Through Invest YYC you can be a Patron of the arts and help us promote and preserve our stories. Donations for this project will pay for the hall venues, programs, sound and projection, technical assistance and artist fees. (Tea and cakes have been donated for the afternoon tea for the knitters.)

If we receive 50% of our funding goal we will proceed with the Izzy Doll Tribute Concert and Tea.

If we receive more than our funding goal we will enthusiastically proceed with booking more shows to share these important stories with Calgarians!

The Impact - Outcome

The outcome we are striving for is that Calgarians know the stories of the Izzy Doll and the Stones of Signal Hill well enough to pass them to the next generation. We hope that people will hike up Signal Hill and read the storyboards along the path. We want Calgarians to visit Peacekeeper Park, read the Wall of Honour and view the bronze life-size statue of a Peacekeeper giving an Izzy Doll to a child.

We predict that our show will continue to teach and encourage our community to embrace their history. The outcome - an appreciation for our history through the arts.

Brief Story Outlines

The Izzy Doll Story

Peacekeeper Cpl Mark Isfeld was deployed to Croatia as a deminer with 1CER (1 Combat Engineer Regiment). His troop cleared landmines so Peacekeepers and the local people could move around safely in the war-torn countryside.

Mark drove his truck into an abandoned yard where a home had been selectively destroyed; a sign of ethnic cleansing. He took a photo of a doll lying atop a pile of rubble. On his next leave, he showed his mother the photo and told her, "these kids don't have a childhood."

Carol picked up her crochet hooks and designed a little doll wearing a blue beret (the little girl dolls had pig-tails). Small enough to fit in his uniform pocket, Mark began carrying a doll or two, giving them to the children he met. He wrote home, "They're a hit mom - keep them coming!"

In June 1994, Mark was killed when the Armored Personnel Carrier he was walking beside, hit a landmine. Mark's family and his troop were devastated.

1CER asked his mom if they could continue to give out the dolls in memory of Mark and Carol said, "Absolutely yes!"

This gesture by his troop was the beginning of the Izzy Doll Phenomenon.

In 2005, Carol Isfeld received a call from an interested Izzy Doll Knitter. Shirley O'Connell lived in Ontario and Carol on Vancouver Island. Although they never met, these women enjoyed long conversations on the phone organizing knitters in their area of the country. In 2007 Carol was hospitalized and made a call to Shirley to ask her to take over the Izzy Doll project if anything happened to her. Sadly, Carol passed the following day. Shirley has carried on Mark and Carol's legacy of the Izzy Doll with devotion and heartfelt commitment for the Isfelds and the children.

Twenty-one years after Mark's death, more than one and a half million Izzy Dolls and Izzy Comfort Dolls have been made, mostly by mothers and grandmothers across Canada. Thousands of dolls have been created right here in Calgary. The dolls are distributed by our Peacekeepers, ICROSS Canada and other humanitarian organizations to children of war and the poorest of the poor on the planet.

Their combined efforts have made the Izzy Doll phenomenon the greatest, unheralded peace movement Canada has ever seen.

The Stones of Signal Hill

When you approach the Signal Hill Shopping mall, in Calgary's SW, the giant numbers on the side of the hill cannot escape your eye. However, the history of the 100 year old Stones of Signal Hill remains lost to many of the general public. In the past when I have told the story of the stones, people have come to realize that this is not just a site, but a treasure. There is meaning here that is of great significance.

Responding to the call to enlist for WW1 were farm boys, clerks, cowboys and new immigrants who felt the pull to defend and serve as well as the excitement for adventure and travel. They would train at Camp Sarcee, just south of where Glenmore Trail is today.

As part of their training exercises, numbers and crests were arranged with field stones on hills around Camp Sarcee. Only the numbers on Signal Hill remain. The giant of the numbers is 137, representing the men in the Calgary Battalion. 113 were the Lethbridge men, 51 was Edmonton and 151 was the number arranged by the soldiers in training from the district of Red Deer.

Many of the men who fought in WW1 did not return. Scottish born Canadian, Sgt. David Argo was one of the men who was killed on the front lines. I had the privilege of archiving the letters he wrote his wife Mae that were donated to the Museum of the Regiments. As a result of his words I created songs that tell his experience as a soldier in WW1 called My Dear Mae and Tillymaud.

The men from the #137 who survived tried to save the numbers on Signal Hill as a historical landmark for future generations so we would not forget our past and those who fought.

About saving the stones, the provincial government at the time, said, "Why? There was no battle here." I wrote the song 'There Was No Battle Here' based on the veterans determination to save the stones because they fought so there would be no battles here.

By 1991 the Stones of Signal Hill were finally declared a Heritage Site. Sadly, none of the men of the 137 were still alive to see it happen.

Help us keep these stories alive in the hearts and minds of Calgarians

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68% funded

0 volunteers

$2,600 pledged of $3,800 goal

0 days left

This project will only be funded if at least $1900 is raised by Tuesday Jun 30th, 0:00 am

This project's fundraising period is over.

Latest Funders

Leigh Isfeld
Jun 15

Michel Selim
May 20