The melodies of Sonny’s Dream floated in the air in the Newfoundland outport of Ferryland this weekend when a new memorial for legendary singer-songwriter Ron Hynes was unveiled in his hometown.
A crowd of about 150 people came Saturday to see an eight-foot silhouette made of aluminum featuring Hynes and his guitar in front of a wave.
“I think if [Ron] saw this, he’d be tickled pink,” said Keith Hynes, the youngest brother of the singer, and one of the family members who had made their way to their hometown for the unveiling.
The legendary Newfoundland singer-songwriter often known as “the man of a thousand songs” died in 2015 at 64 after a battle with throat cancer. Although Hynes was born in St. John’s, he was raised in Ferryland on the Southern Shore.
Having a memorial for Ron there, says Hynes, means a lot to the entire family.
“Everybody needs a marker in life,” he said.
“We have headstones and we have tombstones. But there’s never been a marker for Ron … There’s never a place that you can gather and say, this is where Ron is. And I think Ron’s spirit will live on in this statue.”
The erection of the memorial was a joint effort by the Ferryland Tourism Association, local tourism operators, the Town of Ferryland, the Southern Shore Folk Arts Council and the Ron Hynes Commemorative Monument Committee.
To bring the vision to life, St. John’s-based artist Jud Haynes was hired to design the memorial in collaboration with all organizations involved and Heather McKinnon, Hynes’s first cousin and the executor of his estate.
The memorial now stands in the heart of Ferryland — next to the Regional Arts Centre, in front of the ocean.
‘Just seemed like the perfect location’
The setting is ideal , said Chris Curran, a member of the board of the Southern Shore Folk Arts Council.
“Ron, of course, grew up just here in Ferryland, just down the harbour here in a house that overlooks the ocean,” said Curran.
“The thought of putting [the monument] here with the islands and the harbour in the background just seemed like the perfect location … No better place to put the monument so people can spend some time and see it and maybe have a picture taken.”
Curran says it’s important to honour the artist in Ferryland since he’s always had a special connection to the town.
“It’s really important for people to realize that Ron meant a lot to this community,” said Curran.
“This is a real opportunity for the community to stand up and say, you know, as much as he belongs to the world, he started here and he’s part of the family here.”
Keith Hynes agrees that Ferryland held a special place in Ron’s heart which makes the new memorial there even more important.
“Now and then people think his roots were all in St. John’s. But he’s a Ferryland boy, born and raised here,” said Hynes.
“This is where he learned songs at the hands of other songwriters. And it’s just a good place to have Ron’s marker, in his hometown.”
Hynes was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020.
He was the first Newfoundland artist who released an album composed entirely of their own songs.
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