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Sask. musician going ahead with festival despite losing home to fire

Eliza Doyle lost her home 45 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon to a fire on Wednesday. She says the fire was caused by a spark from a nearby fire pit. (Eliza Doyle/GoFundMe - image credit)
Eliza Doyle lost her home 45 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon to a fire on Wednesday. She says the fire was caused by a spark from a nearby fire pit. (Eliza Doyle/GoFundMe - image credit)

A Saskatchewan musician is getting ready to step on the stage for the ninth edition of Doyle Fest, which runs from Sept. 8 to 10 at Eagle Creek Regional Park. This year, though, she is also dealing with the loss of her home.

Eliza Doyle lost her home, located 45 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, to a fire on Wednesday. She said the fire was caused by a spark from a nearby fire pit.

The fire was quick to consume the house, she said, and also damage her sister's home, a storage trailer with her belongings, a lean-to with outdoor items, and a sea-can she had converted into a living space.

"All your stuff, your journals, whatever things you keep as an adult from your life, went up in flames."

Despite the loss, Doyle still plans to perform next weekend. In the meantime, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help rebuild her house, since the property was not insured for fire. Doyle estimates she needs $32,000, but said she is confident the community will come together to help.

"That's 320 people giving you 100 bucks or that's 640 people giving you 50. So if you break it down, I really think that we can get to it and I can rebuild my land."

Eliza Doyle's home northwest of Saskatoon was destroyed by a fire on Wednesday. She says the loss included her sister’s home, a storage trailer with her belongings, a lean-to with outdoor items, and a sea can that she had converted into a living space.
Eliza Doyle's home northwest of Saskatoon was destroyed by a fire on Wednesday. She says the loss included her sister’s home, a storage trailer with her belongings, a lean-to with outdoor items, and a sea can that she had converted into a living space.

Doyle said the fire also damaged her sister’s home, a storage trailer with her belongings, a lean-to with outdoor items, and a sea-can that she had converted into a living space. (Eliza Doyle/GoFundMe)

Doyle was selected as one of CBC Saskatchewan's Future 40 winners in 2022 for "making Saskatchewan's future a little bit brighter." She has been working in remote and vulnerable northern communities in the province since 2016.

In 2020, she started a non-profit called Community Arts Mentorship Program (CAMP) with a friend, Holly Yuzicapi, from Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation.

Since then, CAMP has grown to work in at least 10 such underserved communities to deliver music programs annually and has distributed more than 200 donated instruments into the hands of those unable to afford or acquire them.

WATCH | CBC Saskatchewan's Future 40 profile on Eliza Doyle: 

She said her land has been a space for community gathering.

"I really welcome everybody to it. It's used as a gathering spot, it's used for celebration, so it really is like a community space. I am excited to get it back up and going and be able to invite people back to it and start gathering there again," Doyle said.

Mitch Derault is a fellow musician and arranged the GoFundMe campaign. The fundraiser has already raised more than $7,000 in a couple of days. Dureault said that is a testament to the impact Doyle has had on Saskatchewan's music community.

"I can't speak for everyone, but I know there are many of us who probably couldn't do music full-time at this capacity without her guidance and support," he said.

Derault met Doyle in 2019 at a fiddle session for her non-profit. He said she helped him grow as a musician.

"Much of the Sask. folk music community has been touched and lifted by Eliza," he said.

Mitch Derault and Eliza Doyle at a work assignment in Stanley Mission. Derault had first met Doyle in 2019 at a fiddle teaching assignment for Doyle's non-profit.
Mitch Derault and Eliza Doyle at a work assignment in Stanley Mission. Derault had first met Doyle in 2019 at a fiddle teaching assignment for Doyle's non-profit.

Mitch Derault and Eliza Doyle at a music session in Stanley Mission. Derault had first met Doyle in 2019 at while teaching fiddle for Doyle's non-profit. (Submitted by Mitchell Derault)