Yesterday we said good bye to Toronto. We flew out from the Billy Bishop airport. See photo of Toronto’s iconic skyline. There is also a tunnel under the water. We tried both. Thumbs up for the ferry – although my vote might change in a Toronto December. I navigated both the subway and bus today! I presented at two great libraries Barbara Frumm and Black Creek.
Today we are in the Forest of Trees Festival at Sault Ste Marie.
So excited yeah!
Forest of Reading Festival today proved to be one of the most exciting and surreal events I have experienced – you know – like one of those movies where the character’s life has been dramatically altered in some way. The organizers promised me the rock star experience and they didn’t lie. Imagine a stage and tent crammed with students while the M.C enthusiastically encouraged them to show their appreciation with cheers and claps. Authors becoming rock stars! Cool!
And huge thanks to my awesome introduction from grade 6 student Gurnoor Sahota and sign carrier Charlotte Thomson-Daze (yup – I got my own sign carrier!)
And then there was the autographing table and the wonderful students who waited so patiently for autographs.
Everyday Hero didn’t win but turning kids on to reading and making rockstars our of authors makes winners of us all! Big congrats to Silver Birch winner OCDaniel by Wesley King and to Shetland Chmakova and Kevin Sands whose books were named as Honour books.
As well, I cannot imagine the level of work and organization required to co-ordinate and organize an event of this magnitude! The Ontario Library Association is also a rock star in my book.
Meanwhile, I think it will be an early night. The rock star existence can be a tad exhausting but pretty cool as well!
Success!!! I managed to successfully navigate the Toronto Subway system today (the TTC for those in the know!)
A huge shout out to the wonderful server at Starbucks at the Six Points Plaza in Etobicoke. She bought me my coffee and kept a straight face when I asked her if she could tell me where I was exactly!!!
I had a great time talking to the students at Kingsway College School and their great librarians. I am so looking forward to the Festival of Trees reception tonight – negotiating the bus system this time! And then tomorrow is the big day!
We made it to Toronto last night and even managed to find our way into town without getting lost or any mishap – okay there was the issue of going back in through the ‘out’ doors at baggage claim – but we got away with it. Then there was a bidding war at the taxi stand. Taxis seem to operate somewhat differently here.
Today was spent exploring Toronto. Fantastic, beautiful and energizing city! I am with my oldest daughter who used her phone to navigate – I’d have had the two foot map! We explored Queens Street and found a wonderful brunch place. I embraced the ‘tourist mom look’, according to my daughter- although I noted her jacket ended up in the backpack. Some things don’t change.
Meanwhile, after careful consultation with the phone, we are off for dinner and more exploration! Tomorrow, I read at my first school and then Wednesday is the Festival of Trees. Look out for photos and updates!
Thank you to all the schools, students, my fellow author, Adele Barclay, and tour organizer, Bryan Pike. The tour was a great experience and I am so looking forward to the Awards Night tonight. Check back over the next few days for additional photos of the tour and tonight’s event. We live in a beautiful province with such awesome young people and dedicated, enthusiastic teachers!
I discovered another truly beautiful spot in our province today – Fort St. James. It is located on Stuart Lake and has a long history as one of B.C.’s oldest permanent European settlements. It was originally a fur trading post for the North West Company but was taken over by the Hudson Bay’s Company when the two companies merged.
The Dakelh people live in this area and I would have loved to check out a drum making activity at their band office today but had to continue with our tour. I did however learn a Dakelh greeting ‘hadi’. Thank you, David Hoy Elementary, for a fantastic visit.
We then continued to Fraser Lake, another beautiful, beautiful place. It also has fur trading routes and developed as a result of the 1914 construction of the Grand Trunk Railway.
Also, to our great delight, my co-presenter, Adele, and I saw our name in lights! Thank you for the fantastic welcome, Fraser Lake Elementary and Secondary School! Of course, we had to take numerous photos to capture the event.
Today we saw almost sandal weather and some great Mexican food in Smithers! Tomorrow, we continue to explore B.C.’s northwest!
It started early with a bleary-eyed, pre-dawn shuttle trip to the Vancouver Airport and then off to Prince George. For someone used to the mountainous, treed terrain of Northwestern B.C., the topography of Prince George is quite different. As I peered down, still bleary-eyed, I noted a checkerboard of fields stretched across hills too flat for the west coast and criss-crosssed with roads too straight for our more mountainous coastal terrain.
Prince George has a population of approximately 74,000 and is sometimes called the capital of Northern B.C. However, the area was occupied long before the current settlement by the Lheidli T’Enneh (People of the Confluence of the Two Rivers)
Our first stop was at Duchess Park Secondary School where poet Adele Barclay was scheduled to present. Here we had a television interview with the Prince George television crew from CKPG-TV. On the plus side, I did not hit the microphone – I am a dreadful hand talker and had a nasty experience recently with a tall beverage. On the minus side, I’m not certain I would schedule my first televised interview after a flight and with only four hours of sleep.
After this I went off to Heather Park where I presented to an awesome group of students. For those who know me, it’s all about the shoes and food so, thank you to Heather Park, for lovely mug and treats. As for the shoes, I followed the mantra ‘if you wear them spring will come’ and went with sandals! Okay the toes were a tad chilly in the morning but by afternoon it was all good.
Then off to Vanderhoof and another great group of students at the Evelyn Dickson Elementary. The town of Vanderhoof was founded by Herbert Vanderhoof in the early 1900s with the hope of creating a creative retreat. However, the area has been largely populated by loggers and ranchers. On a literary note, Vanderhoof is home to Mary John, who inspired the book Stoney Creek Woman and is known for her advocacy work with the Carrier people.
After the presentation I went on a run, largely to try out my new runners – back to the shoes – and discovered the W.L. McLeod Wetlands, just one of the great spots in Vanderhoof. I also got some ideas from some Vanderhoof experts, thank you kids! They suggested that I check out the Nechako White Sturgeon Hatchery, as well as their new swimming pool and skating rink.
It sounds like I have to come back. Meanwhile, I am loving getting a glimpse into these communities!
I’m so excited to be sharing what I’ve learned in my writing journey with others at the Kitmat Public Library on January 28. Be sure to register for the event today!