Books & Authors features one of Uxbridge’s own
On Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Uxbridge Music Hall, the fall literary season has its lead-off event with the annual Celebration of the Arts Books and Authors Night. Often referred to as Blue Heron Books’ favourite night on the literary calendar, this year’s line-up is one to be celebrated. Anthony de Sa, Gilly MacMillan, Ted Barris and Michael Crummey will grace the stage with their new works.
Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist for Barnacle Love Anthony de Sa returns to Uxbridge with his new novel Children of the Moon. The novel is a raw and compelling look at the power of love, war and the heartbreaking effects of memory. Set in Tanzania in the mid-’50s, it is the story of two outcasts facing the impact of colonialism and war on their lives and their love.
Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar-nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew, The Perfect Girl, Odd Child Out, and I Know You Know. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire, and spent her teen years in northern California before returning to Bristol, England, from which she now hails. Her novels have been translated into over 20 languages and her books have gained a reputation for being addictive, riveting and emotionally charged. Pageturners that tug at the heart-strings.
Uxbridge’s own Ted Barris will be in the hot seat as a guest author this year as well as filling the interviewer’s chair for the other authors. Ted’s latest book, Rush to Danger, is the culmination of a “life-long dream of writing about and expanding upon his own father’s wartime adventures as a medic,” says Blue Heron Books owner Shelley Macbeth. While it may seem a narrower focus than some of his previous books, Barris still draws readers into the stories that humanize war and drive home the danger faced daily by the brave men and women of our military.
“This is really an homage to his father,” says Macbeth. “Barris has always been a great cheerleader for the store and we are happy to have the Books and Authors spotlight focus on him and his writing successes.”
Lastly, from St. John’s Newfoundland, Michael Crummey will explore his 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated novel, The Innocents. This is the second time Crummey has been nominated for Canada’s most prestigious prize. His first novel, River Thieves, was nominated in 2001. In the interim, his works have been recognized by the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
“In The Innocents, Crummey tackles a very difficult subject in a very sensitive way, “ says Macbeth. The novel is an unflinching exploration of the bond between a brother and sister who were orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline.With only the barest notion of the outside world, they fight for their own survival through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness. It is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them.
The night promises to reveal insights into both the content and the writing life for these four exceptional authors at the peak of their craft.
Tickets are $25 and available in advance at Starticketing.com , by calling Blue Heron Books at 905-852-4282 or at the door.
The allure of local food
by Nancy Fisher
The local food movement is catching on and for many good reasons. In July 2018,the Uxbridge Council unanimously voted to proclaim September as Uxbridge’s Local Food Month. We are fortunate to live in a community surrounded by many wonderful farms that are able to provide us with fresh and delicious produce for many several months of the year. This month we celebrate the bounty as many of our local farms, producers and restaurants participate in activities and events centred around locally grown food.
Did you ever stop to think about the benefits of eating locally grown and produced food? I spoke to some of our local farms and restaurants about their thoughts on the subject. This article is the first one this month sharing the reasons why you should consider local food.
Many people choose to live in smaller towns like Uxbridge for the strong sense of community, and local food is a great way to build that community and support our economy. Kate, from Foggy River Farms, believes in the community connection we create when we purchase locally grown food
“Buying locally grown food brings back connection into our lives. It means we can see the land where the food is grown and how it impacts our landscape. It means we can talk to the people who grow our food and learn about their business, and how our purchases impact their lives. It means we can build community around food – gathering at a central location each week to make our purchases.”
Adrian, from Willo’Wind Farm, agrees, and also mentions local food security – “buying locally has a positive ripple through the health of our communities through the increased benefit to the local economy, and ecosystems that surround our farmland. It creates a food system that is more secure and resilient to global and environmental pressures.”
The economic benefits to the community are important considerations to Lisa from Coopers CSA Farm; most importantly, “the grower and the community benefits. The grower gets a fair market price for their wears, and in turn has the ability to employ local people. Both employer and employee spend their money in the local community keeping the small rural town thriving.”
Trish from the Bar Café supports purchasing produce from local farmers for similar reasons.
“I have relationships with the people growing my food and it supports our local economy. How great is it that I can tell my customers where their food was grown and when it was harvested?”
Banjo Cider, a newly opened cidery in the township, has a great idea for building community around their cider. They are launching their “Citizen’s Cider Project,” where they will buy apples from local residents who want to spend an autumn afternoon picking in their own backyards, on roadsides, fencerows, etc. in Uxbridge. Rather than having so many apples fall to the ground and be wasted, they will press them to make a truly local cider.
Supporting our community and economy are only two of the great reasons to eat locally grown and produced food. Next time we will talk about why it tastes better and really is better for you and for our environment.
Are you looking for ways to incorporate more local food into your family’s meals? The Savour the Harvest Restaurant program starts September 6, and many Uxbridge restaurants will be producing special menu items featuring local foods. Also try shopping at the Uxbridge Farmers’ Market (Sundays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., until Oct. 27) beside the Second Wedge Brewery or join a Community Shared Agriculture program offered by one of our local farms. For a full list of the events being held for the Local Food Celebration, visit www.DiscoverUxbridge.ca/localfood
Nancy Fisher is a Local Food Celebration Volunteer
Artistic siblings finally put work side by side
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
Two Uxbridge siblings have been creating art since they could hold a crayon, but they’ve never displayed their work together, at the same time – until now.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, Preston Gallery, on Brock St. W., will feature artists, and brother and sister, Peter Moore and Carol Paton sharing space in their first art gallery show.
“We have each other’s work in our homes,” laughs Paton, “but we’ve never been together in one gallery, having one show, at the same time!”
It took another sibling, Nancy Graham (co-owner of Thistledown Pet Memorial, Uxbridge), to get the duo together for a show in Uxbridge.
“I’ve always been their biggest promoter, I believe in them so much,” says Graham about her siblings’ work.
The three grew up in Uxbridge – their father owned and operated Moore’s Hardware Store on Brock St. While Graham, Moore and Paton may all have shared a package of crayons, only Moore and Paton went on to attend the Ontario College of Art. Moore and Paton have very different styles, however, when it comes to what they put on canvas – or wood, in Moore’s case. He describes his art as “tight” and works primarily with acrylics.
“I worked in graphic design and as an illustrator for a lot of years, and I work fast because acrylic dries quickly. I love it!”
A sample of some of the work he’ll have at Preston Gallery displays one painting of an old truck covered by snow; another is of five hockey players having a game of pick-up on a frozen pond in Anywhere, Canada. And a perfectly round piece of wood features a grey, weathered barn just coming out of winter into another spring.
“I never leave home without my camera,” explains Moore. “I get a lot of my inspiration from things that I see as I travel around the countryside.”
Moore displays most of his work at his home studio in Warkworth, Ontario. Happily situated next to a golf course, Moore displays his passion pieces next to his other passion – golf. In fact, he likes to create round cribbage boards with golf themes painted on them.
“That’s a real labour of love,” he laughs.
Brother and sister Peter Moore, right, and Carol Paton will join forces to present their individual artwork at Preston Gallery in September. Both artists were born in Uxbridge; this is their first art show together.
Photo by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
Paton, who recently moved back to Uxbridge, describes her artwork as much more detailed.
“Oh, I see an abstract piece and I want to add detail, it’s crazy!” she exclaims.
Paton paints nature – botanicals, abandoned birds’ nests, tiny feathers – all of them find their way out of the watercolours that Paton mixes to create her pieces. She works off of photos or specimens, and says that she loved to befriend people “with fabulous gardens!” In a previous life, Paton created wallpaper designs and did illustrations for books and magazines, but she says painting botanicals is “where my heart is.”
She has shown her work in several museums, shows and galleries in Canada, the United States, and England. She was one of two artists at the 1996 “Visions from the Garden” show at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls. In 1998, Paton was the featured artist for the same show, and in 2004 she was invited to participate again. In 2001, three paintings were accepted for exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Show, Westminster, England. She has also been selected for exhibit at the Canadian Blooms Botanical Art Show in Toronto every year since its inception in 2000.
Perhaps her biggest achievement is when she was invited to be one of 14 botanical artists from around the world to exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society BBC Gardeners’ World Live Show, in Birmingham, England in June, 2006. Her entry was 13 paintings of the provincial flowers of Canada as her theme. Paton was awarded the Silver Medal at this show and still has this special collection in her possession. There was no Gold Medal awarded at that particular exhibition.
Paton also creates the various urns that her sister offers at her business, Thistledown Pet Memorial.
The two are excited to finally exhibit their work in the same gallery, and their supportive sister is happy to bring them all back together in Uxbridge.
“Art is an important part of the tourism business in Uxbridge,” explains Graham. “Having Carol and Peter in a local gallery is a boon.”
The siblings’ show opens on Sept. 12 with a reception featuring food and cider pairings by Annina’s Bakeshop and the newly opened Slabtown Cider Co. Entry to Preston Gallery is at no charge; tickets for the food and drink pairings will be sold at the door. For more information, visit prestongallery.com