fixtpoint

LONDON DAY THREE – water, stones, suits, and ice cream!

A walk around town with Sean Galloway is something we highly recommend.  This is a man with a plan!  Sean took us through the future ideas for downtown, including streetscape and sidewalk renovations, an urban beach at the Thames, plans to fill in some of the superfluous parking lots and his personal vision for the future… and we must say, if Sean gets his way, the future looks so bright you’re going to have to buy a pair of shades at a downtown shop! Here’s Sean at the site of some of his downtown dreams…

Next we me with Jonathon Bancroft-Snell at his breathtaking gallery at 258 Dundas Street.  Jonathon opened in Galleria Mall during its heyday and then moved to his current location. Jonathon is a true storyteller and we had a ball interviewing him.  We especially loved the story of one of his fantastical customers who comes in and picks out a whole shelf of ceramics as a gift for someone and asks to have the items wrapped and ready for when he returns.  Jonathon plays along with this fantasy, knowing full well that this customer will not really be returning to complete this purchase.  He enjoys meeting everyone who walks into his gallery and being part of the world of downtown.

We loved this piece.  It feels at home here in this spectacular downtown gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the early afternoon we met with THE David E. White.  This gentleman, (and he is a true gentleman), takes care of the men of London.  In his realm on Richmond, he not only has a men’s wear shop, but also a barbershop to get a cut and shave, a dry cleaners to keep it clean, and a little art gallery where you can buy a piece of art for your wife, perhaps.  David spoke to us of the old days in London where there were over 50 men’s wear shops among a bustling downtown.  The secret to success according to David E. White?  Perseverance.

Finally, we made it out onto the street with our storymobile!!!  Trading Chapmans Ice Cream for stories is our game, and many people were eager to play along.  Young and old ducked inside to tell a story and 24 ice cream sandwiches later, we packed up and headed to have a pint at Joe Kools and then celebrate Londonlicious at Garlics!

HUNTSVILLE DAY SIX – movin’ on IN!

A breakfast meeting on our way back from Alquonquin Park to plan the days ahead. On the agenda:  look up and phone all those people who we were told we just HAVE TO interview….  refine our interview questions based on our the story leads we’ve gathered so far….  pick up some ice cream to fill our freezer…. and pack up our gear and supplies to MOVE INTO OUR POP UP STOREFRONT!!!  at 54 Main Street East, right in the heart of downtown Hunstville. Here is the “before” picture of this awesome space with a great vibe.  We say this, while our heart goes out to all of the businesses who have been there before, and all of those yet to come.  Our stay here will be short and… super duper awesome.

 And here it all begins to come together… as the stories find their place in space and time.  Brown paper will soon line every wall.  And we will throw ideas against it… some will fall, and some will stick.  And all along the voices of all the people we have interviewed will resonate through the room as we try to find a way to tell The Tale of a Town here in Huntsville.

HUNTSVILLE DAY FIVE – O Canada our home

We headed down to River Mill Park bright and very early to scope out a sight for our storymobile and find power to plug in our freezer alongside it.  Thanks to the awesome Canada Day crew here in Huntsville, it was easy as ice cream. Before we did anything, we filled up at the Rotary Pancake Breakfast.  YUM!  Then the band began, followed by the citizenship ceremony where over 20 people were welcomed as new Canadian citizens.

After the music and hubbub died down, we opened our storymobile for business.  We spotted someone with a Bathtub Derby embroidered golf shirt, so we knew we had to talk to him!  He led us to the Bathtub Derby exhibition at the docs where two boats were tested out by the next generation of competitors for the big come back of the contest in next summer!

It was our lucky day because we also met Rudi the Rock Man this afternoon, Manny from That Little Place by the Lights, Cathy from The Great Vine, Bob from Christmas Thyme and Chris Occhiuzzi from What’s Up Muskoka!

However, the most exciting and inspiring story traders on Canada Day were the kids.  Here are some pics of the brave souls that came into our storymobile and told us some tales about this magnetic town!

A hot day came to a cool close at the Legion Branch 232 where we heard some more true stories about the downtown while enjoying a DELICIOUS roast beef dinner – our compliments to the chefs!

Exhausted and full, we headed back to our cottage by the lake, packed up and headed out of town – all the way to Burk’s Falls on Sunday night and Alquonquin Park on Monday July 2 to celebrate our one and only first year Anniversary – that’s right folks, we’re not only a couple of story sleuths, we’re also a couple in love!

HUNTSVILLE DAY FOUR

Writing and posting this blog! Listening to and logging all of the interviews so far....

Getting ready for a big day downtown Huntsville tomorrow for Canada Day festivities.... stay posted!

We feel like we living inside a Tom Thompson painting today.  Here’s the view from where we are right now:

HUNTSVILLE DAY THREE

9 - LISA AND CHARLES STORYMOBILE

Day three began bright and early - by 8am we were in Helena’s office in the chamber of commerce to call into CBC Ontario morning.  The bathtub derby revival was the story of the week.  Take a listen to the CBC podcast and check out the photo of this legendary even from the past that Helena just happened to have on hand! CBC Ontario Morning - June 29th

At 9am we met the mayor of Huntsville outside the town hall for an interview.  We took a walk down main street while he shared his knowledge of the town with us in an appropriately jovial and excited way, the mayor explained some of the recent developments, plans for the empty lot where the empire hotel had been and we had a few chance encounters on the street, notably when the mayor unknowingly greeted a couple who had just closed the deal on their new home in Huntsville.  In our excitement we didn’t get a photo with the mayor but here’s the old town hall whose clock tower we discovered is from Union Station in Toronto:

 

Next we started to set up our storymobile.  We hooked up the power, filled the cooler with Chapman's ice cream, and then declared ourselves open for business.  One thousand dollars for an ice cream OR a story about downtown Huntsville!

All kinds of people traded us stories that afternoon, from kids to cottagers to long time residents to local business owners.  We had a blast and we started to get a sense of what this town is all about.

We were happy that our storymobile was inviting to all kinds of folks.  It felt accessible and easy and most of all fun.

When we ran out of ice cream, we knew we were done for the day.

We headed to bracebridge to pick up the chapman's ice cream vouchers for the week at Purolator and headed back to our spot.

That evening we went for a paddle boat ride and discussed our story gathering technique, revisited the questions we were asking and how we were posing the questions, and started to brainstorm about the Nuit Blanche North installation performance. The Empire Hotel kept coming up in our imaginations.  The empty lot.  Almost everyone has a story about it...

 

HUNTSVILLE DAY TWO

7 - EMPTY EMPIRE LOT

In the morning of day two we unpacked, went swimming and got our bearings then headed into town for an editorial meeting at The Forester, Huntsville’s newspaper.  It was incredible to hear about the history of the newspaper owned for generations by the Rice family and it's recent handover to Metroland Media Group Ltd.  Here’s an old sign we saw hanging on the wall. We met with News Editor Tamara, Mandy who is a new reporter at the paper and Tina Turley who works in production at The Forester but who is also a local legendary country musician. We talked about notable downtown people, the city's development and of course we heard more stories about the bathtub derby and the Empire Hotel.  Tina even recounted times when she was a kid hanging out at the Empire while her father played there.  Tina continues to perform all over Huntsville and the surrounding areas, and lucky for us she is playing next Wednesday downtown in the afternoon by the lake.  Tina coined the unofficial name for the event "a twoonie for a tune" - we can't wait to hear her play!

After our meeting at The Forester, Charles took pics of every business along Main Street with his tripod.  Lisa went to find the archives and local history room at the local library.  And together we stopped and stared at the empty lot on the corner of main east and main west where the empire hotel had stood.  We have heard it burned down several years ago, but it still feels alive in the memories of the few people we have spoken to already.

Back at our little cottage by the lake, we ate and drank and went to sleep early because tomorrow was looking like a jam-packed day.

AND WE'RE OFF!

A long day packing.  Night after the Dora awards in downtown Toronto.  Charles drives early in the morning to Chapman's to pick up the decked out storymobile. Lisa sleeps in and then posts Dora pics on Facebook. Charles goes out to buy a freezer for the ice cream.  Lisa has a chat with her mom and then begins to pack.

We get on the road by 8:30pm

Before we get on the highway, we stop for a quick photo shoot with Tony & Danielle of little blue lemon photography.  They set up lights, call us to action and click us into gear before we finally leave town.  Their photos are beyond awesome.

...And as we drive away we feel ourselves slowly start to unwind.  We arrive at 3am at our cottage by the lake

 

 

FIXT POINT HITS THE ROAD!!!!

  ... And we're off!!!  THE TALE OF A TOWN X ONTARIO TOUR has just begun.   This summer FIXT POINT is hitting the road to trade ice cream for stories about downtown's and their Main Street tales.  Which people will we meet?   What stories will we find? What will we create?

THANKS to our supporters who have helped us get on our way.  Without you there would be no way.  Wait - that's united way.  But I’m talking about our way - across Ontario this summer.  You have fuelled us with ingenuity and creative spirit.  And you are with us on this adventure!

A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO:

CHAPMAN'S ICE CREAM THE HIVE ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL THE WALRUS CBC ONTARIO MORNING HUNTSVILLE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS DOWNTOWN LONDON

STOP ONE: HUNSTVILLE!

FIXT POINT will be in town June 26 to July 15!

While we are here, you can find us doing one of the following things: * Trading Chapman's ice cream for stories about downtown in our storymobile! * Sharing some of the gathered stories CBC Ontario Morning every Friday and Monday! * Listening to interviews, editing interviews and mapping stories online! * Creating a site-specific theatre installation for NUIT BLANCHE NORTH on July 14 in  downtown Huntsville!

SEE YOU ON MAIN STREET!!

Watch here for updates and if you'd like to learn more about the tour, where we are going, our supporters and how you can drop us line with your Main Street story visit HERE