nuitblanchenorth

HUNTSVILLE DAY NINE – hello i love you won’t you tell me your name

 

8:15AM call in segment for CBC’s sweet ONTARIO MORNING!  Featured this week, Gus the SIGN GUY and Rudi the ROCK MAN, or so we call these two fantastic artists. Both of these guys have made the main street of Huntsville more beautiful.

Then Charles went to Toronto to pick up the equipment we will need next week for the show – speakers, headphones, projectors, piles of cables, a few lights and some select items from my costume trunk.

And I stayed in the went off to be on a show with Suzzanne Riverin on the awesome Hunter’s Bay, then interviewed the one and only show stopping Bill Sibeon who has not only owned Al’s Taxi in town for over 30 years, but is also celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary tomorrow!  Oh Bill’s voice!  I only heard his speaking one, but I can only imagine how he sounded in all the Rotarian musicals he starred in!  Anyone have any of these on tape?!

When Charles got back, we unloaded the jeep and had a beer.  Pub on the Docs.  “There’s always time for a quick one!”

 

HUNTSVILLE DAY SEVEN – best laid plans

 

At 9am we met up with the incredible Helena – President of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts / General Manager of the Huntsville Business Improvement Association  / Set Designer for The Tale of a Town – Huntsville (she doesn’t know that part yet… we are just letting it happen bit by bit… ).  Helena traced the letters onto the window, I filled them in, and Charles time lapsed the whole thing.  Check out this link to see how fast it all happened….

   

Later that morning Chris from What’s Up! Muskoka met up with us for an interview and we let him in on some top secret show plans for Nuit Blanche North.  Then we took a walk with Gus from Hilltop Signs and were amazed by his craftsmanship and all he knew about all the businesses on Main Street whose signs he had created – and there were many… Actually, Gus calls the Main Street of Huntsville his showroom!

Here’s a pic of him in front of the very first sign he made on Main Street, years ago…  Next, I went to take in some music at the Trinity Church played by our next interviewee Doug Banwell whose band was performing as part of the music at noon series. I was pleased to take a moment of down time in this acoustically astonishing atmosphere.  When we interviewed Doug, we found out just how close of a friend he was to the late David Kaye – the final owner of the infamous Empire Hotel.

Apparently Joni Mitchell wrote this song about the place:

Then our storymobile battery died.  A few hours later, it was fixed because of a super nice man from an autoshop who drove here from Bracebridge and fixed it.  He wouldn’t take a penny.  Not even an ice cream!

And so – we leave you today with that.

 

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 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 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