The Tale of a Town

LONDON DAY FOUR – downtown in the park

Home County Fair @ Victoria Park!  Incredible to see this plethora of people in this AMAZING park downtown London!  As I explored this festival, I felt like I was walking down a busy main street with all of its food stalls and shopping vendors and stages.  It seemed to me that this festival set up was a true microcosm of a vibrant and vital downtown replete with independent owners, a diverse mix of people, and a clearly defined public space accessible to everyone.   And Londoners clearly enjoyed it!

A highlight of the festival was hearing the sweet sounds of Celine Murray, a fourteen year-old fiddle player from the area and The Marrieds who entertained us between acts.  WOW!  It was great to see first hand just how incredible the talent is here in London!

Before the nights main stage shows began we headed down to Old East London, to hear some different perspectives about downtown from the ground level. 

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!

LONDON DAY TWO – more talk on tape…

Hey there!  Today was full of interviews, which are proving to be indispensable in providing us with a base from which to launch our questions that we will ask the public from our story mobile on street level. Today we spoke to Kathy Novackas, the extraordinary founder of the London Fringe among a list of other grassroots initiatives.  Kathy told us of the movers and shakers in the arts community downtown and the venues and theatres that pop up around town.  She recounted her own memories of visiting Kingsmills and Roland Hill Shoe Store as a child where her mom would buy her oversized clothing for the year ahead, that she would have to grow between her next annual visit to London Ontario from London England where she spent her childhood.

Next we met with Michael Gibson, who has had an art gallery downtown since 1984, and in its current location on Carling Street since 1997.  Michael wowed us with stories of the 80’s and 90’s on the scene and then how it felt to be part of the circle of people who held hands around the entire Talbot block to protest bulldozing it to build the John Labatt Centre.  When asked about the stigma of downtown London, Michael brought our attention to his flower basket and the two benches he had the city put in across the street from his gallery.  He wishes everyone would follow suit, knowing all the businesses have a vested interest in the improvement of downtown, but what he says is that not everyone agrees with the best way to make it happen…

GIBSON GALLERY

Finally, we had a quick visit with Natalie Boot of Renaissance Massage Therapy and Spa Ltd.  Natalie’s business is inside the Citi Plaza, which used to be the grandiose Galleria Mall.   The Galleria Mall used to house Eaton’s, The Bay, The Gap, Eddie Bauer, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few.  Those stores are long gone, and now there is a beautiful public library, among other smaller stores and services and empty spaces.  We are curious about this enormous structure right smack downtown.  There’s a story there, we are sure of it, and perhaps it will help shed some light on just what happened over the past few decades downtown….

As we walked back into the downtown office a gift awaited us… Felicia, who was visiting London from Vancouver regaled us with her stories of waitressing at the Mascot, and a Casino bar on Dundas Street, and her one day of working at the lunch counter at Kresge’s where the lights were bright outside the building and flickered on and off all day!

ANYONE ELSE REMEMBER THIS?!  SEND US YOUR MEMORIES OF DOWNTOWN LONDON!

CALL 1-855-CAN-TALE  or email us at INFO@FIXTPOINT.COM and add your story to the collective community memory!

LONDON DAY ONE – good days sunshine!

Bright and early to the Downtown London office, on the corner of Dundas and Richmond, we were greeted by Kathy McLaughlin and Lisa Thomas, the most positive, cheerful, savvy women we could hope to collaborate with!  We moved into the office,  started booking interviews, making calls, and then went off to a fantastic lunch where we joined with another incredible Downtown London associate – Vicki Smith, to celebrate the birthday of their intern Sarah.  Over lunch we were fascinated to hear a base of stories from downtown; what used to be here, what is new, who we should talk to, who we were already scheduled to talk to (yes – these ladies have things organized!).  I was furiously note taking to try and take it all in.  London is no small town.  And at this first lunch, I got a hunch, that there are many many many stories in the living memory of this downtown waiting to be remembered…

The afternoon took us to the London Arts Council and London Heritage Council to meet with Andrea and Andrea. We heard about the vibrant community of artists downtown, and the history of some of the oldest buildings, the bulldozed buildings, the heyday of London visual artists in the 70’s, the selling of the London Free Press by the Blackburns, music venues like Notes and Call the Office, the food rotating in the old Albert’s Diner, City Lights, Mark Emery, and a great little anecdote about hiding in the fur coats in Simpsons department store.  We cannot wait to listen through that interview to mine all the little story gems.  One thing that struck us was hearing about a perceived stigma that surrounds the downtown.  Apparently, downtown London is unsafe, undesirable and unclean according to the gospel of the suburbs.  Bad press, or true?   One thing is certain – we are here to get to the bottom of this urban myth….

BETWEEN HERE AND THERE – tusks and stingers

While we were in Toronto, dropping off our Huntsville gear and picking up some London luggage, we did a quick drive by to show off our storymobile to two of our storytelling partners. First stopThe Hive. This is the awesome company who designed our wicked website, our pimpin’ postcards and our sweeeet storymobile. This shot is of the kick ass Klint Davies who is our account manager at The Hive, and bitchin’ Brad Van Shaik who designed our Tale of a Town logo. Not appearing in this photo, but incredible all the same are Simon Creet, Chief Creative Officer and Andy Krupski, President and CEO of The Hive who have dished out expert advice to us all year long, helping us get this show on the road! We can’t thank The Hive enough for making us look so damn good!!!!

Stop two – A quick hello to David Leonard at The Walrus, the open-minded manager of special projects who got behind us at this incredible Canadian foundation. The Walrus online is where you’ll find the podcast series called A Walk Down Main Street that we are creating from all of the tales we gather on our tour across Ontario. We couldn’t be happier to have found a home for our podcasts at this witty, spirited and progressive place for quality Canadian artistry. We snapped a pic with David, picked up a stack of their award winning magazines to distribute en route and got back on the road out of the big smoke…

ARRIVING IN LONDON TOWN!

We arrived in London town in the evening. Walked around downtown. Not too many people around. Diners, boutiques, haircuts, pawn shops, restaurants, record stores, McDonalds, a library, beautiful old buildings, parking lots where buildings must have been before. A new place to dig. When the sun comes up we will see the light on downtown London. What will we see?!

Check out our article in the London Free Press HERE!

or read all about it below....

Seeking stories of downtown

JULY 16, 2012 CORE: A Toronto production company adds London to its list for its Tale of the Town By: KATE DUBINSKI, The London Free Press

Remember going to the movies in the underground Smuggler's Alley? How about shopping at the Simpson's department store, or visiting the monkey at the old Covent Garden Market?

Your downtown memories will become the foundation for a unique theatre experience coming to London.  

Members of Fixt Point, a Toronto production company, will set up in downtown London starting Thursday, gathering stories about the city's downtown.

They'll be here for two weeks, listening to and recording tales that they'll turn into a theatre and documentary project using the anecdotes and audio footage.

Eventually, they'll come back to London to put on an interactive performance -- a Tale of a Town -- in an empty storefront.

The exact show will be dictated by the stories Londoners tell.

"We know stories about pioneers and settlers, but one of our beliefs is that we should celebrate our recent past more," said Charles Ketchabaw, theatre director for Fixt Point.

"The stories should be in the living memory of people."

A story-mobile -- basically a trailer -- will be set up in various locations downtown from 2 to 4 p.m. daily for the next two weeks, starting Thursday.

People can come in and tell their stories with Ketchabaw and artistic director Lisa Marie DiLiberto. For those who can't make it downtown, a hotline has been set up.

"It's a multi-layered, site-specific documentary project," Ketchabaw said.

The production company will eventually use archives, props, costumes and artists for its performance.

Similar projects have been performed and are ongoing in Toronto, St. Catharines and Huntsville. Ketchabaw also is working on a Tale of a Town in Kampala, Uganda.

"We want people from all walks of life to share their stories," he said. "Everyone's story is equally important. We want to inspire change, to bring people back downtown, to celebrate the entrepreneurs, the owners, the people who live there, the eyes and ears of the place."

Cities, especially city cores, have larger-than-life characters and places that deserve to be highlighted, Ketchabaw said.

The production company has partnered with Downtown London.

"We want to honour the heritage on which our downtown was built," said Kathy McLaughlin, program co-ordinator at Downtown London.

"This is an interesting mix of creativity and technology. We love our past in London but maybe we don't celebrate our present enough."

HUNTSVILLE DAY SEVENTEEN - showtime!!!!

The show was a true success!!! See for yourself….....

And how did it all happen?  With a little help from our friends, of course…

Tina Turley, the Janis Joplin of the north played guitar in our show to help us bring back the bar era of the Empire Hotel!  Doug Banwell, David Kaye’s best friend sounded a sweet saxophone in silhouette.  Our newest friends Zsiporah and Michael Moon, who we met on the day they moved to Hunstville last week, graced the audience with Harp and song in the prologue.  Our colleague Tony Mara who was cottaging in the area stepped in to play my hilarious husband. Jay Cheel, Kevin McMahon and Kristina McLaughlin of Primitive Entertainment were there to capture us on film.  The Christmas Tyme store lent us lights.  The Great Vine lent us lamps.  The Rotary Club dug out bathtubs from storage and even lent us the coveted Rotary wheel and bell. The Huntsville Festival for the Arts found us chairs and ladders every other little thing we needed. The EXTRAORDINARY Dan Watson, Artistic Director of Edge of the Woods Theatre, put together a MAGICAL Nuit Blanche North for us to take part in.  And last but not least, the people of Huntsville inspired us with their tales.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU EVERYONE!  Another exciting memory was made, about how we brought stories to life on that bright night in Huntsville in July…

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, the tales that made it into the show were:

The Tale of The Bathtub Derby!

The Tale of The Empire Hotel!

The Tale of the Silver Ambassadors!

Shopping on the Main!

Which one was your favourite?!  Drop us a line: info@fixtpoint.com

 

CREDITS:

The Tale of a Town – Hunstville was produced by FIXT POINT, and created by Lisa Marie DiLiberto and Charles Ketchabaw in collaboration with theatre artists Rob Feetham, Deanna Jones, Adam Paolozza and Annie Wilson.

This exciting site-specific theatre and media project was made possible through generous support from The Ontario Arts Council, The Huntsville Festival of the Arts, Chapman’s Ice Cream, The Walrus Magazine and The Hive Strategic Marketing.

Listen Here for our radio show we crafted with some of these stories:

A Walk Down Main Street – Huntsville Edition

And stay tuned, the tale continues…  Next stop – LONDON TOWN!

HUNTSVILLE DAYS THIRTEEN to SIXTEEN – a blur.

It’s difficult to say how it all happened.  But it did!  From all of the interviews, together we selected stories, and sound bytes and scenarios and created four tales to tell at Nuit Blanche North.  We crafted and cringed and created and collected and carried each other through.  We set up lights and sound, put up projections and pictures, we sang and we danced, we laughed and we cried (but mostly laughed), and all we could hope for, was that on Saturday July 14, the people of Huntsville would be proud of what we made from what they gave… We were so busy making our show, we didn't take too many pics, but here's a fun glimpse of our pre-show set up.  Check us out lighting up the night before unit blanche north!

HUNTSVILLE DAY ELEVEN - ready, set…

We started the day with a fascinating interview with Martha Watson and her friend Kate.  Martha told us the tale of the clock tower that once was part of Union Station in Toronto and came to Huntsville via her father’s crafty ways!  Now, there’s a show piece if I ever heard one!  And Kate, a very good friend of Dave Kaye, told us more about the tragic plight of this local town hero.

Another Kate, a documentary filmmaker based in Toronto but originally from Huntsville, arrived later that day to stay with us for the week and document our process.  The awesome Kate Hemming, back home to work with us!  Kate dug right in as Charles and I got prepped for the week of intense creation ahead.  Paper went up on walls, notebooks were bought, interview clips divided, and schedules firmed up.  We stayed late, wanting everything to be ready for our artists arrival in the storefront so they could get right down to business, or should I say, get right up to play… 

HUNTSVILLE DAY TEN – on and on and on

  We found the reining champ of the bathtub derby!

We found the trophy!

Rich at Algonquin Outfitters told us the history of the legendary business that reaches us into the wilderness.  Rich warmed us with his thermal sleeping bag smile and we were so happy to be on a trip with him into memory lane on the corner of Main Street in Huntsville.

 

 

Then we marched off to Hugh McKenzie’s house – former mayor of Huntsville, radio station owner, board director and all time jolly man.  It was a thrill hearing his side of all the stories, getting a picture of Main Street when Eaton’s and Wardell’s was still at number 77.

 

more ice cream.  more stories.  more fun ahead – tomorrow the other four artists arrive!!!!

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 EIGHT - wood, bells, pasta, and skis

Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known.. smashing pumpkins.  But really, being positive is the way to go.  (just wanted to put in that tidbit… our new 90’s mantra) This day we had a spot on the ubercool Hunter’s Bay Radio show with James Caroll!  Jeff Carter! Inspiring and incredible - what they have going there….

Check them out HERE!!!

Next we worked spoke to a few more store owners.  First, Wooden Penny at her rustically elegant store...

Then Bob at Christmas Tyme who is jingling bells all year round...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally Manny and his Ma and Pa who brought real Italian cooking to Main street in Huntsville.

 

 

Then off to the streets of Huntsville to get trading.  Revised questions:  now following leads about David Kaye, Bathtub Derby, Silver Ambassadors, Rudi the Rock Man, and whether the town should go condos or affordable housing…

“$1000 for an ice cream, or a story about Main Street.”

Today we heard about when Main Street became a ski track!

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?

WHAT DID WE GET WRONG SO FAR?!?

WE NEED YOUR MEMORY!

SEND YOUR STORIES IN!!

BY PHONE: 1-855-CAN-TALE

OR GO TO OUR TELL US YOUR TALE PAGE HERE

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 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.

HUNTSVILLE DAY ONE

Early morning meeting with the mayor cancelled because he penciled it in for yesterday.  Who knows whose fault it was - but why lay blame....?  We are seeing him Friday, and in the meantime we had breakfast at LOUIS' II DINER across the street from city hall.  LOUIS' II DINER has been around since before anyone can remember.  It burned down about 10 years ago and re-located across the street.  LOUIS is an old Greek man and apparently a staple of Main Street.  We can't wait to meet him and hear his stories. Next we head out to meet Rob, the general manager of the Huntsville festival of the arts, at holiday inn located in the heel of Huntsville’s "commerce area", a.k.a. industrial park.

We were Rob’s dates for the Rotarian luncheon.  Greeted at the door by two fantastic men, we proceeded to find a table.  Everyone stood up and sang O Canada! And then there were speeches and announcements and one notable event making a comeback in Huntsville this year:  the bathtub derby.

After the luncheon, we meet up with Teri Souter, the town of Huntsville art, culture and heritage manager.

Teri got us up to speed on the "who's who" on main street in Huntsville and she also told us about her work with the aboriginal community, the commerce and business planning policies downtown and she also happened to be the president of the bathtub derby!  We feel a story forming here...   Here’s a pic of one of the many inspiring things in her super cool office.

Next we met up with Helena outside the town hall.  Helena is the President of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts and General Manager of the Hunstville Business Improvement Association and this woman knows how to get sh*t done!  She secured our storefront right downtown thanks to leads from Dan Watson the Nuit Blanche North artistic director and we move in on Sunday!

Helena introduced us to Cathy, a long time Huntsville resident who owns 2 stores downtown, Muskoka reflections and Intimate reflections .  We arranged parking our storymobile in front of Cathy’s store on Friday and asked her not to call the bylaw officers while we are parked for longer than the 2-hour limit trading ice cream for stories!  She willingly agreed and helped us arrange power from the light pole.

Back at our cottage by the lake, we formulated our story pitch for CBC Ontario Morning and sent it off to Ron the producer.  Then we hit the hay.  It’s taken a lot of energy to get ourselves on the road.  Finally we had arrived!

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