It’s almost officially summertime, and StoryWalks are back! In partnership with the City of Vaughan’s Department of Parks, Forestry and Horticulture and five Canadian publishers to bring a selection of picture books to local Vaughan trails, where park visitors will be able to piece together stories one page at a time as they make their way along the trails. It’s a great way to explore the great outdoors while fostering a love of reading. You’ll find one picture book in each of Vaughan’s five wards, plus a sixth book at the Kortright Centre! Read on for a taste of what to expect this year at our local parks.
Ward 1: Mackenzie Glen District Park
Little readers can follow the friendship journey of Emma and Frank at the Mackenzie Glen District Park, where we’ll be reading Friends for Real by Ted Staunton and illustrator Ruth Ohi (IG: @ruthohi / Twitter: @Ruth_Ohi). Mackenzie Glen is the perfect place to meet a new friend, whether it be on the soccer field, at the splash pad or playground, or maybe at one of the many concerts and events that take place on the park grounds (see The Caverners: Tribute to the Beatles on July 26!). This relatively flat parkland means it’s easy and accessible for families with little ones, and a parking lot and onsite public washrooms make picnicking a breeze. As part of the Bartley Smith Greenway (a 15 km trail running from Steeles Ave all the way up to Teston Rd) the park also has easy trails situated conveniently within a subdivision.
Friends for Real is provided by Scholastic.
Ward 2: Nort Johnson District Park
In Sometimes I Feel Like a River by Danielle Daniel (IG: @danielledaniel) and illustrator Josée Bisaillon (IG: @joseebisaillon), readers can follow short poems about nature that invite mindfulness as they stroll through the park. Young readers are encouraged to use all their senses to fully experience the world around them and connect with nature. With the poems spread throughout Nort Johnson District Park, travel the easy 1.5 km trail along the Humber River and focus your attention on the rushing water, the trees, the sunshine, and the birdsong as you make your way through the book. Located near the Woodbridge Pool & Memorial Arena, pop by Nort Johnson District Park after a swim for a picnic, or hit up the Woodbridge Village Farmers Market throughout the summer! Parking is available at the arena.
Sometimes I Feel Like a River is provided by Groundwood Books.
Inspired by Alyssia’s post Literary Homes You Can Buy! (Or Just Visit), my recent vacation where I toured historical sites, and the summer travel season, I thought I’d bring you a post on literary locations you can visit. Though it won’t be through any such means as a magic wardrobe, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fantastical!
We’ll start this list off with two epics, and being a biased fan, we’ll begin with my favourite world: Middle Earth.
Most people know that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed in New Zealand and that, besides the incredible bigatures, much of the stunning scenery we see on screen are straight shots of actual locations. So I’m here to recommend three lesser known places than Matamata, NZ (home to the Shire) to visit.
Moseley Bog, Birmingham, UK served as Tolkien’s inspiration for the Old Forest, a place that might be more familiar to book fans than movie fans. In the books, it abutted Buckland—ancestral home to Merry Brandybuck—and was full of living, angry trees and a curious (and much debated) character named Tom Bombadil.
Summer may have just started, but is anyone else’s brain already in vacation mode? Are we all ready to be sitting on patios in the sunshine, sipping margaritas? If you need a little inspiration, or if you’re unable to head out into the sunshine just yet, now is a good time to dip your toes into summertime vibes with some hot weather movies. Below, I’ve pulled a list together of some of my all-time films for the summer season that you can find in the VPL catalogue (sorry, no Palm Springs or Fire Island just yet). But this list is by no means exhaustive (keeping it to five was a struggle, as you’ll see), so feel free to share your own favourites in the comments!
Before Sunrise (1995)
Really, any movie in Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy would be a good choice (take your pick of locale: Vienna, Paris, or Greece), but since Before Sunrise is the first in the series, it’s best to start there. The 1995 film takes place on a single summer day. Jesse (American) and Celine (French) are on separate paths, but those paths cross for a moment on a train. Deciding to make the best of fate, they disembark and spend the rest of the day (and night) wandering the streets of Vienna, deep in conversation. That’s literally the whole plot, so your enjoyment of this kind of movie hinges on how much you love listening to people talk. The acting is so naturalistic that it’s easy to mistake Ethan Hawke’s and Julie Delpy’s performances as improvisations. The Before trilogy holds a special place in cinema history for its sequel rollouts: Before Sunset catches up with Jesse and Celine nine years later, this time in Paris. It’s a treat to see how they’ve matured, and we’re gifted another glimpse into their lives with Before Midnight, which takes place another nine years later, this time in Greece. But Before Sunrise holds a special charm owing to Jesse and Celine’s youth, with all their naïve philosophizing, and the will-they-or-won’t-they pull between them. These are two actors who play beautifully off each other, Delpy with a keenly European romanticism (and prettily messy French girl hair) and Hawke with the depth to match it (he has recently come out with what is, in my opinion, the correct take on the “are superhero movies art” debate—something very in line with Jesse!).