Saturday, 14 February 2015

From Handcuffs to the Group of Seven. Thaddeus Howlownia in Toronto for Show Launch

.
Handcuffs led to marriage and a strange encounter with Canada's grand master of photography: Thaddeus Holownia. Why it is worth checking out the Jane Corkin Gallery's launch of a new Thaddeus show this  Saturday in Toronto. 
. Huffington Post Blog  by Stephen Weir 


Hollownia Flickr photo by Christopher Mackay

Back story: It was the fall of 1969. Somehow at the age of 16 I got accepted at the new Windsor University and I left my Renfrew home, pretty well for good.  It was me and a huge number of Americans  avoiding the draft and Vietnam who enrolled in an advanced style of Grade 13 - Windsor's Q-Year.

IT was mandatory to live in residence if you made it into Q-year.  Most days were spent in the residence lounge since it was the one room on campus with a working stereo record player. I was listening to Jimi Hendrix for the very first time when a beautiful girl I'd never seen  on campus sat next to me waiting her turn to put on an LP. Before she could play her new album Thaddeus Holownia floated in, dressed like Sgt Pepper with a turkey feather stuck in his hat. He drifted over to us, slapped handcuffs on our wrists and disappeared out the door in his own purple haze!

Thaddeus used to do that a lot - walk around  for days in a haze -- but, this time he did snap out of it and eventually came back and unlocked us. We have been together ever since. My wife and I, not Thaddeus.

In fact I haven't seen Thaddeus much since then. He moved from Windsor, to Toronto and settled eventually teaching art at Mount Allison University in the Maritimes. He also has been taking amazing photographs that are bought up by  art galleries and collectors even before they have dried on the darkroom line,  I promoted a show of his large format landscape photographs at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection ( a government owned gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario ) a decade ago. It was a huge success, thousands of people felt the instant connectivity between his photographs of a  lonely Canadian landscape and the works of the Group of Seven, which surrounded his travelling exhibition.

I told him back then about how he introduced me to my future wife. He feigned to remember the event. We marked each other on Facebook, but, after a couple of years I think he dropped me. Sigh. Old age culling.

I do have chance to renew old acquaintances this Saturday at one of Canada's best photography galleries -The Jane Corkin Gallery in the Distillery District (7 Tank House Lane, Toronto, Ontario).

Thaddeus is travelling west to launch a new exhibition in the Big Smoke. He will be showing photographs of Paris. Jane Corkin says that these photographs "cut through sentimentality, while acknowledging his own mediated attachments, as well as the layered culture, and confrontations between cultures, in this rapidly recomposing city. "

New Book About East Coast Poet John Thompson

He will also unveil a new book "Working in the Dark: Homage to John Thompson" to Ontario book buyers, John Thompson (17 Mar 1938 - 26 Apr 1976) was an English-born Canadian poet who lived on a New Brunswick farm.

This new publication, again according to Corkin "contains a suite of photographs by Thaddeus Holownia, whose studio now stands upon the site of Thompson's home. It also publishes, for the first time, a prose poem by Thompson recently discovered in the Mount Allison University Thompson archives."

Holowonia is suppose to arrive at 2pm and stay to 5pm February 14th, 2015.  Everyone should come and watch the fun. I might just handcuff Thaddeus to Jane Corkin. Let him see how it feels to be chained to a beautiful woman when Nature calls.


AT THE GALLERY

46-years later. Maria Nenadovich, Thaddeus Holownia and Stephen Weir at the Corkin Gallery


The show will be continue through the month.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

How I met my wife and Thaddeus Holownia​. A true story.

From Handcuffs to the Group of Seven 

It was the fall of 1969. Somehow I got out of Renfrew alive! University of Windsor. Q-Year with a class full of American draft dodgers. I was in the residence lounge, the one room on campus with a working stereo record player.  I was listening to Led Zep for the very first time.  Beautiful girl who I'd never seen on campus  before was sitting next to me listening to her new LP. Thaddeus Holownia floated in, dressed like Sgt Pepper with the addition of  a turkey feather stock in his hat. He drifted over to us, snapped handcuffs on our wrists and slouched out of the building in his own purple haze!

Thaddeus used to do that a lot - walk around in a bit of a haze -- but, this time he did remember to come back and unlock us. We have been together ever since. My wife and I, not Thaddeus.

In fact I haven't seen Thaddeus much since then. He moved from Windsor, to Toronto and settled eventually teaching art at Mount Allison University out east. He also has been taking amazing photographs that are bought up by collectors even before they have dried on the darkroom line I promoted a show of his large format landscape photographs at the McMichael a decade ago.  It was a huge success, thousands of people felt the instant connectivity between his photographs of  a Canadian landscape devoid of people and the works of the Group of Seven, which were hanging all around his travelling exhibition.
Thaddeus out of uniform

I told him back then about how he introduced me to my future wife. He feigned to remember the event.  We marked each other on Facebook, but, after a couple of years I think he dropped me. Sigh. Old age culling.

Anyway I do have chance to renew old acquaintances next Saturday at one of Canada's best photography galleries - The Jane Corkin Gallery in the Distillery District (7 Tank House Lane, Toronto, Ontario).

Thaddeus is travelling west to launch a  new exhibition in the Big Smoke. He will be showing photographs of  Paris. Jane Corkin says that she " is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Thaddeus Holownia (in a show he calls) Paris after Atget. Reflecting on Eugène Atget's landmark photographs of Paris at the turn of the century, Holownia visited the city over several years documenting changes. Holownia confronts past and present cultures in this rapidly changing city. The work explores themes of architecture, evolution of urban space and our impact on the environment."

He will also unveil a new book "Working in the Dark: Homage to John Thompson" to Ontario book buyers, John Thompson (17 Mar 1938 – 26 Apr 1976) was an English-born Canadian poet who lived on a farm in New Brunswick.
Homage to John Thompson

This new publication, again according to Corkin "contains a suite of photographs by Thaddeus Holownia, whose studio now stands upon the site of Thompson’s home. It also publishes, for the first time, a prose poem by Thompson recently discovered in the Mount Allison University Thompson archives."

Holowonia is suppose to arrive at 2pm and stay to 5pm.  Everyone should come and  watch the fun. I plan to handcuff Thaddeus to Jane. Let him see how it feels to be chained to a beautiful woman when nature calls.

http://holownia.com

Monday, 5 January 2015

3-D tooled replica of the Erebus bell at the ROM

 
Toronto Museum Has A Small (but important) Wreck Exhibition

3-D printer was used to make this replica bell.  On display in Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum


In 1845 the British Franklin Expedition sailed into Canada’s Northern waters to look for the Northwest Passage. There were 129 men, on two ships – the Erebus and the Terror – in the expedition. Early into their planned 3-year quest both ships and all hands were lost somewhere near the Victoria Straits in the Eastern Arctic. The search for Sir John Franklin, his crew and the two ships, began in 1859 and continues to this day.  Earlier this year a Canadian expedition did locate the shallow wreck of the Erebus.

Parks Canada underwater archaeologists – the first to lay eyes on the ship in nearly 170 years – conducted seven dives to the shipwreck over two intensive days of on-site investigation, taking diagnostic measurements, high-resolution photography, and high-definition video. The artifact was identified during the very first dive on the site, and recovered during the very last dive. 

In December a replica of that bell was put on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. The pictured bell is part of a Parks Canada and ROM evolving exhibition about the wreck of the Erebus and the Franklin Expedition.

Even though the bell has been underwater for 170 years it is in very good condition. But what museum goers in Toronto are seeing is not the recovered bell, it is actually a 3D printer replica of the Erebus bell. 
Created by David Didur and Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, the replica makes the bell accessible to Canadians while the original undergoes conservation treatment in Ottawa. The replica bell is in a pop-up display on the first floor of the ROM. As part of the presentation there is an audiotape playing of the sound of a ship's bell!


Article for Diver Magazine. A version of this story has appeared on Facebook


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Buy Book Lovers Canada's Best Nonfiction From 2014 (Charles Taylor Prize Longlist Announced!)

Originally Posted on Huffington Post: Updated:


It is almost Christmas, the stretch run that authors and publishers in Canada live for. As the clock ticks down book buying consumers push some book genre sales an amazing 280 per cent. The industry watchdog Booknet Canada explains the book buying frenzy as consumerism fueled by "desperation dollars."
Former Booknet Canada CEO (and now president of Kobo) Michael Tamblyn once described it as the "'What Do I Buy for Dad? Effect.' All categories see a meteoric rise during the December rush. Book buyers seem to save their trickiest recipients until the end (this week)!"
Publishers plan for the Buy For Daddy Effect and release hundreds of new titles in December to entice and confuse people in that last-minute push to find the right book to put under the tree this year. In the genre of Canadian Literary Non-Fiction, the choices are staggering -- but luckily, there is help!


Noreen Taylor, Vijay Parmar and Ben McNally stock the bookstore with Longlist titles
photo by Anthony Berot


Noreen Taylor, chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation and founder of the RBC Taylor Prize announced earlier this week her Longlist of this year's best bets.
These are the 11 books that are being considered for the Taylor Prize, and they are also a cure for the Buy for Daddy (and everyone else on your list) Effect.

2014-12-17-NoreenTaylorbuystheLonglist.jpg
Noreen Taylor buys her Longlist at Ben McNallys Books

"The 2015 Longlist illustrates the amazing growth and maturation of the genre of literary non-fiction in this country," explains Mrs. Taylor. "The authors whose works our jury has chosen have written books that clearly demonstrate Canada's expanded interest in ALL matters that impact the Global Village. Be they resident here in Canada, or the UK or Europe, our treasured authors articulate with a shared Canadian vision. The RBC Taylor Prize sees the release of this Longlist, at the height of the holiday gift giving season, as an opportunity for readers to familiarize themselves with that unique Canadian voice."

The 2015 RBC Taylor Prize Longlist:

1. The Necessary War, Volume One by TIM COOK (Ottawa, Ontario), published by Penguin Canada
2. The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by MICHAEL HARRIS (Toronto, Ontario), published by HarperCollins Canada
3. They Left Us Everything by PLUM JOHNSON (Toronto, Ontario), published by Penguin Canada
4. Berlin: Imagine a City by RORY MacLEAN (London, England), published by Hachette Book Group Canada
5. Happy City by CHARLES MONTGOMERY (Vancouver, British Columbia), published by Doubleday Canada
6. One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe by DAVID O'KEEFE (Montreal, Quebec), published by Random House Canada
7. Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising by ALEXANDRA RICHIE (Warsaw, Poland), published by HarperCollins Canada
8. Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada's Hockey Obsession by STEPHEN SMITH (Toronto, Ontario), published by Greystone Books
9. The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in our Times by BARBARA TAYLOR (London, England), published by Hamish Hamilton Canada
10. And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa by M. G. VASSANJI (Toronto, Ontario), published by Doubleday Canada
11. Boundless by KATHLEEN WINTER (Montreal, Quebec), published by House of Anansi Press

 Founded in 1998, the RBC Taylor Prize is Canada's most prestigious award for literary non-fiction. This year's jurors, Ms. Kevin Garland, Martin Levin and Andrew Preston, reviewed and debated the merits of 118 submissions from Canadian authors. These eleven longlisted books are undergoing further scrutiny as the jurors work toward finalizing the 2015 Shortlist. The winner announcement will be made on March 2.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Josef Dietrich came to Canada with $28 in his pocket


Josef Karl Dietrich
Josef Karl Dietrich
Josef Karl Dietrich

When I worked in the PR department for Litton Systems Canada I often had to take military leaders on plant tours. They wanted to see the company's expertise in making navigation systems for commercial aircraft, war planes and cruise missiles.

With a background in Journalism and zero understanding of anything to do with precision engineering, I soon memorized a mostly-true patter that I could deliver while walking backwards down the production lines.

Of course, when dealing with people who actually knew something of what they were looking at, I was hopelessly over my head.  No one knew this more than the men and women who spent their working lives at LSL (what we called Litton Systems Canada). Some let me drown, others, like Joe Dietrich always threw me a lifeline - he was always willing to address our guests and explain in detail while Litton was the best. He did in English or in German 
and he was always the hit of the tour.

Josef's life-story is one that other European born employees of Litton told. He came to Canada with only $28 in his pocket. Although poor when arrived, he applied his Austrian technical training to find a job and a career at LSL.  He spent his whole Canadian working career with the firm.

I am sorry to hear that Josef Karl Dietrich passed away on November 24th. This is his obituary from the Morris Funeral Chapel in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Josef Karl Dietrich
February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014

JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. 
ETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimers Society - www.alzheimer.ca/pklnh  
- See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/josef-karl-dietrich/#sthash.PsL1tpYO.dpuf
JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanvill - See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/josef-karl-dietrich/#comment-115972
OSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimers Society - www.alzheimer.ca/pklnh  
- See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/josef-karl-dietrich/#sthash.krN3TM5W.dpuf
Josef Karl Dietrich
February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014 - See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/josef-karl-dietrich/#sthash.krN3TM5W.dpuf
JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. - See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/josef-karl-dietrich/#sthash.krN3TM5W.dpuf
JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. - See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/services/#sthash.Ec4tkxEW.dpuf
Josef Karl Dietrich 1921 - 2014
JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimers Society -
- See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/services/#sthash.Ec4tkxEW.dpuf
Josef Karl Dietrich 1921 - 2014
JOSEF KARL DIETRICH February 15, 1921 - November 25, 2014   Josef Karl Dietrich, “Joe” passed away from complications of Alzheimers and pneumonia on November 25, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.   Born in Vienna, Austria, he worked as an apprentice and learned the tool and die trade at a very early age. When opportunities presented themselves in Canada, he emigrated in 1954. Married by this time, his wife Maria and two young daughters followed several months later.   He proudly reminded everyone, that he arrived in Canada with $28.00 in his pocket speaking no English. He worked construction and painting jobs until a permanent job opportunity presented itself and here, his early training served him well. He ended up working for Litton Systems  of Canada until his retirement.   Joe was never happier than when he was outdoors. Skiing without chairlifts in his younger years, water skiing, gardening, chopping wood…anything that took him outside with nature. His early years in Canada were spent camping with his family, buying a home and gardening,  but the joy of his life was his cottage in Haliburton, which he built with the help of a friend and the support of his wife. He instilled his love of nature in his daughters.   He was a good husband and father always willing to fix anything that needed doing. In the end Maria, his wife of 71 years became his lifeline as Alzheimers slowly took his memories. In the last year, his daughter Renate took on that role when Maria became too ill to look after him.   He will be missed by both his daughters, grandchildren and great grand children who were very lucky to have known him. He left this world one week after Maria left us.   He is survived by his daughters Renate Donovan and Angelika Hunt; granddaughters Jocelyne Saumier Carr and Samantha Lacroix; grandson Sean Donovan; great grandchildren Ella and Emily Donovan; Aiden, Connor and Dylan Lacroix; Steven and Jeremie Saumier.   This coming spring, a celebration of life will be held for family and close friends to honour both Maria and Josef’s lives. Forever together, as always. Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimers Society -
- See more at: http://morrisfuneralchapel.ca/services/#sthash.Ec4tkxEW.dpuf

Saturday, 1 November 2014

We Were Here First - We Never Thought You (White People) Would Stay

.
BIG NAMES. SRO EVENT. SPONSORED BY RBC TAYLOR PRIZE

RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction Spotlight: We Were Here First  with Thomas KingLee MaracleSamual Watson and Waubgeshig Rice.
"We weren't concerned because we never thought you (white people) would stay ..." laughed  First Nation's author Lee Maracle at  last night's RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction Spotlight: We Were Here First.  Well-known CBC Host (not that one - it was CBC videographer Waubgeshig Rice) had asked Maracle and three other celebrated indigenous writers from Canada and Australia to comment on the evening's theme  - We Were Here First.

The Friday evening book event was an integral part of the closing weekend of Harbourfront's International Festival of Authors.  The festival, now in its 35th year, brings the world's biggest names in literature to a number of Harbourfront stages  along Toronto's waterfront.

The  Friday night panel had two famed two Canadian First Nation writers - RBC Taylor Prize 2014 winner Thomas King (The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America) and West Coast writer  Lee Maracle (Celia’s Song) sharing notes with two Australian Indigenous writers - Samuel Wagan Watson (Smoke Encrypted Whispers) and Ellen van Neerven (Heat and Light, winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award).

Thomas King signs his book, His wife Helen Hoy watches on
For Thomas King, We Were Here First is not as an important question as Who Owns The Land Anyway? "It all begins and ends with our land.  We can settle most differences (between the First Nations' people and the Canadian Government) but we have lost so much land we now have to draw that line in the sand."

The two Australian authors have roots in the community of the native indigenous people of Beaudesert in the Queensland region on Australia.  Both agreed with King that it is the stories of their people's  land that inspires and motivates indigenous writers.

The onstage IFOA conversation, presented by the Taylor Prize, was also part of Planet IndigenUS  --  a programme that gives prominence to the voices, stories and cultures of Indigenous people. This project is assisted by the Australian Government.

We Never Thought You (White People) Would Stay - explained Lee Maracle (below left).
Lee Maracle has been published in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide, and is the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels and works of non-fiction. She was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Stó:lō Nation. Maracle's latest novel, Celia’s Song, chronicles one Native family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans.



Samual Wagan Watson (middle) is an award-winning raconteur from the southside of Brisbane who hails from an honourable ancestry of Birri, Munanjali, Gaelicand Germanic peoples. His poetry collection Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year. He latest work is a collection of poetry, Love Poems and Death Threats. He is now writing a cookbook!
The moderator at the IFOA event was CBC’s Waubgeshig Rice (right), video journalist in Ottawa. An Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Waub believes that staying true to his roots has been key in his success as a journalist and published autho
r.





"It is all about the land," explained author Thomas King.Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer of Cherokee and Greek descent. For 50 years, he has worked as an activist for Native causes and has taught Native literature and history at universities across North America. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004. King presents both his RBC Taylor Prize-winning book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, and his first literary novel in 15 years, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction finalist The Back of the Turtle at the IFOA Friday night in Toronto.
Ellen van Neerven is a writer of Aboriginal and Dutch descent whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Best of McSweeney’s, Voiceworks and Review of Australian Fiction. 
She currently lives in Brisbane where she works as an editor for the black&write! project at the State Library of Queensland. Van Neerven presents her debut novel and the winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award, Heat and Light. Divided into three sections, it is inspired by the intersection of familial history, location and identity, and takes readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.



After the lecture ... Friends, authors, sponsors and audience members gathered in the Harbourfront book selling lounge. 
From the left to right: RBC Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor, 2007 Taylor Prize winner Rudy Wiebe ( Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest), RBC 2014 Taylor Prize Shortlisted author and the Toronto Book Prize winner Charlotte Gray (Massey Murder) and Vijay Parmar, President, PH&N Investment Counsel and RBC Taylor Prize trustee. 



Friday, 17 October 2014

Ottawa author Charlotte Gray wins the 2014 Toronto Book Award

It has been a good year for the Massey Murder

(http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/stephen-weir/charlotte-grays-true-toro_b_6004036.html#es_share_ended)

Ottawa author Charlotte Gray is the winner of the 2014 Toronto Book Award for her non-fiction book, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country. She is 40th author to capture Toronto's annual literature prize.  Gray $10,000 win was announced at last night's award ceremony, held at the downtown Toronto Reference Library. 
"I offer my warm congratulations to Charlotte Gray, who has drawn an unforgettable portrait of Toronto's social life at the beginning of the 20th century," said Acting City Librarian Anne Bailey. "In telling the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a (famed) Massey, Charlotte Gray captures the class conflict and societal upheaval that marked our city's reinvention of itself at the onset of the Great War. As the author notes:  'A single bullet fired on Walmer Road had an extraordinary significance.'" " In 1915 Toronto thought of itself as 'Toronto the Good'  but by our standards it was very far from the good," explained Charlotte Gray. "It was a city that had grown enormously in the last decade (since the year 1900 ). It had doubled in population, but it was a very class ridden society with the elite at top that totally believed it was absolutely right, and with a surge in working class immigration at the bottom, mainly from Britain.  These were people who were determined to make a new life in the new world,  and were escaping from the British class system."
1915 newspaper report of the Massey Murder
"Bert Massey (the murdered man) was  known as a man-about-town," she continued. "He was somebody who had a diamond stick pin in his tie, he liked driving fast cars,  and he was very representative of the young men of that period who got away with what they could get away with. By our standards his behaviour was unacceptable because he sexually harassed and tried to seduce this 18-year old servant.  In his day it was sort of seen as something that young men men did.  What was surprising is not that he had played around with an eighteen year old but that the Masseys had employed a young woman who had access to a gun and knew how to fire it."

The Toronto Award caps off a spectacular year for Gray's 9th book. It  won the Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History; was long-listed for the B.C. Non-fiction Award, and shortlisted for both the Charles Taylor Award and the Evergreen Award.  Based on the success of the Massey Murder in 2014 she  was  also short-listed as "Author of the Year" by the Canadian Booksellers Association. She has been a judge for several of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes, including the Giller Prize for Fiction, the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. 
cover of the award winning book
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. Each shortlisted author receives $1,000 and the winning author receives $10,000 in prize money. More information about the awards and what the jury members said about the shortlisted books is available at http://www.toronto.ca/book_awards.  
This year the Toronto Book Awards Committee looked at 70 entry before deciding on a short-list of five titles. The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country  was chosen from a list of finalists that included Anthony De Sa for his novel, Kicking The SkyCarrianne K. Y. Leung for her novel, The Wondrous Woo; Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis for their social science, agriculture and food book, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement; and Shyam Selvadurai for his novel, The Hungry Ghosts.

btw - earlier this year Elizabeth Gray was interviewed by videographer George Soca. A resulting 6 minute video was used by Huffington Post in its coverage of the RBC Taylor Prize (formerly the Charles Taylor Prize For Literary Non-Fiction.  In that video the author talks about impact the Massey Murder had upon Toronto's upper and lower classes in the days of the First World War. http://youtu.be/aNCRKfzdIOs