10th Anniversary Celebrations at The Book Nook in Perth, Ontario

Leslie and Arlene Book Nook 10th

Through the ages, we have always marked births, marriages, the change of a season, harvest time, and turning the page to a new year.  This month, in the town of Perth, we mark another special event – the 10th anniversary of a popular bookstore on the main street – The Book Nook.

As part of the celebrations for this important milestone, owner Leslie Wallack invited special guests to her store, for each of the four Saturdays in May.  It was my pleasure to take part on Saturday, May 20th, to mark this happy occasion, in the pretty town of Perth.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, The Book Nook was decorated with cheery signs inside and out, and as visitors came through the store they were reminded of the special draws being held for prizes, throughout the day.  On this particular Saturday, the three separate draws featured prizes of distinctive, natural wood, hand-crafted containers – a lovely addition to anyone’s home.

Looking around the store, I paused a moment to recall the history of this building, and that 60 Gore Street East was not always home to The Book Nook.  In my teenage years in Perth, this was the location of Haggis’ Candy Store.  My friends and I were frequent visitors, and often scrounged our pennies together to buy some peanut clusters, or horehound candy, made with care by Mrs. Sophia Nee.   I looked around, remarking to Leslie that in my youth Mrs. Nee’s large glass and wooden display case was near the front window, and minutes later Leslie reappeared with an old photo of Mrs. Nee in front of the store.

Haggis' candy store front

photo: courtesy of Leslie Wallack

Leslie remembered when she first took over the store, there was a cot in the rear where former owner Mrs. Nee would often sleep, after a long night of tending to her candy-making.  Clearly, this store has a proud history of women operating a business.

horehound  sophia-haggis

photo:  Sophia (Haggis) Nee

The Book Nook enjoyed steady traffic all day, in and out, with the large section of children’s books being a popular spot for browsing, and picking up special gifts.

We were lucky to have such beautiful weather, and the warmth and sunshine streamed through the windows of the store, and reminded us that spring was finally here.

Arlene at table 10th anni Book Nook

Kevin paused to take a rare moment on the other side of the camera.

Arlene and Kevin 10th Book Nook

While the entire day was filled with happy moments, and good conversation, one of the highlights for me was three special ladies who dropped by to say ‘Hello’, and chat for a while.

I had a great visit with Rosetta Van Alstine, sister of former classmate Anne.  With the annual maple harvest just passed, we discussed some of the history of the early maple producers  – her Uncle Ken Van Alstine among them.  I learned that Rosetta’s grandfather was also a maple producer, going back yet another generation.  Her Uncle Ken was one of the first in the 1960s to use plastic tubing to transport the sap for part of his maple harvest, as well as using the traditional methods of horse and sleigh.

To read more about some of the legacy maple producers like Rosetta’s uncle – Ken Van Alstine – Lanark County’s Maple Legacy

Arlene and Rosetta Book Nook 10th

photo:  Arlene and Rosetta Van Alstine

It was a real delight to have a visit with Shirley (Kerr) Scott.  Shirley is the sister of my former classmate Marie Kerr.  The Kerr family goes back for generations in the DeWitt’s Corners, former Bathurst Township community. Shirley was my sister Jackie’s classmate, and they sat together on the school bus each day, and were the best of friends. Shirley shared a story of visiting Jackie out west, and how much she enjoyed the time they spent together; a reminder that special friendships continue through the decades, growing richer as the years pass by.  I had my own memory for Shirley, a reminder of the time as young girls Jackie had invited her to stay overnight when our parents were out of town, and when Shirley’s parents learned that the girls were alone, they came to the house and brought her back home. Young girls today would be surprised to learn how much stricter our parents were back in those days!

Arlene and Shirley Book Nook 10th

photo:  Arlene and Shirley (Kerr) Scott

Another special visitor was Carol-Ann McDougall.  Carol-Ann, originally from Kirkland Lake, now makes her home in a delightful water-front property, built on the shores of the mighty Big Rideau Lake.  Carol-Ann and her husband Ken purchased a piece of land along the shores fifteen years ago, and came up to visit each summer, dreaming that someday they would build a home there.  Last year, their dream came true, and an account of their heart-warming tale is titled  “Lake Life:  A Rideau Ferry Love Story”.

Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story

Arlene Carol-Ann Book Nook 10th ann

photo: Arlene and Carol-Ann McDougall

Another highlight of the day was the draw for prizes!  I was honoured to be asked to pull three names from a basket.  The three winners each received a beautiful, hand-crafted wooden case – a lovely container for special keepsakes and treasures. These were generously donated by  Simply Shaker , makers of one of a kind, hand-made furniture, on the main street of Perth.

Draw for the prizes at Book Nook

photo:  Arlene, Leslie’s Mom, and Leslie

It was a special day to mark a milestone for The Book Nook.  It was also a time to reflect on the history of the store, and to recall another woman entrepreneur Sophia Haggis Nee.   Like Sophia Haggis Nee, Leslie Wallack will take her place in the history of the town of Perth, another woman entrepreneur making her mark, adding to the charm and character of this delightful and historic main street.  Congratulations Leslie!

Arlene Book Nook 10th

 

An event is always more memorable when it’s  shared with some special people.  Many thanks to all of those who stopped by, and congratulations to the lucky winners of the draw!  Happy 10th Anniversary to The Book Nook, and wishing you much success in the years to come!

…….

 

We all become stories

 

…….

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Record Crowds at the Annual Festival of the Maples in Perth

The weather was picture-perfect for the 40th Annual Maple Festival this year in the pretty town of Perth, Ontario.  The bright late-April sun warmed the thousands of residents and visitors who had gathered for this annual rite of spring in Lanark County.  Known as the ‘Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario’, the county of Lanark enjoyed a banner year with an exceptionally lengthy maple harvest. Week after week of cold nights with temperatures dipping below zero, followed by warm afternoons reaching highs in the double digits meant a long and abundant run of sap.  No less than 40 gallons of this sweet, watery fluid are required to produce one solitary gallon of syrup and the task requires patience, care, and an abundance of labour.

The annual festival drew crowds in the thousands for this year’s event.  Partly due to the sunny spring temperatures, but mainly because of the incredibly talented live musical acts, delightfully tempting wares of the local food trucks, as well as arts and crafts vendors, and of course the stars of the show – the Lanark County maple products offered up and down the streets, closed to all but pedestrian traffic.

Leslie Wallack, owner of popular local store The Book Nook was busy all day both inside and outside as customers dropped by to pick up a selection or two from some of their variety of literary offerings in the store.  In front of the store on this beautiful sunny day, local authors were there as part of Authors for Indies Day, raising awareness of the importance of Canada’s independent book stores.

Leslie and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001.JPG

Our book table was busy throughout the day with many friends and former school-mates and neighbours dropping by to say hello.

Nancy Hudson, cousin of talented band member Don White (of ‘Grateful We’re Not Dead’) stopped by to chat, and we briefly discussed the local musical acts including her nephew, appearing throughout the day at the Maple Festival.  There was a tremendous amount of talent featured up and down the streets of Perth for music-lovers of all ages.

Nancy  and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Third Line friends and neighbours Trina McMillan Conboy and the bright and handsome Sawyer Conboy stopped by.  It’s always nice to see the folks from ‘the home soil’, and was delightful to hear young Sawyer discuss his newly acquired talent of driving the garden tractor.  A budding future farmer on the Christie Lake Road perhaps?

Sawyer Trina  and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Former classmates Brenda Wark and her sister Norma came by for a quick visit.  We three were among the first group of students when Glen Tay Public School was a shiny new building. We shared many laughs and good times in those early days at Glen Tay.

Brenda Norma  and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Another former classmate Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss stopped by with her husband Bob, and was nice to have a few minutes to catch up on the news.  Dianne and I go all the way back to our days in a little one-room school-house at Christie Lake.

Dianne  and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001_1

Our lovely niece Tracey, visiting from Oshawa with her Mom and Dad, stopped by and we had a great visit.  Tracey and her folks were enjoying their first ever Festival of the Maples in Perth, and had many positive comments about the local treats they had sampled as well as the variety of local products and vendors available.

 

Tracey and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001Tracey her Dad and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Former co-worker Cheryl Sheffer stopped by to say ‘Hello’ and chat for a bit.  It was so nice to meet Doug as well.  They were having a great day visiting all of the local vendors and taking in the sights and sounds of the busy festival.

Cheryl Kevin and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Another visiting author, seated to my left was James Bartleman, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, signing copies of his book.   Born in Orillia, Ontario, James moved to Perth after he retired, and now calls the ‘prettiest town in Ontario’ his home.

James Bartleman and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

One of our local reporters stopped by.  She was busy working on stories for the next edition of ‘The Perth Courier’.  We had a great chat about one of the tales from my book “Lanark County Chronicles”  that features mobster Al Capone and his fascinating adventures along the Rideau Lakes.

Local reporter and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001Local reporter takes photo  and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

Speaking of the Rideau Lakes, we had a nice visit with Rideau Ferry resident Carol-Ann McDougall and her lovely daughter Shannon who were enjoying some of the sights and sounds of the festival along Gore Street.

Carol Ann Shannon and Arlene Maple Fest 20160001

After a busy day at The Book Nook, another Festival of the Maples has come to an end.  The attendance set records, the weather was unusually sunny and warm for April, and event was a great success.  Thanks to all who stopped by to visit and say ‘Hello’, and special thanks to Leslie Wallack for hosting the event.   This Lanark County ‘kid’ had a wonderful time as always in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario!

http://www.staffordwilson.com