Lynda Lou Classens, Chris Jenkins, David Plain, Kathy Millikan, Ingrid Booth, and Margaret Bird (Dana Haggith)

A new ‘Canada 150’ anthology has some connections and contributions from Wallaceburg.

Margaret Bird, who helped write, script and organize a collaboration of 27 authors, is thrilled with the turnout of From This Day Forward.

“It started about two years ago. I wanted to produce something to honour the 150th birthday. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be really neat to cover all of Canada. Every province and every territory and we have a short story and poem for every single province and every territory,” she said.

“Then I invited 27 authors from across southwestern Ontario, so from Windsor all the way up to Peterborough. So it is quite a wide area. I scripted it all. So I gave every author, ‘I want you to write about this province and I want you to write about this topic.'”

Bird and five of the other local authors, including Lynda Classens, Chris Jenkins and Ingrid Booth from the Wallaceburg-based writer’s group the ‘Sydenham Story Tellers’, gathered at the Wallaceburg branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library recently for a book signing.

“I am trying to involve different authors from the 27 so that they all get a chance to do a book signing and read a blurb of their work,” Bird said.

Having been writing her entire adult life, Bird, who is originally from England and currently lives in Bright’s Grove, said she learned something new with From This Day Forward.

“I have been in Canada for 38 years but I learned something new in the process of this book and in the research, which I think it really neat,” she said.

“Every province and every territory has it’s own motto. I have got them all in the book. I just didn’t know that they all had their own motto. It’s just what they have gone through to get there. So Ontario ‘Loyal she began, loyal she remains’. It’s really, really neat. So all of those kind of things in there.”

Bird said the book had its big launch on May 6 at the Aamjiwnaang Community Centre in Sarnia.

“I was trying to put emphasis on forget all the past from this day forward, lets all work together,” she said.

“Like with all First Nations and other Nations that have come to this country. There is a lot of history in the book. I have done maps and all kinds of things in there. Stories and poems for every province. The whole thing is about Canada. Somebody at a local school saw it and said ‘get the board of education to buy them, because if every kid had one of these books, by the time they have read it cover to cover, they would have seen all of the maps, all of the history and also the literary side of it.'”

Bird added: “The authors are in there, all of the Indian Chiefs, all the past Prime Ministers. Everybody is in there. There is all kinds of history, but there is a map of each one showing you were it is in respect of Canada.”

Bird said the books are available for purchase at the Coles Book Store in the Lambton Mall and at the Wallaceburg and District Museum.

– Photo credit: Dana Haggith

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