This is the issue in which we pay tribute to our Local Heroes, some of the extraordinary people whose commitment to community make life better for all of us here in the hills.
’Tis the season to celebrate tradition, and longtime readers of this magazine will recognize that our winter issue has come to include some traditions of its own. It is the issue in which we pay tribute to our Local Heroes, some of the extraordinary people whose commitment to community make life better for all of us here in the hills. It also includes our annual roundup of new books and CDs, a salute to the creative and abundant outpouring by local authors, illustrators and musicians.
Two years may not quite a tradition make, but our short story “Return of Spirit” by John Denison is a sequel to the story, “Spirit of Christmas,” which ran in last year’s winter issue – featuring the adventures of young Ethan, his horse and his grandma, and it is once again beautifully illustrated by Shelagh Armstong.
The traditional theme also pops up in our regular departments. At Home in the Hills usually focuses on local homes of particular architectural, heritage or environmental interest. In a slight departure, writer/photographer Pam Purves visits two homes where seasonal decorating is steeped in homey holiday traditions. In Headwaters Nest, Bethany Lee reflects on Christmases past, when she, her brother and cousins shared The Kids’ Table at her grandparents’ house. And in Fence Posts, Dan Needles extols the reassuring comforts of the rural diner where regulars convene daily to catch up on local gossip.
Dan is also featured in this issue in relation to Bernadette Hardaker’s interview with Stephen Leacock, an icon of Canadian literary tradition – or at least his modern-day avatar, Joe Matheson. Sketching Sunshine, Matheson’s one-man play about Leacock, comes to Theatre Orangeville in February, preceded by a special afternoon of readings and discussion by Dan and two other Leacock Medal winners.
It has all tended to put us in a nostalgic frame of mind here. But maybe that’s not surprising. Next year In The Hills celebrates its 20th anniversary and we’re already putting together the retrospective. 1994 was an auspicious year in the cultural life of the hills. The magazine’s very first issue featured the launch of both Dufferin County Museum and Theatre Orangeville. The museum, the theatre and the magazine have been good friends ever since. So stay tuned – plans are afoot to celebrate the two-decade mark with some joint activities.
In the meantime, happy holidays!