A hometown boy makes good on his childhood dream of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s been suggested from time to time that this magazine introduce a gossip column. Wayne Biegel, pub keeper at Mono Cliffs Inn, has even suggested an irresistible title: Whispering Hills.
While the idea always sparks a few good laughs over a glass of wine, it’s not going to happen. Gossip by its nature involves a certain smug insider knowledge on the part of the teller. And that’s not us. Still, we do think our job is to tell some darn good stories about this place and its people – and there’s no shortage of them.
Those stories are not always happy ones. While this magazine wouldn’t exist if our contributors didn’t care deeply about the community, our goal is to show its warts as honestly as its dimples. At least that’s usually our goal. But come winter, we tend to boot the Grinch from the scene and, in the spirit of the season, raise an unabashed toast to all that’s worth celebrating in these hills – the splendid characters, stories and music that define all that’s best about life in our countryside.
So in this issue you’ll find our annual celebration of local heroes, a tribute to just a few of the remarkable people who have changed life here for the better, as well as our yearly roundup of the new books and music produced by the many creative minds that work and reside among us.
Those minds include artist Steve McDonald, whose colouring book Fantastic Cities is an international sensation – and we’re delighted to say he has created an original colouring page just for our readers. They also include Dan Needles, who has gone beyond his regular Fence Posts column (though, don’t worry, it’s here too) and blessed us with an original short story. It’s about an old farmer who has pretty much given up on life, but is redeemed, as only country folk can be, by a snowstorm and a watchful neighbour.
Our celebration of creative minds also includes a visit with the five members of the Golden Classics Country Band. I’ve never met these guys, but through writer Liz Beatty, photographer Rosemary Hasner and videographer Mick Partlett, I’ve come to love them. Farm boys and storytellers all, they stir some deep collective memory that reaches to the very essence of this place we call home.
And finally, what could be a more quintessentially rural Canadian story than that of a hometown boy who makes good on his childhood dream of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Peter Holland did just that – and writer James Jackson takes us to the backyard pond where it all began.
So raise a glass, and here’s to us and all we hold dear!