The Year in Books: 2021

From mysteries to memoirs, our annual review of new books by local authors and illustrators has you covered for gifts for others – and yourself.

November 29, 2021 | | Arts

Winter is nearly upon us once again. But don’t despair. There are more than enough great new books by local authors to help all hibernators in these hills through the chilly days ahead. This past year produced a record number of titles – a feast of fiction, a pleasing pile of prose, a momentous mountain of manuscripts!

Thrills abound with A.G. Pasquella’s Season of Smoke, the third book in the Jack Palace series. Patrick Clark’s sci-fi noir debut, Porters, twists and turns until the very last page. And Suzanne Hillier tugs at our heartstrings with My Best Friend Was Angela Bennett, a story of friendship in post-World War II Newfoundland.

Take a peek behind the camera to explore the inner workings of the Hollywood machine in a new biography of Norman Jewison. And join Glenn Carley as he learns about Old World ways in Il Vagabondo, an ingenious memoir told libretto-style.

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  • Wonder at the beauty of nature with two new coffee-table books. Cory Trépanier’s paintings are a love letter to the vastness of Canada’s Far North, while the photography of Mike Davis, with text by Gloria Hildebrandt, finds inspiration closer to home – on the Niagara Escarpment.

    A new children’s book illustrated by Sean Cassidy is always cause for celebration, and – no ifs ands or nuts – When the Squirrels Stole My Sister is a winner.

    Hibernate well, Headwaters. Local writers have you covered.

    Into the Arctic
    Painting Canada’s Changing North
    by Cory Trépanier with Todd Wilkinson

    Carrying only the bare essentials of painting, filming and camping gear in his backpack and travelling more than 60,000 kilometres, which included six Arctic national parks, Caledon artist Cory Trépanier spent over a decade documenting the raw beauty of Canada’s North. Into the Arctic collects his most compelling paintings into a stunning coffee-table book. Informative essays by luminaries such as Senator Margaret Dawn Panigyak Anderson, Robert Bateman and Wade Davis educate the reader about the landscapes and the havoc climate change is wreaking on this fragile ecosystem. Cory Trépanier, 52, was diagnosed with cancer as he worked on the book. He died on November 5, 2021. (Figure 1 Publishing, $75; limited deluxe art edition, $750)

    Season of Smoke
    by A.G. Pasquella

    “I like to say I’m not a killer because it helps me sleep at night. I’ve killed people, sure, but I’m no killer. Does that even make sense?”

    Jack Palace is struggling to outrun his demons and an unfortunate past with the mob, but no matter how hard he hustles, he can never seem to get ahead. His failing security company, based on a property about a half-hour outside Orangeville, is the least of his worries. Not when a mobster with a grudge orders him to kill one of his oldest friends – or be killed himself.

    Yard Dog and Carve the Heart are the first two books in the Jack Palace series. A.G. Pasquella grew up in Mulmur and now lives in Toronto. (Dundurn, $19.99)

    My New Table
    Everyday Inspiration for Eating + Living
    by Trish Magwood

    Celebrity chef and lifestyle maven Trish Magwood focuses on fresh ingredients and simple, easy-to-prepare meals in her latest cookbook, My New Table. The one hundred recipes are interspersed with beautiful photographs of Instagram-worthy repasts and pretty pics of her new country retreat in Creemore. Recipes include grilled pepper sirloin steak, smoked trout with caper cream cheese and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. Yum!

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  • Trish Magwood is a brand consultant, speaker, media personality for the Food Network and the founder of Dish Cooking Studio. She is also the author of Dish Entertains, which won the James Beard Award, and In My Mother’s Kitchen. (Penguin Random House, $35)

    Norman Jewison
    A Director’s Life
    by Ira Wells

    Norman Jewison always loved stories. Growing up in the poor area of Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, he would scrape together enough money to see a movie, then re-enact it for the neighbourhood kids – charging enough to make a profit, of course.

    Ira Wells’ biography builds a portrait of Jewison through the stories he chooses to tell. Revealed is a man who has never felt quite at home in Hollywood, who is passionate about civil rights and who, despite his mischievously boyish looks and polite Canadian ways, has an inflexible will when he believes he’s fighting for what is right. Enormously entertaining are the behind-the-scenes looks at some of the most famous celebrities of the time, from Steve McQueen’s crippling insecurity to Cher’s belief that Moonstruck was going to be a flop.

    In 1986, Jewison founded the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto. He owns Putney Heath Farms in Caledon. Author Ira Wells is an assistant professor of literature at the University of Toronto. (Sutherland House, $34.95)

    When the Squirrels Stole My Sister
    by Catherine Austen, illustrated by Sean Cassidy

    Little Mama is a squirrel with an appetite and babies to feed. Her best source of food is the girl who feeds her peanuts. Problem is, the girl doles out only a few at a time. What’s a hungry squirrel to do? Why, the pushy creature teams up with the blue jays and steals the girl, of course! Life up in the old oak is as cozy as can be for both human and rodents, especially with the girl’s sister sending up a regular supply of deluxe mixed nuts.

    Orangeville resident and award-winning illustrator Sean Cassidy brings Catherine Austen’s quirky tale to life with adorably fuzzy critters, a girl absolutely tickled by her predicament, and possibly the biggest squirrel nest in the world! Cassidy’s previous children’s books include The Chicken Cat, Good to Be Small, Kazaak! and Wake Up, Henry Rooster! (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $19.95)

    Pull Focus
    by Helen Walsh

    Jane is thrilled, and more than a little terrified, when she lands the job of interim director of the Worldwide Toronto Film Festival. But she barely has time to celebrate before everything that can go wrong, does. The film industry is rife with predatory, powerful men, her team is plotting against her, strange, Russian-sounding women dog her steps and, as if all that weren’t crazy enough, her long-term partner has disappeared.

    The former publisher of the Literary Review of Canada, Helen Walsh is the founder and president of Diaspora Dialogues. She divides her time between Toronto and Mono. (ECW Press, $22.95)

    My Best Mistake
    Epic Fails and Silver Linings
    by Terry O’Reilly

    Did you know that the Popsicle was invented by a forgetful 11-year-old? Or that Sting’s iconic laugh at the beginning of “Roxanne” was unintentionally recorded when he tripped over the piano on the way to the microphone? Or how about if it weren’t for a printing error, the Incredible Hulk would be grey instead of green?

    Terry O’Reilly, advertising guru and host of CBC Radio’s The Age of Persuasion and Under the Influence, takes a deep dive into catastrophic decisions that turned out for the best, as well as small, unintended mistakes that led to incredible breakthroughs.

    Mulmur’s Terry O’Reilly co-founded Pirate Radio & Television. He is a speaker and the author of The Age of Persuasion and This I Know. (HarperCollins, $32.99)

    My Best Friend Was Angela Bennett
    by Suzanne Hillier

    The Second World War may be over, but life is still difficult in St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Dorothy and her friend Angela. The war stole a generation of young men, divorce is still illegal, career choices are limited and the law offers little protection for abused women.

    Dorothy manages to find freedom in school and, in particular, the study of law. But for beautiful Angela, heartbreak becomes a way of life. What follows is a stark look at the reality of women’s lives and the power of female friendship.

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  • After earning a BA and MA, Caledon resident Suzanne Hillier was one of the few women to graduate from the University of Toronto’s law school in 1972. After a long and successful career as a matrimonial and trial lawyer, she retired and published Divorce: A Guided Tour and Sonja & Carl, her first novel. (Inanna Publications, $22.95)


    In My Backyard
    by Nancy Bizarria-Ramos

    Inspired by her daughter’s love of nature, Orangeville’s Nancy Bizarria-Ramos wrote In My Backyard from the perspective of a child exploring her natural surroundings through the changing seasons. Vivid, colourful illustrations by TullipStudio perfectly capture a child’s sense of wonderment and curiosity. (Vanthom, $18)

    Becoming Leidah
    by Michelle Grierson

    A fisherman encounters a mysterious woman at sea. He brings her back to his fishing village and marries her – not so much against her will as against her nature. Soon enough a daughter is born, but with her blue skin, webbed fingers and toes, and shape-shifting powers, she is anything but an ordinary child. Set in 19th-century Norway, author Michelle Grierson’s ancestral home, and infused with Norse myth and legend, this compelling debut novel is a mystical tale about a quest for stolen treasure that will restore power and freedom to a mother and her daughter.

    Michelle Grierson teaches drama and dance at Orangeville District Secondary School. She lives in Mono. (Simon & Schuster, $22)

    Forever Is Today
    by Janet-Lynn

    When Joel’s family moves across the country, his biggest worries are fitting in at his new high school and pushing forward with his dream of becoming a writer … that is, until he meets his neighbour, Bea. Falling in love is the easy part. Coming to terms with her life-threatening secret will be the hardest thing he ever faces.

    Orangeville resident Janet-Lynn Morrison is a speaker, fitness trainer, classical pianist and the author of Surviving Seventeen. (Hasmark Publishing International, $19.95)

    Homegrown Cannabis
    A Beginner’s Guide to Cultivating Organic Cannabis
    by Alexis Burnett

    Interested in growing your own cannabis? Both beginners and the already initiated will find all their questions answered in Homegrown Cannabis. With a focus on organic and regenerative growing practices, this comprehensive yet easy-to-read guide explains basic botany, the tools needed, pest control, harvesting, drying and even tips on disguising your plants from thieves or uptight neighbours out to harsh your buzz.

    Alexis Burnett grew up in Orangeville and now lives in Hanover, where he runs Rebel Roots Herb Farm with his wife and children. He is also the founder of OrganiGrow Canada, which provides online and in-person educational courses for those wanting to learn the art of growing their own cannabis. (Sterling, $37.50)


    Il Vagabondo
    An Urban Opera & Good Enough from Here
    by Glenn Carley

    Glenn Carley gets his opera on with Il Vagabondo, a memoir of his struggle for acceptance into the Old World ways of his Italian in-laws. Written in libretto form with many acts, intermissions and curtain calls, the book shouldn’t work. But ’O sole mio, it sings itself right off the page and hits every emotional note.

    Il Vagabondo, aka Carley, Il Buffone or the “English-speaking guy,” seeks entry into the court of Garibaldi, aka his father-in-law or the “Italian-speaking guy.” Il Vagabondo wants to learn how to make “the sauce,” “the peppers” and “the wine.” Even though his Canadian sensibilities inevitably – and hilariously – steer him wrong, the effort he makes soon expands his notion of famiglia. (Guernica World Editions, $29.95)

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  • Good Enough from Here is a fictionalized account of Carley’s stint working at Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island. A group of young men in their early 20s travel to the Far North for a work experience none is likely to ever encounter again. Under the unblinking eye of the midnight sun, isolation and the gruelling work schedule test them all. (Rock’s Mills Press, $20)

    Glenn Carley is also the author of Polenta at Midnight: Tales of Gusto and Enchantment in North York. He lives in Bolton.

    Driven to Succeed
    by Steve D. Anderson

    “This book is an inspirational tool,” says Steve Anderson, “and a reminder that it is not how you start in life but how you decide to finish.”

    Detailing the setbacks and seemingly insurmountable obstacles thrown in his way, Anderson describes growing up in Toronto’s notorious Jane–Finch neighbourhood and going on to become the first Black lawyer hired by the TTC’s legal department and the first person of colour elected deputy mayor of Shelburne and Dufferin County councillor. (Steve D. Anderson, $26.99)

    by Patrick Clark

    The year is 2028, and the first time travel machine has just been invented. The catch? It can travel only 40 years into the future, and living beings can’t survive the trip. Flash forward to 2069. Detective Steven Wilson belongs to a special unit that investigates non-linear time crimes. The present has become a dumping ground for crime bosses of the past looking to make a body “disappear.” But when a 40-year-old murdered body shows up in a location only someone in the present could have staged, Wilson fears that a serial killer is on the loose.

    Porters is a Blade Runner-esque thriller that keeps readers hooked until the very last page.

    Patrick Clark grew up in Orangeville. He studied creative writing at Western University and Humber College’s School for Writers, and now lives in London, Ontario. (Tellwell Talent, $27)

    Mind Ecologies
    Body, Brain, and World
    by Matthew Crippen and Jay Schulkin

    Matthew Crippen, a philosopher of mind and brain, and Jay Schulkin, a behavioural neuroscientist, collaborate to explore a new theory of mind and how people think, feel and experience the world. With a foundation in the philosophy of pragmatism, the authors believe that perception is formed by not only external stimuli and how we react to them, but also myriad complex systems and living ecologies of which we are all a part. These include our culture, our environment, our environment’s ecosystem and even our organ functionality and the flora in our gut.

    Matthew Crippen grew up in Orangeville. He is currently a researcher with the ARTIS-Group at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. (Columbia University Press, $61.69)


    When Everything Falls Apart
    Book One: The End
    Book Two: The Middle
    by Simon Heath

    Civilization crumbles quickly when a massive solar flare knocks out the world’s electrical grids. Out of options after the family car is stolen, Brian, along with heavily pregnant Karen and their young daughter, leave their home in Toronto and travel north by canoe up the Humber River to the off-the-grid house Brian has been building near Palgrave.

    The first two books in this inventive series deal with their difficult trip upriver and, once they reach their destination, the kind of life they will build from there.

    Simon Heath has held a diverse range of jobs: actor, director, playwright and executive communications coach for the corporate sector. He lives in Creemore. (Book One: Curiosity House Books, $20; Book Two: FriesenPress, $30)

    My Summer of Glorious Freedom
    John Muir’s Saunters Around Southern Ontario in the Summer of 1864
    by Robert Burcher

    John Muir is revered in the United States as one of the first environmentalists. And with good reason. He cofounded the Sierra Club and, with President Theodore Roosevelt, developed the concept of national parks. When Robert Burcher found an abandoned historical plaque commemorating Muir’s brief residence in Meaford, Ontario, in 1864, he set out to piece together the sketchy details of the conservationist’s southern Ontario travels, many of which were in Headwaters, and to retrace Muir’s footsteps.

    Robert Burcher is a photographer, writer and historical researcher. He lives in Clarksburg. (Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, $40)

    The Seventh Shot
    On the Trail of Canada’s .22-Calibre Killer
    by Ann Burke

    In the summer of 1970, the brutal rape and murder of two young mothers – one in Gormley, the other in Palgrave – sent a frisson of fear throughout the Moraine and Headwaters areas. A serial killer, soon dubbed the .22-Calibre Killer, was on the loose, and rural residents unused to locking their doors began barricading themselves in their homes, unsure of whom to trust.

    Through meticulous research and extensive interviews, Ann Burke shines new light on the evolution of the search for the killer who attended high school in Shelburne, and how, long after the case went cold, dedicated police officers never gave up until the murderer was brought to justice.

    Former Headwaters resident Ann Burke served in the Royal Canadian Navy, worked in various roles in social services and contributed to newspapers, including the Toronto Star. (Latitude 46 Publishing, $20)


    Remember, It’s OK
    Loss of a Child, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling or Friend
    by Marina L. Reed and Marian Grace Boyd

    Orangeville author Marina Reed and Toronto psychotherapist Marian Grace Boyd team up once again to bring readers three new titles in the Remember, It’s OK series of books for those dealing with, or supporting someone who is experiencing, loss. The books are divided into colour-coded sections for each stage of grief, with brief statements from the grieving individual and compassionate responses a companion might offer.

    The previous titles in the Remember, It’s OK series deal with loss of a parent, loss of a partner and loss for teens. (Next Chapter Press, $24.95 each)

    Butterfly Beautifly Beautiful
    Nature Poems
    by Paul Leet Aird

    I kneeled
    in a field
    to see a dandelion’s view
    of dandelions in flower
    and found myself
    buzzing with bees
    — “bee signals” 

    Butterfly Beautifly Beautiful is a love letter to the environment. Playful poems about bird songs and the tenacity of jack pines mix with more serious themes about the damage humans inflict on the natural world. (Read “The Saw-Whet”.)

    Inglewood resident Paul Aird is a conservationist, forest scientist and a professor emeritus in the University of Toronto’s forestry faculty. His first book, Loon Laughter: Ecological Fables and Nature Tales, was published in 1999. (Inglewood Nature Press, $24.95)

    Sex, Drugs and Pots & Pans
    A Classic Rock Lover’s Guide to Fan-Tasty Cooking
    by Wayne Sumbler

    Hey, all you rock gods and goddesses! It’s time to crank up the tunes and get the Led out … in your kitchen! Cook, world traveller and cover-band guitarist Wayne Sumbler combines his two great loves – music and food – in a cookbook that will bring down the house. Looking for a mind-expanding appetizer? Try the Everybody Must Get Stone-d Baked Quesadillas. Or how about some BBQ? The Space Oddity Bowie Burger will have you dancing in the streets. Craving something sweet? Well, you can’t always get what you want, but the Rolling Scones with Brown Sugar will definitely get you what you need. Included with each recipe is a YouTube link to the perfect song to get your juices cooking.

    Wayne Sumbler lives in Orangeville. (Austin Macauley Publishers, $25.95)

    It’s Never the Things You Think
    by Susan Gesner

    With this collection of anecdotes and ruminations, Susan Gesner delivers a much-needed reminder of the joy to be found in everyday life. Whether she’s facing her fear in a step-dancing recital, finding community with fiddlers or taking a moment to appreciate a quiet Sunday at Quiznos with her elderly father, It’s Never the Things You Think is sure to lighten your heart. Cailleah Scott-Grimes and Cressida Frey, both from Toronto, provide the wonderful illustrations.

    Susan Gesner is an environmental facilitator and consultant who lives in Belfountain. (Gael Publishing, $25)

    Silent Sands
    by Eva Bernhard

    The strains on the relationship between Agnes Taylor and her mother have been simmering for years. Against her better judgment, Agnes agrees to accompany her mother on holiday to Bosum, a German island in the North Sea. The two women have barely had time to unpack when they become involved in a war brewing between environmentalists and a proposed wind farm. And as if that weren’t enough to upset their vacation plans, Agnes’s mother finds a dead body in the sand dunes. (EB Press, $12.99)

    Caledon resident Eva Bernhard has also released an ebook, Absent Beauty, which is a second Agnes Taylor mystery and a short-read prequel to Silent Sands. The novels can be read in any order. A paperback version will be available shortly. (EB Press, $0.99)

    What a Coincidence!
    It’s the Stories We Tell That Define Us
    by Larry Proctor

    What a Coincidence! is a fun collection of anecdotes and interesting coincidences. Included are tales of crib-escaping toddlers, university antics, the tracking of a hit-and-run driver, and revenge on partying neighbours.

    When Larry Proctor was a child, his grandfather named Larry Street in Caledon East after him. Coincidentally, Proctor now lives on Larry Street. (FriesenPress, $19.99)

    Love Lies Bleeding
    by Marina L. Reed

    Heather, a divorced mother of a teenage boy, needs to move forward with her life, so she decides to dip into the world of online dating. But the new reality of finding a partner is tricky. Complicating matters are her ex-husband, who wants to reconcile, a persistent male coworker and the frightening news that women around the city are disappearing.

    Marina L. Reed is also the author of the novel Primrose Street and, with co-author Marian Grace Boyd, the Remember, It’s OK series of books. (Lavender Press, $22)

    A Distant Sun
    by Liam Lalor

    We are voracious …

    Look far and then closely. Look at everything. Wander a hundred terrains. Be silent. Quiet. Still. Turn – and more than once.
    Give it all away.
    — from “Foray 2: Harvests”

    Feeling introspective? The poetry and prose collected in A Distant Sun digs deep into the psyche, exploring love, loss and existential purpose – and leaving behind only scorched earth.

    Liam Lalor grew up in Orangeville and now lives in Barrie. (Liam Lalor, $20)

    The Memoirs of Mrs. Olivia Foxworthy, Always Olivia, Deadly Shorts, I Can!, The Frog Who Wouldn’t! & Jeremy’s Monster
    by Alex McLellan

    The Memoirs of Mrs. Olivia Foxworthy and its sequel, Always Olivia, are a series of funny and poignant vignettes recounting the life of a young woman in the years around the Second World War. Olivia may be an ordinary woman, but her life and the “Big Love” she experiences are truly extraordinary. ($11.99 each)

    McLellan takes an entirely different tack in Deadly Shorts, a collection of short stories. A man’s children go missing in a blink of an eye. A mother leaves instructions for her daughter to prank the living after her death. A husband’s revenge on his wife goes terribly wrong. From creepy to heartfelt and back to creepy again, the stories hit an array of emotional notes. And how could they not when, as the author surmises, “Death can’t be all bad”? ($13.59)

    I Can!, The Frog Who Wouldn’t! and Jeremy’s Monster are a series of picture books by Shelburne writer and illustrator Alex McLellan published under the pen name Kimmi. Young children are sure to love the books’ brightly coloured illustrations, bouncy rhymes and additional colouring pages. (A Small Potato Production and a Forest Green Original Product, $10 each)

    The Therafields Psychotherapy Community
    Promise, Betrayal, and Demise
    by Brenda M Doyle

    Embracing many of the ideals of the 1960s and ’70s, a group of well-meaning acolytes of self-taught therapist Lea Hindley-Smith, the driving force behind the Therafields experiment, founded a psychotherapy-based commune on a farm near Mono Mills. Brenda Doyle, a Therafields member from 1966 to 1983, recollects her own memories of the time and incorporates the testimony of other former members to report on the community’s hopeful beginnings and its disastrous end.

    Brenda M Doyle is a registered psychologist who lives in Toronto. (Tellwell Talent, $20)

    Views & Vistas
    Favourite Photographs from the Whole Niagara Escarpment in Canada
    by Mike Davis and Gloria Hildebrandt

    In 2008, photographer Mike Davis and writer Gloria Hildebrandt founded Niagara Escarpment Views, a quarterly magazine targeting residents of the Niagara Escarpment. Collaborating once again, the two have published Views & Vistas, a coffee-table book featuring their favourite photographs from the past 13 years. With an introduction to each geographical area, the book travels from south to north, beginning with the misty majesty of Niagara Falls, then moving north through Headwaters, a section that highlights the Cheltenham Badlands, the Forks of the Credit and the falls at Cataract, and continuing up to the rocky outcrops of Manitoulin Island.

    Mike Davis and Gloria Hildebrandt live in Georgetown. (Niagara Escarpment Views, $60)

    Silver Strands
    by Winston F. Uytenbogaart

    Elation for the autumn showcase,
    quickly flows away; as barren tree limbs await
    winter’s ermine blanket.
    Now, till March winds and long sunny days
    awaken nature’s paint box, we shall
    be sustained; with memories of the woodlot colour.
    — from “Woodlot Colour”

    The poems in Silver Strands meditate on a life well lived: happy times in a beloved country cabin, the beautiful wheel of nature as it changes from life to death to new life again, and the struggles of living in the now.

    Winston F. Uytenbogaart’s previous titles include Leaves O’er Weathered Stones and The Library Pet Parade. He lives in Orangeville. (Amaranth Press, $12)

    Signs of the Times
    Through Reimagined Nursery Rhymes
    by Colin McNairn

    Twinkle, twinkle, little drone
    How I wonder where you’ve flown,
    Aloft in the evening sky,
    Your GPS gone awry.

    From Mother Hubbard’s search for a gluten-free treat for her dog to the assurance that Georgie Porgie won’t be sexually harassing the girls anymore, Signs of the Times, a collection of updated nursery rhymes, is sure to tickle the funny bone.

    Colin McNairn is a retired lawyer and the author of Sports Talk and In a Manner of Speaking. He lives in Mulmur. (Kelsay Books, $22.95)

    Covid-19: Seeing the Distance
    A novel Novel
    by David Courtney

    A rundown, depressive Pentecostal preacher already struggling with the state of the world is blindsided by the emergence of the coronavirus and the eventual lockdowns. What follows is the poetry- and pop-culture-infused stream of consciousness generated by one man’s spinning brain as he attempts to make sense of this new reality.

    Belwood’s David Courtney is also the author of Neurogenesis and Burnt Offering. (David Courtney, $35.95)

    Hikes & Outings of South-Central Ontario
    by N. Glenn Perrett

    Looking for an exciting day trip? Somewhere close to home where you can hike, cycle, canoe, tube, cross-country ski, snowshoe or simply commune with nature? N. Glenn Perrett’s latest guidebook offers a wide array of possibilities, all within manageable driving distance of Headwaters. Locations include the Elora Cataract Trailway, Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, Presqu’ile Provincial Park and a day of waterfall-watching in Grey County near Owen Sound. History and highlights of each area are studded with enticing photos. So what are you waiting for? Time to pack a picnic and go!

    N. Glenn Perrett of Mulmur is an environmental activist and nature writer. His previous guidebook, Southern Ontario’s National Parks, was released in 2019. (Lone Pine, $22.95)

    Tremont Studios: Art & History
    edited by Rina Barone

    Collingwood’s Tremont House, a former railway hotel built in 1889, has found new life as studio space for 12 Collingwood-area artists. Celebrating the building’s status as an artistic hub in the community, Tremont Studios: Art & History is a lovely coffee-table book packed with historical background, bios of the artists and colour prints of the art being produced within its walls.

    Rina Barone, who also wrote the children’s book A Bird Chronicle, co-owns Curiosity House Books in Creemore and Simcoe Street Books in Collingwood. (Curiosity House and Tremont Heritage Properties, $40)

    Staying Calm in Times of Chaos
    by Judy K Martene et al.

    Spiritual guide and lightworker Judy K Martene contributes an important chapter to Breathe. She reminds readers that there is no manual for what we are all going through right now and that, for the sake of our mental health, we need to know how to reach out for help. Included are steps to reduce stress and boost concentration, as well as information on the value of intentional breathing.

    Judy K Martene lives in Orangeville. (A Beautiful Life Publishing, $15.95)


    About the Author More by Tracey Fockler

    Tracey Fockler is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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