How's Ottawa?

And now for happier news: how the Unwritten Girl’s launch in Ottawa went. And the answer is, very well, I thought.

Erin wasn’t able to get the afternoon off on Friday, so we decided that I should drive down alone and leave Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning, which cut short my visit to this beautiful city. I was, however, able to make the most of it. I was fortunate enough to arrive on the same weekend as Doors Open Ottawa, and my aunt and uncle took me out to see the OCTranspo control centre at Belfast and St. Laurent. It was a fun event, seeing all of the computer displays showing the precise location of 90 buses fitted with GPS locators (OC Transpo is in the middle of a retrofit), and walking around vintage buses and even an old streetcar being preserved at the garage. We had barbecue burgers at the garage and then headed home to prepare for the launch.

They were also selling a copy of Ottawa’s Streetcars, a complete history of Ottawa’s streetcar network that’s over an inch thick and a $50 value, and I got to tell you that it was difficult for me not to buy it.

Books on Beechwood is a wonderful independent bookstore in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood northeast of the downtown core. It’s a cozy setting with a good collection of children’s books, history books, fiction, Canadiana, you name it (including Ottawa’s Streetcars), and a staff that’s passionate about the books they sell. I met with Jill Moll, who’d read The Unwritten Girl and really liked it and said a lot of nice things about it (such word-of-mouth support from independent booksellers is gold). The bookstore supplied lemonade, coffee, cookies and donuts and people started to gather around the 3 p.m. start time.

Over a dozen people turned out, including my four local aunts and uncles (thanks Ted, Dorothy, Gordon and Madeleine!) as did the bloggers Andrew Anderson with his fiancee Jennie as well as Balbublican and Stageleft. There were also members of the general public in attendance as well, including young Anna who’d I’d especially like to thank for turning out. I read my set and it went over well. The bookstore’s twelve copies all sold out, to the delight of the staffmembers, and that was just enough to meet the demand.

After the reading, the bloggers retired to the New Edinburgh pub for dinner, and I had a decent spaghetti plate and good conversation. I discovered that Jennie also attended Orde Street Public School, two years behind me. We didn’t know each other, but we knew the same teachers. Small world!

I hit the road at 5:30 and got into Toronto late on Saturday night. Traffic was light-to-manageable, and I managed to be in my bed before midnight. All told, a full but fulfilling day, and I’d like to thank everybody who turned out and made the visit such an enjoyable one.

Balbulican was kind enough to supply me with these photographs:


The books on display.


By order of political affiliation, we take this shot with Stageleft on the left and Andrew on the right, and me in the centre.




The reading, showing some of the people in attendance.


Another shot, showing more of the bookstore.


And the dinner afterwards. Note the Ottawa streetcar photograph by my head.

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