We have home-grown stars right here!

Column 132


It’s an idea that got its start from a program called A Day in the Life… in Midland. Lin Wilson had attended this event and joined forces with Beth Foster to give Barrie its very own four-night event of sharing, learning, and stimulating conversation.

Called Illuminating Conversations, this four-night opportunity got its start because Arkady Spivak of Talk Is Free Theatre motioned to four ‘dark’ nights, all Mondays, and challenged Lin and Beth to fill them. It got its start because a few people offered to act as sponsors. It got its start because Beth agreed to do the interviewing on stage to ‘illuminate’ our local stars.

Lin explains: “We asked ourselves what would the audience be interested in? We have so many great people in our community to offer fodder for this event.”

Beth expands: “this became our selection criteria: Someone who: 1 has made a difference; 2 has achieved uniquely; 3 has positively impacted our community; 4 would be missed if they hadn’t been here.” They wanted the speakers to be people an audience would want to hear.

And then the pair used the words ‘extraordinary ordinary’ people to describe the first four guests in what is hoped to be just the beginning of Illuminating Conversations.

And so… here is the lineup of exceptional, interesting people without whom Barrie would be poorer.

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquinaux began life in difficult circumstances and now represents indigenous people and their concerns across our country. Vice provost of aboriginal initiatives at Lakehead University, Cynthia returns to Barrie, where she lived for many years, and where one of her twin daughters lives. She makes her permanent home on Georgina Island and her work insists she’s in Thunder Bay.

Her story, her perspective will challenge those who hear her.

Robyn Doolittle was a very young, investigative reporter for the Toronto Star when she began to track the meanderings, and the conflicting stories of Mayor Rob Ford. She risked personal injury in very dangerous places with unsavoury people as she strove for the truth. Her book: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story has made her a best selling author. Not yet 30, she promises to be an interesting interview.

Willard Kinzie needs no introduction to Barrie. The first mayor of Barrie in city status, Willard acted quickly and effectively to assemble opportunities for young businesses to locate here and thrive, ushering our community into solid city-status.

Now 95, Willard will challenge his viewers with tales of leading hiking treks all over the world, starting two businesses on the waterfront, hiring future economic leaders, and applying his visionary attitude universally. Take note! Willard still curls every day.

The final speaker will be Dr Brad Dibble, known most popularly as a cardiologist in Barrie. But Brad Dibble is much much more. Interested in our planet’s climate crisis, he presents compelling research for linkiing heard disease to global warming and has written a book to prove it.

Four speakers, representing diverse ages, and both genders, promise to be stimulating and entertaining.

Illuminating Conversations. Dates: Wesley-Esquimaux this Monday, November 10. Robyn Doolittle, Monday, December 1. Willard Kinzie, Monday, February 2. Brad Dibble, Monday, May 25, 2015.

Interested? Thought so. www.tift.ca is the place to go to buy your tickets online. Or call 705 792-1949 to reserve. There are only 112 seats at the Mady Centre so don’t set this column aside or you’ll miss out. Tickets are $15 each for each session.

And, oh! It’s all brought to you by generous sponsors: Stephanie Knight. Graham Knight Professional Corporation. Alexa Wilson and Tom Wilson of Wilsons Law Practice. And Lin Wilson.

Thanks, Lin. Thanks, Beth. Thanks TIFT.