Friday, July 29, 2011

Metis-sur-Mer: Reford Gardens Book Launch

Alexander Reford, the great grandson of Elsie Reford who began and 
tended the gardens a century ago, introduces the author of The Survivor.

Alexander got a degree from Oxford University, as did Paul, and 
was Dean of Students at University of Toronto before be took over 
the gardens from an unsuccessful attempt by the Quebec 
Government to run them. The Gardens, on of the wonders of 
Eastern Canada, has international exhibitions, and is completely 
funded from its entrance and other fees.
Paul spoke to a receptive group, many of whom knew his 
mother, Rene.
Paul signs a book for Morgan, the granddaughter of Joan 
Price-Winser, former Consul General in Los Angeles.
Summer residents from Montreal and beyond line up for Paul 
to sign their books.
Pretty Florence Guillemette, summer student working for the CLAC 
(the host of the literary series).

Les jardins de Métis or Reford Gardens are a paradise of greenery with 
some 3,000 species of indigenous and exotic plants. Reford Gardens are 
at the heart of a rich tradition that also includes the International Garden 
Festival, a unique forum of ideas and garden design. The gardens and 
festival are complemented by the Parc de la rivière Mitis, which protects 
the shoreline and its ecosystems for all to enjoy.

Living walls, with waterfall, grasses and impatiens. 

Here are a few pictures from past Metis shows.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Metis-sur-Mer: Literary Tea

Literary Tea Features Writer and Film Maker Paul Almond
Julie Boivin,  Carrefour de la littérature, des arts et de la culture de La Mitis
July 21, 2011

Mont-Joli - A Summer in seven movements, this time in English, with the CLAC’s 3rd literary tea presenting writer and film maker Paul Almond on Sunday, July 24 juillet. He will be accompanied by jazz duo Gilles Blais and Eddy Métivier.

Paul Almond, O.C., was one of Canada’s pre-eminent film and television directors, having directed and produced over 130 TV dramas for the CBC, BBC, ABC and Granada Television. Last autumn, his first book in The Alford Saga, The Deserter, was a national best seller. The second book, The Survivor, was published in mid-June. Paul lives on the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec and in Malibu, California. Visit him online at
Event: Literary Tea
Place: Estevan Lodge at Les Jardins de Métis, 200, Route 132, Grand-Métis
Date: Sunday, July 24 2011
3 pm
Admission to the Gardens: free admission from 
2 pm
Admission to the Literary Tea: 
$ 8 for non members, free for membres of the CLAC and Les Jardins de Métis et $ 5 for members of the Salon du livre de Rimouski.
New This Year: Members Must present their CLAC membership card for literary teas at the Gardens.
Reservation Policy: Reserved tickets must be picked up from the ticket booth at Les Jardins de Métis prior to 2.30 pm.

Estevan Lodge

Les Jardins de Métis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Richmond: Church Launch of The Survivor

The small but attractive church of St. Mary Magdalene 
was rearranged for this fund-raiser signing. 
The Lord Bishop of Quebec, the Rt Rev Dennis Drainville, 
came from Quebec City to introduce the author.
The Lord Bishop was followed by Philip Toone, the 
newly-elected NDP Member of Parliament for the 
Gaspe Coast and the Magdalene Islands, a vast 
constituency, as the Archdeacon of the Gaspe, the 
Ven Randy Murray, looked on.
The Archdeacon then gave his own fine tribute.
The author spoke of the early settlers in The Survivor, and 
in The Pioneer, the third book in The Alford Saga 
(out this autumn) forebears of almost everyone in the room. 
Many readers were direct descendants of the hero
 of The Survivor, whose launch was being celebrated.

Paul sat with his cousin, Joan Dow, a driving force behind 
the launch and founder of the British Heritage Village
 in New Richmond, a noted tourist site.
During refreshments, Paul’s cousin Ted Wright, 
who lives year round in the Old Homestead, 
shared jokes with Randy and his friend, Garry Lovatt.
Meanwhile, the author was inside, busily signing over 
90 books bought to raise money for the church. 
Helen Campbell, one of the movers behind the Cascapedia 
Museum, was married to a descendant, Art P. Campbell,
 deceased, the premier birder of the Gaspe 
and a former teacher at BCS.
Happy book buyers... 
Paul and Philip.
Philip and Dennis.
Rose Roussy and Paul.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shigawake: Launch, July 15, 2011

No Launch could be as exciting as Shigawake’s, the site 
of the eight books of the Saga. The large turnout 
in this small place (smaller than any “village”) 
was warm and encouraging.
Deacon Pat Hayes introduced me... 
...and then I spoke to the gathering.
A surprise guest Hazel McCallion, one of the longest 
serving elected leaders in history. Born in Port Daniel 
90 years ago, she was easily re-elected in October 2010 for her 
12th consecutive term. Hazel was back home to stay 
with Joy Casson, soon to become a LEM (as I am.)
Ken Duguay, the second longest running mayor 
on the whole Gaspe Coast then thanked me for what 
he claimed I did for Shigawake and for St Paul’s Church.
Hazel and Ken are old friends, two long serving mayors.
Ken’s daughter Crystal teaches science
at our local High School, seen here chatting with 
Lois Hayes, the definitive genealogist of Shigawake.
Enid Legros-Wise, RCA, one of the finest artists in 
porcelain in Canada, with Mary Ann Almond Simpson, 
a direct descendant of the Survivor and the
granddaughter of Col. the Ven. John M. Almond, C.M.G., 
who appears in the next four books of the Saga.
John Afleck, a former Professor and coach of basketball and golf 
in a fine US university for over forty years, is also a descendent 
of the Survivor, seen here with Mary Ann and Paul.
Pretty Alice Hayes is from ”away” but runs CHALEURS CHALETS 
with her husband, Rod, who appeared (and worked on) Isabel, 
and had a leading role in The Dance Goes On. Jackie Brown 
is also from “away” but used to cut my hair. Chaleurs Chalets is situated 
on the Port Daniel Estuary, where The Deserter jumped ship, 
and has the finest views of any accommodation on the whole Coast.
Also attending were three pretty buyers of The Survivor: 
Pat Afleck, Mary Ann Macpherson Almond 
and the artist, Ethel Bradbury.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Carlisle: Launch of The Survivor, July 14, 2011

A lively gathering in the basement hall of St. Andrews Anglican Church
 in New Carlisle heralded the first appearance of The Survivor, 
in aid of the church and the Gilker Residence for Golden-agers.
Olive Smollet, the President of the Residence, 
and also head of the IODE, organised the event.
The Ven. Randy Murray, Archdeacon of the Gaspe, 
enjoyed being with Paul and Garry Lovatt.
Betty Le Maistre bought half a dozen copies 
to get her Christmas shopping done — a good tip for other readers.
John Hall - with wife, Ann - is a direct descendent of the Hall 
who opened a mill on a river (which became known as Hall’s River) 
behind New Carlisle where The Survivor worked (in Paul's novel). 
Many Carlislers bore the names today of those encountered 
by the Survivor himself in the early 1800s.

Bill Griffiths confided that Paul’s film for Paramount, Isabel, (1968) 
alerted him to the Coast. The next year he took a trip to see it, 
and stayed the rest of his life!

Montreal: CBC Radio Interview with Dave Bronstetter

Paul Almond revisits Gaspé frontier life in The Survivor
First aired on All in a Weekend (19/6/11)
Filmmaker-turned-novelist Paul Almond takes us back to the untamed wilderness of Gaspé's Bay des Chaleurs in the early 19th century with his newest novel The Survivor.

It's the latest book in his Alford series, a fictional look back at two centuries of Quebec and Canadian history seen through the perspective of a pioneer family. The first novel in the series, The Deserter, introduced us to Thomas Manning, a young Englishman who joins the navy with a plan to jump ship and make a life for himself in the new world. He plunges into the icy waters of the Gaspé coast and swims to the shores of a wild Quebec, where he encounters an aboriginal tribe and learns to adapt to his rugged new home. In The Survivor, Manning changes his identity to James Alford and tries to win the hand of a much sought-after maiden, all while continuing to face life-threatening challenges -- including the worst famine in Canadian history.

Almond, who lives in Shigawake, Que., based the series on the history of his own Gaspé ancestors. He spent ten years researching and writing the books, relying on interviews with elder relatives and community members, trips to the Gaspesian British Heritage Village, and historical documents. Last year, McArthur & Company made the decision to publish all eight books.

"I wanted to know how the real people lived and it's hard to find out," Almond recently told All in a Weekend's Dave Bronstetter. "There are no books really about Canadian life on the Gaspé in the 1800s, so these are the first books which really give a picture of life on the Gaspé or in the Maritimes or New Brunswick."

Almond, who had an accomplished career in television and film before writing novels in his 70s, admits he wasn't much of a history buff before working on this series. But his experience researching the Alford saga, which he says was challenging, got him "hooked" on exploring the past, especially the more quotidian aspects of frontier life.

"It's not just click online and it's all there -- who online would have something about the Gaspé in 1800? Well, it's not there. It was very interesting to find out how to get these books written. There are all these prime ministers and everyone knows exactly who they married and what they all did but what did you drink out of? Did you drink out of a tin cup? No, there were no tin cups. You had to carve [one]. All those details of life are what I found fascinating."

Click here to listen to the audio.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quebec: CBC Radio Interview with Jacquie Czernin

Paul Almond brings his ancestors to life in a series of historical novels

    Jacquie Czernin, Breakaway

In the 1950s, Paul Almond began a whirlwind international career in TV and film. Now, from his summer home in Shigawake, he's written The Alford Saga, a series of eight historical novels about his family's roots along Gaspé's Bay des Chaleurs. Last fall, Paul Almond came into studio with Book One, called The Deserter, and now joined us with Book Two..