On Friday, October 20th Stephen Leacock's "My Discovery of the West" Re-Tour will arrive in Orillia for two days of storytelling, conversation, and celebration. This event launches a much larger tour of a dozen places across western Canada that will close with a flourish in Vancouver six weeks later.
The Re-Tour will re-trace the route of Leacock's 1936 speaking tour, visiting Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Banff, Vancouver, and Victoria, before returning to Vancouver for the finale.
The team for this unique literary adventure will consist of Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) himself, present in the spirit and through his works and ideas, accompanied by Leslie Robbins-Conway and Paul Conway, who are Voyageur Storytelling of Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario.
In 1936 Stephen Leacock was making his first visit to western Canada. Afterward he wrote My Discovery of the West, which won the Governor-General's award for non-fiction in 1937. For Leslie and Paul the Re-Tour will be a Re-Discovery, as they have travelled the region and visited all these places, some many times. Indeed, Paul lived in and worked across the region for twenty-eight years.
Stephen Leacock carried messages based on a hard-working lifetime of research, thinking, writing, public speaking and teaching. He also made people laugh. He complained that sometimes the laughter got in the way of the messages.
Some of those messages are now out of date, some resoundingly so. But the core of them retain their interest and usefulness today, especially as the turmoil of our time seems to gather strength, approaching that of his time. He viewed human affairs as an constantly shifting tangle of "Unsolved Riddles" through which we grope our way towards Social Justice and our individual dreams, which is the purpose of life. He presents this theory in an astonishing diversity of forms and approaches, a perpetual tour de force of literary and instructive ingenuity and wit.
Leslie and Paul's messages are his, along with stories by and about him. They have unique ways of re-introducing audiences to this most diverse and fascinating man. In their concerts they tell some of the stories in straight-forward ways, as Leacock himself did and others have done, some they enact, and some they sing.
For the Unsolved Riddles they have invented a new form they call "Talk-and-Tell" where they will use the stories and his ideas to stimulate creative conversations for our time, confederations of entertainment and ideas well adapted Canada's 150th.
The Orillia Museum of Art & History will be hosting two of the Voyageur Storytelling's events on Friday October 20th.
12:00 noon: "Historical Stephen Leacock: What He Did to History and What History Did to Him"
Join us for this Lunch & Learn style event to learn more about Stephen Leacock's legacy, through examples of his works and reflecting on his life, work and social, political, economic and literary ideas in order to stimulate conversation. Be sure to also enjoy OMAH's exhibition The Spirit of Mariposa which features Leacock.
Registration now open:
OMAH members: $15+HST
Call 705-325-2159 to register
7:30 pm: "A Field of Mariposies", storytelling concert
Hear some of the best stories of Stephen Leacock including My Financial Career, Marie Mushenough: the Memoirs of a Supersoul and Q, a Psychic Pstory of the Psupernatural. In addition to these straight from the page Leacock stories, Leslie and Paul will also perform a series of songs and poems that encourage audience involvement.
Tickets are $10 and on sale now! Call 705-326-2159
For further information on Voyageur Storytelling