A Good Home, Bowmanville, Local credit union DUCA, Small towns

Storytime in Small-Town Ontario

If anyone wants to know why Bowmanville, a historic town east of Toronto, is becoming so popular with young families, retirees and those in-between — many moving from big centres — the pictures below are one reason:

Blog Photo - Father and Children at DUCA Storytime

Would you believe we’re in a bank?

Yes, and it’s Storytime!

Author Viki McDonald (“Coach Tate and Team Triple 8”) and I were invited to read our stories at Bowmanville’s DUCA credit union.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Vikki reading at DUCA

Blog Photo - Children and Storytime at DUCA1

Children and their parents sat comfortably on the blankets and comforters that the DUCA staff had spread on the floor.

Blog Photo - Girl listens at DUCA storytime

Blog Photo - Parents listens at DUCA storytime

Vikki and I sat in chairs made even more comfy with quilts that were made by the mother of DUCA manager Karen.

Are you feeling the small-town spirit yet?

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads book at DUCA storytime

We’d stop at times and ask the children questions about the storylines and they’d shout back answers, sometimes making everybody laugh.

Cupcakes and cookies were served.

The idea for a storytime came from staffer Meeghan, and was quickly accepted by Karen and the other staff. They approached me shortly after Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published. I was surprised, but also delighted.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Timea at DUCA
Young Bowmanville resident Timea Williams with Cynthia Reyes

And now I’m going to embarrass myself a little.Ā  When I first moved to this region a few years ago, I dropped into the DUCA branch. Taken aback by their kindness, I blurted out: “Are people here always THIS friendly?”

As you may know, I struggle with issues from a car accident, and one of them is that my brain doesn’t always co-operate with tasks that were once ridiculously easy. I also sometimes stutter and can’t get the words out clearly.Ā  But the DUCA staff took it all in stride, and when my book “An Honest House” (which describes my efforts to learn to live with those issues) was published, I went in to share the news.

Their reaction was such that you would have thought I was family.

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads to children at DUCA

So as I think about it, perhaps Storytime in a bank — authors reading their stories and young families seated happily on the floor, listening — makes perfect sense.

And we all loved it.Ā 

Thank you, DUCA staff! You’re wonderful.

Photos by Hamlin Grange.


50 thoughts on “Storytime in Small-Town Ontario”

  1. I felt like I was right there – wrapped in a blanket, listening to your voice and hearing your story. What a wonderful post. Thanks, Cynthia.

  2. Oh, wonderful! Wish I could move there. Also LOVE the name Timea! I might have to use it in one of my books. By the by, a certain purple turtle has a cameo in my second book. Thought you would get a kick out of this. Anyway, you rock, and so does your bank. And community.

  3. I love the idea of story time at the bank, and the family atmosphere!

    The children at the bank reminded me of one day in my local bank back in east, long ago. It was a cold, rainy winter day. All the customers waiting in various lines for the next teller looked rather sullen, quiet and unhappy; it was a busy day at the bank, with many customers, and too few tellers. Suddenly, from somewhere within the forest of legs came the booming, happy voice of a small child that had spontaneously burst into song. “Tra-la-la-BOOM-de-ay, tra-la-la-BOOM-de-ay, tra-la-la-BOOM-de-ay, tra-la-la-BOOM-de-ay!”, she sang. All the sullen customer faces turned just as quickly to smiles and laughter. šŸ™‚

    1. Some days it bugs me too, Derrick, but it helps keep me moving, so I am very thankful. In earlier years, I lost 5 or 6 canes, and I suspect it was subconscious. I’ve had this one (and another) for quite a while now, so I guess I’ve gone through an attitude adjustment!

    1. It really was. And once we began, and I looked at the children and their parents sitting on those great blankets on the floor (some kids even lying down), it felt entirely natural.

  4. How wonderful!!
    I love the small towns in ontario. I was in amherstburg ontario on summer at a waterskiing job and I had no IDEA everyone I would come across would be kind but sure enough they were!

  5. I’m glad to read that younger generations are doing a better job than ours (gun control anyone? Oh, that reminds me that I need to send off some e-mails to my senators and representatives about accepting contributions from the NRA… grrrrr) -Oscar

  6. This looks really fun, Cynthia! I love seeing all these young people so interested in your stories! Sadly, I can’t see our banks doing this. The head offices of all the different banks are intent on shutting all the small town branches. The libraries have story time though, so all is not lost!

  7. I often wonder why–in a world we can create–we choose to create such utilitarian places. It sounds like this town has learned how to put the magic into those places:). And I know you know how to put the magic in your writing. Lucky children!

  8. The bank outreach is impressive. PayPal sure doesn’t offer that. That sort of family-friendliness is one (more) reason why chain bookstores are going under. I’ll never forget when Barnes and Noble said they didn’t want to host our book critique group anymore. Really?

  9. That is the cutest thing I’ve seen! My parents used to take me to the public library for storytime.. lovely post
    M & Bear

  10. What a wonderful community, Cynthia. I live in a small town too, and it’s a great place to be a writer. There’s so much support and kindness. Thanks for sharing. šŸ™‚

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