The festival brings together Canadian storytellers and young readers to share in their common love for books 

On Sept. 16 and 17, Telling Tales held its annual children’s book festival while simultaneously celebrating its 15th anniversary. Located at the Royal Botanical Gardens, it was a free event and accessible to anyone who wished to attend. 

The festival was originally created as a way to showcase children’s books and their authors, as well as to bring together the community. Canadian storytellers and authors would be able to attend and connect with fans and audiences, a family-friendly event that highlights literacy for younger people. 

Linda Cvetanovic, manager of communications and marketing at Telling Tales, is in charge of promoting the festival, working with media and media outlets, creating graphics and maintaining the festival’s online presence so that people are aware of the event and its details. 

Cvetanovic explained that the goal of the festival is to inspire a love of reading and literacy in children, as they can become more engaged with stories when they’re able to interact with the people who have written some their favourite books. Telling Tales has something for everyone, including musicians and community partners guaranteed to entertain people of all ages. 

The festival is unique in Hamilton because of its target audience and its purpose. Along with being  one of the only family-focused festivals in the city, showcasing Canadian authors and artists is another aspect that makes it different from other activities Hamilton has to offer.  

The process for organizing Telling Tales begins right after it ends, jumping right into the next year’s project. The employees begin to build a reading list and reach out to publishers to see if any authors want to promote their books or if there are any new releases coming up. The selection committee then reviews the options and chooses the finalized reading list for the year. Next, decisions about who will be presenting and what the festival will look like are made. Up until the end of the actual festival, the process continues to ensure that everything goes smoothly. 

Over the last fifteen years, the community response to Telling Tales has been positive. Families have enjoyed the festival and its variety of activities, such as the annual Book Swap and Shop. This activity gives parents the opportunity to trade their gently used books for new ones, so that families can save money while giving children new reading material. 

Cvetanovic hopes that people who came to the event walked away having learned something new about their community and about reading.  

“We hope that we've inspired a love of reading and that children are excited about reading…Quite often we look beyond our own borders for literature…So hopefully they walk away and are impressed with the quality of artists that we have locally and across Canada,” stated Cvetanovic. 

We hope that we've inspired a love of reading and that children are excited about reading…Quite often we look beyond our own borders for literature…So hopefully they walk away and are impressed with the quality of artists that we have locally and across Canada

Linda Cvetanovic, manager of communications and marketing, Telling Tales

While the festival is geared towards families, there are chances for university students and people of all ages to get involved as well. Cvetanovic encouraged students to volunteer at the festival, especially for those looking to pursue a career in event management or teaching.  

This year’s festival also offered a book talk geared towards a more general audience, in which audience members could interact with a panel of authors and ask questions about publishing, the writing process and other aspects of the literary field. 

Telling Tales can be a fun event to go to with friends or family members, helping to support Canadian authors and children’s books. It can also be a nostalgic trip back in time, to meet authors of your favourite children’s books or see the new generation of readers that get to experience reading and literacy like you once did.  

While this year’s festival has passed, Telling Tales also hosts a variety of outreach events throughout the year, and they’ll be back for their sixteenth annual festival next September.  

Photo C/O Women’s Adventure Film Tour

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour first premiered to a sold-out crowd in Sydney, Australia in May 2017. Since then, the film tour has left its home country and toured across Asia, Europe and North America. This spring, it is coming to Eastern Canada with a stop at Hamilton’s historic Playhouse Cinema on March 21.

The tour celebrates the extraordinary adventures of women by putting on a selection of short films. It is the result of a partnership between Australian company Adventure Film Tours and women-centred outdoors community She Went Wild. The Hamilton screening is open to all and will be two hours long with a short intermission. There will be also be raffle and door prizes offered.

Eastern Canada tour organizer, Benoit Brunet-Poirier got involved with the tour when he met Adventure Film Tours owner Toby Ryston-Pratt on a trip to Australia last year. At the time, Ryston-Pratt had been thinking about expanding to Canada. Brunet-Poirier discussed the opportunity with his partner Jamie Stewart and the two decided to take on the challenge of bringing the film tour home.


Adventure is important for the couple, who met while rock-climbing. The tour also combines their respective industries as Brunet-Poirier works in the entertainment industry and Stewart works for an outdoors retailer.

By showing women-centred films, the tour is helping break down barriers in the outdoors industry. Brunet-Poirier noted that women are historically thought of as individuals to be protected and this series of short films challenges that notion.

“So I really like the idea of having a woman-focused film tour just because… although women are starting to be represented more in adventure stores and in the media and in film, I do think that there still is a misrepresentation or underrepresentation of women. And so this film tour is just putting… the spotlight on women,” Stewart said.

The couple did their first screening for the film tour in Ottawa last fall. They are taking the feedback from that event on the road by increasing the number of films in order to show a few shorter ones and playing well-received flicks.


One such film, titled Finding the Line, follows professional skiers and sisters Anna and Nat Segal across Canada, France and the United States. While the film’s humour and thrilling 80 degree slopes make it an exciting watch, it is one of Stewart’s personal favourites because of its narratives of overcoming fear and sisterly bonding. It is these narratives that Stewart and Brunet-Poirier feel will resonate with audiences.

“We let go of some films that were focused on physical achievement to give room to films that are focused on the psychological or social achievement of other women. So there are films about BASE jumping and extreme sports, but there are also films that are more accessible,” said Brunet-Poirier.

In this way, the films should provide something that appeals to everyone, regardless of activity level or interest in extreme sports. The couple hopes that the pictures inspire audiences of all ages to attempt new things or take on a challenge that frightens them.


Stewart and Brunet-Poirier also focused on ensuring that the films showcases diversity. From a film about an older, blind woman learning to swim for the first time to another about the challenges a lesbian couple faces in a mountain biking community when they open a pizza shop, the films capture a range of identities.

The films were selected from Adventure Films Tours’ global database. While the couple chose some films based in North America in order to be more local, their priority on diversity led them to select films from around the world.

“I am a Chinese woman here in Canada and… we really wanted to showcase diversity and acceptance of everyone… [T]hat's the root of our cause. [We] really try to reach as many people as we can and showing representation in adventure sports of all types of people,” said Stewart.

By centring the diversity of women, Women’s Adventure Film Tour pushes back against the perception of the outdoors community as male-dominated or predominantly white. The films aim to be a comprehensive show of the physical and mental strength of women.


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