If you have a story to share about downtown Sudbury — a memory from your childhood, perhaps — then someone is looking for you.
Alison Broverman, Ontario story producer for Tale of a Town Canada, has a storymobile set up on Durham Street. The storymobile is a recording studio on wheels, and she invites anyone who is willing to share their stories of Sudbury, whether they are about the past, the present or hopes for the future.
“We are here gathering stories until May 24,” Broverman said. “We want to paint a portrait of the living memory of Sudbury.”
These local stories will be digitally mapped and added to the Tale of a Town’s storyportal. The stories will also become part of a podcast about Sudbury that will be distributed through The Walrus Magazine online. The Tale of a Town’s time in Sudbury will culminate in a community celebration on May 29, where the podcast and storymap will be unveiled.
“We are trying to preserve the memory of main street,” she said. “We are collecting oral history, asking people what they remember about their main street and how it has changed.”
Sudbury is one of seven cities the storymobile will be visiting. From here, Broverman travels to Kincardine, Kingston, Prince Edward County, Windsor, Collingwood and Hamilton. She will spend about two weeks in each location.
Another storymobile will be headed west, visiting Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
This national venture will culminate in a multi-platform celebration of the country’s main street culture, in commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, said Lisa Marie DiLiberto, co-creator of Tale of a Town, and artistic director of Fixt Point, which is spearheading the project.
Tale of a Town is also in search of Francophone stories.
Katie Swift, Francophone story producer and artistic collaborator, said given how bilingual Sudbury is, there are likely plenty of Francophones in the community with stories to tell.
“People really love talking about their towns,” Swift said. “A lot of the time, people take for granted the history of the streets in their downtown, so they get really excited when they are asked to think about it and share stories.
“When people start telling us their stories from the past, you can see the memories flooding back, they're remembering, and you can see it in their faces.”
The Francophone project is supported by Ontario 400, marking the 400th celebration of Francophones in Ontario, said Swift.