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Market hosts Sudbury's first StoryMob

Sudbury's downtown market hosted the city's first StoryMob – an idea borrowed from Toronto – Saturday morning.
The Market, in downtown Sudbury, resembled a medieval fair Saturday afternoon as the Greater Sudbury Public Library hosted its first StoryMob with a public reading of Robert Munsch's “The Paper Bag Princess.” Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
Sudbury's downtown market hosted the city's first StoryMob – an idea borrowed from Toronto – Saturday morning.

Children were encouraged to make crowns with construction paper and dressed up in medieval regalia for a reading of Robert Munsch's classic children's story, “The Paper Bag Princess.”

People took turns reading the short story, in a variety of costumes, including a few of the titular character.

The performance also featured a few homemade dragons to represent the one from the story.

Local author and playwright Val MacMenemey first heard about StoryMobs at Toronto's Nuit Blanche event last year.

A group read and performed a scene from Lewis Carroll's “Alice in Wonderland.”

While that performance was meant for adults, MacMenemey later saw other StoryMobs for children as well.

“The Paper Bag Princess” had already been performed in Ontario, she said, and the popular story proved to be a good starting point for Sudbury, since it had already been successful elsewhere.

MacMenemey approached the Greater Sudbury Public Library with her idea, and they teamed up to bring the first performance to The Market.

“This brings the book alive,” MacMenemey said. She added it can be more challenging to get children interested in books today, with the technological distractions they have at their disposal.

Jessica Watts, the Greater Sudbury Public Library's outreach programs co-ordinator, said it was important to host Sudbury's inaugural StoryMob in a public space.

“We feel the Market is a wonderful place where community gathers,” she said. “It's a nice place to connect with people of all ages.”

The library hopes to organize future StoryMobs. While Saturday's event was not as spontaneous as the flash mobs from which StoryMobs take their inspiration, Watts said she would like to take the public by surprise with future readings.

For more information about StoryMobs visit