What is it like to arrive in our community as a newcomer? What are the struggles? What moments of connection with others make a positive difference? These are the questions I will be exploring in an interactive exhibit at Bleeding Heart Art Space on May 19-20.
“Moments, Lives, Legacies” is inspired by the stories of Vermillion author, Walter Josef Scott. Three years ago, I helped edit and publish Scott’s stories in a memoir called Indomitable Spirit: Stories of My Life.
Scott arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax in 1956 at the age of 20. Orphaned as a young child during the Second World War in Germany, he came to Canada alone on the strength of his farming skills. A gifted writer, Scott chronicled his struggles—“no job, no money, no English”—on his arrival.
He wrote about life-changing moments of connection: a woman who gave him food on the train when he was starving; his first job in the bush camps around Edson and Hinton; a teacher who invited him to attend Grade 9 at Jasper High School, drawing Scott back to school at age 22. Scott, in turn, made a big difference in the lives of others, leaving a powerful legacy by the time he died from Parkinson’s disease shortly after his book was published.
Scott’s hope in publishing his stories was to teach and encourage today’s newcomers who face similar struggles. He understood and he wanted to reach out. To honour his vision, my exhibit will highlight his vibrant, insightful, sometimes dark, and humorous prose, and the photos chronicling his early years in Canada.
I invite newcomers to share their stories of connection. I also welcome stories passed down from grandparents or parents about such moments. My hope is to generate a collection of stories about small and big moments of connection for newcomers in our community, moments that live on in their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
Please visit, view Scott’s stories and photos, bring stories to write and record, and contribute to a compilation that explores the experience of coming to Canada, and how moments of connection, caring and support can change the lives of newcomers and live on.
For more information or to contribute, please email me at [email protected]. Email contributions in advance if unable to attend.
For details on the event, check the Bleeding Heart Art Space events calendar and Facebook page, and watch for posters and flyers in the community.
MOMENTS, LIVES, LEGACIES
Bleeding Heart Art Space
9140 118 Ave, second floor
Featured Image: Walter Scott came to Canada in 1956 and found his first job working in a bush camp near Edson.| Supplied