The Hub November 2016 | Page 9

Eva Antonel As you trudged from door to door carrying a bag full of candy with your little ghost or goblin trick or treating Halloween night, you probably passed several haunted places or spaces without giving it a second thought. Whether you know it or not, and depending on your point of view, Windsor-Essex has been either blessed or cursed to be located in the midst of some of Canada's most intriguing and storied past. Just ask Marty Gervais, Windsor's unofficial historian, publisher and Poet Laureate. You could talk from early morning and into the night and still not touch upon all the stories that make up Windsor's collective past. The War of 1812, the Underground Railroad, rum running during the prohibition era, Sandwich Towne, Assumption Church, Willistead Manor, are just a few of the events and locales that hold particular importance. But did you know that Al Capone was rumored to frequent a hidden bar at Hiram Walker, that the site of present day Devonshire Mall was once a famous thoroughbred racetrack, that Texas Rd. and the Artisan Grill in the vicinity of Amherstburg are known as haunted places? There are historical accounts written, museum pieces to be studied and tours to be taken, but nothing really touches the soul and imagination like a real story about real people. And, what better way to convey a story than through poetry, a genre known for commemorating important events? In conjunction with Windsor's upcoming 125th birthday, the City of Windsor Cultural Affairs department and Marty Gervais, in his official role as Windsor's Poet Laureate, has assembled a group of local poets to gather these stories and tell them like only a poet can. Vanessa Shields, known for her candid observations about motherhood and womanhood, Mary Ann Mulhern, an ex-nun who writes about her experience, Daniel Lockhart, a local poet and publisher, Carlinda D'Alimonte, a poet and high school English teacher, Peter Hrastovec, a local poet and lawyer as well as Dorothy Mahoney, also a local poet and teacher, will take on the task of bringing these stories to life. The collection will be gathered and published next year as part of the City’s birthday celebrations. In the meantime, there are several ways to indulge in your taste for local history. Visit any well stocked bookstore and ask to see the local history section. You'll be well on your way to acquainting yourself with who we really are. You may never look at any of our familiar and often overlooked landmarks quite the same way again. If the popularity of the annual gathering of poet laureates from across the country at the iconic Willistead Manor is any indication, this collection of poetry will enjoy as good a reception as did Rum Runners published by local Black Moss Press and, From The Vault I and II by also local, Biblioasis. Get your GPS updated, get those walking shoes going and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any rogue poets idling around seemingly mundane locations. You and they may have walked into a story. How do you support local artists? Tweet us @TheHubWE #artmatters November 2016 - The HUB 9