OPINION- One of a Kind OOE Community Calendar Made for a Miraculous Holiday Season

Cover of the Mainstreeter 2023-2024 Calendar. Image Supply by Tim Hunt

Cover of the Mainstreeter 2023-2024 Calendar. Image Supply by Tim Hunt

Lori Gandy & Mainstreeter Staff

It was the lead-up to the Christmas season, after all, when miracles are supposed to happen. Well, for one very happy newcomer to Old Ottawa East (OOE) and for one long-time OOE resident now re-located to B.C., that is exactly what happened.

It began with a last-minute email to The Mainstreeter’s editor, from a reader expressing a desire to get her hands on a copy of the magnificent Old Ottawa East 2023 community calendar featuring our resident artist Tim Hunt’s heartwarming sketches. In a special fundraising collaboration between Tim and The Mainstreeter, only 200 copies of the calendar were printed, and they sold like hotcakes.

But back to our reader, who had been in hot pursuit of one of the calendars for quite some time and had been unsuccessful in obtaining one, noting as she did that Singing Pebble Books had long since sold out. She pleaded in her email for any leads to getting just one copy of the calendar.

Our editor sadly informed her that all copies had indeed been sold. He then revealed (and here’s the miracle bit) that he had in his possession one copy that contained a printing error, resulting in the calendar missing both the months of January and November 2023. Given the error, this copy could not be sold. In conversation with the reader, the editor referred to the misprinted calendar as “the runt of the litter.” The editor happily offered it to our intrepid calendar-seeker for free, an offer that was received with rapturous joy.

As she stated in her return email: “What an extraordinary Christmas surprise & gift. I would ABSOLUTELY love to have this misprinted copy. In fact … it’ll be what makes it that much more special – one of a kind! Thank you for making my Christmas a very memorable one.”

There’s a wonderful message in all of this – besides just how fabulous the calendar is and what great joy and pleasure it brings and will continue to bring to all of us who now have one or more displayed in our homes. Go that extra mile to help someone if you can, never give up hope, and remember that just because something isn’t exactly like the others, that doesn’t mean it can’t also have value.

Had that been the only example of Christmas cheer created by Tim Hunt’s 2023 community calendar, that would have sufficed – but as this issue of The Mainstreeter demonstrates, there was considerably more calendar-based joy, generosity and community-building that resulted from this inspired initiative.

On pages 5 and 6 of this issue, Barbara Rockburn, a former resident of Old Ottawa East who now lives in B.C., recounts some of her most cherished memories of growing up in this community during the 1950s and 1960s. As she explains in a letter to the editor, on page 4 of this issue, it was by pure chance that she picked up a copy of the December issue of The Mainstreeter at the Bank of Nova Scotia on Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue during her holiday visit back to the community. Spotting the ad for the Tim Hunt calendar triggered a series of events that unlocked childhood recollections and inspired her to submit them for publication in The Mainstreeter.

In her words, the calendar “…turned out to be the best present I ever got. Because right there, on the very first page, was a picture of the last home our family shared in OOE – 55 Hazel Street. I immediately ordered every copy The Mainstreeter had left – all four of them. We had stumbled upon this treasure just before it had sold out. Coincidence? I don’t know, but it was just too good to be true. And it sparked a flood of memories that I felt I had to record.”

Yes, Barbara, it may have been a coincidence, but all things considered, it’s just as likely that it was another of those little Christmas miracles.

And miracles don’t just happen – they require miracle workers to get the job done. In the case of the community calendar, there are too many to name them all here, but special recognition goes out to: the calendar planning committee comprised of sketch artist Tim Hunt, along with Dianne Wing, Tanis Browning-Shelp and Bess Fraser of The Mainstreeter; “unofficial marketing agent” Theresa Wallace who believed in the concept and made sure others knew about it; our helpful printer, Ja at Merriam Print and Mika, Laura and the rest of the fantastic staff at Singing Pebble Books who, in a whirlwind of community spirit, collectively sold 115 of the 200 calendars printed, and did so without accepting any mark-up or commissions for their efforts.

Tim Hunt’s little “calendar that could” is indeed a symbol of the warmth and generosity of those of us who call Old Ottawa East home, and a keepsake for those who have memories of growing up here as well as those who are only just discovering the many charms of this wonderful community.

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page

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