City Unveils New Donald Storywalk Thursday
Port Coquitlam, B.C. – Sept. 24, 2022… Port Coquitlam will unveil its latest Donald Storywalk this Thursday afternoon, inviting residents to enjoy a new illustrated story in a scenic outdoor setting – and even come up with their own ending for a chance to win prizes.
Eight new panels will be installed this week along Donald Pathway between Elks Park and Wilson Avenue for the second year of the Donald Storywalk project, a collaboration between the City and Terry Fox Library.
This year’s panels – featuring Port Coquitlam resident Logan Willis’ winning story Riches of the River from the 2022 May Days Flash Fiction Contest, and artwork by Akemi Emma Ito – will be unveiled Sept. 29 from 3 to 7 p.m., with an introduction at 3 p.m. at Elks Park. Those attending the last Farmers Market Port Coquitlam Farmers Market of 2022 at Terry Fox Hometown Square will also be invited to experience the new Storywalk.
“The Donald Storywalk is a creative, no-cost activity for people of all ages that promotes literacy and public art in an outdoor setting,” Mayor Brad West said. “It’s a great enhancement to both Donald Pathway and Elks Park, where the upgraded playground has become a favourite for local families. We encourage everyone to drop by Thursday for the unveiling or to watch for the new panels the next time they use the Donald Pathway.”
Riches of the River tells the story of an intrepid young Port Coquitlam resident hunting for a treasure amid familiar landmarks such as the Coquitlam River and City Hall.
This year, readers will be invited to imagine their own ending for a chance to win prize packages from the City and library. Winners will be selected at the end of Culture Days, running Sept. 23 to Oct. 16 this year, and again during May Days in 2023.
Port Coquitlam residents of all ages may submit their idea (one entry per person) through the online form at portcoquitlam.ca/storywalk. The webpage can be accessed by a QR code on the panels and also includes an audio recording of the story.
Willis, a long-time Port Coquitlam resident and creative writing major at Douglas College, entered this year’s Flash Fiction Contest for the first time to challenge himself to write something new that fit the criteria and that young readers would enjoy and follow.
“Thinking in that vein brought me to the theme of treasure maps and pirate treasure hunts, and I ended up wanting to create a sort of Goonies-esque adventure,” said Willis, 21, referencing a popular 1985 film. “Alongside that, I hoped to make something that astute readers might be able to solve or predict before the story reveals its answers.”
Willis’ story comes to life through the colourful drawings of Akemi Emma Ito, a Metro Vancouver mixed-media illustrator whose style is influenced by Eastern and Western cultures. Ito works in watercolour, pen and ink and coloured pencils, and has been an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2014.
“Stories and art ignite our imaginations, and it’s wonderful to bring that into the outdoors through the annual Donald Storywalk project,” said Cllr. Nancy McCurrach, Council’s designate for arts and culture. “I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas for the story ending that come in from residents of all ages.”
The Donald Storywalk installation and unveiling are part of Port Coquitlam’s Culture Days activities for 2022. The national celebration of arts and culture includes free activities from Sept. 23 to Oct. 16, including art exhibitions and workshops with the City’s Artist-in-Residence. More information can be found at portcoquitlam.ca/culturedays.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam