OBOC 2021

Come grab yourself a copy of this year’s One Book One Community Waterloo Region (OBOC) pick and prepare to meet some extraordinary Canadians! Extraordinary Canadians : stories from the heart of our nation is by Peter Mansbridge, former anchor of The National, and Mark Bulgutch.

This year’s selection, in OBOC‘s 20th anniversary year, is an impressive, heartwarming read that made me proud to be a Canadian. It reminds us that individual Canadians are capable of enormous courage, generosity and resilience. Seventeen Canadians, all previously unknown to me, are profiled in Extraordinary Canadians. Here are some of them:

  • Vancouver nurse reveals the enormous challenges he faced working at a major hospital during the COVID pandemic
  • Nova Scotia woman shares how she set up a wildlife rehabilitation centre that has saved thousands of animals over the years
  • a woman who suffered a horrific car crash that left her permanently in a wheelchair has gone on to advocate for others with disabilities
  • from a P.E.I., a man works on behalf of the poor by building affordable housing and extending microcredit

But the stories that really resonated with me are those of two indigenous women from British Columbia. Cindy Blackstock is a child welfare advocate and Nadine Caron is the first female Indigenous surgeon in Canada. I was impressed by their professional accomplishments, of course, but way beyond that I was struck by their perceptive and powerful words on native/non-native relations and how we can– and must– find a way to work together and move forward.

Due to the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, this year’s OBOC author event is virtual. It takes place on Thursday, September 23rd at 7:00pm on both One Book One Community’s YouTube channel and their Facebook page

And, as an aside, speaking of extraordinary Canadians, how about our incredible Olympic athletes? They’ve proven at that they can compete with and win against the best in the world. Team Canada’s recent achievements in Tokyo richly deserve to be celebrated!

— Penny D.