“Come Roast Marshmallows Over the Fire,” the invitation said. “Camping wear optional.” Thus were friends, family, contributors, supporters and collaborators invited to the launch party for Up North, thirty years ago on May 19, 1993, at the beautiful Nicholas Hoare Bookstore on Front Street West in downtown Toronto.
Almost four years after hatching the idea for the book on a canoe trip to Algonquin Park, the day had come.
Our publisher, Reed Books Canada, generously laid in snacks and beer (a second beer run was required later into the festivities). The store’s working fireplace was lit for the marshmallows. Speeches were made, many well-deserved thank-yous given. The celebration carried on.
At the fireplace, little Halley’s marshmallow was roasting. Then it caught fire. Not sure what to do, he pulled it out of the fireplace. In the crowded bookstore full of people and books and paper and fine millwork, the sugar blob flamed. Before anything else could ignite, an alert adult (Doug’s partner Nancy) was able to blow out the danger.
We believe it was the last launch party held at Nicholas Hoare Bookstore, which closed, still standing, many years later when Mr. Hoare retired.