Volume two of Gary Pickering’s popular Souvenirs de Témiscaming Memories has hit the shelves, a book full of stories and remembrances from residents past and present.
Pickering began the project to commemorate Témiscaming’s Centennial and thought that collecting stories from residents would be an ideal way to both celebrate the milestone and preserve local history.
Coming in at around 300 pages, the first volume was a hit with both writers and readers. Not long after publication, people were already asking Pickering when a second volume was scheduled to come out.
So he went to work, spreading the word that submissions were once again open for local memories, and before long, close to another 300 pages were filled.
Pickering was simultaneously surprised and thrilled by the success of his book. He mentioned that the Covid lockdowns may have allowed residents the time and inspiration to submit to his anthology.
However, he also “gets the sense that people just love to reminisce about the good times growing up in a town like Témiscaming.”
“And when you have an audience like that, one memory will trigger somebody else to think about something,” and before long, you have enough new memories to fill a second volume.
Sales of the first book are approaching 1,000, and all profits are donated to local Témiscaming charities.
This past September, Pickering, who was born and raised in Témiscaming, and now lives near Peterborough, returned to town to enjoy the centennial celebrations, novelty-sized cheques in hand, to present to four local charities.
In total, he presented $13,000.
Dean Sparling owns the Ross Electric Home Hardware in Témiscaming, and he offered some shelf space there to sell Pickering’s book.
Since Sparling is a little closer to the heartbeat of the town these days, Pickering explained that Sparling will be offering advice on which charities the funds from this book’s sales will go towards.
To celebrate the launch of volume two, Pickering is hosting a contest where readers and authors can nominate their favourite story from either volume one or two.
Nominations can be e-mailed to him at email@example.com. From those nominations, Pickering will select the top three favourites, which will be posted on the Témiscaming News and Events Facebook page.
Nominations will close on December 31, 2021.
Readers can vote for their favourite of the three, and the author with the most votes will receive the prize of hard cover versions of both volume one and volume two.
“I get all kinds of e-mails and messages” regarding the books, Pickering explained. “I’ve been called the Ambassador of Témiscaming” by one person, he said with a chuckle.
“I didn’t do it for that reason,” he said. “I did it because I wanted to give something back to the town and I wanted to help celebrate the centennial.”
Both volumes of Pickering’s book are for sale through Amazon, and copies can also be purchased from the Ross Electric Home Hardware in Témiscaming.
As before, all profits from sales will go directly to local charities, which Pickering plans to present in early 2022.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca