The South Algonquin Business Alliance’s zine called One Fine Day is now out. Angela Pollak and Loretta Neil of SABA says that they are delighted at how it turned out and that the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Steve Dunsford, a local photographer who has owned and managed The Mad Musher restaurant in Whitney for the past 18 years, also speaks about his contributions to the zine. Each copy of the zine costs $12 and the profits raised from its sales will go toward funding community and business programs in South Algonquin Township. The One Fine Day zine contains maps of the South Algonquin area, articles written by locals about the area’s history, a tribute to the last fishing guide in Algonquin Park Frank Kuiack, and a lot of exclusive content readers won’t find anywhere else. Pollak says that the title One Fine Day captures the idea that the community has many stories to tell about one fine day in the community’s past or present.
“It also speaks to tourists who may be here looking for something to do if they’re only in town for one day; a kind of 24-hour guide. We want them to leave feeling like they’ve experienced ‘one fine day’ in the township,” she says.
Pollak thinks people were curious when SABA announced it, but lots of people couldn’t really picture what the finished product might look like.
“Despite our efforts to advertise, we know that lots of people didn’t hear about it. Now that we have something to show people, and the awareness and understanding is growing, I feel that support it growing also. People are talking already about the next issue and pending a board decision on the question, I hope we’re going to do our best to oblige,” she says.
Pollak says they learned a lot through the process and juggled many different competing demands from timing to testing the limits of their ability to technical issues. While they made mistakes along the way, she says the community has been very gracious and generous in overlooking them. She says going forward they’ll adjust the process and aim for a better product and faster turn around next time. They are also looking to create a four season One Fine Day in South Algonquin brochure that they can give away at businesses and in Algonquin Park so visitors can see all the benefits of being in South Algonquin.
“In terms of stories to share, I think what I’d say is that zines are really a community-based publication, and they are beautiful, lovely, cherished and delightful because they’re imperfect, because the people who contribute to them are imperfect,” she says.
Aside from the imperfections, according to Pollak, the zine is nonetheless very real. They’re not about journalism, proper spelling and grammar, and sometimes when they talk about folklore and legends, they’re not even about truth, but come from the heart and from personal experiences.
“They are about place, belonging, memory, legends, lore, hope for the future and really about our identity. In that sense, this kind of publication fills a community need that professional publications and local newspapers aren’t really positioned to fill. I think that’s what has captured the imagination here. It’s something you can look at many times over a cup of tea with a friend and be delighted each time anew,” she says.
Dunsford is a local photographer and business owner who supplied the cover photograph of the moose on the highway for the zine as well as contributing an article on how to take photos of wildlife, night skies and landscapes in South Algonquin. He says he got involved with the zine as he is on the SABA board. While he’s been taking photos all his life, he says that in the last decade he has gotten more into it.
“Everybody wants to come up here to visit Algonquin Park, as I do too. In South Algonquin, we have everything Algonquin Park has; the same amazing night skies, the landscapes and the same animals. So, I also do a lot of photography in the township too, so I thought it would be good to contribute an article promoting that part. Algonquin Park can get pretty crazy busy, but our township here is not nearly as busy. So that was basically the idea for my article, was to promote photography in this township,” he says.
Most of the shots Dunsford contributed to the zine article were taken in South Algonquin, but the amazing photo of the moose on the highway was actually taken inside Algonquin Park.
“It was a few years ago, one June evening. I was just driving across this highway and I saw this guy stop. I couldn’t see what he was photographing at first, and then I saw this moose behind some bushes. Eventually the man left and this moose kept feeding on the bushes. It wasn’t a busy time on the highway at that point in the evening and the moose kept grazing and moving toward me. I had to keep moving away because while he wasn’t aggressive, they’re a big animal. I don’t like getting too close to them and I don’t like to let them get too close to me either. Eventually he started to walk towards the road and I took photos as he walked across and as he got to the yellow line. I got two or three shots, one of which was the one on the cover. Unfortunately, the lighting at that point was not the greatest, but it turned out pretty well I think,” he says.
Dunsford’s shot of the moose, for all of you camera and photography aficionados out there, was achieved with a full frame Canon 5E Mark 3 camera body, and the lens he was using was a Sigma 150 to 300 millimetre, so he could keep a good distance away from the wildlife that he shoots.
“We’ve got some great content, local people writing stories about history, things in the area. It’s good in two ways; that these stories get documented and then it’s also interesting for people in the community and especially outside the community to read some of this, what’s happened in the past and in the present too. So, the content is great, and Angela [Pollak] did a lot of work on the graphics part of it to make it look pleasing to the eye. I was very happy when I saw it. I didn’t know what to expect when it was first mentioned, and then I saw it come together and thought it was all really interesting. And when it was put together and now that it is in a physical magazine, it’s really good. I think for a small community to come together, especially during the last 18 months with COVID-19, it sort of builds community spirit. So, it’s a lot more than just a magazine,” he says.
Pollak credits Neil with coming up with the idea for the zine, and the latter says that it came to her because she wanted a mix of conversation and contribution of meaningful things that most people could relate to, and to fundraise to get SABA incorporated.
“We are truly blessed. Whitney is full of fantastic people and there’s a fine story that everyone can share, both past and present. This was a new thing for so many reasons; people were reluctant to contribute, myself included, because we had no idea what to say or what might be acceptable,” she says.
Since finishing the zine, Neil says the support, compliments, acceptance and appreciation are overwhelming and people already want another issue. She says she’s very proud of the countless hours that she and Pollak worked on it and what they accomplished and learned in the process.
“I can’t wait for the next round. I have submitted entries already and more are on the way. Our people are ready this time to share their tales, no limits and no hesitation. The stories are so much bigger to tell and our peeps are going to tell them. Cheers again to everyone who made this a successful project and bring on the entries. I’m ready for them,” she says. “Another fine day will be the day the next zine is in our people’s hands!”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times