The 101 experiences platform, launched by the late Nicole Guertin, is piloting the project named In the footsteps of Jocelyne Saucier (New window) : a tribute that she is still struggling to receive.

In the footsteps of Jocelyne Saucier, a title that intimidates me a lot. I’m glad it’s the books that do that […]Literature is a discrete art. It is my books which in turn impregnate the minds.

In music, it is true that it is more common to see music lovers reproducing the Abbey Road cover of the Beatles or touring Île d’Orléans as Félix Leclerc sang it.

People take part in a press conference.

About 15 people attended the press conference, including Timmins Mayor George Pirie and City Councilor Michelle Boileau.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jimmy Chabot

It was raining birdsthe great literary success of Jocelyne Saucier, brought to the big screen in 2019, will have its stop on the tourist circuit in Matheson.

The public will be able to visit the scene of the deadliest fire in Canadian history and perhaps meet nephews and nieces of the real Simon Aumont, the father who lost 9 of his 10 children in 1916.

I write with my imagination and then there are real people who intervened like Simon Aumont. I didn’t even know he would appear in my novel. I had known his story, but in the work of words and the imagination. Simon Aumont arrived and I said: well yes. I knew he has people he would recognize because he existedsays Jocelyne Saucier.

A woman looks at a photograph of a Great Fire.

At the Timmins Museum, Jocelyne took the time to look at a photograph dating from the Great Porcupine Fire in 1911.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jimmy Chabot

Before taking out her pen, the novelist does a lot of research, letting herself be lulled by the stories of the Northern Ontario characters she has met on her way.

About ten years ago, the recipient of the Radio-Canada readers’ award traveled to Swastika to write the book Lost train. Her most recent work tells the story of Gladys embarking on a long train journey from Swastika Station, just over an hour from Timmins.

During the press conference, a shy lady, cane in hand, stands back. Our journalist quickly learns that she has become an admirer of the work of Jocelyne Saucier after meeting her in her home a decade ago.

I was surprised that the woman [Gladys] lives on Connor Avenue like in the story. This is where I live in Swastikasays Carolyne O’Neil with the tremolo in her voice. Like her, I too took the last Ontario Northland train.

  Carolyne O'Neil all smiles in front of Jocelyne Saucier.

Carolyne O’Neil was all smiles to reconnect with Jocelyne Saucier after the press conference.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jimmy Chabot

According to Madame Saucier, it is no coincidence that this tribute was paid to this activist who fought so that the name of her city would not change.

I’m glad she considered Swastika in the story. Swastika is a forgotten placeadds the one who read her book in the language of Shakespeare.

A project born in the time of COVID-19

Nathalie Dumais is the soul of the project according to Jocelyne Saucier. A resident of Ottawa, she has been fascinated by her work during the pandemic.

I am a lover of travel, of reading, I immersed myself in the works of Madame Saucier. I fell in love with his works. I was fascinated by Northeastern Ontario, which I didn’t know much about. From there came the idea of ​​wanting to develop a tool to visit the North-East.

Two women have their picture taken.

Jocelyne Saucier participated in the development of the project led by Nathalie Dumais.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jimmy Chabot

Each of the stops at something to offer whether in Cobalt, North Bay or Haileybury, but no specific stop on Connor Street or the train station where Gladys’ character departed from.

We didn’t go to that level of detail. For us, it’s to help people discover the city, its history and to discover what you can do there. For example, you can read about history and there are nice parks in Englehart and Swastika where you can eat. You can also discover the microbreweries of the region, it is historical and touristicsays Ms. Dumais.

Like her Gladys character in her latest book, Jocelyne Saucier promises to make the trip aboard the Ontario Northland train again if it returns as promised by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.



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