CANADIAN ETHNIC MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Voices of Canada

Legacies – Our Grandmothers Ourselves exhibit at Multicultural History Society

January 26, 2015

The Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) features an abosorbing photo exhibit drawn from an equally absorbing book by CEMA member Gina Valle (see description of book later in this write-up).It runs from March 21 to 31, 2007,at the MHSO, 43 Queen’s Park Crescent East (plenty of city parking right outside in off-rush hour times or get off at the Queen’s Park stop on the University Subway line.

Legacies celebrates the achievements and challenges of 24 Canadian immigrant women from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The accompanying stories of these women are told by their Canadian granddaughters, in English, French, and the grandmothers first language.

The MHSO hosted this exhibition in recognition of International Women’s Day and of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.

For more information, please go to http://www.mhso.ca/ or http://www.ginavalle.com/

READ MORE as the author explains how she went about putting together this book and read the story of a grandmother from the Philippines!

or READ MORE as the author explains how she went about putting together this book and read the story of a grandmother from the Philippines!or READ MORE as the author explains how she went about putting together this book and read the story of a grandmother from the Philippines!

Our Grandmothers Ourselves — As explained by Gina Valle:

This is a book that was many years in the making. I began working on it before the era of e-mails and cell phones and for many of the contributors, it was their first time writing a creative non-fiction piece on their life. As I often would say, life got in the way and by that I meant that at any given time, one or more of the nineteen contributors was facing a new job, illness, pregnancy, divorce, a move or death of a loved one and thereby pushing back the finish line. I did not mind too much. I had read the stories and they were worth waiting for. Once the manuscript was complete, I began looking for a publisher. When I had received forty rejection letters from publishers, I told myself that I would walk away from the project when I would receive a total of fifty letters. I didnt have to walk away. Shortly after, I signed on with Raincoast Books from Vancouver and was able to get Joy Kogawa to write the books Foreword. The book has now been republished with Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is in its third printing.

Our Grandmothers Ourselves is a retrospective look at our heritage through the eyes of our grandmothers. The stories are funny, sad, humiliating, reflective and very representative of what it means for many of us to be Canadian, living proudly and sometimes awkwardly with two cultures and languages in our minds, hearts and souls.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories. I am proud of the women who are in this book. They gave it their all and it shows. Visit http://www.ginavalle.com/ for more information.

In the Philippines, the Tagalog word for grandmother is Iola. But in our extended family, everyone called our grandmother Nanay. Nanay means mother. The style of the following story is patchwork to mimic the weaving of our grandmothers life with the lives of those who loved her as their matriarch.