By ALAN SHACKLETON
Longtime Beach resident Carole Wilson will host an exhibition of her poetry and photography this November at The Beacher Café.
The Never the Same exhibition takes place from Nov. 1 to 30 at the café, 2162 Queen St. E.
“It’s about being outside and the places I’ve seen and the poems and photos about them,” said Wilson in an interview with Beach Metro Community News.
The photos and poems will be framed together, with the photo connected to the theme of the poem, and they will be available for sale.
Wilson, who lived for decades in the Beach and was the former president of the Balmy Beach Residents Association and also a food columnist for Beach Metro Community News in the early 1980s now resides in Etobicoke, but still close to Lake Ontario in the Humber Bay area.
She said her poetry and photography was first inspired by her views of the lake and then to other places she has visited.
“I was walking a friend’s dog during COVID and was looking out over the lake, and I thought it was so nice and I could write about this,” said Wilson. “Then I started to think about other things like sailboats, and I was able to go out on a sailboat and experience that feeling.”
Wilson has a book of her photos and poems, which includes a photo and poem reflecting her experience on the sailboat.
“I also get ideas from visiting a cottage,” located in the Kawarthas, she said.
Prior to moving to Etobicoke in 2017, Wilson said she had not done much photography or writing of poetry. However, being outdoors along with dealing with the isolation that COVID brought made her appreciate the outdoors and start writing.
“When I really started writing the poems was during COVID. I started writing to make people feel that there were still things to do while waiting for things to improve. Walking was important, and I would take a neighbour’s dog, and I also volunteered at a food bank.”
Wilson, who worked for decades with a Canadian airline, is looking forward to seeing old friends from the Beach at her upcoming show. Along with her volunteer work with the Balmy Beach Residents Association, she was also an active volunteer at the schools attended by her children. Her son Grant went to Balmy Beach Public School and Malvern Collegiate, while her daughter went to Balmy Beach Public School and Notre Dame Catholic High School.
“I was one of the volunteers at the bake sales for the schools and other events,” she said.
Balmy Beach residents may also remember her family hosting Christmas open houses at their home on Silver Birch Avenue, something which was an annual tradition in the neighbourhood for many years.
“I lived here in the Beach for 40 years. We had a lovely old house on Silver Birch that was built in 1916,” said Wilson. “Every Christmas my husband would dress up as Santa and I’d dress up as Mrs. Claus and we’d volunteer over at Community Centre 55, and we’d also collect food donations.”
She remembered her holiday open houses being quite busy affairs as well.
“We’d have all these people over at the house and I don’t know how we squashed them all in there,” said Wilson.
She is looking forward to a bit of a homecoming to the Beach with the Never the Same exhibition.
“Being in The Beacher Café, it feels like I’m right back at home.”
Along with the exhibit of the framed art and poetry, Wilson has also published a book tilted Never the Same which will include many of the works in them. Proceeds from sales will go to The Daily Bread Food Bank, which is an organization close to her heart.
She volunteered as a receptionist with Daily Bread from 2020 to 2022 and knows the need in the city for food banks.
“All kinds of people are really struggling and there’s some sad stories, and I saw first hand how Daily Bread could make an impact in their lives,” said Wilson.
She is hoping that her exhibit, book and Facebook page of photos and poems can act as an inspiration for people to appreciate what is around them and to think of helping others where possible.
“I’m hoping they make people happy and are uplifting,” said Wilson.
For more on the Never the Same exhibition and the book (along with more photos and poems), please visit Wilson’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/neverthesamepoetry/