June 6, 2011
Top 15 Things I Learned About Wolfe Island (and the 7th Annual Joe Burke Wolfe Island Literary Festival)
1. The ferry to and from Wolfe Island is called the Wolfe Islander III, fits plenty of cars, and has a NO COCKTAILS sign prominently displayed on the car deck.
2. There’s not a whole lot of running water on Wolfe Island, and hence, not a lot of chances for a hypochondriac freak like me to wash my hands four or five times an hour as per usual.
3. The deck of a sheet metal and plywood duck hunting shed overlooking a tranquil little bay under sunny skies is the perfect stage for a Canadian literary festival.
4. When shitting in the woods because the line up to the outhouse is too long, be VERY careful what type of leaves you choose to wipe with. Yeeouch!!!
5. The Wolfe Island Literary Festival attracts an amazing array of intimidating talent, such as the poignant and hilarious sports poet Priscilla Uppal, scientist and travel writer Wayne Grady (Breakfast at the Exit Café), novelist Alison Pick (The Sweet Edge), environmentalist Andrew Nikiforuk (The Tar Sands), poet laureate Tanis Rideout, star power Joseph Boyden, and founder Dave Bidini.
6. Alison Pick looks really cute in my Canucks cowichan sweater.
7. Never judge a hoser by his appearance. Off-island, that drunken, heckling, wildly offensive yahoo may just be one of the most respected criminal lawyers in all of Canada!
8. Most common Wolfe Island excuse for long, loud, audible farting: “Wow, the bullfrogs sure are cranky tonight, eh?”
9. Joseph Boyden plays a mean mouth harp!
10. Stars are this year’s headliner of the Wolfe Island Music Festival, Aug 6 and 7.
11. If I can’t be in my Fortress of Hockey Solitude, the Duck Shed on Wolfe Island is the best place in Canada to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs, on an old TV with rabbit ears, surrounded by a “League of Extraordinary Canadians” stuffed into the shed, perched on an array of mismatched chairs: Sarah Harmer, Stewart Jones, Selina Martin, Joseph Boyden, Chris Brown, Virginia Clark, Bryan Bean, Simon Racioppa, the Mattson family of Brophy’s Point, all the other authors, the folks of Swim Drink Fish Music, the Wolfe Islander III ferry staff, and several of the loudest, most obnoxious hosers I have ever had the pleasure of celebrating a Vancouver Canucks OT win with. Even the guy is the Boston Bruins t-shirt was nice.
12. The festival is held in memory of Joe Burke, who passed away a few years ago; an inspirational civil rights lawyer, a patron of the arts, and a lover of Canadian literature.
13. The Wolfe Island Bakery serves up a scrumptious blueberry scone.
14. The 8th Annual Joe Burke Literary Festival will be held in New Orleans in April 2012, hosted by Joseph Boyden!
15. When the staggering hangover of the 7th Annual Joe Burke Literary Festival eventually fades, as well as the unfortunate bum rash, I hope to eventually return to the magic of Wolfe Island.
Thanks to Dave Bidini, Mark Mattson, Tanis Rideout, Virginia Clark, Swim Drink Fish Music, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and patrons of the arts and the Duck Shed.
More photos of the event can be seen here.