Come From Away: a great play featuring the awesome province of Newfoundland

So this is random.

We took our kids and their significant others to see the play Come From Away in Toronto yesterday. We all loved it; great acting, wonderful writing and good music (especially the live band at the end). It’s such a lovely, affirming story about how folks in tiny Gander, Newfoundland took in folks whose planes were forced to land there on 9/11.

A horrible day, but one filled with much kindness; especially in this little town where folks opened their homes (and showers) to total strangers and, as Newfoundland folks would do, thought nothing of it. I’ve always these are the nicest people in Canada and that it’s my favourite part of the country. I feel that way even more after seeing the show.

But lots of people see the show, so here’s what’s random. My wife and I were walking through the underground to get to the Eaton Centre after the show and saw a guy with a “Come From Away” vest on. We asked how they liked the show. They hadn’t been that day but they were going to the Toronto finale today, just before it heads to New York City and a Broadway run.

The reason they were going to the finale? They’re the PRODUCERS of the show! Ken Alhadeff and his wife, Marleen. Delightful folks. We chatted for several minutes about the process (which I now pronounce PRO-cess, not PRAH-cess) and the script and how it came to pass. Suffice to say they had a vision for this show and have done a fabulous job.

I wish them all the success in the world and hope my fellow Americans in New York will see the joy (and understand the accents) of the people of the great province of Newfoundland. A nicer bunch of people you’ll never meet; inviting and warm and funny and engaging and never the least bit uppity. I can’t wait to get back there later this year!

Thanks to Ken and Marleen and the cast and crew and the folks at Mirvish for putting on a great show in Toronto the last few weeks. Break a leg in the Big Apple!

I wrote that fairly quickly at the airport in Toronto on Sunday just ‘cuz I was so pumped at meeting the producers. I didn’t get a chance to talk more about Newfoundland, so here are a few thoughts of a general nature.

I adore St. John’s and wrote about it the other day on my Canada 150 site, www.canadas150best.com. Rather than repeat that, you can check the link.

St. John’s is one of the coolest cities in Canada. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

I’ve only been three or four times now, but I’ve loved everyplace I’ve visited in Newfoundland. South of St. John’s I had a great tour of former settlement sites at Ferryland, where Lord Baltimore founded a colony called Avalon way back in 1621. The scenery and little villages along the coast were beautiful and fun and easy on my camera lens. Ditto for my golfing experiences up at Terra Nova and down at Humber Valley, an outstanding layout with brilliant routing.

You’ll find fantastic coastal scenery all around Newfoundland. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

I was lucky enough to be in Twillingate one summer when the icebergs were still floating about. It’s one of my favourite areas of Canada, and I found a crazy municipal park called Sea Breeze and a number of gorgeous seaside walks.

I stumbled upon Sea Breeze Municipal Park near Twillingate a few years ago and was transfixed by the place. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

I’ve been to Gros Morne twice for boat rides up Western Brook Pond, which is really a fjord that’s not called that because it doesn’t link up to the ocean. The canyon or mountain walls jump right up out of the water, and the effect is quite stunning. I also got to go sea kayaking on beautiful Bonne Bay a couple years ago and loved the town, as well as Rocky Harbour and the Writers at Woody Point Festival.

The boat ride up Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park is one of my top things to do in Canada. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

A glorious, unique part of Canada, and one of the great, distinctive places still left in a western world that seems to grow more homogeneous every year.

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