Bestselling author Marty Gervais has returned with a new, somewhat personal look at his beloved hometown in the recently released book Five Days Walking Five Towns (Touring Windsor’s Past). Of all the local writers capable of such an endeavor, none would have the passion, or even desire to walk the streets of the five-core towns that make up Windsor, let alone walk it with a desire to take in both the past and the present with such open arms.
Gervais certainly knows the city. He’s well-known in the area for his books and Windsor Star columns and his passion is clearly evident in the book as he travels 17kms through Windsor’s towns recalling and telling stories from memory and fact.
It’s a well thought out and delicious effort. Every town has its own chapter with old photos and images of artifacts highlighting some of history of that area. There is also a walking map at the beginning of each chapter which gives the reader the chance to follow the same route Gervais took as he plotted out his thoughts.
The walks started in 2015 and by the time the book was written for its 2017 release, several memorable facilities were gone – places like Abars, St. Thomas Separate School and the Riverside Recreation and Memorial Centre from Riverside and countless others in the four other towns – a bit of history that could have been lost had no one told their tales. It’s nice to see the history and stories of these places captured for future generations to read.
Gervais writes as if he’s walking with you along the sidewalks of the city and the book feels as if you’re listening to a tour guide reciting a personal memoir.
Residents of Riverside, Ford City, Walkerville, Windsor and Sandwich will specifically love this book because it ventures through the streets those residents travel every day. I have particular fondness for the Walkerville chapter because my daily commute takes me from Riverside Drive, through Walkerville and up to Tecumseh every day. I see the buildings and hear his stories echo as I pass by the landmarks mentioned. I might even use the book to guide my daily walks in my quest for a healthier lifestyle through the towns I myself now call home.
It’s easy to see how Gervais has an audience. His writing is clean, clear and he writes as if we’ve known each other for years.
Five Days Walking Five Towns is available at Biblioasis and online at biblioasis.com. The official book launch is scheduled Nov. 17 at 7 pm at Biblioasis (1520 Wyandotte Street East) with a walking tour to follow.