A New Year's Message from the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Archived Release

A New Year's Message from the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

TORONTO, Dec. 31 - A year ago I asked the people of Ontario to donate good used books to stock the empty shelves of First Nations schools in Northern Ontario. The response was overwhelming: within two months Ontarians gave over 1.2 million books! They arrived at Queen's Park by the truckload, many collected by schoolchildren. OPP detachments opened their doors to gather books from their local communities. And volunteers came out to sort and pack, in Toronto and Orillia. Shipping all of these books was a challenge. A convoy of Canadian Forces trucks headed north in February to bring books to remote communities via winter roads. More books were delivered by the Ontario Provincial Police, Wasaya Airways, and shippers such as TCS Transport, thanks to support from the South Asian professional community and several corporate donors. By summer, the 850,000 sorted books had been shipped to First Nations schools and Native Friendship Centres throughout Ontario. Now when I visit these schools, I have the pleasure of seeing the enthusiasm of children and young people who come to school early, just to read. The tremendous success of this Book Program has raised awareness of the needs of First Nations schools. To build lasting bridges between Native and non-Native communities, I have recently launched the second phase of my literacy initiative. I want to encourage the twinning of schools, to create opportunities for pen pal and exchange programs, aboriginal awareness days, and annual book drives to replenish school libraries. As this extraordinary year comes to a close, I want to thank the people of Ontario for responding so generously to the Book Program. At this festive time, I invite you to celebrate the season at my annual New Year's Levee, to be held on January 1 in Thunder Bay. In the name of The Queen and on behalf of all Ontarians, I extend my best wishes for a joyous New Year.For further information: OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, QUEEN'S PARK, TORONTO, ONTARIO, M7A 1A1/WWW.LT.GOV.ON.CA