On Sunday, The Word on the Street festival – a nationwide celebration of books and magazines – came to Kitchener’s Victoria Park.
This event marked Kitchener’s eighth year hosting the event.
Lined up throughout the park were numerous white tents set up for lectures, storytelling and book displays.
Among these were the Kitchener Public Library tent, PostScript Comics tent and the multicultural tent.
People of all ages came for the chance to explore cartoon fantasies, imaginary worlds, captivating dramas and various religions.
Dianetics is the collection of ideas and customs practiced by scientologists.
Serge, who was unwilling to provide his full name, manned the dianetics tent. He was reluctant to provide any information aside from encouraging people to take a free stress test and read the book.
“The book can answer all your questions,” he said.
There was only one book at this tent – Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard.
Reading to children
“A big part of the festival every year has been the children’s tent where we highlight children’s authors and illustrators and give kids the opportunity to meet real authors,” explained Laura Reed, the children’s tent co-ordinator from the Kitchener Public Library.
This year there were seven children’s authors, all of whom are Canadian, doing readings at the tent.
One such author, Marla Stewart Konrad, read two of her stories to a group of children at the booth.
At the end of Konrad’s stories, Reed spoke about the success of the children’s tent, exclaiming that “the kids are having a great time. We’re so happy about getting them excited about books.”
Creation, science and biblical information
John Soish, a firefighter who’s been a community reader at the children’s tent for the past five years, has branched out and set up the creation, science and biblical information tent.
There were a number of books on display, including the Bible.
Books explaining the compatibility of science and Christianity were also available.
“We have all kinds of creation science books,” said Soish. “They go through all kinds of scientific information, talking about what’s actually scientific, what’s theory and what has been proven wrong.”
Soish’s feels that, “Most people who believe in creation actually love science.”
Sam Nabi, a second-year urban planning student at the University of Waterloo, volunteered his time to man the Alternatives Journal tent.
Alternatives Journal is UW’s environment-centred magazine, which was founded in 1971. It publishes six issues per year.
“We publish scholarly articles in a magazine format about different environmental issues,” explained Nabi.
This magazine, which is distributed nationwide, hopes to expand its readership by raising awareness beyond the academic community.
SOFREE (Society of Ontario Freethinkers tent)
“SOFREE is a humanist organization, which is a life stance of atheists, agnostics and non-believers,” said Doug Thomas, SOFREE’s secretary.
“As humanists, we are concerned with human rights, animal rights, ecology.”
He explained that the purpose of the tent is to provide freethinking literature to anyone who’s interested.
Thomas said that SOFREE does not consider themselves a religious group because “religions have dogma.”
“They require you to say, ‘Okay I believe that, I accept that without question.’
Thomas says that the society consists of free thinkers who believe that since there is no God humans are ultimately responsible for whatever happens to them.
“As far as we know, we’re evolved to be the most intelligent beings on the planet.
“Of course, that instantly separates intelligence from wisdom when you think about some of the things we’ve done,” he stated.