With the COVID-19 pandemic closing the doors on travellers around the world, Tourism Mission is finding wise ways of ensuring future interest in the community.
Back in April 2020, the team connected with California-based author, Suzanne Mirviss, who was trying to write her third children’s book about “Sammi,” a small but curious owl who flies around the world on adventures.
Mirviss had planned to take a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska to find inspiration for Sammi’s next journey, but her own trip had to be cancelled due to the border closure with the U.S.
She instead turned to “online dreaming” for her inspiration, came across information on Mission’s annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, and reached out to Clare Seeley, the manager of tourism and communications for the district.
Mirviss had made up her mind – Sammi’s next journey would be to Canada to meet the eagles, and witness the spawning salmon.
With libraries and universities closed, Seeley helped assist the author with her research and connect her to different groups, including the festival’s volunteer team.
Under a year later, “Hello from Sammi in Canada” has been written and published. The little owl travels to the Lower Mainland and the book features watercolour illustrations by Mirviss herself.
She hopes the book will help ease the stress of the pandemic on children, and foster a world where everyone gets along, helps one another, and recognizes how connected we are – regardless of where we are.
Not only that, the Seeley and Mirviss have formed an online friendship, and continue to exchange correspondence.
“I hope we will get to meet in person one day,” said Seeley. “This has been such an amazing journey, and a good news story during a difficult year for the tourism industry.”
Copies of the book are available at the Mission Visitor Information Centre at 34033 Lougheed Highway.
More information on Mirviss can be found at suzannemirviss.com