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Local boy realizes dream of meeting astronaut Chris Hadfield at Theatre Orangeville event

December 7, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Nancy Frater, founder and owner of BookLore, has done it again: she invited Canadian retired astronaut, first Canadian Colonel of the International Space Station, musician, speaker and author Chris Hadfield to speak to an audience at Theatre Orangeville about his latest book, Defector. Even though they were only available for purchase in person at BookLore, tickets for this event sold out in 24 hours.

The evening took place on Dec. 3. Wine was served after the considerable hour and a half Colonel Hadfield generously took to speak in the theatre about his book and his life, followed by a Q&A. He made sure to sign every one of his books purchased by the 273 people attending the evening.

While there were brief conversations and a chance to shake hands with the famous astronaut, Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post’s father and Councillor Tess Pendergrast, perhaps the most thrilled of the crowd was Xander Woodbury, Sharyn Ayliffe of Theatre Orangeville’s son.

His mother told us how her Grade 8 son Xander had admired and followed Chris Hadfield’s journeys to space since her son was quite young.

There was an occasion in Toronto a couple of years ago when Colonel Hadfield was speaking, which she and Xander attended. Yet, Xander could only see him on the stage, at a distance, but he never had the chance to actually speak to him.

This time, though, was very different.

Colonel Hadfield’s generous time on stage was given over to the Atrium downstairs, where food and refreshments were ready, and a comfortable couple of chairs were set for him to sit and greet the people so pleased to meet him.

Colonel Hadfield had already met Xander during the evening and had invited him to help him set up each book for signing. They had time to talk, and Xander had time to savour the thrill of his evening with Chris Hadfield.

Xander took a few moments to reflect on this momentous occasion, and he wrote an email to tell the Citizen what his time with Chris Hadfield meant to him.

“Meeting Chris Hadfield was a dream come true! One second we were just waiting for him to arrive, and then we saw him and I was speechless and all my thoughts left my head. I got to talk with him about what it was like to be on the ISS (International Space Station) and what you do on the ISS. It was so amazing! He was so nice and kind and had so many good stories,” Xander wrote. 

This event, as are all the author evenings put together between BookLore and Theatre Orangeville, is entirely in support of Theatre Orangeville’s New Play Development Fund.

With still one last evening to come, they are proud to announce that Peter Mansbridge is coming to another sold-out event this Sunday for another evening of conversation, this time discussing his new book “How Canada Works.”

The event is slated for Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Opera House (87 Broadway).

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