Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing, with Ron Brown

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Ron Brown

Ron Brown shares his passion for Ontario's historical geography with his photography, guided tours and books on the subject. He talks to Open Book about his hands-on approach and his latest publication, In Search of the Grand Trunk: Ghost Rail Lines in Ontario, just published with Dundurn Press.

You can seek out the Grand Trunk alongside Ron Brown by joining his bus tour on Saturday, June 25. The tour departs from Toronto's Islington Subway Station and will pass through Georgetown, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo. Click here for more details.

Open Book:

Tell us about your new book, In Search of the Grand Trunk: Ghost Rail Lines in Ontario.

Ron Brown:

The book follows Ontario’s many abandoned rail lines and tells readers of the many heritage features that yet lie along them… from bridges to railway hotels and best of the old stations.

OB:

What inspired you to write this book about ghost rail lines in Ontario?

RB:

It has been my mission as a writer to encourage people to celebrate and explore the forgotten heritage features which lie right in their own backyards.

OB:

Tell us about your research process for this book. What resources were most useful to you?

RB:

Many railway enthusiasts across Ontario have shared their knowledge online and in local libraries. The best part, of course, is getting out and following the old lines themselves.

OB:

What do you think readers will be most surprised to learn from your book?

RB:

They will be surprised to learn just how extensive our railway network actually was and how much of that history can still be seen.

OB:

How did you get to be such an expert on the geographical and historical trivia of Ontario?

RB:

In a word, “exploring” — just getting out and seeing what is there.

OB:

What can participants expect from the upcoming bus tour you are giving in search of the Grand Trunk?

RB:

They will have a chance to see for themselves the variety of station styles used by the railway lines.

OB:

What advice would you offer to a writer who is interested in publishing a guide book of Ontario?

RB:

See the sights, share the experience and feel the passion of our heritage.

OB:

What are you working on now?

RB:

I am currently researching the railway heritage of the prairie provinces.


Author, geographer and travel writer Ron Brown has long had a love affair with the landscapes of Canada. He has published numerous books on the subject, including In Search of the Grand Trunk: Ghost Rail Lines in Ontario, From Queenston to Kingston: The Hidden Heritage of Lake Ontario's Shoreline, The Lake Erie Shore: Ontario's Forgotten South Coast and Behind Bars, Inside Ontario's Heritage Jails, all published with Dundurn Press.

His travel pieces have been published in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic Magazine and VIA Rail Magazine. His 5000 image stock shot inventory includes views of Ontario's lesser-known landscapes, with a specialization in historic buildings, main streets, railway stations and ghost towns. Ron Brown now lectures on and leads tours to ghost towns and heritage landscapes across Ontario. Visit his website to find out more.

For more information about In Search of the Grand Trunk please visit the Dundurn Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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