Neighbourhood anthology will ‘tell the real stories of Newton’

The Friends of the Grove group is collecting stories for a book that aims to show what it means to live, work and play in Newton.

Ellen Niemer is editor of a community project called “We Are Newton!”

NEWTON — The Friends of the Grove group is collecting stories for a “neighbourhood anthology,” a book that aims to show what it means to live, work and play in Newton.

“I think the anthology is a wonderful way to collect positive stories about Newton that can be shared with the entire community,” said project editor Ellen Niemer. “Stories about the neighbourhood, the people, maybe a bit about Newton’s history.”

The book will be called “We Are Newton!” and will be the first to go in a free library set to be built in The Grove in the fall.

Once complete, the anthology will be free for people to borrow and read.

The group is asking the public to contribute stories and poems or other writings. The Espresso Cafe in Newton (7330 137 St.) will be offering a free coffee in exchange for submissions.

Entries are already trickling in, Niemer said, but the deadline to submit isn’t until Oct. 2. That’s because they want school kids to get involved, too, she added.

“We thought, stories of all ages – just kind of round out the experience.”

Niemer looks forward to the completion of not just the anthology, but the free library as well.

“It’s all about sharing and there’s not a lot of things that operate on that feeling of trust like that,” she said.

Diana Joy, a writer based in Newton, reflected on why the project is important to her.

“When you see the television news the only stories you hear about Newton are the shootings and murders,” said Joy. “There are other stories, lots of them. Stories of families and neighbours and kindness and surprises.

“Come on writers,” Joy urged, “tell us the real stories of Newton.”

Participants are invited to submit one piece in any genre up to 2,000 words, or up to three pieces in any genre up to a maximum of 500 words each.

Visit for more information or send submissions to

Anyone unable to submit electronically may contact Niemer at 604-652-8279.

There will be a launch party once the book is finalized, set for Nov. 20 at the Old Surrey Restaurant.

Friends of the Grove formed about two years ago after a handful of locals aimed to reclaim “The Grove,” adjacent to the Newton bus loop.

The forested area is located just steps away from where Julie Paskall, a Surrey hockey mom, was killed.

Community advocate David Dalley said the initiative was about “taking a space that may be neglected or may be undervalued for its physical beauty or maybe it’s just avoided because it’s a place where dangerous things happen and sort of reclaiming that as public space in a creative and positive way.”



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