Dickens on tour

Dear Charlie,

Remember your trip to Canada? How you gazed in awe at Niagra Falls, and visited Toronto and Montreal? I was so pleased when I read that you’d visited my native land, but I admit that I was a little disappointed that you never made it closer to my hometown of Calgary.

Of course, this would have been impossible, not only because of the vast distances involved, but because there was no city to visit. Fort Calgary wasn’t constructed until 1875, and even then I’m guessing that it wouldn’t have been abundant in amenities for travelers. It’s strange to think that while you were writing about the teeming streets of London, the place I live didn’t even exist.

Ah, home sweet home in the 1870s.

Now, however, my fair city has over a million lovely inhabitants. I think that’s pretty big, but I just read that London in the 1860s had over three million people living in it! Three million!! I suppose to you I’m still living in Hicksville, aren’t I?

Look at you, all dressed up for international adventures.

But I digress.

Through the wonders of the internet, I discovered that your former residence at 48 Doughty Street, now an awesome museum celebrating your life and works, is having an exhibition starting in June called “Dickens on Tour,” and they are soliciting submissions.

What perfect timing! All I had to do was print you out (which I did almost immediately), and take you places. Since I’ve already been trundling you around for the better part of nine months, I’m so excited to be able to document our travels and share them with other enthusiasts of you and your work.

Another week of choir rehearsals brought me downtown this week, so I thought you might like to start your Calgarian tour with some of the city’s more famous landmarks.

I submitted this photo of you on 8th avenue (calling the street ‘historic’ would no doubt seem strange to you, but here we get very excited about anything that’s older than our grandparents). And the Dickens Museum posted it to their Facebook page, which I’m very pleased about. I can’t wait to see where else you visit and what adventures you have.

What better way to start a tour of Calgary than with a stroll down Stephen Avenue?

I’m very excited about this whole project, but I don’t want the exhibition’s organizers to refer to me as ‘that weird woman who keeps sending us photos’ so I’ll post other photos I take here, rather than start spamming your former home.

As well as a downtown street, I thought you might also like to see our iconic Calgary Tower up close (well, you saw this cool horse sculpture up close, but the Tower isn’t far away):

As far as the reading goes, I’ve almost finished a volume of “Reprinted Pieces,” which is mostly articles you wrote for your journal “Household Words.” I’ll chat with you about that soon, but since we’re on the subject of places to visit, I gotta say that you’re the only person I know who would take a trip to Paris and then spend his time visiting the abattoires to compare them to English slaughterhouses.

I won’t be taking you to any slaughterhouses during your visit. Let’s make that clear up front. Prisons aren’t high on my list either.

I wonder what else you’d like to see? Any suggestions?




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