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February 10, 2003
One of Canada's best-known storytellers weaves a telling tale on February 16
Culture - As part of the 25th Annual Toronto Festival of Storytelling, the
City's Culture division has commissioned eight storytellers to develop stories
based on Toronto's history. Helen Carmichael Porter will be captivating
audiences at Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre on Sunday,
February 16 at 2 p.m.

The afternoon storytelling session - "Two Strong Women of Helliwell House" -
features Elizabeth Bright, the beloved wife of brewer and miller William
Helliwell and Sarah Lord, his powerful mother and business partner. Using
archives, artifacts and oral history, Porter brings these two women's stories
to life, focusing on the tension between the two women sharing a man's house.
Porter creates an authentic voice for a pioneer woman who wouldn't have had an
outlet for her true feelings.

Helen Porter's appreciation for the art of storytelling began when she was a
child growing up in the Ottawa Valley and Peterborough County. Since then, she
has performed at the National Arts Centre, Hummingbird Centre, Roy Thomson
Hall, as well as hundreds of schools and churches. She has also appeared on
national radio, television and film. Porter was the founder and artistic
director of the National Storytelling Theatre. She has a wide repertoire of
personal, literary, historical, folk and fairy tales and leads workshops on
writing and storytelling across the country. Porter teaches in the Creative
Writing Program at the University of Toronto.

Situated in the scenic Don River Valley, Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and
Arts Centre is a multidisciplinary cultural complex with a unique industrial,
historical and natural heritage. It offers a range of programs that promote
learning about the arts, the natural environment and industrial history. The
facility includes the Helliwell House, the Brewery Gallery, the Paper Mill
Gallery and Theatre and the relocated Don train station.

For a listing of storytellers appearing at the historic museums during Listen
Up! The 25th Annual Toronto Festival of Storytelling on the weekend of February
15 and 16, call the Museum and Heritage Services Event Hotline at 416-338-3888
or visit For complete festival information visit

Media Contact
Heritage Services Event Hotline



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