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Beautiful Joe & Superdogs (Posted On: Tuesday, September 11, 2007)

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The Beautiful Joe Heritage Society invites you to join them as they we celebrate Beautiful Joe’s Autumn Adventure on Saturday, September 15th from 10 until 3 at Beautiful Joe Park in Meaford. This will be an exciting fun filled day for the entire family including your pets. The day will begin with a Treasure Hunt, a Colouring Contest and a Toonie Draw with lots of prizes to give out. At 11:30 and 2:00 you will see the world famous SuperDogs put on two entertaining shows with Herb Williams and his trainers.

SuperDogs have just completed shows at the CNE and PNE. Then join us for the Commemorative Plaque Ceremony and the Blessing of the Animals at 12:30. In between events take time to shop at one of our booths offering pet related items, dog tags, wellness items, photos, paintings and pet related services. The day in the park is free for all. There is a nominal entry fee of a toonie to enter the contests.

The Story Teller - Margaret Marshall Saunders

Margaret Saunders was born in Nova Scotia on May 13th, 1861 and was a direct descendent of one of the ministers who arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower. Her father was a Baptist minister in the small village of Milton, Queen's County, Nova Scotia. Margaret received her education in boarding schools located in Scotland and France. She co-founded the Maritime Branch of the Canadian Women's Press Club with Lucy Maude Montgomery.

In 1892 while she was visiting her brother in Meaford, Ontario she heard the story of a dog that was rescued by Walter Moore the father of her sister in law, Louise Moore. This inspired her to write the story of Beautiful Joe, a fictionalized autobiography of a Meaford area dog rescued from a brutal owner who had chopped off his ears and tail. In her book the Moore family became the Morris family. Because women authors were not popular at the time she disguised her sex, using her middle name Marshall. Margaret also relocated the story to a small town in Maine and changed the family's name to Morris to win a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. The book was first published in 1893 and quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. By 1900, over 800,000 copies sold in the U.S., 40,000 in Canada and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. And by the 1930's world wide sales were over 7 million copies.

Beautiful Joe was chosen as one of the 10 best children's books in Canada, and for more than a century Margaret Marshal has been one of Canada's best known writers of children's stories. In fact the book has been distributed to children in many cities throughout North America with the hope that children will show the same compassion towards one another as they would towards animals. The book was also the first Canadian novel to be published in the universal language of Esperanto and later translated into 14 languages which include: French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Beautiful Joe's story has been part of the curriculum at notable Canadian universities such as Toronto, Guelph and Simon Fraser.

Margaret championed the rights of women and animals for many years and spoke out on social problems while preaching kindness to animals. In 1914 while in her 50's she moved to Toronto at 66 St George Street and later moved in with her younger sister at 62 Glengowan Avenue. Margaret's house was always filled with pets including, at one time, 28 canaries. She liked to name her pets after the locations where they had been found. One pigeon was named 38 Front Street and a dog named Johnny Doorstep. In 1934, on Margaret's 73rd birthday, she was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died at home on February 15th, 1947 at the age of 85 and rests in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The biography of Margaret Saunders, "M. M. Saunders: A Voice for the Silent", was written by Dr. Gwen Davies, Head of English at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

For more information about Beautiful Joe and The Beautiful Joe Heritage Society please visit their website at www.beautifuljoe.org

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