Free Family Fun and Literary Delights coming to Royal Botanical Gardens this September!


This September 16th and 17th, families are invited to join the Telling Tales Festival as it marks 15 years of celebrating stories with two days of free family fun. Discover a world of stories in the beautiful natural setting of Hendrie Park, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG).

Co-hosted by Hamilton Public Library, Rotary Clubs of Hamilton and Burlington, RBG, Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Garden, and with Exclusive Financial Institution Sponsorship by TD Bank Group (TD), the Festival features over 30 national and local children’s authors, illustrators, and storytellers in addition to activities and experiences that are sure to engage and delight.

“The theme of this year’s Festival–Stories Help Us Grow–both describes our hope for the community we serve as well as Telling Tales’ commitment to self-reflection and reimagining,” shares Executive Director, Heather Kanabe. “This year we welcome the chance to look inward as we shape Festival programming to continue to inspire a love of reading and improve literacy and outward as we develop new partnerships that reflect the community we live in. We hope that you join us in an exploration of how storytelling unites us all and helps us grow.”

This year’s Festival is the place to check out September’s great Children’s Literature releases, with headliners traveling in from across the country.  From Winnipeg, David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and Governor General’s Literary Award winner presenting the latest title in his middle-grade Misewa Saga, The Stone Child. Telling Tales is excited to welcome Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan from Victoria, making her Children’s Literature debut at the Festival with her picture book, Garden of Lost Socks. Fans of the Stella and Sam series will be thrilled that Montreal-based Marie-Louise Gay will be returning to the Festival this year with her latest book, Hopscotch.

At Telling Tales there is something for everyone, from toddlers to teens! The Festival features five stages that will include presentations from Ambreen Butt-Hussain, Ainara Alleyne, Andrea Curtis, Andrew Larsen, Anoosha Syed, Brittany Luby, Charlene Chua, Christopher Steininger, Erin Bow, Goodbodyfeel, Hamilton Children’s Choir, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Josh Taylor, Keltie Thomas, Kenneth Oppel, Kevin Sylvester, Linh Nguyen, My Friend Christopher, Nathan Muir, Hexe Noire, Nadia L. Hohn, Richard Scrimger, S.K. Ali, Sarah Raughley, Vikki VanSickle, Yolanda T. Marshall, and the Instrument Petting Zoo (Hamilton Music Collective). 

“At TD, we recognize that reading has the power to spark children’s curiosity and imagination. It empowers them to make informed choices and imagine a better future, while equipping them with strong foundations and the confidence to make that future a reality,” says Jayme Martin, District Vice President for Greater Hamilton at TD Canada Trust.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Our Global Garden Activity Centre features interactive activities, puppet shows, and more presented by partners including: The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Burlington Public Library, Dundas Valley School of Art (DVSA), EarlyON and Family Centres, Hamilton Public Library, and Imagine in the Park. Festival goers can look forward to roaming literary characters from Burlington Student Theatre Company, the Giant Book Swap, and Shop presented by Hamilton Literacy Council, a StoryWalk® of Pigs Can’t Fly in memory of the late Wallace Edwards co-presented by Scholastic Canada, and of course, spending time exploring the beauty of the Royal Botanical Gardens with guided tours of the Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Garden. 

Visit to view the full program lineup. Registration is open online now.

Visit the Telling Tales Reading List and get a head start on your Festival reading.

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