North Bay, Ontario – For more than 25 years newspaper readers in 23 countries around the world have related to, and enjoyed the family humor of the ‘For Better or For Worse‘ comic strip. Most readers don’t realize that it originated from the small community of Corbeil near North Bay, about 3 1/2 hours northwest of Toronto.
Creator, writer and artist Lynn Johnston, attended the Vancouver School of Art, and then worked as an illustrator in Hamilton at McMaster University’s medical school. While she was pregnant she illustrated the ceiling of her doctor’s office with cartoons for the amusement of fellow patients, and that lead to her book ‘David, We’re Pregnant’ and launched her career. Lynn, who originally based the strip on her family, has a daughter Kate who was the inspiration for the character ‘Liz’. Kate attended North Bay’s Nipissing University and a copy of the strip that illustrated ‘Liz’s’ graduation was given to every member of Kate’s graduating class. You can see it and other examples of Lynn’s work on display at the University. Her work also appears among the art on the popular North Bay Heritage Carousel at the waterfront. Lynn has incorporated North Bay and many surrounding communities and real personalities in the strip. She retired in 2010 and the strip has gone to reprints of earlier editions.
On her website Johnston writes that sometimes her international audience have been baffled by references that didn’t make sense to people outside of Canada, so she includes this list of: ‘Canadianisums‘
North Bay, which is on the Trans Canada Hwy, sits on the eastern shore of big Lake Nipissing, one of Northern Ontario’s largest lakes. You can explore the lake on the 320-passenger ‘Chief Comanda II’, which offers regular day-time and evening summer cruises. You can visit the Dionee Quituplets Museum (more than 3 million people came to visit the quints themselves during the Great Depression), and at Discovery North Bay in North Bay’s historic CPR Station you can learn about local heritage. North Bay can be reached by road, rail and air. Want to see the fall colours? Ontario Northland often offers a ‘fall colour’ train trip from North Bay called the Dream Catcher Express, which travels the 100 km to Temagami and returns the same day.
Heritage Railway & Carousel Company, Memorial Dr North Bay Nipissing District, Ontario