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An intimate book launch in Toronto toasts this country's forward thinkers

Richard Stursburg, Rita Field-Marsham, Kim Bozak and Alexandra Weston.George Pimentel

"Glorious and free" is a phrase Canadians know all too well. But for Kim Bozak and Rita Field-Marsham, it served as inspiration for a 360-page book that celebrates those Canucks who embody freedom and expression.

The release of Glorious & Free: The Canadians, published by House of Anansi Press, was celebrated by 150 guests on June 26 at a party hosted by Alexandra Weston at the Toronto flagship store of Holt Renfrew, where she's director of brand and creative strategy. Weston, Field-Marsham and Bozak all had a chance to speak, the latter noting that this book is "truly in the Canadian spirit" adding, "When you look around you see this amazing talent we have, and the opportunity in this country to truly be whoever we dream ourselves to be regardless of religion, ethnicity, region, gender and occupation in Canada." Field-Marsham, in her speech, mentioned a handful of the notable Canadian dreamers included in the book were in attendance at the launch, and noted that the lives of the 33 included in the book are "very relevant and represent millions of Canadians."

I think books of this nature act as little time capsules of a time and a place. This latest reminded me of the book published in 1995 by Hilary Weston and Nicole Eaton, with photographs by Joy von Tiedemann, called At Home In Canada. In it, there are images of Canadian families, both prominent and less so, at home in their elements; among the notables included were artist Alex Colville, writer Mordecai Richler and then Governor-General Ray Hnatyshyn. Glorious & Free is a timely snapshot, a sort of voyeuristic look into the lives and spaces of some forward-thinkers working in Canada today, including Fogo Island Inn founder Zita Cobb (the island's handicrafts and inn-specific products are the focus of this year's H Project shop-in-shop at Holts), photographer Edward Burtynsky, choreographer and dancer Crystal Pite and swimmer Aurelié Rivard.

Among those out at the summer-time to-do: Glorious & Free subjects, including entrepreneur Bruno Guévremont, fashion editor Mosha Lundström Halbert, DJ Matthew Romeo, director Cazhhmere Blanche and architect Alex Josephson. Also out were dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki; photographer Scott McFarland and Cléophée Eaton; the husbands of Glorious & Free's authors, Phil Deck and Charles Field-Marsham; Tennis Canada CMO Muriel Solomon; philanthropist Nancy Lockhart; and Richard Stursberg, president of PEN Canada, an organization that works to fight censorship and to free persecuted writers from prison. The organization will receive $10 from each copy of the book sold at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada.

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