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The campaign to save the house seeks to create a well-maintained retreat for writers for eight months of the year. The property must be purchased and the buildings restored to meet code and contemporary needs, after which heritage status can be appointed by local and provincial agencies. According to the organizers, if every Canadian donated just three cents, the dream could become a reality. “Small donations from a number of people do make a difference,” says Eurithe. That said, a handful of major donors would enable the residency to open that much sooner. If 18,000 avid Canadian readers donated $50 each (the minimum for a tax receipt), success could also be achieved. Whether or not apathy defines our culture yet again remains to be seen.
To increase awareness and raise additional funds, Harbour Publishing has produced The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology. Proceeds from sales of this informative and beautifully produced book, edited by poet Paul Vermeersch, go directly to the campaign. It includes passionate essays by Michael Ondaatje, Dennis Lee and Steven Heighton, among many others, interspersed with Al Purdy’s own recollections of and poems about life in Ameliasburgh.