COLUMN: Krista Storey has another nature story to tell

‘My goal is to share my photography and my love of nature while sharing important lessons about being kind and respectful of our little friends in the garden,’ says author

Well folks, since Santa has already made several appearances in and around Orillia, I guess it’s official: Christmas is on the way! So, this column will start laying out your holiday entertainment, briefly, so you can plan ahead!

First though, in the spirit of local gift buying, Krista Storey has just released her second book, Come to the Garden with Me and Bee. Her first book, A Butterfly Named Braveheart was released a year ago. Both books would be a great holiday gift for the young kiddos in your life.

I sat down with Storey for a brief chat about her books.

OM: Can you give us a bit of background on yourself?

KS: Sure! I have lived in the Orillia area for almost 30 years. I have always been a very active community volunteer, won the 2003 Nelle Carter Woman of the Year, and was a Bill Swinimer Business Leader of the Year nominee, among other accolades, but I never dreamed I would become an author! Coming from a creative background, I spent the past 16 years working in arts and culture management, including five years at being at the helm of the Orillia Opera House.

OM: How did you come up with the story of A Butterfly Named Braveheart?

KS: It is a true story about a butterfly I found in my backyard. It couldn’t fly so I took it indoors and cared for it … or rather, as I believe, it cared for me. It was during the pandemic lockdown and as everyone knows, it was a dark time and this little creature brought a great deal of light in the darkness, not just to my life but for all those who were following the story.

After a remarkable 83 days, I announced my little friend’s passing, and the outpouring of messages was immensely overwhelming! ‘You should write a book about Braveheart,’ they said. And so, I did. After the Toronto Star got wind of this heartwarming pandemic tale, they printed an almost full-page story about Braveheart and me. That set Braveheart and I on a journey we would never have dreamed of. It went viral as they say, and although Braveheart the butterfly couldn’t fly, his book continues to travel around the globe.

OM: And now, a new book? Tell us about it.

KS: The story of Braveheart included my photography and has a combination of important lessons about nature and nurture. My readers loved this story and wanted more! So here it is, a year later and my second book, Come to the Garden with Me and Bee is published and available for sale.

This is a different style of book. it’s a rhyming book and geared to a young reader’s audience. Once again using my own photography, Me and Bee is also filled with important lessons about our friends in the garden.

My goal is to share my photography and my love of nature while sharing important lessons about being kind and respectful of our little friends in the garden. Will there be a third book? I’m not sure about that. I guess we’ll have to see what other creatures come my way wanting their story to be told.

Both of Storey’s books can be purchased directly from Storey through her website at or at Manticore Books in Downtown Orillia.

And now, a quick holiday event rundown…if I miss anything, it’s bound to happen, but shoot me an email and I will add it in, in future columns. Here we go:

Light Shows: As far as I know, there are three local light shows:

Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce Mystical Lights, at the Oro Fairground, starting on Dec. 2 and running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening until Dec. 16. Then, the event runs every evening from Dec. 16 to Dec. 23rd, and again from Dec. 26 until New Year’s Eve. Tickets are $15 per car and you can get them here.

Hewitt’s Fun Farm Festival of Lights is back for its third season, running weekends from Dec. 3 to Dec. 24, and finally on Dec. 27 and 28. Tickets are $18.39 per car, and you can get them here.

And a new one on the scene, Springwater Park’s Magic of Lights has already started and runs until Jan 1. This one is in partnership with Magic of Lights in Ohio, and is going to be quite the sight. You can grab your tickets here.

Christmas concerts we have, aplenty! Here is a brief list, will dive into them more as they come up and also add more if need be.

The Orillia Concert Band is doing two holiday concerts, Dec. 3. The first one is geared more to families with young children, is one hour long, features the Orillia Community Children’s Choir, and starts at 3:30 pm

The second one is called Christmas Prelude, for all ages, features the Orillia Vocal Ensemble and starts at 7:30 pm Both are at St Paul’s Centre. Tickets for both can be purchased at the door, or through the Orillia Opera House here

The Orillia Community Children’s Choir is performing its own holiday concert on Dec. 4 at 6:30 pm at St Paul’s Centre. Tickets are at the door.

So on Dec. 4 but at 2:30 pm, Brassworks and the 4th Street Jazz Project present Christmas Time Is Here, a concert in support of the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal for families in need. The show is at the Salvation Army Citadel and also features Christina Bosco and the Twin Lakes and Orillia Secondary School choirs. Admission is by donation at the door.

Brighter Days, A Night of Ho Ho Hope is happening at the Orillia Legion on Dec. 10 at 7 pm Co-hosts Ralston Harris and Ian McRae present an evening of music, comedy, and inspiration, with all proceeds going to The Sharing Place. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased via e-transfer to [email protected] Limited tickets available.

On Dec 11 at 4 pm The Cellar Singers present Vivaldi’s Gloria and other holiday music, at St James Anglican Church. You can grab your tickets at

Orillia Silver Band Sleighbells and Brass Christmas Concert is on Dec. 18 at 2 pm at the Orillia Opera House and features Cornet Soloist Tom Hutchinson, Principal Solo Cornet with the Cory Band in Wales. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students/children and are available from the Orillia Opera House Box Office,

Finally, for now, a different kind of holiday event. A Reading of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Dec. 16 at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Centre, and a fundraiser for and presented by Green Haven and Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie. This will be cool; Mayor Don McIsaac is one of the readers, and it’s for two great organizations. For tickets, or in person at Eclectic Café, Remax Orillia, or Studio Eleven Orillia.

I’m more than out of space! Don’t forget the Holiday Indoor Art Walk, this Saturday from 12 noon to 5 pm in the Peter Street Arts District. AND, the Holiday Artisan Market at Creative Nomad Studios, this Friday from 5 am to 9 pm, and this Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm Admission free, come and buy local.

Have a great week and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included.