The author wears ermine from 1928 at the book signing for Kathleen's Cariole Ride.

Author Margaret Kell Virany tries on a scary ermine hat and scarf for her  reading from Kathleen’s Cariole Ride on Oct. 31. The set was left to her in her mother’s keepsake box and inspired her to write the story.

Dress up in your tuque and moccasins – no matter how remote you are – to enjoy a romantic book signing at Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa, from 1-3 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 31. 

  • You will learn how the heroine of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, a classic Canadian tale, dressed up in 1929 when she went on a five-day toboggan trek. The temperature was -30º and they even had to sleep outside. She was going to the nearest hospital, in Norway House MB, to have a baby. That was in the days before we had nylon parkas and sleeping bags with zippers, and plastic snow boots.
  • Kathleen was from England but had married a Canadian sailor, Jack, who became a missionary.They were living on an Aboriginal reservation up north in Oxford House, MB. For her, deciding what to wear was like finding a costume for a special occasion, such as Hallowe’en, only more scary. They could run into wild animals or a blizzard along the way.
  • Author Margaret Kell Virany will read snatches of the adventures in the book and explain what was going on behind the pictures. She will dress up in an ermine tuque and scarf which belonged to the real Kathleen, and show her mother’s embroidered Cree princess slippers.
  • When Kathleen arrived at Oxford House, she wanted to send her mother Elizabeth a present to thank her for giving them such a nice wedding in England. The only store on the reservation was a Hudson’s Bay trading post. It sold basic supplies like food and blankets, and furs and skins brought in by the trappers and hunters.
  • This day the most beautiful thing Kathleen could buy was thirteen ermine pelts. They would be very special for her mother because in England ermine was used as a lining for the robes of the King and Queen. The Chiefs of the Cree people on various reservations had head-dresses decorated with them that they wore when dressed up for special ceremonies.
  • When her mother opened the parcel, she was so surprised she returned them to Kathleen. Elizabeth did not think an ordinary English person like herself would ever wear such things. 
  • Kathleen asked a seamstress to sew them into a tuque with matching scarf after the cariole ride was over. She wore the set during the cold winters at Cochrane, ON when she and Jack lived there, eleven years after leaving the reservation. Virany found it in her mother’s keepsake box twenty years later.
  • To see the line-up of great books at Books on Beechwood this Fall. Click on
  • To buy a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride online, click here for or here for

Happy Reading and Writing from CozyBookBasics!