Growing up in the small town of Forest, Ontario, Toronto must have seemed a jungle after graduating from journalism at Carlton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Natural, empathetic and curious are the things that make people stop and open their hearts, homes and lives to Katie.
One story she worked was the challenge to stay inside and underground for two weeks without breathing fresh air or feeling a fresh breeze on her face, all the while connecting with those who travel Toronto's subterranean city. She walked miles every day from one end of the city to the other – all inside. She met a pastor who used to be a pro football player, the barbers who cut the hair of transnational executives, gave directions to lost visitors and helped an elderly woman who came to the city to search for her long lost brother. She became known as Toronto's Pathologist after exploring the PATH system and the other tunnels and subways that make up almost 20 miles of underground Toronto.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, Katie and photographer Richard Lautens set out to walk the Western Front. Along the route she met those who were touched by the sacrifices of tens of thousands who died. Her gentle spirit and insightful story telling took us into people's homes and lives. Each day we read her dispatches and smelled the lush grass, felt the rain and listened as tearful stories were told. Walking hundreds of miles took everyone back to live those days through her experiential journalism.
On here epic journey through Europe to tell the story of the Western Front, Katie remarks, "That was the project that really got me interested in historical reporting. By walking that physical landscape, which is really all the remains from the first world war because everyone is dead. I saw how important it was to interact with history in a modern way by talking with people who are there now and finding decedents and creating links to the past."
KATIE FUN FACT: "I have never grown out of my picky eating!" She says, laughing about her quirks! "I don't like some things on the plate touching other things. I get weird looks everywhere when I order food." Having written about her eating habits, for The Toronto Star, she once again touched the hearts of many. She discovered she was not alone – there is a huge community out there of adult picky eaters! "There is an actual condition, I don't have it". With that she sets of to Subway to get a pizza sub. The man behind the counter was very kind and gave Katie her toppings in separate containers!
|PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN|