Allegra Young is a renaissance woman. By day (and sometimes night), she runs the all-Canadian classical recording label, Centrediscs. In her hours outside work, she fosters other passions, and shares them on her blog, A Young Voice, where the menu reads: cook, craft, read, run. She's even part of a book club that meets at a pub to drink beer, knit and discuss literature. How's that for a ladies' sewing circle? In 2013, she and fellow book-blogger Amanda Leduc created a calendar of nearly nude authors in support of PEN Canada. Now you know her, you might want Allegra as your new BFF. We can't offer that, but today, she is asking you to join her as a Page Turner -- with a prize that brings together two of her Canadian cultural passions. 

"Are you a PageTurner?"

When I first saw this question last year from Project Bookmark Canada, I was instantly interested. It was partially due to the charming photo of Joseph Boyden and A Tribe Called Red (okay, it had a lot to do with that), but when I clicked through and read more about Project Bookmark Canada’s fundraising campaign, I knew I wanted to be a PageTurner as well.

In my day job, I run Centrediscs, the all-Canadian classical recording label of the Canadian Music Centre. The Canadian Music Centre promotes the music of its over 800 Canadian classical composers through its lending libraries, published scores and recording label, Centrediscs. The CMC has 5 regional offices across Canada with community spaces that hold concerts, workshops, score reading sessions and more. In the past year, Centrediscs has collected a JUNO Award, a Western Canadian Music Award, and two East Coast Music Awards. Learn more at www.musiccentre.ca. It’s amazing to see and support so much talent in Canadian music.

I’m also a fan of Canadian stories. Last year, I set a goal to read 50 books, and over half of them were Canadian. I turned pages and pages of Anne Marie MacDonald (As the Crow Flies), Saleema Nawaz (Bone and Bread), Iain Reid (The Truth About Luck), Richard Wagamese (Indian Horse) and so many more. I went from a rural army base to smelling fresh baked Montreal bagels. I was in a chicken coop in the Kingston area, then to a bitterly cold, bright early morning on a homemade ice rink in British Columbia.

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” I’ve always loved that quote because of so many lazy days around the house when I wanted to be off adventuring somewhere else. We always dream that we can meet the characters from our favourite novels; we wish we could go to Hogwarts; to Narnia. When I started reading more and more novels by Canadians that took place in Canada, I realized that it was possible to go to Canoe Lake, where Tom Thomson spent his final summer (Roy MacGregor, Canoe Lake). To visit St. John’s and climb to the top of Signal Hill in St. John’s and have a picnic (Wayne Johnston, Son of a Certain Woman). To taste your own, piping hot sesame bagel from St. Viateur.

The work that Project Bookmark Canada carries out for all the passionate readers out there is vital. It brings our favourite characters to life. It shares our most loved stories with others. It brings well-deserved attention and support to our favourite authors.

Join me and become a Page Turner today and show your support of Project Bookmark Canada, Canadian novels and the magic of reading. All those who donate $20 today will be entered to win a stack of the best-selling releases from the past year on Centrediscs, so you can read and listen to the best of what Canada has to offer.

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