Whytes bring Manitoulin Island its own ‘colouring therapy’

Ashley and Dylan Whyte pose with Manitoulin’s latest addition to the world of colouring books, their own ‘Manitoulin Island Colouring Book’ featuring scenes from across the Island. photos by Stephanie Burt Hillyard

by Stephanie Burt Hillyard

GORE BAY—With pencil crayons in hand, Islanders and Island-lovers now have their own piece of Manitoulin to personalize. It’s been close to 14 years in the making, but the Whytes (Jack, Dylan and Ashley) are pleased to finally see their hard work come together.

“It got put on the backburner as we worked on other projects,” Ashley Whyte stated about their brand-new colouring book featuring scenes from across Manitoulin Island. Last August and September the Whytes started getting really serious about the colouring book, taking to social media and showing people their proof/mock-up. The response was overwhelmingly positive, especially since colouring books and ‘colouring therapy’ are right on trend. “As a side project Dylan started working on images his dad had drawn. It was a big cleaning up process.” She explained that it was a little like developing a photograph—everything just needed a little fine-tuning.

Using Photoshop lines were cleaned up, text was written and overlaid and each page was sized and formatted for print. This isn’t the first book the Whytes have published. Just recently they published Jack’s scrapbook, a collection of Jack’s work that weighs nearly two-and-a-half pounds, working with O.J. Graphixs in Espanola as their printer.

“Jack’s idea was exactly as it is—a promo. The images really speak for themselves,” she goes on to explain. Anyone familiar with the Island will easily recognize the various landmarks in the book, both old and new.

“Manitoulin’s past is quickly disappearing with all the buildings being replaced and repaired. We’re helping bring back the past. We’re preserving a little bit of history.” Mr. Whyte’s original drawings feature landmarks of today like the Chi-Cheemaun, but also ones that maybe aren’t as recognizable like the Havelock Hotel in Kagawong. While the building still stands today, Mr. Whyte has preserved it as it was years ago.

Colouring books are $10 each and can be found all across the Island in the following locations: Stepping Stones Toy Store and Robertson’s IDA in Gore Bay, Turners and The Outpost in Little Current, Batman’s Cottages and Camground, Green Acres and Ten-Mile Point in Sheguiandah, South Bay Gallery in South Baymouth and the Boatique on the Chi-Cheemaun. Books can also be ordered online from whytesonline.com.

In addition to the many stores carrying the book, 35 businesses also helped personally support the book. Their names and information can be found throughout the book in black and white. “It’s another way for people to interact with the businesses,” Ms. Whyte said about the sponsor pages being left for people to colour in. “Huge thanks go to the businesses, we’re really encouraging visitors to stop by and support the businesses that supported us.” People are also encouraged to post their coloured masterpieces to social media using the hashtag #micb (Manitoulin Island Colouring Book). The book is geared to all ages, with extra activities for the kids and a bit of nostalgia for the adults. “We’re really hoping to draw people to the Island and send them home with an Island memento,” said Ms. Whyte.