The 35th annual Montreal Book Fair was an exciting event held over six days in November. Baha’is participated in this important Quebec cultural festival, as they have almost every year since its inception. The 2012 Montreal Book Fair, the largest international book fair in North America, received 118,500 visitors. A number of them visited the Baha’i booth, one of some 950 book displays.
Amir Khadir, a member of the provincial parliament, stopped at the Baha’i book stand with his family. He examined a few Baha’i-authored books with obvious interest and asked about the situation of the Baha’i community in Iran.
“The Peace Tree takes root in our neighbourhoods” was the theme of the Baha’i booth. This sparked keen interest among students and young people who visited the fair over the course of three days as part of an initiative organized by their schools. They were invited to write “messages of peace” and attach them to a gigantic poster of the Peace Tree. One hundred seventeen youth accepted the invitation.
The Baha’i booth also showcased the community-building activities organized by the Montreal Baha’i Community. One parent became interested in a program that develops the moral, spiritual and intellectual capacities of young people.
The fair presented books by some 1600 authors, including La porte du côté de l’Orient (The Door at the Side of the Orient), a historical novel by Dominique Marchal, a member of the Gatineau Baha’i Community. The Baha’i booth also prominently featured the French version of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Canada, a publication prepared for the centennial of the visit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha — one of the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith — to Montreal in 1912.
The Baha’i booth enjoyed record sales of books this year, and hundreds of people took bookmarks and free pamphlets on the Baha’i Faith.
The booth was small compared to those of the large publishers at the fair, but it was recognized by the organizers as one of the most visually appealing.