Newsletter May 2018

In this issue:
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Theatre Ontario Festival 2018  Theatre Ontario hotel booking

Theatre Ontario Festival single tickets  Theatre Ontario Festival package tickets

WODL Festival 2018 - A Memory

By Charmaine Jacklin, WODL Festival Chair, Charmaine @wodl.on.ca
It seems like a long time ago.

There we were, catching up with our theatre friends at the Imperial Theatre, or in the Hospitality Suite at the Holiday Inn. The time we spent in the Party Room...

Time certainly does not stand still.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Festival; those who worked on it before, during and after the event.

We proudly declared the Festival to be a success. This only happened because you were there as audience member, as presenter, or as volunteer.

Having it all come together and watching people share in the magic of the week definitely made all the time, planning and worry worthwhile. We are so proud of having worked on an event that served as Old Home Week to the seasoned Festival attendee and a Wonderful New Experience for those who never had the pleasure of attending a WODL Festival before.

While I would love to thank each person by name, I would hate to miss one person. Everyone: the Handsome Young Gentlemen who held the doors on Opening Night; the Volunteers who helped prepare the lunches and snacks; those working on Sponsorship; or answering the phones in the Box Office; every person that contributed helped make Festival 2018 the success that it was.

So, not to flog a dead horse, but rather to point to the new foal. I look forward to seeing you all again next year in Guelph--or maybe even in a few weeks as we cheer on our very own Elmira Troupe as they represent us in London for the Theatre Ontario Festival.
Sue Perkins - Michael Spence Award

Sue Perkins has been active in the London and southwestern Ontario community theatre sector for four decades, but her contribution to community theatre in the province began before that in North Bay as an artist and board member with Gateway Theatre Guild and QUONTA (the northeastern Ontario community theatre association), and as one of the organizers of the first Theatre Ontario Annual General Meeting in North Bay.

Sue joined London Community Players (LCP) in 1978. In the subsequent forty years, she has been an actor, director, and stage manager, with dozens of productions to her credit, and honours for her acting at WODL Festivals. Her contributions to LCP include terms on their Board as Secretary and Vice President of Production, a frequent member of their Play Reading Committee, a current member of their Production Committee, and continuous service as Archivist since 1980. LCP has recognized her contributions with a Life Membership.

Sue has served as a co-chair of festivals for both WODL (1994, 2000, and 2011) and Theatre Ontario (1986 and 2010), and served on the Board of Directors for both organizations, including two years as President of WODL, and two years as Chair of Theatre Ontario's Community Theatre Committee. "It is stunning to be at any Festival with her," said April Chappell of London Community Players. "Everyone knows her and she remembers everyone."

"I am honoured indeed to be selected for this award," said Sue. "I have been amply rewarded over the years with the friendship and camaraderie of so many theatre people throughout the province, in addition to having the opportunity to act, stage manage, run lights and direct. What more could I ask! I am privileged to be a part of the theatre community in Ontario, and wish all much success in the years to come."

The Michael Spence Award  honours legendary contributions to community theatre in Ontario, and is named after Michael Spence, the founding President of Theatre Ontario. Michael was active in community theatre at Hart House Theatre, London Little Theatre, and the University Alumnae Dramatic Club (now known as Alumnae Theatre.) He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Dominion Drama Festival, a past President of Arts Etobicoke, and he continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Theatre Ontario.

Past recipients of the Michael Spence Award in the WODL region are Anne Wilson, Vince Mathewson, Val Hadley, Lawrie Bonanno, and Bev Dietrich.
Nominations to the WODL Board

By Tim Dawdy, WODL Nominations Committee Chair, tim@wodl.on.ca
It has come to that time of year again. At our AGM in July, we will be seeking new people to fill some vacant positions on the WODL board.

After many years of service to WODL, both Sue Perkins and Deb Deckert have decided it is time to hang up their hats and enjoy some much-deserved time away.

Consequently, we are looking for people to fill the positions of Secretary and Membership/Development Chair.

If anyone is interested in either of these roles, please feel free to talk to myself or Shirley Bieman (president@wodl.on.ca).

If you would like to take your passion a step beyond WODL, we are also seeking a WODL representative at Theatre Ontario. This position requires attendance at both WODL, and Theatre Ontario (Toronto), Board meetings. If you have any questions, Linda Lloyd-McKenzie (to-liaison@wodl.on.ca) can assist with the details of this position. The Theatre Ontario position needs to be filled PRIOR to the WODL AGM in July.
Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - Wednesday May 16 - On a First Name Basis - Elmira Theatre Company - WODL

On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster

David, a successful and wealthy spy novelist with writer's block, has received some devastating news. Lucy, his dedicated housekeeper of twenty-eight years, has her own secret that she's afraid to admit.

As Lucy is getting ready to end her shift, David invites her to stay and have a drink. He realizes he knows nothing about his maid of twenty-eight years. She, on the other hand, knows absolutely everything about him. He is curious about the woman who's been tending to his house all these years. But as the night sets in and the drinks start to flow, the revelations that reveal themselves are surprising, funny and extremely moving.

Their journey is full of laughter and surprises. This is a love story and a social commentary wrapped up in witty dialogue and vivid imagery.

For more information see the March newsletter.

Elmira Theatre Company

Elmira and Woolwich Theatre Company was founded in 1981 by a small group of local community members eager to bring the theatre experience to their town. In 2002, they changed their name to Elmira Theatre Company and have become well know in local theatre circles for their quality productions, especially comedies.

In the earlier years, the company performed at local community halls until enough funds were raised to build their own theatre space in 2006. Today 109 members help to stage three performances annually, with a unique dinner theatre experience offered in the fall.

Elmira is located in south central Ontario and members come from all over Waterloo Region, the County of Wellington and nearby towns and cities. The theatre is located at 76 Howard Avenue and has a seating capacity of 126. ETC has been an active member of Western Ontario Drama League since 1984.

Over the years they have won numerous awards and have been nominated for many more at WODL festivals. Their proudest moment was winning not only the WODL competition in 1993 but also winning Theatre Ontario with Norm Foster's Opening Night.
Photo: Cathy Read-Wilson
Photo: Cathy Read-Wilson

Photo: Cathy Read-Wilson

Photo: Cathy Read-Wilson

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - Thursday 17 May - Little Gem - Toronto Irish Players - ACT-CO

Little Gem by Elaine Murphy

Toronto Irish Players are proud to bring Little Gem, the debut script from Dublin's Elaine Murphy, to the 2018 Theatre Ontario Showcase. Little Gem debuted at the 2008 Dublin Fringe Festival before winning "Best in Edinburgh" at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009.

Loosely based on stories gleaned from the playwright's time working at a women's health organization, Little Gem tells the story of a year in the lives of three women of three generations in the same family. At times hilarious and at times poignant, Amber, Lorraine and Kay speak in a series of interwoven monologues revealing their lively north Dublin personalities and the cycle of challenges that they face.

Like any other nineteen-year-old, the sassy, impetuous Amber loves to party but is not so big on communication, especially with Mum. Lorraine worries about her daughter's silence, has changed the locks on the doors, and is anxious, very anxious. Salsa lessons seem to help. Grandmother Kay, "on the wrong side of sixty, not dead", is concerned about her family and misses the intimacies which she can no longer share with her stroke-stricken husband. Amber, Lorraine and Kay meet their age appropriate situations with courage, humour, growing family strength and salty language.

The Toronto Irish Players

In 1975 a group of recent Irish immigrants presented a production of William Butler Yeats' one act Kathleen ni Houlihan at the Shannon Pavilion at Toronto International Caravan, with its talkative patrons and their hyperactive kids. The Toronto Irish Players was born.

Lacking in polish but full of energy and love of Irish theatre the early TIPsters presented classics by writers such as Sean O'Casey and John Millington Synge on a poorly equipped high school stage. The repertoire quickly expanded. Theatre festivals like ACT-CO were discovered and enthusiastically supported. No more bare stage, the Alumnae Theatre has now been home for almost 20 years. And somewhere along the way, the polish emerged.

TIP is a small group and still has its core group of Irish immigrants who are now surrounded by multi-generational Irish. Passports are not required and the original enthusiasm and love for the theatrical aspect of Irish culture has been embraced by both non-Irish actors and audience alike.

The late critic, Mira Freidlander, once referred to the Toronto Irish Players as "Toronto's best kept secret". It's probably now safe to say that the secret is out. The group from 1975 would be pleased.
Photo: Sean Walsh
Photo: Sean Walsh

Photo: Sean Walsh
Photo: Sean Walsh

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - Friday 18 May - Tempting Providence - Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble - QUONTA

 Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe

Tempting Providence tells the story of Nurse Myra Bennett. Myra came in the early 1920s to serve as district nurse for out port communities along the west coast of Newfoundland. She was hired for two years. When that was done, she married and stayed. For the next 40 years, she for the most part did the job for free.

The community of Daniel's Harbour  holds Myra in high esteem. The Nurse Myra Bennett Foundation maintains her home as a museum. They continue to raise funds to support young people entering the medical profession and they commissioned this play, written by Robert Chafe.

The play has toured Newfoundland and across Canada. It is performed regularly in nearby Cow's Head as a tourist attraction.

ELATE is proud to honour Myra and nurses like her who contribute so much to our communities.

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE) was formed in the late 1990s. The Uranium mines in Elliot Lake were closing. and to survive, the community was repurposing itself as a Retirement community. A group of young retirees brought new energy to the community. A group of seasoned locals who were just waiting. Since then ELATE has become a group of dedicated to presenting live theatre as a form of recreation and entertainment for the community.

Participation in QUONTA has spurred the company to achieve even greater goals. This is the first time that an ELATE has been honoured to present one of its productions at Theatre Ontario.

ELATE operates in the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre which is maintained by the City of Elliot Lake as a cultural centre. We share a storage/rehearsal space with another group that presents lip synch presentations and a group of printmakers. The centre has a comfortable 300 seat theatre having a 40 foot  stage. It regularly hosts travelling professional musicians and performers.This year is the fourth time it has hosted the QUONTA Festival.
Fran Perkins as Woman
Kim Arnold as Myra
Photo: Kevin McSheffrey
Kim Arnold as Myra
Fran Perkins as Woman
Photo: Kevin McSheffrey

Jim Graham as Angus
Kim Arnold as Myra
Photo: Kevin McSheffrey
Fran Perkins as Woman
David Black as Man
Photo: Kevin McSheffrey

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - Saturday 19 May - Dead Accounts -  Ottawa Little Theatre - EODL

 Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck

When Jack makes a sudden return from Wall Street to his Midwest family home, his sister Lorna demands answers. Is he coming home or running away? What happened to the wife everyone hates? And where did he get all that money?

This dark comedy by one of America's leading contemporary writers (NYPD Blue, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Smash, and Mauritius) tackles the timeless issues of corporate greed, small town values, and whether or not your family will always welcome you back...with no questions asked. 
"Dead Accounts is a play about a family -- and more particularly its unbreakable bonds... In brief, a first-rate production." Jamie Portman, Capital Critics Circle.
"Fine performances from each member of the cast." Iris Winston, Capital Critics Circle.

For a video of selected scenes, click here.

Ottawa Little Theatre
Professional in style, traditional in tone, Ottawa Little Theatre (OLT) has been a vital part of Ottawa's Art Community since 1913, making it the longest running community theatre in Canada. Ottawa Little Theatre is a charitable not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization and is financially dependent upon ticket sales, donations and sponsors for its operation and maintenance. All directors, actors, artists, and technical assistants are volunteers -- all work for the love of the theatre.
Along with a history of the high quality of Ottawa Little Theatre's productions, OLT is also a landmark leader in theatre education. For decades, students of theatre-craft, both young and old, have grown and thrived with the help of OLT's affordable drama camps and workshops.
With a legacy spanning over 100 years, Ottawa Little Theatre has also established itself as a vital part of the City of Ottawa's cultural fabric. Today OLT maintains the tradition of presenting an inspiring and entertaining season of 9 live theatre productions each year.
Venetia Lawless, Phillip Merriman, Jane MorrisType.
 Photo: Maria Vartanova

Josh Sparks, Phillip Merriman.
  Photo: Maria Vartanova

Venetia Lawless, Heather Archibald (standing), Phillip Merriman, Jane Morris.
Photo: Maria Vartanova

Phillip Merriman, Heather Archibald.
Photo: Maria Vartanova

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - London - May 16 to May 20 2018

By Anne Mooney, Chair Theatre Ontario Festival 2018, anne@wodl.on.ca
The annual Theatre Ontario Festival is:

showcase  of outstanding community theatre productions
symposium for passionate, dedicated community theatre artists
celebration of excellence in community theatre

  destination  bringing together theatre lovers from across the province

This year the Festival is hosted by:


Ontario Drama


In beautiful old east London at:

The Palace Theatre, 710 Dundas Street, London, Ontario, N5W 2Z4  directions

May 16 - 20, 2018
Buy Tickets:
You can buy your tickets online at the Palace Theatre website at 

For individual tickets scroll down to  Theatre Ontario Festival 2018.
To buy all four shows scroll down to  Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 Package.

Theatre Ontario Festival Awards Brunch tickets are only available by telephone--not online--so you may find it more convenient to order all your tickets by telephone. The Box Office is open 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Tuesday to Friday. The telephone number is 519-432-1029.

Book the Hotel--Four Points by Sheraton

Advantages of the Festival hotel:
  • Easy access from major highways
  • Parking
    • Lots of free parking
    • Can easily accommodate trucks for the competing groups
  • Shopping and restaurants nearby - many within walking distance
  • Rooms
    • 1 King Bed or 2 Queen Beds
    • $115 per night includes breakfast (full breakfast buffet) for one person
    • Each additional person to a maximum of 4 people in a room pay an additional $10 for breakfast i.e.
      • 2 person: $125
      • 3 person: $135
      • 4 person: $145

Message from our Honourary Festival Chair, Alan Stratton:
What a gift to be part of Theatre Ontario Festival 2018!
All year, hundreds of thousands of people have come together to share their love of theatre, an art form rooted in community and storytelling. Together, local audiences, organizations, designers, tech crews, stage managements, directors, playwrights, and performers have created collective and individual memories to last a lifetime. I was fifteen when I saw Peter Dearing's London Little Theatre productions of Mother Courage and Marat/Sade: half a century later, they remain part of my life, images as vivid as family.
  This week we celebrate some of this season's finest theatre. We present our love's labours to people far from home, and enter worlds created beyond our regional borders. We do it fresh, too, for no matter how well honed, every performance is different, shaped by its audience and the moment. What could be more exciting?
So, here's to us, strangers and friends, brought together by the joy, passion and hard work that is theatre.

Allan Stratton

Workshop Leader - Dan Ebbs
Photo Richard Gilmore
Photo by Richard Gilmore
Dan Ebbs has been experimenting with theatre for over 40 years. Studying at Humber College prepared him for 5 years of underemployment in the Toronto theatre community in the '80s.

So he tried education: Southwestern Ontario, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Banff.

His latest incarnation is fulfilling various contracts for the London Arts Council (teaching, mime/clown, historical tours), teaching writing for Spectrum, or writing and performing one-person shows (usually funded by the LAC).

He's also delving into local history with the Crazy Beautiful People team, creating a multi-disciplined history project about the Home County Music and Arts Festival, deadline: 50th anniversary in 2023.

His dream: to destroy the 4th wall, to make the audience as integral to the action as the actors.

Movement/Voice Workshop:

The 1st hour will focus on body dynamic: utilizing your strengths and finding the character instinctively. Learn to develop a personalized warm-up to address your individual blocks. We'll also tackle some mime.

The 2nd hour will be for voice, defying the idea that actors need body mics. Starting with an insomnia-killing relaxation exercise (wear comfy clothing and bring something soft to lie on), we will learn to achieve stress-free volume via natural body resonance. Then on to enunciation exercises to banish the mumbles.

The body and voice go together. This seems a logical conclusion, but actors need to learn that 'feeling at home in their instrument' is as essential as learning their lines.
Adjudicator - Maja Ardal:
Maja has been working in theatre for forty-seven years. She is a director, playwright, actor, and theatre trainer.

Her musical play,  The Hero of Hunter Street , was produced by 4th Line Theatre in 2016.

She researched and created  One Thing Leads to Another Theatre for Babies , produced by Young People's Theatre, receiving two Dora Awards in 2015. It will tour Ontario in 2018, and she is developing the sequel,  You and I .

Playwright in Person - Lisa Codrington:
Photo: Michael Wiley
Lisa Codrington is a Toronto-based actor and writer. Her writing has been produced in Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Winnipeg and Barbados, and has been published by Playwrights Canada Press, McGraw-Hill Ryerson and in Canadian Theatre Review.

Select writing credits include Up the Garden Path, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God?, The Aftermath, The Colony and Cast Iron, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.

Lisa is a recipient of the Carol Bolt Award for Playwrights and the K.M. Hunter Theatre Award. She has been playwright-in-residence at a number of theatres, including Canadian Stage, Nightwood Theatre, the Blyth Festival and the Shaw Festival.

Playwright-in-Person has been part of Theatre Ontario Festival since 1999. The program brings professional playwrights to Festival communities for script readings, Q&A, and more. 

Playwright-in-Person is made possible by a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada's "Play Connect" program, funded by the Canada Council.


Wednesday May 16

8:00 pm
Palace Theatre - WODL entry - On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster presented by Elmira Theatre Company.

Followed by public adjudication.

Followed by reception in the lobby.

Late night Celebration at the Festival Hotel - Four Points Sheraton.
Thursday May 17
10:00 am
Detailed adjudication by Maya Ardal at the Four Points Sheraton.

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm Workshop by Dan Ebbs - Voice and Movement - at the Four Points Sheraton.

8:00 pm
Palace Theatre - ACT-CO entry - Little Gem by Elaine Murphy presented by Toronto Irish Players.

Followed by public adjudication.

Followed by reception in the lobby.

Late night
Celebration at the Festival Hotel - Four Points Sheraton.
Friday May 18
10:00 am Detailed adjudication by Maya Ardal at the Four Points Sheraton.

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Playwright in Person, Lisa Codrington,  at the Four Points Sheraton.

8:00 pm Palace Theatre - QUONTA entry - Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe presented by Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble.

Followed by public adjudication.

Followed by reception in the lobby.

Late night
Celebration at the Festival Hotel - Four Points Sheraton.
Saturday May 19
10:00 am Detailed adjudication by Maya Ardal at the Four Points Sheraton.

11:30 am (approximately) Theatre Ontario Annual General Meeting.
8:00 pm
Palace Theatre - EODL entry - Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck presented by Ottawa Little Theatre

Followed by public adjudication.

Followed by reception in the lobby.

Late night
Celebration at the Festival Hotel - Four Points Sheraton.
Sunday May 20
9:30 am (note different time from other days) Celebration at the Festival Hotel - Four Points Sheraton.
11: 30 am Doors open for Awards Brunch.
12:00 noon Lunch served.

Followed by awards presentation.

Theatre Ontario AGM - Saturday May 19 at 11:30 am

Please join the members of Theatre Ontario at the Annual General Meeting to be held immediately after the Saturday adjudication.

For more information - click here
News from Around the WODL Region

By Janice Lundy, member WODL Communications Committee, janice@wodl.on.ca 
Before most of us take the summer off, there's lots of shows to see!

closing May 6:     St Marys Community Players  All My Sons
                             Elgin Theatre Guild  Nana's Naughty Knickers
                            Hanover Community Players The Wizard of Oz
closing May 12:  Elmira Theatre Company Twelve Angry Men

2-5:   London Community Players Point of Honour
3-12: Aylmer Community Theatre The Death of Me & My Narrator
3-13: Theatre Tillsonburg Blithe Spirit
4-13: Windsor Light Music Theatre Singin' in the Rain
         Elora Community Theatre Is He Dead?
         London Community Players Bare Bear Bones
10-12: London Community Players The Mysterious Case of the Missing Ring
           Theatre Kent Nooses Off
11-19:  Theatre Sarnia The Producers
18-27: Paris Performers Theatre The Great Gatsby
May 24- June 3: Kincardine Theatre Guild  Blithe Spirit
May 25- June  9:  Guelph Little Theatre   The House of Blue Leaves  
May 31-June 9:   Owen Sound Little Theatre The Rabbit Hole
May 31-June 16:  Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre She Kills Monsters

Please let me know if your group has something special coming up!
Theatre Ontario - Training

By Linda Lloyd-McKenzie, WODL Theatre Ontario Liaison, to-liaison@wodl.on.ca

Theatre Ontario is excited to announce that our Youth Scholarship will be returning for our Summer Theatre Intensive in 2018.

Beginning May 1, Theatre Ontario invites youth across the province to apply for a scholarship to the 2018 Summer Theatre Intensive in Stratford, Ontario. The scholarship is aimed at sending one youth artist to train at one of our Summer Courses FREE OF CHARGE. We will be providing the course, meals, accommodations, Stratford Festival ticket and a travel stipend for one lucky participant between the ages of 16-26.

The Summer Theatre Intensive concept was first tried in 1973 with one directing course offered at Trent University in Peterborough. From those initial 21 participants, the intensive has continued to grow and has helped train thousands of participants in the past 45 years.

Learn more about the Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive Youth Scholarship: click here.

Join Us at our Summer Theatre Intensive 2018

Building on our partnership with Off the Wall, Stratford Artist Alliance, Theatre Ontario is returning to Stratford this summer! Once again expanding the courses to two possible training weeks in the beautiful building at Factory 163, we are thrilled to offer a mix of classic courses and brand new experiences for this year's participants.

For 2018, we are offering the following courses:

WEEK ONE (August 5-10th)
  • Learning to Love Your Monologue with Peggy Coffey
  • Directing - From First Reading to Opening Night with Diana Leblanc
  • Stage Combat with Daniel Levinson
  • Teaching Drama to Children and Youth - Building Your Toolkit with Andrew Lamb
WEEK TWO (August 12-17th)

  • Hot Scenes - Building your Acting Technique with Brenda Kamino
  • Directing with Design in Mind with guests TBA
  • Voice Bootcamp with Elley-Ray Hennessy
  • Creation Lab with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Grant Writing Information session

Pre-recorded Webinar - Tuesday May 8, 2018 (may be accessed at any time on this date).
For more information click here.
Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet

The Canadian Play Outlet has launched it's new site with over 2000 Canadian Plays right at your fingertips. Looking for something specific? Check out the curated Collections.

Every month you can take a look at the newest unpublished and published plays available!
WODL now on Twitter

WODL now has a Twitter account, @WODLtheatre.

If you do not have a twitter account, you can view the WODL tweets by clicking the Twitter button on the main page of the WODL website, or by clicking here.
If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out

The Playwrights Guild of Canada publicises productions of Canadian-written plays through its website, www.playwrightsguild.ca.

PGC also publishes a list of theatre companies that have an all-Canadian season. Click here to obtain a nomination form for this list.

If you want to perform a Canadian play but cannot figure out where to obtain the amateur performance rights, view this presentation from PGC.
ONstage Theatre Listings

Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here.
Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?

Are you on the board of a theatre group that belongs to WODL? If your group has:
  • A new President
  • New WODL delegates
  • A new Treasurer
Please let our membership chair, Sue Perkins, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary

16  to 20 May 2018 Theatre Ontario Festival 2018, London
22 July 2018 WODL AGM, Elmira
This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League | communications@wodl.on.ca | http://www.wodl.on.ca