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Former Olympic rower explores power of imagination in second kids' book

Canadian Olympic rower Douglas Vandor's interest in writing for children began when he was training on Elk Lake from 2001 to 2013.

I Hate Bouillabaisse!

by D.J. Vandor; Tellwell Talent

Douglas Vandor, one of the numerous Olympic rowers who have trained on Elk Lake, has penned his second children’s book.

I Hate Bouillabaisse! follows 2021’s Salmon on Toast and will be available beginning March 13.

Vandor represented Canada in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. His interest in writing for children began when he was training on Elk Lake from 2001 to 2013.

“It helped me escape from the hard work on Elk Lake. They were just silly little stories that rhymed but I got lost in the words,” he says. “I find the creative process very satisfying.”

The interest was further stoked with the arrival of his children, Sophie, now eight, and Sammy, now six. Salmon on Toast was about perseverance and “never giving up in your quest of the gold medal,” channelling into a plotline about Pug the Slug’s quest to open a can of salmon after losing his opener.

I Hate Bouillabaisse!, with the protagonist Sophie named after Vandor’s daughter, is about a girl whose imagination scares her before she learns how to harness it more positively.

“She learns that imagination is her friend,” said Vandor, by phone from Vancouver, where he now resides.

“And how imagination can lead to a creative and exciting life.”

Vandor said everything he writes is informed by his rowing career on the Island, where the converted speed-skater from Quebec became an oarsman late by international standards at age 22, and yet still became a two-time Olympian.

“It’s all about the journey,” said Vandor, 48.

Now that journey has jumped from the water to the page.