Come gather around boys and girls. I want to tell you a story all about two wonderful women and the land they created. It’s a story filled with dreams, fun, fantasy, adventure, and whimsy. This is the story of Queen Wendy LaPierre and her daughter, Princess Marissa, who braved the elements, crossed moats, and slayed dragons to create the wonderful and exciting business world of the Cotton Tale Café + Play. Okay, well maybe they didn’t slay dragons or cross moats but it took guts, gusto, and elbow grease. And for a Queen and a Princess, that’s a huge task.
Our story begins in a Valley (like most fairy tales), and in this Valley there lived Queen Wendy. Queen Wendy has been a music teacher, children’s performer, choir director, and self-taught businessperson for as long as time has been around. Music, theatre, and performance arts have always been a huge part of Queen Wendy’s life and she has promoted these to her children, grandchildren, and those under her Queenly reign. There is nothing wicked about this magical grandmother, either, as she is a hands-on “Oma” to her six grandchildren. Queen Wendy refers to her grandkids as her “pure joy”.
Princess Marissa was born into Wendy’s kingdom and for as long as she can remember her fairy tale/wish-upon-a-star dream was to open a child- and baby-friendly café. After Marissa’s first child was born, the dream slowly became a reality. The dream fit in well with her Fine Arts Degree, her gift of hospitality, and her love of community. And with the Queen’s help, as well as the moms and kids in her large network of friends and family, the magical world of the Cotton Tale Café + Play blossomed.
The Cotton Tale Café + Play is situated in the delightful village of New Minas. Over the hills, past the thicket, and deep in the commercial hub of the Valley sits this delightful and enchanting den of fun, frenzy, coffee, and coolness. I encourage you all to venture to 9185 Commercial Street, New Minas (by Happy Harry’s and McDonald’s) to play, drink, laugh, and be merry at the Cotton Tale. Imagine a world of coffee, sweets, costumes, books, toys, and treats and this will soon manifest into a small scribble of what the Cotton Tale has to offers its clients.
As Princess Marissa stated, during our Royal interview, “It is so wonderful to see the faces of the children and their parents and grandparents when they first see our play space. From the beautiful and practical Cedar Works climbing area, to our quality wooden toys and books, and the enclosed baby area, our patrons (young and old) are always mesmerized at how the space is used and how well it works. The magical world of the Cotton Tale also has programs such as drop-in-yoga-for-kids class on Tuesdays at 10am, a bi-monthly performing arts series, summer camps, Kindermusik classes, Adult Paint Night, and more.”
I have to say that one of the coolest things I’ve ever done was perform at the Cotton Tale. The kooky gang of the Traveling Trunk Theatre Troupe, including myself, performed some of the stories of Robert Munsch for the kids and adults of the Cotton Tale and it was a truly incredible experience. The kids and adults were engaged and very receptive to our show and what a wonderful space it was to perform in. There’s always something fun and exciting happening in the land of the Cotton Tale. And despite being a fairy tale world, they’re up-to-date with all the modern technological advances so check them out at www.cottontale.ca or at their Facebook page where they will keep you posted on their weekly activities.
Queen Wendy, regal and gracious, says, “We love the Valley and all the wonderful opportunities for a quality life offered in our great area. The one thing missing however was a play café and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to fill this niche. Judging by the many appreciative comments, we are filling it well. And the most special thing about our fantasyland is that you don’t have to have small children with you to enjoy our café. We serve delicious lunches such as soup, paninis, individual pizzas, and healthy snacks, as well as North Mountain coffee and specialty drinks. We are adding smoothies, iced coffees, and iced tea on the menu for the summer as well. So, as long as you enjoy the sound of happy children playing, our café is a great place to have lunch or to grab a coffee while in New Minas.”
When not running her Kingdom, Wendy (and many of her Royal family) have participated in the Fezziwig performances each year, as she just can’t get enough of being surrounded by kids of all ages! But the Cotton Tale Café + Play is truly hers and Marissa’s passion and it’ll be exciting to see all the fun adventures they create over the years.
Take your friends and family on a journey to one of the neatest places in the Valley. There’s no sadness or sorrow, there’s just great todays and tomorrows. There’s no meanness or mistrust and the treats are a must. There’s magic and music and delight without fail. There’s always fun times and stories at the Cotton Tale!
Photo credit: Marissa LaPierre