Meeting Chris Hadfield at the Milton Public Library

Harnoor Gill with Chris Hadfield  Photo courtesy of Don Dykeman of dbd photography, Milton, Ontario
Harnoor Gill with Chris Hadfield
Photos courtesy of Don Dykeman of dbd photography, Milton, Ontario


Grade 11 student

Christ The King Catholic Secondary

Georgetown, Ontario


AS a writer, I enjoy reading from time to time and the best place to get books has always been the library. I feel the library is not only an amazing place to read books and explore various forms of literature but it is also a great venue for exploring community events. In fact, the visit I made to the library last Saturday was the reason I was able to find out about former Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield’s visit to the Milton Public Library. His visit on Monday, May 25 was an opportunity for the community to learn more about his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” as well as have it signed by Hadfield himself. To be honest, I would have never found out about this event if I had not visited the library. This just goes to show how the library serves as a community hub as well because of how it allows people in the community to find out about events like this one.

In light of Hadfield’s visit, I decided I would attempt to cover the event as a youth journalist. My attempt was successful as I was able to come into contact with the Marketing and Communications Lead of the Milton Public Library, which allowed me to become a part of the media scrum. I was proud to be representing my youth group, the Peace Welcome Club and the Indo-Canadian Voice for this wonderful opportunity. However, I was torn between two coinciding events on the same day as this happened to be a Cadet Training Night also. I had to choose between attending to my duties as an Air Cadet and the chance to interview Hadfield. I decided to choose the second option and I cannot thank fellow Flight Sergeant Dillion Verma enough for taking a class on such short notice that I was scheduled to teach on that same evening.  The chance of interviewing the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station doesn’t happen every day.

Harnoor Gill interviewing Chris Hadfield.
Harnoor Gill interviewing Chris Hadfield.

Alongside other reporters, I had a blast being able to ask questions regarding the book as well as the lifestyle the Colonel has had to adopt as a famous Canadian astronaut. One major point that I can take from his book is to always be prepared to achieve anything. An example I enjoyed was the chance he got to perform a song alongside Elton John at his concert. Hadfield decided to go ahead and practice the song “Rocket Man” on his guitar until he got really good at it. The idea of always being prepared to achieve anything is definitely worth noting down.

I asked Hadfield: “How can you use your influence as a world famous Canadian astronaut to allow the youth of today to adopt this way of thinking?” He replied that that this situation must be tackled with one student at a time. It’s the small gestures that matter. For example, Chris stated that he has implemented a plan to have lunch with youth around the world using Skype-enabling conversations in directly talking to students.

Hadfield also noted: “A person not achieving anything is because they had never known they could.” This is something for youth my age to ponder on because they don’t actually know their full potential.

All in all, I had a great time receiving this opportunity that was offered by the Milton Public Library and I cannot thank the staff enough in being so polite as well as accommodating towards my needs throughout the evening. I also had a great time getting to know a local hero better and also receiving the chance to get my very own book signed by the great Canadian, Chris Hadfield.