This series of feature stories highlights those in the Trafalgar community during this time of isolation. We discuss what they’re currently up to, what their isolation experience has been and how they’re getting through.
In Conversation with Lonelle Selbo, Class of 1996
After the birth of her son, Sebastian, in 2014, Lonelle Selbo, Class of 1996, made the decision to take a step back from a successful career as a magazine editor in Toronto. “The thrill and prestige of running magazines from the top of the masthead was the pinnacle of a hard-earned career,” she laughs. “But the joy of being a stay-at-home mom was an unmatched privilege.” Two years later, she and her family decided they wanted to add to the thrill with a change of scene, a move out of the city, “a new adventure!”
They set off to buy a house in Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver but it didn’t feel like quite the right fit for their vision. Then, friends in Prince Edward County (about an hour and a half east of Trafalgar) proposed that they consider a change of focus for their destination. Lonelle and her family went to check out “the County” and it was love at first sight—they bought the first house they saw.
“The landscape is stunning and the people are incredible,” Lonelle says. “The talent is of the highest caliber and the people are doing the most amazing things. Oh, and the wine and food are incredible too. I could never live anywhere else.”
Having fallen head over heels for the County, it didn’t take long for Lonelle to find her niche there, career-wise. “This place is so incredibly magical and my gushiness was becoming awkward, so I decided to launch a magazine to share the awesomeness that was happening here from a slightly cooler, insider’s perspective.” Lonelle started ‘planting seeds’ in 2017 and launched LIFE AU LAIT a year later to great reception.
As if managing a dynamic and demanding business, and parenting a young son weren’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a new, interesting challenge—the opportunity to save birthdays. Lonelle was convinced by her brother and sister-in-law that it was a worthy cause, and so they put their heads together and The Birthday Portal was born.
“It wasn’t so much an opportunity,” Lonelle explains. “Our margins are so small that it’s more a community love effort. My brother has three kids with birthdays in April and we could all see how hard this isolation was going to be on kids, the least they should have is a birthday party.”
The Birthday Portal is a one-stop, web-based party provider, hosting spectacular (yet socially distanced) virtual birthdays—complete with the most talented kids’ performers (from superheroes and princesses to exotic animals and magic shows, dance parties, song circles…the list goes on). “The ease of delivery and access to an awesome interactive show makes it a really special occasion. It’s also a great project because it creates an opportunity for these talented performers to earn income,” she says.
While she says every moment of her day is “quadruple-booked” (did we mention, LIFE AU LAIT has just launched a County-wide movement that has her currently working on over 40 one-on-one collaborative community projects), Lonelle loves being home with her family during isolation and was thrilled to connect with Trafalgar and learn about how we’re working to highlight each others’ endeavours in and beyond the current climate. You can also find an Instagram campaign Lonelle is working on with fellow Traf alum, Amber Eisenhut-Bundle: an online 80 Day “world tour” that begins and ends in her beloved Prince Edward County.
- Magazine Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Life Au Lait
- Co-Founder and Creative Director, The Birthday Portal
- Hare – “I was House Captain!”
- Sandra Metselaar (English) – “She noticed that I had talent, fed my creative spirit and encouraged me to write.”
- Olwen Sigsworth (Geography) – “We are still in touch and have a date to meet up in the County after the isolation is over!”
- Craig Kamcke (Headmaster, History) – “Mr. Kamcke was and is an important figure in my life. He taught us around a table in his office and lighted my love of learning, then and for all time.”
Advice to Grads:
“I really loved Trafalgar. I know how special these moments and traditions are and how integrated it all is in our Trafalgar experience. It was such an influential time in my life and I loved everything about it. And of course, I loved grad too—it was so great to get dressed up (in non-kilt attire) and celebrate our triumphant end-of-an-era together, but it was one of a million shiny memories I have of Traf. I know it’s hard. I know you’re missing a special bookend of your experiences there but try to remember that when you look back, you will have countless wonderful memories of your time in the Castle to keep with you, despite this year being cut short. Onwards!”
Interested in being featured?
If you would like to share your story, highlight your business, share your isolation experience or some words of wisdom with our students, please reach out any time to our Alumnae Relations Officer, Sarah Harries-Taylor.
Support Trafalgar businesses:
If you want to explore and support some amazing businesses owned and operated by members of the Trafalgar community, check out our Business Directory where you’ll find Lonelle’s contact information and so many more successful operations worthy of all of our support!