Canoe: Star returns home

Published: June 2004

Rachel McAdams in St. Thomas for a benefit screening

ST THOMAS, Ont. — From Woodworth Avenue to Hollywood and back again.

Rachel McAdams, St. Thomas native and one of Hollywood’s brightest rising stars, came home last night for a charity screening of her new movie, The Notebook.

As homecomings go, this one ranked high.

It’s flattering and overwhelming and unexpected,” McAdams said after her arrival. “But not unexpected from people in the town, I mean, everyone’s always been so supportive. I just didn’t imagine to be doing this. It’s a bit fantasy like.”

Galaxy Cinemas in Elgin Mall looked more like a Hollywood red carpet yesterday as hundreds of friends and fans crowded in and around the cinema to greet the home-grown star.

She’s a role model and she has cool clothes and she’s really beautiful,” said 13-year-old Ashley Voros, who didn’t have tickets but wanted a glimpse of McAdams. “She represents us.”

While McAdams, 25, wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 6:30 p.m., nearly 300 people had arrived just after 6 p.m. to rub shoulders with the star.

A few years ago, they could’ve bumped into McAdams around town, for free.

McAdams was born in London and lived in St. Thomas until she left to attend York University.

McAdams, a petite brunette, arrived at the theatre in an emerald T-shirt dress to conduct media interviews.

Many fans, who have seen McAdams in her other movie, Mean Girls, were expecting a blonde haired beauty, like the character she played in that film.

Childhood friend Tennille Rose Will said McAdams’ hair colour all depends on what she’s filming.

She dyed her hair dark for her role in the upcoming movie, The Wedding Crashers, which comes out next year.

Yesterday’s screening was set up as a fundraiser by the United Way of Elgin-St. Thomas.

Galaxy Cinemas donated all proceeds of the nearly 300 tickets to the United Way, Spicer said.

Organizers expected the event to raise at least $5,000 for the United Way.

I think it’s a wonderful charity that’s putting it on, so we’re really excited,” her mother, Sandra McAdams, said yesterday before the screening.

Tickets for the screening sold out in three days, organizer Beth Spicer said. Spicer said she got the idea for the fundraiser last month, but all of the details just came together within the last two weeks.

McAdams said she was happy to take part because the United Way is a really good cause and she was glad to help her hometown.

Her parents, Lance and Sandra, still live in St. Thomas. Her mother said the family has been able to see McAdams quite a bit in the last year, despite her busy schedule.

Her parents and brother, Daniel, were at last night’s screening. Her sister, Kayleen, had to work, but she went to the movie premier, which was pretty good in itself, Lance McAdams joked last night.

The Notebook is a romantic tale set during the Second World War based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. It opened opened last month.

McAdams plays opposite Ryan Gosling, who was born in London.

The Notebook was still in the top ten at theatres last week, according to box office figures.

Sandra McAdams said her daughter’s quick rise to fame was unexpected and the experience has been “surreal.”

We’ve always known that our kids were going to be great great people, not so much fame-wise, but caring, compassionate, contributing citizens and that’s sort of what we have raised them to be, that kind of people,” she said.

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