The Tweed, Bancroft and Apsley studio tours, each held in September annually, are well established and celebrated for the high quality of their featured artists. Displaying everything from paintings and photo prints, to stained glass, carvings, textiles, custom jewelry, pottery, and hand crafted furniture, the tours each have something that will appeal to everyone...
There's a hint of amusement in Vivian Bloom's voice as she recounts spying on the bar patrons of the Queen's Hotel. It was the 1960's, and her family lived on the main drag of Maynooth, right next door to the historic building, known these days as The Arlington. From the window of her childhood bedroom, she could look right into the 'gentlemen's lounge,' which was generally full of miners and loggers on a Friday night. They would emerge from the bush, pockets full of unspent wages, ready for a night of hard drinking and partying. Invariably a liquor-fueled fight would break out, sometimes leading to a full-on-barroom-brawl that would eventually spill into the parking lot.
“We'd stay up late watching the fights through my window,” says Bloom. “Then, on Saturday morning we'd be down in the parking lot collecting all the loose change that had fallen from the men's pockets.”
Janis Whitehead hands me a steaming cup of Kicking Horse coffee, and goes about dusting off the multiple trophies The Old Tin Shed has won over the last few months. The retired teacher is humble about her family's achievements, but has agreed to let me photograph her and her husband Peter with the awards. The coffee smells fantastic. But then, so does the whole store. Scented soy candles, luxurious lotions, and...
John Thibadeau exudes an easy confidence when he enters the room. His smile is warm, and his handshake is solid. He makes eye contact and holds it. He does not abandon our conversation to check his phone for texts or new Instagram posts. He is invested and seems happy and well adjusted.
“I got suspended three times,” says the grade eleven student, candidly, with no trace of embarrassment. “And I knew I was going to keep getting in trouble.”
I don't know whether he's good at video games or downloading pirated movies like a lot of people his age, but I do know he can operate a chainsaw, hunt, build a fire, safely operate a rifle, and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if he needs to.
People hush themselves and listen intently when Arne Roosman opens his mouth. Perhaps it's because his voice is so soft. Or maybe it's because of the slight mumbly quality of his speech, caused by a pleasing mix of age and a subtly faded Estonian accent that has been delicately tumbled and polished by travel and time. More likely it's just that people are interested in what the slim white-haired artist has to say, and humbled by their respect for the renowned painter who has made the Bancroft area his home for the last 26 years.
I'm here for the lakes. Sure, North Hastings is teeming with wildlife. It's paradise for bird watchers and nature photographers. You want foxes? We've got them. Elk? Set your shutter speed, and click away. Yes, the outdoor-adventure enthusiasts flock here too, for mountain biking and rock-climbing. Certainly this is the place to be for recreational geologists eager to dig in at next rock-cut glittering just around the corner. But me, I'm here for the wind rushing over the bay, the forlorn loon calls, the sandy shorelines, and the bloody sunsets.
Although this is only my second time meeting Storring, I am nonetheless well acquainted with what she does. It would be hard for me not to be. I've heard her name mentioned over and over in conversations about sustainable living; I've seen photos on facebook of her workshops all about planning plots, preparing soil for growing, canning and preserving, and many more topics. She runs 10 workshops a year, and they are wildly popular. She and her husband Richard Baynes, an ubercool artist who also works in their gardens, are well known throughout North Hastings as the go-to people when it comes to learning about organic gardening. You're not likely to run into them in the supermarket - the unofficial social hub of a small town – because aside from things like cheese and butter, they grow and raise all the food they need for the whole year. Their pantry and root cellar are, by any measure, an inspiration.
Chris, rugged in his expedition clothes, starts talking about tectonic plates and the molecular structure of various minerals, with the charisma and authority of a university professor.
'Is this guy for real?' I think. 'Have I just wandered into Indiana Jones' study?'
You don't meet prospectors everyday; not in the age of teleconferences and software development expos. No, you're quite lucky if you chance across a true prospector. They're still around, but they've changed since the days of the old west. You won't find a lone wanderer panning for gold in a floppy brimmed hat, driven bush-mad by his solitude. You won't hear him exclaim, 'there's gold up in them hills,' as he spits tobacco juice at a rattle snake. Well, actually, you might.
I'm flying over vast grassy landscapes in my speedy little bee-mobile, focused on a giant Sunflower Supermarket ahead, beckoning me with neon lights flashing 'Food, Food, Food.' Almost out of gas and exhausted, I worry about my return flight. What if I don't have enough power to make it home? What will my babies eat? I push on.
It is a fever-induced dream, inspired no doubt by the interview I had yesterday with pollination biologist, Susan Chan. She described this very scenario. Except, of course, in her version it was a real bee, not a strange human-bee-car hybrid. In both versions though, the ending is the same.
should have worn practical shoes. Don Koppin takes my hand to help
me as I awkwardly climb up the dusty little ladder, clutching my
camera, and step into the raised doorway of the Bancroft Train
Station. The entrance is a foot and a half higher than it was the
last time I visited. Just a few months ago, hydraulics lifted the
entire century-old structure off the ground, inch by inch, to make
room for a full basement where before there was only crawl space.
Claire and Scott tell me all the things you’d expect them to divulge:
how many jars of cider they get from their wild apple trees; how Scott
cut the logs for their house off his family’s land; how much energy they
get from their windmill and solar panels. Claire speaks proudly about
the ten varieties of tomatoes she is growing this year, and the orchard
they are starting. Scott describes how on stormy nights when other
families in the area lose their hydro, he and Claire listen to their
windmill, spinning like crazy in the night sky, and fall asleep content,
knowing their batteries will be full in the morning. But then they open
up about personal things.
Several groups are warning pet-owners about a potential link
between imported dog treats and a mysterious illness. Symptoms include
decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and possible kidney failure,
which is often preceded by increased water consumption and/or increased
don't understand the amount of work that's required to make this type of
food," she continues. "For instance I touch an onion ring a minimum of 8
times before it hits your plate, the eggs in the batter are separated;
the whites are whipped and folded into the batter. Very few people
realize that on that burger, I have made the relish. I have made the
Standing in front of one stone I
am overwhelmed: how heartbreaking to go through the hardships and
sacrifices of carving a life out of the wilderness, only to helplessly
watch as your children take ill and die, one after another.
I take photos, my guide heads back to the truck to turn it around. But
it gets stuck in the snow. After failed attempts to get it free we
start walking. The sun is setting and the temperature is dropping, it
seems, by the second. I dig my hands deep into my pockets, and try not
to think about bears or coyotes
"Maynooth has farming and working with
the land woven into its culture and history. Many people moving back to a
place like this come in part because they want to reconnect to this in
some way. So by nature, there are a lot of folks around with some keen
gardening interests and skills," said Sharpe, commenting on the high
"But Maynooth also has a lively social atmosphere, and
with all the warm weather lately people are keen to get out of their
cabins and chat each other up," he added.
I can’t remember exactly when I started hearing prophesies that the world will end in 2012. They snuck up on me. We’ve all heard end of the world predictions before, and flipped the pages of our calendars as the dreaded dates approached, and then passed.
This one got under my skin though.
Maybe because weather patterns and natural disasters appear to be on the rise; maybe because ancient cultures have apparently predicted this approaching prophecy for thousands of years; maybe because the media has been cashing in on the story. All these likely contribute. But the biggest reason this prophecy has gotten to me, even though it is reminiscent of others before it, is because this time I am different. This time I’m a mom.
Doula and self professed 'birth junkie', Lindsey Fournier
thinks birth is awesome, and is helping other women around Bancroft
connect with their bodies, their partners, and the experience of a
lifetime. Although Fournier has been certified as a doula for two years
already, her new website,
www.bancroftandareadoulaservices.wordpress.com has suddenly put her
business in the spotlight.
"I guess it's kind
of a male dominated sport," admitted Cally Langridge, who came in third
in the chair sawing event. "I was 13 when I started competing."
is from Marlbank and in her third year of college. She said chain saws
aren't especially trendy with her girlfriends at college, but that she
has a great time competing in Loggers' Games. She and her brother, who
wasn't able to attend the event, both compete, alongside their dad Bill
"It's always nice to beat him," laughed Langridge, speaking of her Dad, who she says has more than 100 chain saws at home.