Saturday, June 28, 2014


Looking vaguely extraterrestrial, Sudbury’s famous superstack rises from the western horizon.

From Wikipedia:
"The Inco Superstack in Sudbury, Ontario, with a height of 380 metres (1,250 ft), is the tallest chimney in Canada and the Western hemisphere, and the second tallest freestanding chimney in the world after the GRES-2 Power Station in Kazakhstan. It is also the second tallest freestanding structure of any type in Canada, behind the CN Tower but ahead of First Canadian Place."

The stack was built in the early-1970s to disperse the fumes from the smelting operations of the local mine over a wider area. Before that time, the fumes had killed off a lot of the local vegetation. Once it was built, people of Sudbury took a perverse pride in the fact that the fumes from the chimney could be detected as far away as New York State.

Despite Sudbury once having a landscape described as resembling the surface of the moon, the forests and vegetation have returned to the region thanks to the superstack.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Every step you take...

I always feel like somebody's watching me.
And I have no privacy.
I always feel like somebody's watching me.
Tell me is it just a dream?
-- Rockwell

No, that is not a quote from Norman Rockwell, famous painter of slice-of-life America from a gentler, kinder time.

They are lyrics from the 80s dance tune by singer Rockwell. In many ways these words are even more relevant today than they were 30 years ago. From our Internet browsing habits to security cameras everywhere we are all under surveillance in ways that would have shocked and horrified Norman...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Return of the Lady in Red

I've previously talked about The Lady in Red in this blog as well as my previous blog Alternate Tales from the West Coast Cafe.

She sits on one of the float homes of Victoria's Fishermans Wharf watching over the crowds that stroll the jetties. You might miss her unless you are looking up when you passed by her home.

I think of her as a sort of guardian angel. Her outfits change regularly, but the first time I saw her a few years ago she was dressed in a red dress. Hence the name I gave her.

I was tempted once to knock on the door of her float home and ask the owners about her, but then I decided that I preferred her origins and purpose to remain a mystery.

Recently I was strolling the wharf when I saw that she was dressed again in her original red dress.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Better call Saul!

Fans of the excellent TV series Breaking Bad are familiar with the phrase "Better call Saul!" Saul Goodman was the sleazy -- sometimes noble -- lawyer who provided legal aid to people with few morals but lots of cash.

Recently in Sudbury, I was surprised to see several highly visible, opportunistic law offices within a block of the city's law court. It's not something that exists here in Victoria. The one above was located in a strip mall and was something that would look more at home somewhere in the United States.

Most of them provide legal advice to people who break traffic laws. And let's be honest, most of these people are likely guilty of impaired driving. It smacks of the same sort of questionable ethics that Saul would approve of.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Traveling recently through the farm country of western Ontario, I saw this collection of headstones at the top of a hill overlooking the highway.

My guess is that the original cemetery site was re-purposed and that they gathered the headstones together in one smaller site.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


On a recent visit to Sidney, we saw this field of poppies and crosses dedicated, I assume, to those local natives who lost their lives during D-Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grotto Park

Grotto Park overlooks downtown Sudbury, Ontario...

Recently I was strolling the streets of my old neighbourhoods in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. Walking to and from my elementary school, I would pass by a rocky hill today known as Grotto Park.

It overlooks Sudbury in all directions. When I played up there as a kid there were some religious statues -- the Stations of the Cross. Sudbury had a large Roman Catholic population probably because a lot of the population was and still is French-Canadian.

For old times sake I climbed it again and discovered this large faux-Roman structure complete with water fountain. It looked out of place in the landscape of black hills and northern flora.

The sculpture below is one of the figures that kneels at the feet of the Virgin Mary statue that overlooks a long-closed schoolyard below.

One of the religious statues near Sudbury's Grotto Park...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Roadside memorial south of Sudbury, Ontario...

This unique roadside memorial is located about 120 kilometres south of Sudbury, Ontario. It's a monument to Cole Howard who was killed in an automobile accident near the site in early 2012. The same accident killed three other young people: Jessica Chamberland, Alyssa McKeown and Torry McIntyre

Cole,19, was the drummer in a band called Sanctuaries. His father had the sculpture made to honour his son. The sculpture was welded by sculptor and welder, Laval Bouchard of Massey.

Cole Howard, drummer for Sanctuaries...

Roadside memorial overlooking the highway to Sudbury, Ontario...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

She works hard for the money...

There's more to life than being really, really, really
ridiculously good looking...
-- Derek Zoolander (aka Ben Stiller)

I was wrong about modeling. It turns out that it's a lot harder than it looks. A few months ago, I was part of a modeling photography workshop that featured local models-in-training A. and M.

The workshop lasted about five hours but at the end of it the girls were tired for sure. Much like firefighting, a lot of modeling involves sitting around and waiting for 'THINGS' to get set up... flashes, scrims, reflectors. Once that is done the models then have to be 'on' for the camera immediately. No bored or disinterested looks allowed.

I'm not sure that supermodels are worth the money they make, but your journeyman model earns her money.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Who's that girl?

Unless we're travelling I rarely feature myself or my wife in my blog, preferring not to insert myself too much into the story.

However, my wife is actually my favourite model, blessed as she is with great looks, blue eyes and blonde hair. Plus she's looking over my shoulder right now...

Okay, so THIS impromptu photo doesn't show off her eyes, but I love it for the hint of a mischievous smile.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Russell Henry is the son of Brian Henry, owner of Ocean River Sports beside Capital Iron. Brian and his business are well known in the local kayaking community. His sons – Russell and Graham – were fellow Cubs and Beavers with our sons. We had lost touch with them until a recent news article in our local paper highlighted their amazing South America to Florida paddling trip last fall.

I remembered them as two small, slender boys of 10 or so. I was shocked to see them as full grown men. I could have passed them in the street without recognizing them. Memory is a funny thing… in our minds people always remain frozen in age based on the last time we saw them.

As of this date, Russell is on a solo trip paddle around Vancouver Island trying to beat the current record time of about 15 days and 11 hours.