Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Tower

Sudbury's distinctive de-commissioned water tower...
No, not a war machine from Mars...
Looking like something from War of the Worlds, Sudbury's distinctive blue-green water tower has hovered over the downtown landscape as long as I can remember.

At one time there was another one on the other side of town, but it was dismantled several years ago. This tower was decommissioned in the late-90s. Right now it's being used to hang large ad banners.

According to this article and here though, there are eventual plans to convert it to a combination of residential and commercial properties.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Rose Among Thorns

The bleak streets of downtown Sudbury, Ontario...
The mean, unclean streets of downtown Sudbury, ON...
Recently I made a return visit to my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. As a working, resource-based town Sudbury could never be described as pretty. Still, it was disappointing to see how much the downtown core had deteriorated over the decades since I had left.

Garbage piled up in alleyways... why no dumpsters? Roads and sidewalks are severely pitted with ruts and potholes. Many empty storefronts and 'For lease' signs are testament to the damage inflicted by malls and giant box stores located further afield. And, the streets are filled with a lot of sketchy-looking characters wandering around with no apparent purpose.

In the midst of all this decay though I glanced up to see this optimistic sign looking down from above.

A sign of hope in downtown Sudbury, Ontario...
Amid the decay, one bright ray...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Sleeping it off...

Passed out on the beach at Ganges, Salt Spring Island, BC.
Come to Salt Spring Island and pass out on
the finest beaches in the Gulf Islands!
The Gulf Islands is a collection of small picturesque islands off Vancouver Island's east coast. Life there is laid back... maybe a little TOO laid back.

A couple of years ago, while doing a camping trip on the islands, my wife and I came across this group of young adults crashed on the Ganges marina beach on Salt Spring Island. They looked to be in rough shape... I thought the guy face down in the sand might actually be dead.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Trees Have Eyes

Tree carving near Shawnigan Lake...
The Wizard of Wood...
Somebody up near Shawnigan Lake north of Victoria on Vancouver Island is pretty talented with wood working tools.

According to the signature at the bottom this piece of art was created by Kevin Lewis in 2013.

Monday, April 13, 2015


A grey heron poised to strike...
A grey heron poised for the strike...
Grey herons are unique birds. They have these odd quills (feathers?) that stick out from their chest and back.

In flight they look -- and sound -- like miniature modern-day pterodactyls.

They are often preyed upon by local eagles who like to eat their eggs, but they are impressive as predators in their own way. This particular bird at nearby Swan Lake is deadly still and poised to strike at a fish in the water.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Philosophical Friday: Beacons

Years ago, I was training for a 10K race to try to set a personal best time. For the end-of-April race I had to start training in January. The most convenient time for me to run was first thing in the morning.

I hated it.

It was cold, dark and frequently raining.

One day in the mail I received a mail out from the Foot and Mouth Artists of Canada. On a whim, I did some research on them and discovered the story of artist Daniel Laflamme. Born with cerebral palsy, he learned to eat, draw and paint using his feet.

The next day or so, when it was time for another wet, miserable morning run, I was re-considering my decision to run the race. But I flashed back to the story of Daniel and reminded myself that there were people in the world who would gladly run in the cold and the rain, if it meant that they could have four good limbs to do it.

I ran.

Daniel doesn't know me. We have never met. But he inspired me to train hard and set a personal best time the following April.

So when you feel like giving up on an endeavour or a Really Big Goal, remind yourself that somewhere someone -- a person that you might not even know -- is taking their inspiration from YOU.
Wisdom found

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Level Ground Trading

Coffee beans... before and after...

Level Ground Trading is located in Central Saanich north of Victoria. Its primary product is ethically produced coffee -- coffee which is grown in disadvantaged countries to provide local farmers with a sustainable income. They also produce rice and I can testify to the mouth-watering goodness of their dried fruit.

Coffee... boxed and ready to ship...

Our photo group converged on their small facility earlier this week where spokesperson Stacy shared their story and mission vision. I was very impressed with the extent to which they go to be economically and environmentally responsible and sustainable.

Coffee from around the globe...

Did I mention how awesome their dried fruit is?

Interesting fact... a coffee 'bean' isn't a bean at all. It's the seed of a fruit berry. Which means that technically speaking, coffee is a juice.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Telegraph Cove

2004... weathered truck on the main jetty of Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island...

When our sons were younger a lot of our summer camping adventures were confined to Vancouver Island. One such summer in 2004 took us to Telegraph Cove, an off-the-beaten-path community located on the east coast of the island. It bristles with photo opportunities, including (at the time) this weathered red truck on the main jetty.

Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island...