On the autumn horizon: the intimate studio tours of rural artscapes ​

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...

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The Queen's new clothes: How the debaucherous Queen's Hotel evolved into the beloved and benevolent Arlington

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.”

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Community Spirit: Bancroft's "The Old Tin Shed" gains national prestige.

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...

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NHHS' Northern Outdoor Studies (aka Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse 101)

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.

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The Quiet Painter - a long conversation with Arne Roosman

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. 

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The Beaches of North Hastings

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.

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Off the Beaten Path: The New Homesteaders of Hastings Highlands

Country Roads Magazine, Summer 2012

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.

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Sun Run Café and Sun Run Farms - A Fine Romance

Sun Media, Spring 2012

"People really 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 pickles."

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Echoes: The Pioneer Cemetery of Umfraville

Country Roads Magazine, Spring 2012

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.

While 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


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Maynooth's Seedy Saturday a cornucopia of sharing and sustainability

Sun Media, Spring 2012

"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 attendance.

"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.

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The Upside of the End of the World

Mystical Voices Magazine, Spring 2012

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.

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Local doula's labour of love

Sun Media, Winter 2012

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.

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Swinging saws at Loggers Games in Maynooth

Sun Media, Fall 2011

"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."

Langridge 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 Langridge.

"It's always nice to beat him," laughed Langridge, speaking of her Dad, who she says has more than 100 chain saws at home.

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