Posts tagged “Canada

Gestures of Solace

Angels among us

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them.

This shot was taken in Vancouver, British Columbia on a cold,windy and rainy day in October. The statue is located close to the passenger ship terminal in downtown and is really special. To see more of Vancouver or the many other wonderful places we have documented, just click the link and you will be transported to our  Website Kerstenbeck Photographic Art

Changes of Season



While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our livelihood, our bodies’ clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don’t acknowledge this, we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting, but in both cases, the chill in the air tells us it’s time to move inside and prepare for the future.


We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our own energy by setting some time aside to make the same changes we see in nature. We can change colors like the falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colors and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm golds, reds, and browns. While plants concentrate their energy deep in their roots and seeds, we can retreat to quieter, indoor pursuits, nurturing the seeds of new endeavors, which need quiet concentration to grow.


We can stoke our inner fires with our favorite coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa while savoring the rich, hot comfort foods that the season brings in an array of fall colors: potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin, squash, and corn. As animals begin growing their winter coats and preparing their dens for hibernation, we can dust off our favorite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage, creating coziness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles or fireplaces to bring a remnant of summer’s fiery glow indoors.

By making a conscious celebration of the change, we usher in the new season in a way that allows us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward, nurturing us as we prepare for our future.


St Francis

During our search in Central Ontario for the finest Fall Colours we went to The Martyrs’ Church close to Midland, Ontario. Our Mom had driven us around everywhere already from lack of Map, GPS and reading glasses. It did not matter as we were all just having fun. Thousand of people visit this Holy Site and through the process of walking and visiting the 10’s of monuments leave without their fixed ailements….disgarded crutches and canes are left behind!

In the search of Fall Colours, there could have not been a better backdrop for St. Francis in the Fall!  Now a bit about his Dude!

Saint Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic Friar and Preacher. He founded the men’s Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francia. (Hmmm…lots of Orders, eh?)  St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, Francis begged with the beggars at St. Peters The experience moved him to live in poverty.

Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. His order was endorsed by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares, which was an enclosed order for women, as well as the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance. In 1219, he went to Egypt where Crusaders were besieging Damietta, hoping to find martyrdom at the hands of the Muslims.

By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the order. Once his organization was endorsed by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas manger scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata making him the first person to bear the wounds of Christs Passion He died in 1226 while preaching Psalm 141.

Fall Reflections

A continuation of the Series from Central Ontario highlighting Fall Colours. This one is from our original trip on the first day – Highway 13. We asked our Mom to be Navigator. She broke out a 20-year-old map, forgot her reading glasses and drove us to amazing locations, all of which where unplanned and NOT unwelcome! We had no agenda other than to spend time with her and if we got lucky, shoot some nice Fall colours!

We had no idea that Ontario had Cranberry Bogs and that Don Cherry had a Bar in Parry Sound! Of course, this is the home town of Bobby Orr, the defenseman from the Boston Bruins! He has a Hall of Fame Museum there wher we have shot a couple dozen pucks! Now a bit about Bobby!

Robert Gordon “Bobby” Orr, Canadian former professional Hockey player. Orr played in the  (NHL) for his entire career, the first ten seasons with the Boston Bruins, joining the Chicago Black Hawks for two more. Orr is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest hockey players of all time. A defenseman, Orr used his speed and scoring and play-making abilities to revolutionize the position.

Bobby Orr displayed his hockey talents from an early age. Orr played his first organized hockey in 1953 at age five, in the “minor squirt” division, a year after getting his first skates and playing shinny Although he was tiny and somewhat frail, he soon was able to skate faster than anyone his own age, speed he demonstrated in races around the rink and in games. Until he was ten years old, Orr played on the wing, as a forward. His coach, former NHL player Bucko McDonald moved Orr to defence. Although Orr played defence, McDonald encouraged Orr to use his talents as a stickhandler, a natural skater and scorer to make offensive rushes. According to McDonald: “I used to tell Doug the kid was in his natural position when he played defence. You didn’t have to be genius to see that!

The Maple Leaf

Continuing our search for the perfect Fall colours in Central Ontario lead us again to Highway 13. It had a bit of elevation, so the nights were colder and colours turned quicker. This is a serpentine road, narrow and not for the feeble hearted driver. Often, even pulling off to the side was a challenge…because there was no side! This shot was executed using a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens mounted on a Monopod. This is an amazing piece of glass – it allows one to have these wonderful out of focus backgrounds and is sharp as a tack! Now a bit of Canadiana!

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf,  is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red Maple Leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag. The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order of Council for use “wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag”.

In 1964, Prime Minister  Lester B. Pearson appointed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious  debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George Stanley and John Matheson based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada was selected. The flag made its first appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada.

I still do not understand why one of the National Hockey Leagues original six teams, The Toronto Maple Leafs, sport a blue leaf on their jerseys. Perhaps they needed to be in contrast to their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens who proudly wear the red, white and blue?

The Martyrs’ Shrine

Along the road to find the perfect Fall colours in Central Ontario, we stopped at the Martyrs’ Shrine which is just outside of Midland. The Shrine is a Roman Catholic church which is consecrated to the memory of the Canadian Martyrs’, six Jesuit Martyrs and two lay persons from the mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. It is one of nine National Shrines in Canada,including, among others, St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal and the Basilica of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre.

In 1907, Dennis O’Conner, Archbishop of Toronto, consecrated a small chapel at Waubaushene, near the site where Sts. Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were martyred. In 1925, Fr. John Filion, provincial superior of Jesuits in Canada, decided to pursue the construction of a larger church closer to the mission, and purchased the Standin farm in Midland, across the road from Sainte-Marie.

Construction began that year, using some materials from the Waubaushene church and others donated by lumber companies in Northern Ontario. Pews, stained glass windows, Stations of the Cross and an altar were donated by churches in London and Toronto. The interior, shaped like an overturned canoe, was designed and built by Ildège Bourrie. Construction on the shrine was completed by the winter of 1925, and the shrine was oficially consecrated on June 25, 1926 by Cardinal William Henry O’Connell of Boston.

Until Next Year

Until Next Year

As we drove around Central Ontario searching for the ultimate Fall Colours, we followed a winding road in and around Gravenhurst Ontario which lead us to a series of rental cottages. While hesitant to enter the area, it became clear that during the working week there was no one home. This line of chairs lined the sandy beach waiting for folks to return for, perhaps,  one last weekend before this area of Canada is engulfed by snow! These chairs can be spotted everywhere and come in a rainbow of colours. A new trend I suppose?

Someone once quipped that Canada has 8 months of Winter and 4 months of Bad Skiing! …nothing could be further from the truth – there is something to be said about Four Seasons!

Gravenhurst is a town in the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada. It is located approximately 15 kilometres south of Bracebridge, Ontario. The Town of Gravenhurst includes a large area of the District of Muskoka, known to Ontarians as “Cottage Country.” The town centre borders on two lakes: Lake Muskoka, which is the largest lake in the Region, and Gull Lake, a smaller cottage-bordered lake. Another lake, Kahshe Lake, is situated 10 kilometres  south of the town.

Gravenhurst was originally named McCabes Bay and later as Sawdust City. Gravenhurst was named after a village in England which is mentioned in Washington Irving’s Bracebridge Hall.

Gravenhurst’s economic prosperity stemmed from the construction of a colonization road in the 1850s. Steamboating on the Muskoka lakes began in the 1860s. The town is located strategically at the northern terminus of the Toronto, Simcoe and Muskoka Junction Railway. The town is positioned as the “Gateway to Muskoka”.

Nearby Muldrew Lake was named after the lake’s second cottager, Dr. William Hawthorne Muldrew. He was the principal of the first Gravenhurst high school in 1894. In 1901 he published a book called Sylvan Ontario, A Guide to Our Native Trees and Shrubs. It was the first book published on this subject in Ontario, and the drawings were his own. All the different types of trees and shrubs of Muskoka could be seen at the school, as he transplanted many of the specimens from Muldrew Lake.

From 1940 to 1943 Gravenhurst was site of “Little Norway,” an important training camp for what is today the Royal Norwegian Airforce during World War II. From 1940 to 1946 Gravenhurst was the site of Camp XX, the Gravenhurst Internment Camp, for Nazi Prisoners of War, known locally as “The Muskoka Officers Club”. Before the war it was the Calydor Sanitarium. After the war it was turned into a TB sanitarium, again, and later became a Kosher resort called The Gateway.