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.

The Lighthouse Trail

1904 Historic Lighthouse

We ventured deeper into Killbear Provincial Park to find this rock point with a Historic Lighthouse. A short trail wanders along the rocky shoreline of Lighthouse Point and offers fabulous views of the 30,000 Islands. Part way along the trail you pass a 1904 lighthouse that used to guide lake freighters and passenger ships into Parry Sound.

This Georgian Bay peninsula is a water lover’s paradise for swimming and sailing, fishing and boating. CAMP by a sandy beach, on a rocky shore or under the trees. Hike to lookouts for views of Parry Sound, that lonely white pine on a windswept rock or one of Georgian Bay’s spectacular sunsets.

Killbear has a new bike trail that runs parallel to the main park road from the park entrance to Lighthouse Point Campground, a distance of 6 kilometers. This trail will eventually serve as the anchor for a multi-use recreational trail that will run from Killbear Provincial Park to Algonquin Provincial Park and connect with the Trans Canada Trail Network.

Rough Sledding

Waiting for Snow

During our ventures in Central Ontario, we stopped along to road to Bala when we spotted some vibrant colours. A few hundred meters into the woods we stumbled upon a “storage” area for, well, everything from Snowmobiles, tractors, spas, freezers, front end loaders. Here the Skidoo and the leaves are the star of the shot!

A snowmobile, also known in some places as a sled, is a land vehicle for winter travel on snow. Designed to be operated on snow and ice, they require no road or trail. Design variations enable some machines to operate in deep snow or forests; most are used on open terrain, including frozen lakes, or driven on paths or trails. Usually designed to accommodate a driver and one passenger, their use is much like a motorcycle and an all terrain vehicle (ATVs) intended for winter use on snow-covered ground and frozen ponds and waterways. They have no enclosure except for a windshield and their engine normally drives a continuous track at the rear; skis at the front provide directional control.

I think these ones need to have a Tune Up and a visit to The Local Garage!

Highway 13

During our search for the perfect Fall Colors we ventured all over Central Ontario. The first day our Mother was the Navigator. She forgot to bring her reading glasses, and was directing from a 20-year-old map! We circled many destinations, took roads un-explored and mutually discovered magnificent beauty! We didn’t know that Ontario had Cranberry Bogs – wow! During our adventures, we stumbled upon Highway 13 which is twisty  road from Bala to Orillia. The first drive was harsh light. We went back every day to get the perfect shot. On day three we left the Collingwood area and shot straight to Highway 13 – it was raining in Collingwood and over the Horizon this road beckoned another visit.

We would have loved to go to Algonquin Park – we have Canoe Camped there often. It is breathtaking! This leads to this image of the colors and railway.

Construction of the Ottawa, Arprior and Parry SoundRailway (O. A. & P. S.) through the park in 1896 provided the first easy access to the area. While the park’s purpose was to control settlement within its boundaries, the families of railway workers as well as those of the lumbermen took up residence in the park. The village of Mowat on the west side of  Canoe Lake was first established in 1893 as a logging camp for the Gilmour Lumber Company. From there, logs were driven down the Oxtongue River towards Lake of Bays and eventually on to Trenton. In the same year the park headquarters was established near the logging camp. The arrival of the railway had provided easy access for the lumbermen as well. The Gilmour firm decided to put up a sawmill closer to their source of timber. By 1897 the village of Mowat had grown to 500 residents and there were eighteen km of railway siding.

The same year saw the official opening of the railway between  Ottawa and  Depot Harbour. Park headquarters were also relocated in 1897 from Mowat to a point of land on the north shore of Cache Lake, adjacent to the railway. The O. A. & P. S. put up a station there it named Algonquin Park. The railway, taken over by the Canada Atlantic Railway in 1899, was in turn sold to the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in 1905.

This part of Canada is just Natural Beauty – if you are inclined to camping, fishing, hiking, or just soaking in the gorgeousness, it is a must see destination!

The Baby Maple

The Lone Maple Leaf

Our search for the perfect Red Maple Leaf lead us to Killbear Provincial Park. Yes, as the name indicates there is a lot of bear activity and one always needs to be cautious. Even during a short hike, one should never have food inside your vehicle as bears will tear it up to get a snack! We left our Mother to rest in the car during our search and yes, the window was rolled down! I guess technically she could be considered a snack for a bear, but she is very feisty and would send any curious bear running!

Killbear Provincial Park is a park located on Georgian Bay in the Parry Sound District of Ontario. Activities in the park include camping, swimming, boating,  cycling and fishing. The park’s proximity to southern Ontario make it very popular, especially in peak season, and reservations are often necessary despite its large number of campsites.

Killbear combines sandy beaches with the granite and wind-swept pines of the  Canadian Shield. The park provides habitat for the threatened eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Ontario’s only venomous snake. There are many “Please Brake for Snakes” signs along the park’s roadways. I camped ther with my Dad befor a serious Canoe Camping Expedition further North – just an awesome place!

The Reflecting Pool

This gorgeous reflecting pool can be spotted on the Rosseau River just outside of Bala, Ontario. There were just so many vistas painted with the changing Autumn colors that it made for some pretty crazy driving (stop, go, u-turn etc). All of this series is from the Muskoka region.

The District Municipality of Muskoka, more generally referred to as the District of Muskoka, or simply Muskoka, is a located in Central Ontario, Canada. Muskoka extends from Georgian Bay in the west, to the northern tip of Lake Couchiching in the south, to the western border of Algonquin Park in the east. The name of the municipality derives from a First Nations chief of the 1850s. Lake Muskoka was then the hunting grounds of a band led by Chief Yellowhead or Mesqua Ukie. He was revered by the government, who built a home for him in Orillia where he lived until his death at the age of 95.

The soap opera Paradise Falls, about a fictitious cottage community, was shot partly on location here, to take advantage of the scenic background. The Teletoon animated reality show Total Drama Island takes place in fictitious Camp Wawanakwa, an island summer camp located “somewhere” in Muskoka.

Fall Reflections

As we drove around Central Ontario searching for colours, we stopped by the Rosseeau River. We had bad Mid-Day light but somehow made this picture work! We would have loved to be here at 5PM as there is a spectacular falls across the road and West facing. Oh well.

Rosseau is a community in the District of Parry Sound, Canada. It is situated on the north shore of Lake Rosseau, a popular vacationing area. It is one of the ends of the Rosseau-Nipissing Road, which stretches all the way up to Lake Nipissing near North Bay, Ontario. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected by the province to commemorate the Rosseau-Nipissing Road’s role in Ontario’s heritage.

Rosseau was formerly an incorporated  village ,which was amalgamated into Seguin Township on January 1, 1998.

The town shops are mostly arts and crafts shops with a few exceptions. One of them is famous Rosseau General Store, which has stood since the late 19th century. The town has a marina and public beach area that has undergone renovations including new boat launches and large docks, a pavilion and public washrooms. The town also has a nice restaurant, which is known as Crossroads, and an upscale cafe called Beaners. There are many shops, including Mountain Boy Bait and Tackle and Teensy Weenie Bikini. Rosseau is a tourist area, with many people visiting in the summer months to enjoy the scenery, shop for arts and crafts, or stop at the historic buildings. The town also hosts summer farmers markets and the Rosseau Fall Fair in late August, when people from all over Ontario

The End of a Perfect Day

Sitting on the Dock

Over the past few days, we were up in Ontario, Canada visiting Family and venturing out on day trips to capture the spectacular colours of Central Ontario foliage. I think we were about 1 week early, but after hundreds of miles of driving we found the area between Parry Sound and Gravenhurst to be the most vibrant.

This shot was taken after a long first day of exploration. We convinced our gracious Mother to entertain yet another trip to the East shore of Lake Couchiching, just outside of Orillia. We wanted to try some ultra long exposures with our Variable Neutral Density filter to smooth out the lake.

Lake Couchiching, from the Ojibwe gojijiing meaning “inlet”, is a small lake in Central Ontario separated from Lake Simcoe by a narrow channel. The Trent-Severn Waterway enters Lake Simcoe by the Talbot River and exits this lake by the Severn River which empties into Georgian Bay. The lake is 16 km long, slightly less than 5 km wide and fairly shallow with an average depth of six metres. The city of Orillia is located on the narrow channel connecting this lake with Lake Simcoe.

Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching are popular spots for fishing in summer and ice fishing in winter. Canadian Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot paid homage to the lake in the song Couchiching.

A Puck in the Hand

Hockey Night in Canada

This is a Studio shot taken of a Vintage Bruins hockey glove and an NHL puck – funny that the glove is Vintage now…I used it when I played PeeWee Hockey in Canada!

The league was organized on November 22, 1917  in Montreal, Canada, during WW1 after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association (NHA), which had been founded in 1909. It started with four teams and, through a series of expansions, contractions, and relocations, the league is now composed of 30 active franchises.