Life @ North45

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Comments Off on Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

The following is a remarkable Newsletter from Howard Smith, the Managing Director of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary here in Muskoka that we receive periodically. This one grabbed my heart and squeezed until I decided to do something about the aching it produced. Those of you who have followed my ‘stories’ know about our significant attempt to save a loon in distress. That peice is here if you’d like to reacquaint yourself with it. PLEASE, read Howard’s Newsletter below, which he yesterday agreed to let me share with those of you who are either not familiar with the great works of the Sanctuary or who have never donated to their efforts. We do, or would not ask the same of you. ****************** “Happy Holidays, friends of Aspen Valley! All too soon, another successful year of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation has come and gone! In 2017, we at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary were able to care for over six hundred and fifty wild animals in need. Looking back on the year, our hearts are warm with gratitude to YOU, for all of your generous support that makes our work possible on your behalf. The year began busily, with many injured and orphaned animal arrivals in the spring. Our three bear...

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Scavenging for Nautical Treasures Comments Off on Scavenging for Nautical Treasures

Scavenging for Nautical Treasures

There are several people in my life who enjoy confirming, that on occasion, I appear to have too much time on my hands. As expressions go, there is some truth in sarcasm. When it comes to grandchildren however, time takes a back seat: schedules altered, creative juices flow, and the desire to be, and feel like, a child again, can be overwhelming. This past summer during quiet moments alone, thinking about family, an idea was hatched that I knew would take some planning, props and tricky execution. I also knew the grand-kids would love it! We all know about scavenger hunts, but this nautical version took on a life of its own. The plan was to send my two daughters out in our little 12 foot boat (a ten on the back) with the three g-kids on a hunt for buried treasure. Buried that is, under water! Instructions were printed, placed in an envelope and off they went. Presenting itself, was one of the few perfect, sunny, 80 degree weekend days of the entire summer. Sunscreen galore! To be safe, my bride Pammy went with our two sons-in-law in another boat to keep an eye on everyone. A full family affair. I stayed behind to enjoy some peace and...

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The Trek Comments Off on The Trek

The Trek

There are times when I feel compelled to write about a topic, communicating a passion to associates and friends.  This is about one of these proud passions. Our hamlet of Bala, Ontario produces such an amazing spirit. A small community that overcomes significant obstacles, coming together time and time again as a shining example of what can be accomplished as a team, with persistence, creativity, and ingenuity. Once again Bala will provide for others an event for the ages to enjoy. An event known to many as:                                                                          The Trek to Bethlehem.   “When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities.” — Dalai Lama If you have never been to Bala to enjoy ‘The Trek’, you might consider planning now to make time this Saturday to do so. It is not too late, because I for one, think it is one of the most amazing spectacles you will ever attend.  The...

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Muskoka Traditions Comments Off on Muskoka Traditions

Muskoka Traditions

Recently I received a complimentary communication from an old friend.  The gist of it centred on life style and how Muskoka traditions and balance in our lives has had a positive impact on our children and now, our grandchildren. Like many other aspects of life, I am opinionated about traditions. While it is now late fall, memories of this past summer still loudly resonate.  Many of our friends are now experiencing the joys of an expanding family tree, so it is no surprise to my bride of 39 years and me that our three grandchildren now take a form of main stage in most proceedings at the cottage. With two amazing daughters, (yes – and two great sons-in-law), summer 2016 presented us with a magical brood aged 6, 5 and 4.  This was my first summer where all three kids could ‘do stuff’ with Grandad – and we did! Editors note: Now, before I get too deep into this, ‘Gran’ for the most part, is by far the favourite. No surprise.  Selfless, caring, understanding and patient beyond words, Gran is the centre of the universe. In the morning, I am the early riser, 100% of the time.  When the youngsters appear, it’s “Morning Grandad, where’s Gran?”  Too funny.  Leave...

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“There was a time in this fair land….” Comments Off on “There was a time in this fair land….”

“There was a time in this fair land….”

   “when the railroad did not run …” This is a lyric from one of the greatest songs ever written by Gordon Lightfoot: “The Canadian Railroad Trilogy”.  A fitting opening line to this latest note to you all about Life on Bala Bay in Muskoka. This month, we discovered that CN Rail was to do some major rail repair to our ‘Middle Bridge’ right across the bay from us.  So the trains were halted for this repair.  The ‘Trilogy’ came to mind, so the track hit the turntable for a nice loud spin. We have a most fortunate and remarkable view across Bala Bay which looks upon a unique, three quarter mile section of undeveloped land.  Virtually no cottages, no boathouses, no docks.  The reason?  The CN rail line weaves north from Toronto and crosses three bridges that join our Muskoka mainland to two islands: Bala Park and Wanilah.  The line occupies the western half of Bala Park ensuring no cottage development. This ‘middle’ bridge (seen at top of page) is quite famous, as it was historically a ‘swing’ bridge back in the day, that welcomed, and allowed the steamships passage into Bala Bay travelling from Gravenhurst Wharf.  Vessels like Sagamo, Segwun, and Cherokee, adorn posters and old postcards...

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Membership Has Its Rewards Comments Off on Membership Has Its Rewards

Membership Has Its Rewards

The question is: how do we keep fresh, and top of mind, an idea, a concept, a request for action, that many people have tired of, and feel helpless about? I receive all kinds of comments and questions about the efforts that continue to be made on behalf of Saving the Bala Falls. “I thought it was a done deal”. “Not much we can do now is there?” “Tell me Johnny, what’s going on with the Bala Falls?” Think about it: The original proposal to construct a power plant in Muskoka’s hamlet of Bala, dates back to 2005.  With all of the technical issues, the politics, the divisiveness the proposal has caused, it is no wonder that some people wish the controversy would just end. This note today could ramble on and cover forty issues, doing my best, to convince you of the wrongs being committed here in Bala.  For many of you, this would just be a continuation of the complex process, and you might consider stopping your read here.   I won’t, so please don’t. Would it be fair to say that as Canadians, we are not the most activist bunch in the world today?  By FAR, this is the most difficult and multifaceted issue that my...

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