Sunday, July 16, 2017

Canada's Four Corners

In perusing my 'suggestion file' for potential writings, I found an article forwarded to me by my son. In reference to my blog Five Basic Senses ~ Part 3: TOUCH written June, 2014, I commented on visiting The Four Corners in United States on my return drive home from California. They were the States of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico...the borders of these four states TOUCH! Most of this region belongs to Native American nations. A most fascinating place to visit: state flags blowing in the can place both hands and both feet to 'touch' these four states...with native arts and crafts and food available to view and/or purchase.
My son discovered our Four Corners from a map observation.
However, this destination is not really approachable...too much wilderness!
But it's a great suggestion for someone to develop...with a few million dollars.

The Four Corners of Canadian political subdivisions hypothetically meet at a point near 60 degrees N 102 degrees W. These are the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the Territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The Four Corners are located between Kasba Lake to the north and Hasbala Lake to the south at a place which, according to the Canadian Tourism Development Corporation is “extremely remote and inaccessible.” It is located by an area of marginal taiga forest, the only place in Nunavut which is not Arctic tundra or ice cap. It is in remote northern wilderness...hundreds of kilometres from any road or railway. The site can be accessed from neaby Kasba Lake Airport/WaterAerodrome. Alternatively, it is possible to fly from Points North Landing near Wollaston Lake to Hasbala Lake.

The intersection of the boundaries of Manitoba and Saskatchewan with NWT is marked by a metre-high aluminium obelisk inscribed to say it was erected in1962. At that time Nunavut was part of the Northwest Territories. On the top there is a disc warning of:
five years imprisonment for removing or destroying the monument.
About 8,000 other such monuments are used to mark borders aound Canada.

The establishment of Nunavut in 1999 led to the creation of Canada's only “Four Corners” at this same place. In the legal definition of Nunavut, its border is specified as “Commencing at the intersection of 60 degrees 00N latitude with 102degrees 00W longitude,being the intersection of the Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan borders.
To ascertain whether the four areas meet at a quadripoint,
surveys began in2011.
(Notation: This page was last modified on 4 October2013)

If interested in checking the website you will find 5 informative boxes:
A map highlighting the corners of the 4 Canadian provinces and territories which theoretically meet.
The obelisk as seen from the Manitoba (southeast) side, with a survey tower in the Territories.
The disk on top of the obelisk.
NASA map showing Kasba Lake and the 4 corners.

See also: Geography of Canada...List of regions of Canada...
Four Corners Monument, a surveyed quadripoint in the United States.

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled from article June 28, 2017

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Painting Canada

Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven

In the early decades of the 20th century, circumstances brought together
several artists who explored and fell in love with various Canadian landscapes.
They agreed that the country's magnificent wilderness regions
needed to be recorded in a painting style that captured an untouched beauty
of the landscapes that inspired them.
Tom Thomson's paintings...The West Wind and The Jack Pine are 2 of the Group's most iconic pieces.
A large collection of the work from The Group of Seven can be found at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto...the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa...the Ottawa Art Gallery...and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.
A. Y. Jackson's Red Maple (1914) was painted in Algonquin Park.
The artists of this group travelled throughout Ontario...from the southern wilderness areas to those of Lake Superior...and further north into the Arctic searching to brush-record Canada's beauty.

Wild Women Painters of the Wilderness”: Linda Sorensen, residing in the Madawaska Valley (in the Ottawa area), the daugher of a long-time friend, attended Lord Nelson High School in Burlington and was fortunate in having Robert Bateman as her Art teacher. Today she is a painter of recognition, who with a couple other artists in her locale, travel to Algonquin Park and by canoe, search locations to 'wilderness-paint'! This past year they published a wonderful table-top book displaying their work.
Linda comments: It is my aspiration to convey my vision of our natural world
and its beauty...and in doing so, to inspire humanity to respect nature
and be stewards of our wilderness and wildlife habitat.

Robert Bateman: Born in Toronto and residing in Burlington several years, he is a highly recognized Canadian Wildlife artist of birds, animals and their woodland habitats who states, “Nature is an infinite source of reason, inspiration and environment. Enchanted by the natural world around me, my sensibilities extend beyond a passion for conservation.
(As the writer of this article, I am so fortunate to have a couple sizeable
numbered prints of his of wolves and the other an eagle;
in addition...several small framed prints hang in my bedroom.)

From Sea to See: Celebrating 150 Years with 150 Works of Art.
Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, teaches art at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Weekly, in The Hamilton Spectator, she publishes articles of interest. To celebrate Canada's 150 birthday, she wrote and displayed colour renditions of Canadian artists, whose works are presented currently at Gallery on the Bay...located at 231 Bay Street, N. In Hamilton.
The exhibition comprises 150 paintings, prints, sculptures and textiles
by 25 artists celebrating Canada. The landscapes are complemented by images
of human figures, animals and birds.
In addition to works by their current stable of artists, they invited three others who paint the Yukon, Nunavut and The Northwest Territories. Four colour pictures appeared in The Spec's June 30, issue.
Fiona Ellis, one of the invited artists offers drama and colour in
McKenzie Mountain Barrens, Nunavut”
We find ourselves in an uninhabited tundra landscape that moves upward along a narrow river, painted white with occasional blue and mauve dabs. Diagonal streaks of mostly mauve and yellow add a strong sense of mood and movement to the sinuous hills.
Michael Dobson's Double Harvest
paints Alberta as a sunny and spacious place. He divides his composition into two almost equal parts, placing low-lying farmland under a big blue sky.
Jody Joseph took to the streets of Dundas in a series of house paintings.
Each home flew its own flag, but there was a statement of unity, pride, allegiance
and identity that related them to one another.
The home illustrated was a two-storey white stucco of heritage era.
(Each of the foregoing paintings was titled with a phrase from our national anthem.)

The fourth illustration published was a Woodland Buffalo designed silk scarf
by Angela DeMontigny...a well-known native Canadian designer
who grew up in Vancouver and now lives in Hamilton.
The skull of a buffalo, centred on the scarf reflects the importance of the buffalo
to the plains nations. Woodland flowers embellish the skull
and eagle feathers encircling it refer to the artist's Cree/Metis heritage.

From Coast to Coast to Coast
Last evening CBC had a wonderful musical presentation from Canada's provinces and territories...each honouring Canada Day. I was impressed with all...especially from Nunavut. What a delight it was, ending the day, uniting the peoples of our vast nation...“our home and native land”!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written July 2, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

As with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birth Days, Christmas and other event days,
we should celebrate Our Canada every day of the year!

For years I have supported two charities...
one of which is The Canadian Wildlife Federation.
The info they send me is amazing ~ plus a calender of wildlife photos.
This calendar I daily view, as it is my 'date/data organizer' which sits atop my desk printer.
Today I received by invitation to enjoy Canada's nature every day.

Oh, Canada! 150 years young. The true north, strong and free. As Canadians it's time to express our true patriot love with a celebration worthy of this great land. At the Canadian Wildlife Federation, it's in our nature to celebrate the awe-inspiring wildlife that people around the world associate with Canada. And so, in the spirit of Canada Day celebrations coast to coast, we've got some great ways you can join us as we inspire Canadians to #ConserveTheWonder for the next 150 years.

Bioblitz Canada 150: Join CWF and partners at one of our Bioblitz Canada events...a series of FREE outdoor initiatives that let you contribute to real science. Get outside, get dirty and have fun!
Find a blitz near you.
Limited Edition Canada Day Adopt-an-Animal: Take an active role in conservation with this program, the newest edition, “The Painted Turtle.” Buy a limited edition Canada Day adorable plush animal with a Canada scarf...and your purchase will directly impact CWF's species at risk program.
150 Ways Wildlife Celebrates Canada: How has Canadian wildlife inspired the world? Find out in our list of 150 fun and unique ways wildlife has been celebrated by Canadians. What do you think made the list? Browse the List.

Hinterland Who's Who: In honour of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, HWW has released special videos highlighting the importance of Canada's most iconic wildlife species and celebrating the heritage of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Check out our latest video ~ the Right Whale!
Watch the video.

From all of us to all of you, a very happy Canada Day. We hope, no matter how you chose to celebrate today, you take a moment to appreciate the natural wonders that make Canada, well, Canada!”Yours in 'conservation'...Rick Bates,
CEO and Executive Vice-President.

Party on Canada...Party On!
(The Spectator's John Roe)

The time is July 1, 2017, all day and night.
The place is wherever you are in Canada.
From Vancouver Baffin Prince Edward Island...and every city, town, village, farm, forest, farm, forest or lake in between, if you're here, you're in.
From sea to sea, everyone's welcome.
Citizens, landed immigrants, refugees and visitors lucky enough to be here
at this moment ~ or young if you consider our glowing future.
The men, women and children who welcomed the creation of the Dominion of Canada ~ as it was then known ~ on that momentous July 1, 1867, could have never predicted how big and wonderfully that child of a nation would grow. That Canada, with a population of just 3.4 million included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the southern portions of today's Quebec and Ontario. (In the next 50 years, the new country expanded and grew to the north and west.)
Railways were built to the Pacific Ocean, crossing prairies and mountains.
New cities rose up. Newcomers streamed in.
In the 50 years after that, Canada fought two world wars, suffered through and overcame the Great Depression, experienced a population surge with the baby-boom-generation and watched its economy boom too. More newcomers arrived. In 1965, we started flying our own Maple Leaf flag.

By July 1, 1967, the population had hit 20 million and jubilant Canadians partied heartily in our Centennial Year. But more changes were coming. Official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, open doors to newcomers from around the world, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the patriation of our Constitution. These were the major accomplishments of the late 60's, 70's and 80's.

At the top of the list is Canada's First Nations who have too long endured racism, inequality, poverty and what, at times, amount to Third World living standards. Canadians are sincerely trying to set things right with Indigenous People...and even at 150, Canada is not a finished product.
Whatever our regrets, we have much to be proud of!
This country is the greatest gift any of us could receive.

Suffering from Aggressive Violence to Canada's Freedom and Opportunity
Photographer, Cathie Coward, has been documenting citizenship ceremonies in Hamilton since the beginning of the year ~ and was deeply moved by each one. “ Our newest citizens come from around the world ~ from Lebanon and China to Yemen, England, Trinidad and beyond.”

Portraits of New Canadians: Her portfolio of colour photos in The Hamilton Spectator's Friday issue (many of them) mirror the happy and proud faces of children dressed in their finest wear...teens sharing joys with other teens...mothers and tots...husbands and wives. The photo capturing my attention was of Roy Ifeanyi Ayeh's pride as he patriotically sings the Canadian national anthem for the first time as a Canadian citizen in June (without any reference to the words of Oh Canada on paper). With flag clasped in hand and right hand on his chest, he was dressed in a suit with purple shirt and tie.

Cathie comments, “All of these families and individuals are brave risk-takers. Each time, it reminds me how lucky I am to have been born into a country where we share much freedom and opportunity.”

Cathie, my cudos to you for your heart-warming photographs
and sentiments of our new citizens.
Most immigrants here consider Canada...a safe harbour
for themselves and their children's future.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...July 1, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada's 150th Anniversary

1967: Still a Memorable Year! And Always Will Be!
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition (Expo 67) was a genenral exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair in the 20th century...with attendance and 62 nations participating.
'Expo 67' was Canada's main celebration during its Centennial Year!

Location: Ile Sainte-Helene, a park in the center of the St. Lawrence River, linked to Montreal by the Jacques Cartier Bridge would be expanded by land reclamation techniques using silt and rock dredged from the bottom of the river. In addition, a new island, Ile Notre Dame, would be created adjoining the Ile Sainte-Helene and along the St. Lawrence Seaway. The cost of building the site rose from the original estimate of $10 million to $40 million (cost absorbed by the city of Montreal).

My husband and I (with a stroller for our little boy) attended this historical event ~ we were totally enthralled with the represented nations and their displays...with new technology for Canada's future...with the entertainment...and the scenically geographic setting along the St. Lawrence River.
December, 1967 was also my sister's wedding...a snowy day in Toronto.

The Burlington Post, a few weeks ago published a remarkable, several-sectioned issue
about Canada's 150th Anniversary.
The colour photos and accompanying transcripts 'tell it all' in detail.
For your reading interest, are excerpts from this publication.

A Confederation Celebration
Saturday, July 1 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Canada (or what would become Canada) had a population that exceeded 3 million with almost 80% living in present day Ontario and Quebec. While other cities were growing in size, the majority of soon-to-be-Canadian residents lived in rural areas of Upper and Lower Canada. Politicians such as John A. MacDonald, George Brown and George Etienne Cartier were trying to govern despite political deadlocks. When the Maritime Provinces began to discuss creating their own union, these politicians proposed the idea of a larger union of all of the British North American Colonies. In 1867 the Dominion of Canada was created.
Sir John A. MacDonald, truly a founding father,
instrumental in the politics of Upper and Lower Canada,
also brought British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories
into the Canadian Federation.

Celebrating Halton Region (an icon among Ontario's other regions): Did you know that this region is actually named after a person who was here 2 centuries ago when the municipality first took shape? William Halton remained a mystery for decades...until a local historian uncovered the 'story behind the man'. Although there are half a million people living in Halton, few people realize the origin of “Halton Region”. (Even the Halton family in England didn't know there was a place named after one of their ancestors.)

Halton Region Conservation Authority was formed in1963 and was the amalgamation of Sixteen Mile Creek and Twleve Mile Conservation Authorities. The name was changed to Conservation Halton in 2000...which now owns and manages 7 diverse parks within Halton Region.
Rattlesnake Point features 5 lookouts on the Niagara Escarpment...hiking trails...rock climbing cliffs.
Crawford Lake is a 232-hectare area featuring a 15th century reconstructed Iroquoian Village and heritage site, the lake surounded by a boardwalk trail...the Nassagaweya Canyon Interpretive Lookout and 19 km of hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails connecting to the Bruce Trail.
Hilton Falls is the region's largest conservation area with 16 km of trails. It pictures a 10-m waterfall and historic mill (near Campbellville and Hwy. 401).
Kelso Conservation Area is a year-round hub of activity: dip and/or fish at Kelso Lake...downhill ski or snowboard at Glen Eden; trails for mountain bikers...rental of kayaks, paddle boats and canoes.
Robert Edmondson Park is a secluded area of trails, wetlands and protected woods, plus fishing.
Mountsberg is a bird-watcher's paradise and wildlife enthusiast's dream; horse-drawn wagon rides, 16 km of trails, a bison herd, a sugar bush and birds of prey.
Mount Nemo's crown jewel is the unparalleled view of rolling countryside as well as Lake Ontario and Toronto's CN tower on a clear day. Surrounded in extensive forest cover, Mount Nemo offers one of the best 'cliff-edge' ecosystems in the province and a 5 km trail.
(Unknown to me: the Conservation Authority acquired properties
on the Burlington Beach Strip in 1977 to initiate the Lake Ontario Waterfront program.
Approval of master plans for Burloak, Burlington Beach and Bronte Harbour
waterfront parks was given in 1987.)

Paletta Mansion ~ A Beautiful Historic Lakefront Landmark along Lakeshore Road in Burlington features an 11,000 square-foot mansion. Ideally situated amidst 14 natural acres and formal gardens, the estate's mansion, along with its carefully crafted gatehouse, children's dollhouse and one of the last stables in urban Burlington are all offset by a stunning viewof Lake Ontario
In 1809, the British Crown, under King George III,
granted Lot 8 ~ Concession 4 South of Dundas Street to Laura Secord
who was later to distinguish herself as a heroine in the events of
The Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812.
Athough Laura Secord and her family did not settle in Nelson Township, they conveyed the lot to settler John Baupre in1810. Over the next 100 years, the property underwent a series of land transactions, passing through approximately 15 different families. In 1912, the property was purchased by William Delos Flatt and Cyrus Albert Birge who allowed the site to be used as a park by local residents for leisure pursuits such as swimming, boating and fishing...while the rest of the property continued in use as a tender fruit farm. Finally in 1930, Edythe Merriam MacKay, daughter of the renowned industrialist and founding director of the Canadian Steel Company, Cyrus Albert Birge built the mansion which was a consuming passion for Edythe MacKay.
Today, the estate is home to weddings, corporate and social events year round.

Burlington, Ontario offers several Points of Interest...many Historical!
Famous French explorer, Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle first landed where La Salle Park is today, in 1669. But it wasn't until the late 1700's when settlers arrived in the area...most prominently, Captain Joseph Brant (Chief of the Six Nations) who was granted a large land tract in recognition of fighting on the side of the British in the US War of Independence. However, the many natural advantages of the area first attracted...aboriginal people long before that.
(Burlington has a long history...into which you can delve at a later time.)

Throughout Halton Region, there are numerous specialized events honouring Canada's Celebrations.
With Pride, Raise your Canadian Maple Leaf flag!

Canada in the a World to Celebrate!

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...June 11, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tragic Falls in Hamilton's 'City of Waterfalls' ~ Part 2

Further to the foregoing in Part 1, Matthew Van Dongen continues
about Waterfall Safety.

“ The city-built stairs leading down toward the base of Albion Falls look inviting ~ which makes the city-posted warning signs all the more incongruous. Danger keep out, steep drop, screams a sign beside the concrete steps in red capital letters. Use at own risk, warns another. The biggest sign spells it out ~ further: The city does not maintain this stairway and does not recommend its use.
Yet, hundreds of visitors walk the stairs every sunny summer weekend
on the way to a series of unsigned and unofficial trails
leading down 18 metres to the base of one of the city's most popular waterfalls.
“The city officially urges visitors to enjoy Albion Falls from two designated viewing platforms and to stick to 'marked trails,' mostly those following the rim of the gorge,” said Parks Manager, Kara Bunn.

The 22-year-old man who was badly hurt last February after slipping on an icy patch and sliding into the gorge said, “In my opinion, the city put the stairs there...
they should either take care of it or get rid of it.”

Being the proud Canadian I am, living in the scenic environment
of the Niagara Escarpment, I address the foregoing issues:
Why, Again and Again, Do People Ignore the Risk of Disaster or Minor Crimes?
At a potential major earthquake warning, several people and families refused to leave ~ they simply boarded up their windows and doors, ignoring the warning, believing they could outlive the storm. Then, due to excessive water, more and more rain and violent strong winds, they needed to be rescued.

When the road is clear with an open lane ahead, dare-devils speed for the fun of it, regardless of posted speed limits, They risk not being caught and enthrall in the thrill of passing in-and-out of busy lanes.

When in need of something...and unwilling to pay...a person risks thievery...and when he/she succeeds, exclaims...”AH! Success!” and continues to do it again and again...simply for the thrill of it!

A Possible Solution (?)
The Horseshoe Falls at Niagara is the most powerful waterfall in North America!
A man, who recently went over these falls with only the clothing on his back and survived, will be charged with 'illegally performing a stunt,' Park police stated. Another man, Kirk Jones (40) of Canton, Michigan, is the first person to have plunged over the Horseshoe Falls without safety harness devices and lived. He could be charged $10,000! It is now a crime to the 'stunting without a licence' and the fine is currently at $10,000. However, this has not prevented people from trying.
An unsanctioned stunt at Niagara Falls can result in a fine up to $10,000.

You may ask about Nik Wallenda, an American acrobat, aerialist and dare-devil who was the first person to walk a tight-rope directly over the Horseshoe Falls on June 15, 2012. After a 2-year battle that involved both sides of the Canada-United States border to gain the approval, Wallenden crossed the Horseshoe Falls one foggy evening, battling the massive spray...on a live ABC Special, watched by millions around the world. For the walk, he was required to wear a safety harness for the first time in his life! Winds are very tricky in and around this section of the Niagara River's two waterfalls and the fast-flowing river rapids.
May I suggest to the “Powers-that-be” they consider a regulation
to more tightly control our waterfall dare-devils who consistently ignore
the danger signs to fulfill their personal ambition?
Dare-devils Revel in the Risk!
A fine should be levied should any risk their adventure without permission!
And place a Sign Warning with this message at all waterfall sites!

If you're gonna dine with the cannibals,
sooner or later, you're gonna get eaten!
(Nick Cass)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written June 15, 2017

ADDENDUM to the foregoing!

Daredevil Hangs by Teeth from Chopper over Falls...performed Thursday morning, June 15, 2017
A trapeze artist, carried by a helicopter, stunned people on both sides of the Canada-United States border...craning their necks to catch a glimpse of Erendira Vasquez Wallenda perform a series of movements on a hoop suspended from the chopper...including hanging from her knees and toes...and twice by her teeth. Wallenda (36) performed her feat five years after her stunt-man husband, Nik Wallenda, walked 550 metres on a tightrope from the American side of the falls to the Canadian side.

Tethered to a safety harness as legally required, Erendira said the wind above the falls was far more fierce than she had expected, prompting the pilot to nose the chopper a little higher. As someone who has performed since she was 5 years old, she said she was not nervous. “If a guy can do it, a girl can do it too,” she said. “We just do it with a little more grace.” Wallenda spent about 8 minutes of her 10 minute stunt hovering over the falls. “The falls, that have attracted and inspired daredevils for generations, has a certain mystical pull...there's something almost magical that draws you to it.”

From the Joy and Another Tragedy: On August 13, 2004, Kirk Jones, as mentioned above, stood at Terrapin Point on the American side of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls State Park, New York, prior to his plunge over the Horseshoe Falls without protection...and has now died (June 2, 2017), after he has gone over again. Police stated that the 53-year-old was found in the Niagara River by the US Coast Guard near Youngstown, New York, where the Niagara River feeds into Lake Ontario. It is thought he had plunged over the American a 3-metre ball.
Investigators believe Jones had attempted on April 19, 2007 to go over the falls
inside a 3-metre ball. (The empty ball was recovered by the Maid of the Mist Tour Boat.)

Resulting from his previous escapade in 2004, a Canadian court fined Jones $2,260 and banned him from the park for a year. After his court appearance, he said, “Depression had led me to climb down an embankment and float feet-first over the Horseshoe Falls, but all my problems were left at the bottom of the gorge.” He descibed the water like an ice-bath and “the pressure was so great, I thought it would rip the head from my body”
Terrapin Point (formerly Terrapin Rocks) is an observation area
at the north-western corner of Goat Island, next to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
It was off Terrapin Point that Nik Wallenda began his historic highwire walk
across Canada's Horseshoe Falls.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tragic Falls in 'City of Waterfalls'

The City of Hamilton, in Ontario, Canada
is home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades...most of which are on or near
The Bruce Trail as it winds through the Niagara Escarpment.
Ontario's internationally recognized Niagara Escarpment provides
perfect geological conditions for waterfalls to occur from Tobermory to Niagara Falls.

The most scenic waterfall in Hamilton is Webster's Falls. With its 30 metre (98 ft.) crest it is the largest waterfall within the city. Tew's Falls is a 41 metre (135 ft.) ribbon waterfall...and is the tallest waterfall found in the Hamilton region. Today, Hamilton is literally captioned as:
The City of Waterfalls”...or sometimes “Waterfall Capital of the World”

Last summer, (2016) bus excursions were available to the public and tourists to visit a number of these waterfalls. The most popular are Webster's Falls, The Devil's Punchbowl, Chedoke Falls, Albion Falls, Tiffany Falls and Tew's Falls. Already, the 2017 season has begun.

More Visitors ~ More Tragic Falls
A large colour photo shows a man peering over the edge of Albion Falls...a day after a visitor to the east mountain park died. Two others were rescued after falling down. Risky behaviour is highly discouraged by public officials Another photo shows a young woman who has climbed ledge by ledge and standing in the waters tumbling over the rocks. The following are possible solutions the city is considering: More signs warning visitors of steep drops...use stairways at your own councilor suggested multi-lingual signs and possibly hand-out pamphlets...$35 fines for illegal roadside parking...possibly more fencing...rescue fees.

Firefighters Save Woman at Albion Falls Rope Rescue
Emergency crews were called to their first 'rope rescue' of the spring on a Saturday afternoon...another woman fell at Albion Falls...falling about 3 to 4 metres just before 2 pm. Crews transported her out on a backboard and then transported her to hospital.
Rope Rescues spiked at Hamilton's waterfalls last year.
Emergency crews performed 25 'rope rescues' at city waterfalls in 2016
(the largest number in 7 years...and it appears this problem will appear again in 2017).”

Despite signs of Danger at all Hamilton's waterfalls, there are risk-takers who ignore the signage at these falls and of nearby trails...or create their own paths which land them in difficulties and need HELP! Will this year be a replica of what occurred last year such as: Man killed at Albion Falls while taking photograph. (he was a Toronto-based photographer)? 16th rope-rescue came from Tew's Falls, Saturday. (Officials are struggling to keep the escarpment pristine and safe for hikers.)
Rope Rescues conducted at Tew's Falls and Webster's Falls
are the most common...followed by The Devil's Punchbowl and Albion Falls.
Tree branch saves man who fell at Tew's Falls...Crews rescue woman who tumbled 25 metres at Tew's Falls...Man dead after falling over waterfall, Sunday, July 17, June, a 25-year-old man from Toronto. Ontario died falling into The Devil's Punchbowl...In February, 21-year-old Corey Dixon was with friends at the falls when he slipped on ice and fell 12 metres breaking his back and several bones. Shortly after the accident, Dixon urged city official to consider 'better fencing' around the falls.
(So, his statement implies there was fencing...and he ignored it!

Woman Who Died at Mount Nemo Was Hiking Unmarked Trail
(Although not in Hamilton, this occurred only a few weeks ago in North Burlington.)
A Toronto-area woman who died at Mount Nemo after plunging off a cliff had been hiking on an unmarked trail on private property. Administration Officer, Ken Phillips said, “It highlights the dangers of going off trails marked by Conservation Halton ~ which manages the Mount Nemo and other conservation areas such as Rattlesnake Point and Kelso. There's clear signage as you enter all our parks to always stay on a marked trail.” Mount Nemo is a 169 hectare park near Guelph Line. The 42-year-old North York woman was out hiking with some friends late Sunday afternoon in the park, long after closing time. This area is also Escarpment Country!


Tragic Falls ~ Risky Behaviour!
When reading media captions: Fire Forces Evacuation...Crash Forces Evacuation...Gun Violence in School Forces Evacuation...we become alarmed; however, a recent local caption is becoming habitual...and creates a severe problem. As suggested in The Spectator's recent article by Matt Vandongen, he states, re Signs about 'steep drops' (referring to Albion Falls and other waterfall sites) that perhaps 'shock signs' should be installed listing the number of falling deaths.

I comment that MORE SIGNAGE IS NOT THE SOLUTION! Like sending an unruly child to his room or to stand in the corner, time and time and time again, which does not produce the needed effect...thus, a different game-change to the rope-rescue dilemma, is additional signage will also be ignored! It is obvious that present danger signs have no impact whatsoever on risk-takers because they consider themselves to be invincible! Petty crimes such as road work signs, stop signs at intersections, speed limits, thefts, underwater currents, distracted driving devices, roads closed...any kind of risky behaviour presents ideal opportunity to challenge themselves...regardless of 'notices'. The photos posted in The Spec of the recent 3-person incident at Albion Falls (where 1 died and 2 injured requiring 'rope rescue' ) will not deter these risk-takers. Their concept is, “It'll never happen to me!” And the opportunity to challenge themselves and where success is absolutely foremost in their minds ~ they are totally unconcerned about the dangers at risk.

Re Proposed Fencing: One time when taking visitors to Tew's Falls in Greensville, although there was obvious danger signage and a spacious viewing platform, I noticed an adult male stepping over the fencing to stand at the precipice of the highest 'ribbon waterfall' in the region; at 41 metres high, it falls into the deep gorge of Dundas Valley. So, fencing is not much of a deterrent!

Re: Rescue Fees: I believe these are mandatory for those who determinedly bypass the signs attempting to climb-up or climb-down to rocky them it's an enticement risk! And no one will deter them! Yes, I believe that rescue personnel are needed for hikers who are lost...for injuries incurred, etc.
But, persons who ignore and willfully place themselves in danger, should PAY for the necessary rescues by our skilled firemen, our skilled police, for medical attention...and ambulance if needed.

Re Towing: A good move for those drivers who park in unsolicited areas, thus blocking emergency vehicles and personnel to aid a fallen victim. Said vehicles to be ticketed and possibly towed away and the driver must pay to redeem his vehicle. Parking fees on weekend visits do control vehicular traffic to a couple of these waterfall sites.

I do have a viable positive solution to this dilemma!
Kindly read the next posting of Tragic Falls in Hamilton's “City of Waterfalls” ~ Part 2

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...June 14, 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fathers Who Care!

Every day is Father's Day...akin to Mother's Day!

If I had my child to raise over again,
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watc with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious...and seriously play.
I would run through some fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree and acorn more often.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love power...and more about the Power of Love.
(Author Unknown)

A little boy in one of my grade classes, told me about his skate board that needed repair. He took it to his father, asking him to fix it. Realizing that Pops himself could easily do this for his son, seized the opportunity to instruct his son how to repair it...creating a bonding experience for both father and son!

The Cost of Kids Causes Consternation!
(Excerpts from a writing by Paul Benedetti, a frequent contributing author
and journalist to The Hamilton Spectator)
Recently we engaged some young men to wash the windows at our house. Now, you might reasonably ask, “Why don't you wash your own windows?”Actually, I have occasionally, I mean at least once in the last 4 or perhaps it's eight years. When my wife exhorts me to clean them, I counter with, “Isn't that what rain is for?” This is the same theory that many young men employ for never cleaning the shower. “It's filled with water and soap all day. It must be clean,” they say, and we all know how that turns out! Actually, I don't mind cleaning windows at ground level, but I'm not so good at high windows. Being up high is fine. It's the falling down I mind. Hence, the reason we brought in the young men from a company we'll call University Amateur Window Cleaning. My wife overheard them chatting about having children. One of the guys ~ they were all about 18 or 19 ~ said he had read that raising kids was expensive“They cost about $250,000 each! And that's before the post-secondary education,” he told his incredulous pals.

I'm sure most kids don't give a thought to how much money they cost, until they start, you know, working for money. Then you can see the little wheels turning in their teenage heads. “At $12 an hour, I'd have to work...TEN YEARS straight to pay for myself!!!” My wife went out to talk with them. “Having children isn't a financial decision. We had three kids without worrying about that,” she said cheerily. Having kids is a big life choice, but it's not the, money,” she said...and started singing...”Ain't about the uh cha-ching cha-ching, aint' about the yeah, b-bling,b-bling.” At about this point, a couple boys dropped their squeegees, so I quickly guided her back into the house.

Thinking about their conversation, I some time every parent lies in bed worrying about decades of work...their RRSP's (too low)...their debt (too high) and wonders, “Man, where DID all that money go?” I can tell you where it ballet and piano lessons and painting karate and childcare and hair care...and during the teenage years: FOOD! If I had just what we spent on milk and Cheerios, I'd be red-hot on the beach in Jamaica instead of being in my backyard eating Red Hots.
People often ask me,”What's the best thing about parenting?” “Conception,” I say!
If you decide to be a parent, and God or life or fate favours you with children, then you are lucky indeed! And if you have enough money for food and a home and your kids are loved and safe, then that's what really matters. When I was young, someone told me that being a good father was the most important thing I would ever do in my life. At the time, I didn't really believe them. But I do now!
And there's no price tag on that!

For Gloria, the Fatherless Girl We Left Behind
(Excerpts from Thomas Froese's article about fatherhood, travel and life)
She's the Ugandan girl who we left behind in a part of the world where, this weekend, there is no Father's Day. And even if there was, this girl, our friend has no father to honour on it. So while it's only suitable that so many fathers and children be given one day a year to consider how inadequate we all are with this business of honouring each other, this is about a fatherless girl on just another fatherless day. Her name is Gloria. My family met her one typical African day after clothes mysteriously began vanishing from our backyard clothesline: my wife's shirts, my girl's swimsuits, my boy's underwear...gone! One day we met when more clothing was disappearing...she ran and ran until I caught her. Soon after, we visited her house, really a shack..our.clothes like rags piled in a corner. After that, Gloria gave is a hand-written apology. And the friendship began...especially with my older daughter, Liz. Gloria visited our Ugandan home more often than with her friends. Just before our return to Canada, we ensured sponsorship for her school costs so she has at least half a chance in a world that's so unkind to the fatherless.

Fatherless children, especially girls, struggle with sexuality and body image. Later, they also fall easier into poor relational choices and divorce, fuelling the cycle for their own children. It's all heartache. This is what the social science tells us...unless the pattern is broken.

Gloria's new school is a boarding school. That's common for African children. Even with bare living standards, children can stay focused on their studies. Boarding also gives Gloria at least a measure of safety. We don't know what happened to her father...he may be dead...or he may just be dead to the ways of hope and encouragement that children need. When daily reality doesn't meet the false expectation, like Gloria, they run and run. We especially steered her to some community supports in Uganda when discovering she'd been hiding from some young criminals. Some nights she'd hide in public washrooms. There she is, like some vagabond, lost and homeless and fearful, not unlike anyone outside of Eden, I suppose. Even as I picture Gloria as a girl of honour, the high honour given to any human because of our mere humaneness, created in God's image.
How do the Glorias of the world ...there are so many...give much honour
on any given fatherless day?
What I do know is that to give honour, often enough, is to forgive. Even fathers who don't deserve forgiveness. Especially undeserving fathers. There's an unavoidable difficulty in this.
And beauty. And peace. And freedom.

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled June 17, 2017