northern Ontario

State of emergency

In early 2013, a state of emergency was announced in the northern municipality I was living in at the time. Heavy rains had caused severe flooding. The Veuve River, which flowed below Main Street, came close to flowing over the bridge rather than under it. This was absolutely amazing in a horrifying way - I don't know how high the water levels rose but they were something to see.

During the night the temperatures dropped well below freezing, causing a thin layer of ice to form on top of the water in areas where it wasn't moving quickly. In the morning, as we ventured out to survey the damage, it looked like hundreds of plastic grocery bags had blown into town and attached themselves to all the vegetation in the area. As we got closer, we realized that each bush and tree had grown an ice skirt overnight. The ice, left behind as the water receded, shows just how much water came and went in a short period of time. 

Goodbye northern Ontario

Living in northern Ontario has been an incredible experience - five years of gentle, quiet living in a region of the country where life thrives in a harsh and challenging environment.

From the very first day, I was charmed by the helpful, genuine and kindhearted folks that welcomed me with open arms into their homes and their lives.  The village where I made my home embodied the heart of the Canadian spirit - a place with a wonderful sense of community, inclusion and a desire and willingness to help out one's neighbours.  I can only hope to live in such a place again!

Sadly, all good things must end. Life takes us in new directions and as one chapter ends, a new one begins.  My next chapter will be as different as can be imagined from the old - big city, throngs of people, traffic jams - the hustle and bustle of life in an urban centre.  But there is much to look forward to as well - new friends, opportunities and experiences.

A big, warm thank you to all the wonderful people that made living in the north such a great experience, especially to the many folks that I didn't get a chance to see before moving away.  You will be greatly missed!

Below are a few images from my time in northern Ontario - a brief glimpse into the events and landscapes of the last five years of my life.