More to the Bruce Peninsula than national parks

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My granddaughter, the irrepressible and delightful Asia at her favourite place, the lookout over Georgian Bay from the Niagara Escarpment cliffs, just a short walk from “the family farm” in Hope Ness on the Bruce Trail.

I happened to be in Wiarton twice the day before the start of the Canada Day long holiday weekend, on my trip to and from Owen Sound to run a bunch of errands. Both times the northbound traffic was as heavy as I’ve ever seen it, in 37 years of living on the Bruce Peninsula. Continue reading

My old friend is being reborn

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Mr. Massey before

There’s a mountain of work to do at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness these days: weed between the rows, hill the potatoes, spread straw mulch everywhere possible to hold the moisture in the soil and keep the clay-loam soil from baking to hard-pan in the sun, mow the hay, take the wild barn cat his morning dish of milk, prep the downstairs bedroom for painting . . . on and on it goes.

But I’ve got it down pat now: I take a few minutes in the morning after the indispensable two cups of coffee to write the daily to-do list; and then I proceed to ignore it as I just “keep on keeping on” with one thing at a time, or two or three, until the sun begins to set. And then I think it’s about time to see what’s going on in the world and the blogosphere.

But first, this day I went over to “The Shop” to see how Brent was getting on with the restoration of Mr. Massey, my world-famous, and one-of-a-kind, Massey-Harris 22 tractor.

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A wonderful abundance

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Clouds of Forget-Me-Nots in the Wild Apple Farm woods    Photos by Linda

I don’t recall ever seeing so many of those pretty little flowers known as Forget-Me-Nots, especially in the woods here in Hope Ness. But the “wow” factor was particularly intense at nearby Wild Apple Farm where my friend Linda paused to prepare me for the sight as we were about to enter the virtual wonderland of her trail through the wild-apple woods. Continue reading

Set your vision free

The understanding of who you are is within you.

Trapped inside, often for far too long, that clear vision of one’s true self desperately wants out, so it can be free at last to find its right path to becoming real. But things can get confusing, and we can lose our way.

I am reminded of the bird we saw two summers ago, a frantic little creature that somehow got trapped between two window panes in a second-floor room of this old farmhouse.

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The window where the bird was trapped; and one of Wilma Butchart’s creations

We shared that special moment, didn’t we, my love? It told us something very important. We even knew what it was. But by then I suppose the troubles were already insurmountable.

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Celebrating Canada’s diversity

I suppose one of the advantages of getting to a certain age is the view it offers of how dramatically things have changed, in so many ways. Whatever may be happening elsewhere in the world that is troubling and worrisome, my country, Canada, has changed and is still changing for the better. I will go so far as to say it’s surely one of the more hopeful places in the world; perhaps even the hope of the world.

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Toronto, my home town, is now one of the most multicultural cities in the world

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Living in hope, finding a way

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A lovely old garden shed  on the “to do” list needs some TLC

I live in Hope.

I do that literally, as in I live in Hope Ness. I also live in hope of learning how to tap into the special spirit of Hope Ness so at this late stage in my life I can finally do justice to it, and life.

About time; it’s been 37 years since that wonderful, hopeful moment when I came out of the woods, around a curve in the then still-gravel county road and was stopped in my tracks by a place that called out “home” to me.

There were more twists and turns, more ups and downs over the years; here sometimes, sometimes not. But hope and stubborn perseverance have seen me through, and I’m here to stay for good now in Hope Ness, at the place I have come to call Cathedral Drive Farm, beside the Hope Bay Nature Reserve, the Hope Bay Forest, and Hope Bay itself, of course.

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Saugeen Ojibway Nation land-claim lawsuit at a crucial phase

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In recent years the Bruce Peninsula National Park has become an important international tourist destination, with much of the attention focused on the Grotto, above.

(This update corrects an error in the naming of the two First Nations that comprise the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. It also adds some additional information regarding the status of the case.)

The original version of this blog-post was published in Finding Hope Ness on December 19, 2015. The title then was, Saugeen Ojibway land claim lawsuit may soon be settled, one way or another. At the time there were reasons to think 2018 could be the crucial year for reaching a resolution of the now-almost 25-year-long court action.

But 2018 has come and gone, with no indication to the general public that a negotiated settlement is in the works.

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) took the unusual step in 1994 of filing a lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to settle long-standing land claims, after years of frustrating talks with government officials. Continue reading

An Aboriginal fisherman leaves food for thought

A few weeks ago a well-used pick-up truck pulled into our driveway on the Bruce Peninsula. A man who looked like he might be in his mid-30s got out and said he and his fisherman partner had some freshly caught Georgian Bay fish for sale and did I want some.

They were from nearby Cape Croker, home of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, and they were doing what people from there have been doing for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, trading and bartering the fish they catch, in this case nowadays, for cash. That traditional and vital use of the fishery around what  used to be called the Saugeen Peninsula, for food and trade, was recognized and re-affirmed by an Ontario court decision in 1993, that ruled First Nation people in this area were entitled to “priority” use of the fishery in local waters.

At the time most large-scale commercial fishers in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay waters in this area were non-Aboriginal. That court decision began a process of change, leading to the predominantly First Nation fishery that exists today. But the initial reaction of many people in the local non-Aboriginal community was angry and confrontational.

For a while downtown Owen Sound was not a friendly or even safe place for First Nation people to be. One night two young men from Cape Croker were attacked with knives by a group of thugs and badly injured. Continue reading