Connecting the dots in the summer of smoke

Right across Canada, dramatic signs of climate change are casting a pall on the landscape

Connecting the dots in the summer of smokeThe last five summers at Skelhp, on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, have been progressively drier. We’ve had one significant wildfire nearby, in Sechelt Inlet, which wafted ash in a big brown plume over our regional air shed. The smoke from this fire three years ago caused us to close all the windows in the July heat…

Is a run for the presidency in Ronan Farrow’s future?

The author of War on Peace demonstrates the kind of qualities that suggest a political career in the making

Is a run for the presidency in Ronan Farrow’s future?War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (2018) by Ronan Farrow is a prescient work in the sense that it was five years in the writing, predating the diplomatic idiocy of U.S. President Donald Trump by a good three years. Its opening chapters detail the initial steps to weaponize the…

‘There’s a bat in the house!’

Falling asleep with bat gear ready, you don't know what to expect. You just have that Boy Scout sense that you’re prepared

‘There’s a bat in the house!’“There’s a bat in the house!” shouted our daughter, fresh off the plane from London, just as she was preparing for a restful night in her parents’ country house. My wife and I were prepared, to tell the truth. The previous night we had heard the telltale swish of batwings in our bedroom and in…

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning ship

After more than a little high-seas misadventure, the Frankie finally proves seaworthy – and sanitary

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning shipBack in 2012, we had a dreamboat, an 18-foot Hourston Glascraft. It was brand-new, had a magnificent 150-horsepower Yamaha four-stroke outboard, and quickly became the envy of the Skelhp government wharf. We paid monthly wharfage dues all summer and used it to fish and cruise. We christened her the Francine, after my then 90-year-old Mom.…

The heavy footprint of climate change can be seen everywhere

I've been alive to observations and anecdotes of climate change for years. I now have hundreds of them stored in my memory

The heavy footprint of climate change can be seen everywhereImagine drilling into the accumulated layers of ice on Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada at 5,959 metres in Yukon’s Saint Elias Mountains, to extract ice-cores for scientific study. Dr. Gerald Holdsworth, expeditionary climber and climate scientist at the University of Calgary’s Arctic Institute of North America had been doing it for years when…

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic genius

And a full dose of air-conditioned museum comfort certainly doesn't hurt the appreciation of Picasso

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic geniusLast week, thousands of Montrealers began to experience what I expect will gradually become a new phenomenon in global art gallery visitation – viewing art to get out of the heat. The heat wave (CBC news referred to it as “a heat event”) really descended on the city on the previous weekend, with Saturday’s temperatures…

Keeping a father and son tradition afloat

Putting the Frankie back in the water signals the coming of summer adventures. But first we must perform the ritual launch dance

Keeping a father and son tradition afloatThe day we put the Frankie back in the water and moor her at the community marina is a day of ritual celebration at our house. The day symbolizes a return to some of our family’s favourite activities – cruising in the local waters of the Salish Sea, fishing for wild salmon, and swimming in…

Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn place

Forty years ago, it was a deserted ground, tinged in sadness. Today, the region is enriched with spirit and purpose

Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn placeForty years ago, in 1978, my wife and I agreed to cap our first year of marriage with an adventure. We decided to follow in the paddle-strokes of good friends who had just kayaked to what was then called the South Moresby archipelago of the Queen Charlotte Islands. We chose the first two weeks of…