I was born near the end of the Second World War in June, 1945. You can do the math. As a baby, I was very young. For the first four years of life I lived with my Mother and Father in Scarborough, Ontario above my Father’s barber shop. Both of my parents passed on many years ago. My Mother lost her physical presence to cancer at age 58 and my Father lost his a few years later at the age of 85 in December, 1977. Their impression remains indelible.
When I was four years old we moved 110 miles north from Toronto to the small, tourist town of Gravenhurst, Ontario in Muskoka. It was here I attended Gravenhurst Public School and subsequently Gravenhurst High School. In my final year of high school I was elected President of the Student Council. As an average student, this would seem unlikely because, although I associated with the popular kids, I was more of a loner. My high school sweetheart was Marylou W. More than five decades later, I remember her fondly. Perhaps she will discover this blog and get in touch one day. I wrote the school’s first student-teacher constitution and authored a monthly newsletter. I was active on the school year-book called, ‘the Tatler’ produced annually on a hand-cranked
mimeograph machine. After completing High School, I left Gravenhurst to attend Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto where I studied Electronic Engineering Technology. My first summer position was in Officer training with the Royal Canadian Military Signal Corp. at Vimy Barracks in Kingston, Ontario. To be honest, at the time, I disliked the experience but, in hindsight, it was one of the most valuable character builders of my life. There are many unique and exciting stories which I still share now. After completing Ryerson in 1968 I arrived in a robust marketplace and was hired by IBM at the very attractive income of $485 per month. My Father was very proud. It was more than he had ever earned in his life and it was an excellent income at that time.
My first career, in Information Systems, spanning 26 years, primarily in banking and insurance, included 12 years of management. The first 7 years were spent with IBM in Toronto and the final 9 years were with Alberta Treasury Branches in Calgary, Alberta. Between those years I was employed by the Toronto and area firms Bank of Nova Scotia, Shaw and Begg Insurance, Commerce Clearing House (CCH) Canada, Willson Office Specialty and B.C. Hydro in Vancouver, B.C.
When I left Alberta Treasury Branches in 1995, my second career began as A Financial Planner with Investors Group. I managed to survive 7 years of commissioned sales but my most significant contribution was the creation and delivery of courses designed to allow new financial services sales representatives to become successful sooner.
I have been married twice and divorced twice. My son, William (Bill) was born in June of 1967, Canada’s Centennial year. We have enjoyed many amazing adventures together and I consider him a great friend as well as my son. Bill and I have struggled through rugged life experiences together and we have battled our way to the summits of many tall mountains throughout British Columbia and Alberta. While each experience is unique, perhaps our crowning glory was crossing the Grand Canyon from South to North in September of 2000 to celebrate the millennium. I am truly blessed to enjoy the uncommon bond we have built together over the decades. When one has been weak, the other has been strong and carried the majority of the burden. We are a symbiotic team of two. In June of 2008, we celebrated his wife’s, Joanne, birthday with a brutal traverse over the summit of Mount Allan in Kananaskis Country in very challenging conditions. It was a huge victory for any person, and particularly for Joanne, who was unaccustomed to that threshold of endeavour. I will always respect her maintenance of relentless, positive attitude. I am always impressed with anyone who fights to succeed in spite of the odds.
From my second marriage I am blessed to have daughters Gloria, born in 1976, and Linda, born in 1978. Gloria and Djamal have 3 children, Billa, Omar and Saphia (born in 2006, 2009 and 2011). Linda and Greg have Michael and Katherine (born in 2001 and 2005) respectively. They do not receive the time and attention they deserve from me, however they are among the great lights I am very fortunate to have in my life. Since 2002 I have lived as a single person and no longer can I imagine compromising my independence. It was a difficult transition to learn to live with myself and several true friends made significant contributions to help me. I remain forever grateful.
Throughout my life, my common threads of creative joy have been writing and photography. I simply try to do my best. I have also enjoyed a life-long passion for the wilderness. Over the years, I believe I have gained knowledge and skill set which may benefit others who have or may embrace the same interest.
This blog is intended to share my passions in life with you. It begins in 2005, which is the year I embraced the digital camera and realized the potential power of digital images. Forty-five years of film photography came to an end. Physical evidence of many of my pre-2005 wilderness experiences have been lost to me through life circumstance. The memories remain.
I hope you enjoy the stories and the images. Please feel free to comment, ask questions or politely challenge the information. I have known for many years learning should not end. It seems the more I learn, the less I know. Happy trails!