Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 55

Q- What makes exploring such a great way to get outdoors and enjoy what northern Ontario has to offer in your own opinion?

A- The great thing about exploring the north is that everyone you meet has their own special place that they want to share with you. A few years ago, the janitor at my daughter’s school took me out on his ATV to explore the abandoned sites of Silver Centre down in the Lorraine Valley. He knew these places like the back of his hand. I have other friends who tell me I will never see anything as magical as the canoe routes south of Four Bass Lake or over to Lady Evelyn Park. I know people from down south who tell me that the north is all bush, lake and rock. Maybe, but when you live here, you see the endless variety of landscapes in the rugged boreal lands.

Q- You've lived in Cobalt for 30 years. Why do you love it there and what makes it special?

A- When the Group of Seven came north to paint the northern wilderness, a number of them fell in love with the haphazard terrain of Cobalt. At that time, Cobalt, with its shanty shanks built on barren blasted hills, was an active mining town. The mines have been shut down here for a quarter century. As much as I love the landscape, I love the people more. People in mining towns are survivors. They have a fierce sense of identity and look out for each other. I have written a number of books on the intersection of history, memory and cultural identity in northern mining towns. Put simply, I get a great kick out of the people who live here. I love their quirks, their foibles and their never-give-up attitude.