Posted in Book Review

Collaborative Research

In New Glasgow this week, I phoned the library and discovered that they had a copy of The Stone Canoe. It is a collaboration between Elizabeth Paul, Peter Sanger and Alan Syliboy published by Gaspereau Press.

’This is a story about two stories and the authors’ travels through the written record. Peter Sanger uncovered two manuscripts among the Rand holdings at Acadia.’

‘Both are among the earliest examples of indigenous Canadian literature recorded in their original language.

Sanger contributes two essays.
I. Looking for Someone who sees.
II. Riding the Stone Canoe.

Alan Syliboy provided the artwork.

Elizabeth Paul provided the translation. Of course, the book produced by Andrew Steeves is also a work of art. It is an example of the role of the printer in society.

I would heartily recommend two other books by Peter Sanger: White Salt Mountain: Words in Time (2005) and Spar: Words in Place (2002). both published by Gaspereau Press.


The sticker on the cover says ’one of the 150 books of influence’ Libraries150. (


Andrew Steeves for their excellent work at Gaspereau Press. Edward Wedler for his collaborative research. Heather shares the outdoor travel: canoeing and snowshoeing.


Elizabeth Paul, Peter Sanger, Alan Syliboy, 2007, The Stone Canoe: Two lost Mi’kmaq texts, Gaspereau Press.

Peter Sanger, 2005, White Salt Mountain: Words in Time, Gaspereau Press.

Peter Sanger, 2002, Spar: Words in Place, Gaspereau Press.

Posted in biographical sketch, Book Review

Not moles

voles, not moles is the fifth book written by Soren Bondrup-Nielsen and published by Gaspereau Press.

This book is a memoir describing his career conducting biological research in Canada, as well as Northern Europe (Norway, Finland, Poland and Russia). The research subjects included birds and voles.

Perhaps most interesting for me were the end chapters describing his teaching at Acadia University, within the Annapolis Valley landscape.

The Mi’kmaq have a concept called netukulimk, which means to live sustainably by not taking more than you need. Survival is ensured by looking after society and the environment’ p.225.

Western societies today appear to have lost touch with these widespread and ancient human values. Humans now seem to be preoccupied with the individual and with amassing possessions so much so that our sense of community is diminishing. How has that change come about?’ p.226.

We are part of nature, and if nature is not sustainable neither are we. We must learn that wealth cannot be measured only in terms of money.’ p.231

Co-operation for the united benefit of society and the biosphere must be our new mantra.

This morning (Tuesday), I visited Integrity Printing in Bridgetown. They had previously printed the text from my blogs (Volume 1-5). I requested Volume 6 for 2021. Together, this represents over 370 blog entries. While there, I asked Stephen Bezanson If I could photograph a poster on the wall. It is a quotation from Charles Dickens.


Just arrived in New Glasgow. Highway #101 was excellent. Highway #104, over Mount Thom, not so good. down to a single lane.


Integrity Printing for their excellent work. Edward Wedler for his excellent work too. Heather shared the day-to-day events.


Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, 2021, voles, not moles, Gaspereau Press, Kentville.

Charles Dickens, 1850, The Printer.

Posted in biographical sketch

Missed News

On Friday, I stopped at the Lawrencetown library to pick up an inter-library loan, Bewilderment by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers.

While there, I noticed the Annapolis Valley Register, December 16. ( We were away on that date, in Iqaluit). The front-page story was the unveiling of a mural by Alan Syliboy at the Kings County Museum in Kentville. He calls it Little Thunder and the Stone Canoe. The book was published by Gaspereau Press.

Over the weekend, I researched their catalogue and found Peter Sanger, Elizabeth Paul, Alan Syliboy The Stone Canoe: two lost Mi’kmaq texts.

Incidentally, I found two new (to me) publications by Henry David Thoreau, The Library a Wilderness, and Man is Altogether Too Much Insisted Upon.

This weekend, we endured our second major Winter storm. The end result was that we could not obtain the Weekend edition of the Chronicle Herald. Power was returned within hours. Heather, and I could relax and enjoy PBS Maine. Judy Dench in “As Time Goes By”, and John Cleese in “Hold the Sunset”; both suitable for retired husbands.

Edward Wedler reminded me about the success of murals in Chemainus, BC on Vancouver Island. There are community lessons to be learned here. We both recognized the value of the creative rural economy and the importance of place-based engagement.

Finally, a word of thanks to the local libraries for printing out vaccination passports. We were able to add the booster information from the walk-in clinic at the Middleton fire hall. Thanks, Jaki.


Heather shared the snow removal, the reading, and entertainment. Edward made his usual contribution. Jaki Fraser assisted at the Library.


Richard Powers, 2021, Bewilderment, W.W. Norton

Peter Sanger, Elizabeth Paul, Alan Syliboy, 2007, The Stone Canoe: two lost Mi’kmaq texts, Gaspereau Press.

Henry David Thoreau, 2021, Man is Altogether Too Much Insisted Upon, Gaspereau Press.

Henry David Thoreau, 2021, The Library a Wilderness, Gaspereau Press.

Posted in Book Review


Before Christmas, I discovered Ernest Buckler’s book Whirligig in a second-hand bookstore in Annapolis Royal.

From biographer, Claude Bissell:

‘This book will come as a surprise to Buckler readers.’

‘But we must not identify him completely with Ernest Buckler, the writer, who lives in an old farmhouse, on the highway to Annapolis, just outside of Bridgetown.’ p.7.

‘The narrator has less respect for his literary work than Buckler for his; he tends to agree with his neighbour that a man who neglects the duties of the farm to write fancy stories doesn’t really count for much’. p.8

Another example.
Tenure be Damned p.56.
Some colleges are largely staffed
With moldy Ph.D’s
But if the students win the day
They’ll lose their faculties.’

In response to my previous blog post, I received a number of updates.

From Heather Leblanc … she reminded me of the new material on the website. Besides the StoryMaps, it includes the Youtube channel created by Andrew Tolson.

From David Colville … he pointed out the link to the Interactive Nova Scotia Science Atlas, featuring the work of Ian Manning, and others.

Today, I had reason to go to Kentville. I stopped at Chisholm’s bookstore and picked up Meditation for Makers (for Heather Stewart) and Wild Green Light: Poetry by David Adams Richards and Margo Wheaton.

Afterward, up the hill to Gaspereau Press, I discovered two more finds:

Soren Bondrup-Nielsen’s Voles, not Moles: A personal journey connecting with nature and Bren Simmers’, if, when (poetry)

And a T-shirt!

“Quit your unjust gaslighting of circumspect whelps with unverified reports of zippy brown foxes.
Fake News!”

Gaspereau Press. Printers and Publishers. Literary Outfitters and Cultural Wilderness Guides The typeface is Rod McDonald’s Laurentian.


Today, in Annapolis Royal at the Historical Gardens, we picked up Alan Syliboy’s children’s book, The Thundermaker. This is such a good Mi’kmaq message.


Heather LeBlanc and David Colville provided feedback. Edward Wedler added the graphics and links.


Ernest Buckler, 1977, Whirligig: Selected prose and verse, McLelland and Stewart.
Deanne Fitzpatrick, 2022, Meditation for Makers, Nimbus Publishing.
David Adams Richards and Margo Wheaton, 2021, Wild Green Light, Pottersfield Press.
Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, 2021, voles, not moles, Gaspereau Press.
Bren Simmers, 2021, if, when, Gaspereau Press.
Alan Syliboy, 2015, The Thundermaker, Nimbus Press (Translated by Lindsay R. Marshall) (Mi’kmaq)


Posted in New thinking, Opinion

Reaching Out

Christmas is the time when you hear from friends and relatives across the globe. In my case, this includes colleagues from both the academic and business community. At the local level, besides COVID, we were able to get through a multi-day power outage, caused by the latest snowstorm.

With the New Year, there is time to recall graduate studies at the University of Western Ontario, teaching Geography at Memorial University, and then teaching GIS technology at the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (1980). It is over forty years since we graduated our first GIS graduates. Many of these individuals are likely retired.

I contacted Jack Dangermond, President, Esri about the ongoing need for a Geographic approach. He responded with advice on ’StoryMaps tech and ArcGis hub for community engagement. That is my challenge for 2022.

Is there a mechanism to link my blog (map stories) to story maps or is that simply my play on words?

After talking to David Colville at COGS, I also tend to agree with Alex Miller, President, Esri Canada (shown here) that I cannot ignore the three pillars of our world – Society, Economy, Environment.

Edward suggested that if I wanted to start a ’geographic-mindset movement’ check out this short Youtube video.

There’s a lesson to be learned, here, as to who is most important for a leader to realize their ambition’, Wedler January 2022. He found that important person, for example, when he initiated “Ride the Lobster” back in 2008.

Listen to ESRI Podcasts on “Geographical Thinking”for inspiring stories from thought leaders and GIS users across business, government and education in Canada.


Sincere thanks to Jack Dangermond, Alex Miller, David Colville, and Edward Wedler for their comments and feedback.


Derek Sivers, “How to Start a Movement“, April 2010, YouTube Video.

Posted in biographical sketch

Rediscovering Home Place

After being away for almost a month, it is tough to return to Nova Scotia in a COVID winter. There is, of course, good news.

While we have been absent, the orchids and Amaryllis continue to grow and flower. It is warm outside. We can appreciate the clover cover crop and the chipper mulch.

It is warm outside. We can appreciate the clover cover crop and the chipper mulch.

We dream about an electric car, charging station and additional solar panels on the garage roof. Time to think about Spring renovations.

What did we learn from the North that has direct application in Nova Scotia? It is a global society. We can effectively apply geographic technologies to our management of the landscape, whether forestry, agriculture, fisheries or mining.

The issues of climate change and COVID are both global concerns. We must, at our home place, understand and monitor these changes in our environment. It begins at the community level.

There is a role for the private sector in developing new technologies, and for educational institutions in both research and the application of these technologies.

We must continue to be vigilant, as we react to government response. Changes can happen at the political level, but we must monitor closely the actions of our institutions, e.g. civil service, schools, hospitals, universities and colleges, and continue to question the values evident in day-to-day society.

This week, my reading has diminished. Perhaps a trip to Gaspereau Press, Kentville will provide inspiration.


A sign of the times. While we were away, we now have new neighbours on our side of Highway #201. Across the road, our neighbours have rented to a couple looking to move from BC. In addition, new owners are building a house on the West Inglisville road. Change, a new demographic, is healthy for rural communities.


Edward added the graphics. Heather’s green thumb grows the plants.

Posted in biographical sketch

Lessons from the North

Winters are changing in the North.

The sea ice is not closing in as early. It is more difficult to reach the flow edge.

This year, we were not able to dog sled or skidoo out to the cabin because of ice conditions.

Under COVID, the importance of electronic devices and Internet service is critical to the sense of community.

We spent more time indoors, playing traditional games: jigsaws, crosswords. Also, a new suite of board games: Swish, Photosynthesis, Ticket to Ride. These games showed the sophistication of game design.

It would appear that there is an opportunity to marry game design with GIS technology. We could develop new games based on the lifestyle of different geographies.

Imagine games that explore the lifestyle of living close to the land in Nunavut?

Another lesson is the food availability in the North. During our stay, we were treated to musk ox, ptarmigan, and Arctic char. Perhaps this is the basis of the ’palaeo-diet’ in the North?

Visiting Nunavut in the festive season, there was the opportunity to share some of the bizarre entertainment rituals of the South (e.g. TV shows). Take, for example, Mr. Bean’s Christmas or the National Lampoon Christmas; a far cry from present-day reality but a bridge across the generations.

The overriding message is that it is easier to explore these different geographies if you can access supportive geographic technologies.

“A Taste Above the Rest”

Understanding the impact of global changes, whether COVID or climate, on lifestyle and communities in different parts of Canada and beyond, demands such access.

That does not diminish the fact, with aging, these environments present added challenges. We look forward to our return to Home Place, and the nearby, suitably named Last Hope camp.


To Andrew, Julia, Quinn and Isla who made our stay possible and enlightening. Heather showed her usual adaptability. Edward added his touch.

Posted in Photo Essay

Iqaluit: the landscape

Since Christmas, we have stayed away from the downtown. Indeed, given COVID, most of the stores are closed. Instead, we have preferred to walk across the tundra, and rediscover ’old haunts’ from the time when we lived here. For example, we rediscovered the ski trails to the Road to Nowhere.

Heather has photographed the Winter landscape.

With the cold weather, we increased our time with books, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and various board games (new to us). The main challenge has been the BIG crossword, with 579 clues down and 594 clues across. Fortunately, perhaps, there seems to be an online Google industry for those addicted to the Christmas crossword. Although, for the purists, this may be considered ’cheating’.

We hope to be back in Nova Scotia next week, in 2022; COVID willing.

Meanwhile, enjoy the landscape.


Edward inserted the graphics. Heather was the photographer.

Posted in Photo Essay

Iqaluit , Nunavut

The day after we arrived, Iqaluit had its first Winter storm. It is now a week later. Most days, we have managed to get out for a walk downtown. Although with COVID many stores are closed.

The days are short. Sunrise 09:23. Sunset 13:44.

The Black Heart Cafe is only open for take out.

The North Mart is one of three grocery stores in town.

The legislative building is downtown.

The building with the sculpture is the RCMP.

Of course, you can find the CBC in the North.

From Andrew and Julia’s house, we overlook the sea ice on Frobisher Bay.

Hope everyone has a wonderful family Christmas !

The sun rises on Christmas Day in Iqaluit.
Posted in Book Review

Arctic Dreams II

Sunrise over Iqaluit

Returning to Iqaluit, I find old books on the shelves from previous visits. That includes Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (see post Arctic Dreams). Meanwhile, this week’s issue of Emergence Magazine gives a tribute to the author, who died over a year ago.

The Internet service in Nunavut makes it a challenge to watch the film Horizons by Jeremy Seifert or read the essay ’An Unbroken Grace’ by Fred Bahnsen. First published in Notre Dame Magazine.

”Starlings show us a way around the dilemma of scale, a model for human cooperation and deference towards others. A murmuration shows the idea of genius residing in one individual, and recognizes that genius is actually possessed by community. Human genius ”might rise up and become reified in a single person in a group.” Barry said ’but it doesn’t belong solely to that person.”

Barry Lopez: ”one of the reasons we’re lonely is that we’ve cut ourselves off from the nonhuman world and have called this ’progress.’

Yesterday, we walked to downtown Iqaluit. It takes about forty five minutes each way. Stopped at the Arctic Ventures store. No new books jumped out at me. Sun sets around 3:15 pm.


Edward added the graphics and links. Heather shared the cold walk in the snow.


Barry Lopez, 1986, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, Bantam Books.

Emergence Magazine. A Tribute to Barry Lopez. December 19, 2021.