Posted in biographical sketch


We have returned to our rural home on Highway #201 in Paradise.

The cost of the condo at Bishop’s Landing was becoming prohibitive. But more critically, we needed to develop an understanding of the health services in the Annapolis Valley, and the best approach to transitioning from the services in Halifax. (Spring is coming !). In the five months in the city, we were able to address a number of concerns, related to hearing, swallowing, and memory. How do we ensure continuity of health services through the Primary Care Clinic in Middleton? Without a family doctor?

Maintaining two residences, Paradise and Halifax, means maintaining two sets of infrastructure: computers, TV, telephone, heating, etc. Fortunately, we have our trusty iPad and mobile phones.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I walked down to Lawrencetown. I wanted to meet our new librarian (who replaced Jackie Fraser) and check out the interlibrary loan. I wanted to make sure that our mail was no longer being forwarded to the condominium. I also wanted to see if the Ebb Tide Cafe (previously Firehall restaurant) was open. The note on the door says Monday, February 6th.

At the library, I picked up one of Jim Lotz’s books: The Gold of the Yukon, and one by Harry Thurston, The Sea among the Rocks.

What will we miss from Halifax?

  • Convenient walks through treed neighborhoods
  • The harbour boardwalk.
  • Easy access to food stores, coffee shops
  • Book shops.
  • No need to drive a car.
  • Public resources – Halifax Library and the Public Gardens.

To-Do items?

  • Leaving the car behind
  • Electric cars.
  • Electric bicycles.
  • Charging station.
  • More solar panels on the roof.

We look forward to reconnecting with our community in the Valley. We look forward to recording the changes (e.g. new bookstore in Annapolis Royal, See earlier blog post HERE).


To all our Valley friends who have kept us in mind. Edward for his ongoing contribution.


Jim Lotz, 2012, The Gold of the Yukon, Pottersfield Press.
Harry Thurston, 2002, The Sea among the Rocks: Travels in Atlantic Canada, Pottersfield Press.

Posted in Book Review

Keep Sharp

This week in Halifax may be our last, for a while. I have been searching for The Lichen Factor (Jim Lotz).

My first approach was through Andrew Hannam at the COGS library. No luck! My second was to check again at the Halifax Public Library under Community Development. Again, no luck! However, I did find two titles of interest, “City Making in Paradise: Nine decisions that saved Vancouver’s Livability” by Mike Harcourt, and “Hollow City: the Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism” by Rebecca Solnit.

The reference to Paradise had instant appeal; the writing of Solnit is always a find.

This morning, we walked along the boardwalk to Historic Properties, and across the ped-way to Scotia Square. We skirted Citadel Hill, before enjoying the late morning sunshine, sitting on a park bench in the Halifax Public Gardens. Afterward, we joined Frank Fox for lunch at Le Bistro by Liz on South Park. Our return trip was all downhill, behind the Library, and Province House, returning home to Lower Water Street.

Earlier this morning, I received a link from my brother, Peter’s blog (see entry January 24, 2023)

One last read. Sanjay Gupta’s Keep Sharp. Building a Better Brain at Any Age. He identifies five pillars: Move, Discover, Relax, Nourish and Connect. It was a good day for the brain!


Heather Stewart, Frank Fox, Peter Maher, and Andrew Hannam for the connections. Edward for adding the graphics.


Mike Harcourt, et al, 2007, City Making in Paradise, Douglas and McIntyre.
Rebecca Solnit, 2000, Hollow City, Verso London.
Sanjay Gupta, 2021, Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, Simon and Schuster.

Posted in biographical sketch, Book Review


We wanted to enjoy a few more neighbourhood walks in Halifax. Today on Sunday, a beautiful blue sky day, we decided to return to Point Pleasant Park. En route, I wanted to see Thorndean on Inglis Street, where Jim and Pat Lotz had lived.

The route was quite circuitous. From Lower Water Street, we passed by Pier 21 and found a tunnel under the railway. This took us to Inglis Street. We passed Schooner Books and found Thorndean, 5680 Inglis Street.

The house is referenced in a couple of the books, written by Pat and Jim.

Afterwards, we continued to South Park. This leads to Point Pleasant Park. The trails were snow-packed and somewhat icy. There was a large collection of walkers, with their dogs. If we were to remain in Halifax, the South End would be an attractive neighbourhood.

On our return, we passed the Halifax Port Authority, which includes the grain elevators, and container ships.

(“Halifax Grain Elevators”, watercolour by Edward Wedler)

Beyond the Westin Hotel, we rediscovered the Wired Monk, a coffee house on Morris Street.

Yesterday (Saturday) we took a day trip down to the Annapolis Valley. This allowed us to drop off any extra possessions, accumulated over the Winter. The remainder will fit in the car on January 31st.

Earlier in the week, while visiting Heather’s Dad, I stopped at the New Glasgow library. With help from the library staff, I was able to access an e-book that I can read on my iPad. It was Jim Lotz, Pilgrim Souls, Caring for a loved one with dementia. While a difficult read, it complements his previous work, Sharing the Journey.


I noticed this at Cape Breton University Press, Jim Lotz, 1998, The Lichen Factor: the quest for community development in Canada. 28pp.


Heather continues to encourage me to take these long walks. We need to find an equivalent in the Annapolis Valley, aside from the shoulder of Highway 201. Candidates would be Valley View park and Kingston park. Edward added the graphics.


Jim Lotz, 2013, Pilgrim Souls, Pottersfield Press via Formac Publishing

Jim Lotz, 2015, Sharing the Journey, Pottersfield Press via Nimbus Publsihing.

Posted in Video Review


For each blog post, I send it out to a wide community of friends and associates. In response to the last blog, Explorations, Sandra Barry sent me the link to a four-part YouTube documentary on Glen Gould and the Idea of North. It includes footage of Jim Lotz.

For me, it is hard to recall life in the town of Schefferville, Quebec, in the 1960s. I did share the links with Heather. She had spent time in Churchill, Manitoba, during the 2010s. I believe the Idea of North has changed remarkably since the video of Glen Gould/ Jim Lotz.

As noted by Sandra Berry …
” I don’t know if you know that he [Jim Lotz] was involved in Glenn Gould’s amazing THE IDEA OF NORTH — Jim was one of the voices that Gould recorded and incorporated into the polyphonic soundscape that evoked his journey northward on the train — I am not sure his destination, but he recorded interviews with a raft of people and wove them together in a most amazing documentary/recording. Nothing like it had ever been done before, and nothing like it has been done since. Just google Gould and Idea of North — CBC even did an anniversary documentary about its broadcast. I remember how amazed I was to realize Jim Lotz’s voice was one of the many in that project.”



To Sandra Barry for the video links. Edward added the graphics. Heather added her commentary.

Posted in biographical sketch, Book Review


This week, I have been tracking the writing of Jim Lotz. I started at the Halifax Public Library with a list of his books – sixteen.

Lotz went to Manchester University to study Geography. I went to Birmingham University to study Geography. He came to Canada and spent time at the McGill Subarctic Research Laboratory (MSRL) in Schefferville, PQ in the late 50s. In the early 60s, I spent two summers at MSRL, conducting fieldwork on the Canadian Shield.

Jim’s career focused on Community Development. His life is described in the memoir, “Sharing the Journey”. In 1973, Jim, Pat, and his family moved to Halifax. They lived in the South End.

After reading the memoir, I picked up The Best Journey in the World: Adventures in Canada’s High Arctic at the Endless Shores Books in Bridgetown. It describes field research work on northern Ellesmere Island

My search took me to Schooner Books, owned by John Townsend on Inglis Street in Halifax. I was looking for Pilgrim Souls.

Instead, I found the following books. J and A. Gottfred’s, The Life of David Thompson, and Thomas Merton’s Zen and the Birds of Appetite.

Besides bookstores, we have explored Halifax. From the condo on Lower Water Street, we can walk past the dockyards to Point Pleasant Park. Returning to Spring Garden Road via Young and South Park, and stopped at the Bliss Caffeine Bar. Or taking a different route, we have ended up at Sobeys on Queen Street or at the Wired Monk coffee shop.

On our visits to medical services at the hospitals, we walked through the Halifax Public Gardens. At the Bookmark, we found a new book, The Halifax Public Gardens. The Creation, destruction and restoration of North America’s Finest Victorian Public Gardens.

We will miss these ‘geographies’ when we leave the city at the end of the month, and return to rural Paradise. Fortunately, we have stored many memories of life in Halifax. Either through direct experience or through the writing of Jim Lotz, and others.


Heather has shared the journey, finding interesting walks that challenge us, both physically and mentally. Edward added the graphics. Frank Fox suggested the visit to Schooner Books.


Jim Lotz, 2015, Sharing the Journey, Pottersfield Press via Nimbus Publishing

Jim Lotz, 2006, The Best Journey in the World: Adventures in Canada’s High Arctic, Pottersfield Press.

Jim Lotz, 2013, Pilgrim Souls, Formac Publishing

Schooner Books 5378 Inglis Street, Halifax.

J and A. Gottfred, 2007, The Life of David Thompson, Minuteman Press.

Thomas Merton, 1968, Zen and the Birds of Appetite, New Directions.

Robert Pace, Robert Salah and Peter Twohig, 2022, The Halifax Public Gardens: The Creation, Destruction and Restoration of North America’s Finest Victorian Public Gardens, Formac Press.


Inside the book on David Thompson, I found ‘Surveying for Settlement’, an educational brochure published by the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors

Posted in Book Review

Home Place

We have to decide where we will find our ‘home place’.

Circumstance gives us the choice between urban Halifax and rural Paradise. From the perspective of health services, the decision would tip towards the city.

At the Carrefour Atlantique Emporium, Privateers Wharf, I chanced upon Gwendolyn Davies, “Studies in Maritime Literary History, 1760-1930“.

While I was interested in the early literature, it was not sufficient for a purchase. Instead, I went off to the Halifax Central Library. They did indeed have a copy, but it was in the closed stacks.

On request, I was able to read the book in the library. Of particular interest was the final chapter, the ‘Home Place’ in Modern Maritime Literature. Davies references David Adams Richards, George Elliott Clarke, Harry Bruce, Alistair MacLeod and Douglas Lochhead,

0ne may want to argue that ‘place’ is a central image in any country’s literature. …..But the emergence of the image in Maritime literature in the 1920’s, it would seem, has its genesis in the social, economic and cultural realities on the east coast that distinguish it from similar images in other areas of Canada”, p193

Of particular interest was the theme of the economy and the landscape. The impact of different industries on the rural economy (e.g. Britex in Bridgetown or Stanfields in Windsor). As we move forward, what are the new employment opportunities. Does the lack of health services impact the movement into the rural areas? Or is that impact, largely on the elders.

What would be informative, would be a second volume, Studies in Maritime Literary History 1930 – 2030 It would address the changes in society, in terms of its economic and social geography, as reflected in current literature and poetry. One example, would be Sandra Barry on Elizabeth Bishop. Or, the role of the Gaspereau Press in supporting local authors and poets.

Another dimension would be the role of educational institutions in our understanding of landscape, mapping and planning our economic geography — all within the context of government, politics and sustainable development.


Gwendolyn Davies, 1991, Studies in Maritime Literary History, 1760-1930, Acadiensis Press

Sandra Barry, Peter Sanger, Gwendolyn Davies, 2001, Divisions of the Heart: Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place, Gaspereau Press.

Posted in biographical sketch

Culvert Success

A week ago we noticed that one of the culverts to our driveway needed repair.

We decided it was time to ‘winterize’ the property in Paradise.

We wanted to ensure that the various systems were functional: security, telephone, Internet etc. If we wanted oil delivery in Winter, the culvert needed to be replaced.

Last Thursday, we stopped at the Transportation office in Middleton. Heather explained our circumstance. That same afternoon, the staff made a site visit. Next day, early they arrived with back hoe, a replacement culvert and gravel fill.

By early afternoon, it had been repaired. We were both impressed and thankful.

Imagine, if we could achieve the same level of response on health services.

We have been in Halifax for over three months, and negotiated with specialists for aftercare, after heart surgery. This includes hearing tests, swallow tests etc. If we could connect with referral services in the Annapolis Valley this would allow us to live in our house in Paradise.

During our stay in Paradise last week. We were able to meet with Paul and Ruth Colville at the Capital in Middleton for lunch and conversation. We also visit Anne and Bill Crossman in Annapolis Royal for a similar exchange of views on health services in Annapolis County. It is critically important to maintain these contacts and to share experiences.

From Jane Nicholson, I have heard about Russell Florens bookstore at 212 St. George. A partnership with Geoff Butler and a baker named Denise. All non-fiction books. Next time, we are in the Valley, we will visit The Courtyard – Art, Books and Food.


Paul and Ruth Colville, Anne and Bill Crossman shared theirAnnapolis County experiences. Jane Nicholson for information on the bookstore. Edward added the graphics. Staff at the Middleton Transportation office for their rapid response and kindness.

Posted in biographical sketch

Christmas 2022

We went to New Glasgow for Christmas. This allowed me to catch up with Saltscapes magazine.

The article on Bridgetown reminded me of our life in the Annapolis valley.

970 souls from one cartographic afterthought, history and circumstance have conspired to make it into something, simply, well irresistible.

The piece by Alex Bruce ‘Building a better Bridgetown’ highlights the work of
Jennifer Crouse ‘Endless Shores Books and other Treasures
Trudy White ‘Tallullah Freelove Linen
Dawn Oman “Dawn Oman Art
Glass Art” Angela Prive
Wools on the Corner”, Caroline Perriman, and
Aroma Mocha Cafe” Laura Ricketts.

I received only one book this Christmas, from Patrick, “Life Lessons from the Ocean: Soothing Wisdom from the Sea”,written by Richard Harrington, a British Marine Biologist, and illustrated by Annie Davidson,

From learning to go with the tide, to taking inspiration from starfish about how to handle setbacks, the book contains a lesson for everyone.

Barry Lopez died Christmas Day 2020. In the current online Emergence Magazine, Jeremy Seifert gives us the film ‘Horizons’, a tribute to Barry’s life and work.

Barry shares what drove him towards new horizons so that he might help our culture find balance with the living earth.”.


This morning on our walk, we rediscovered Lil MacPherson’s restaurant “The Wooden Monkey”

Brings back memories.


Alex Bruce, 2022, Building a better Bridgetown, Saltscapes Vol 23 No. 6. p.26-30.

Richard Harrington, 2020, Life Lessons from the Ocean: Soothing Wisdom from the Sea, LOM Art. Illustrated by Annie Davidson.

Jeremy Seifert, 2022, Film Horizons, in Emergence Magazine, Our Year in Review.

Posted in Article Review, Book Review, Video Review

Thomas Merton

This week, I finished reading Thomas Merton in Alaska (see Connecting Communities blog post).

It brought back memories of my travels to Alaska, after completing field work in the Canadian Rockies in the early ‘70’s. Merton died in Bangkok in 1968.

The book includes essays on ‘Community, Politics and Contemplation’, ‘Prayer, Tradition and Experience’ and ‘The Life that Unifies’.

The book provides background to the recent Emergence Magazine article ‘On the Road with Thomas Merton’ by Fred Bahnson. Within the article, there is a link to a film by Jeremy Seifert, under the same name.

In May 1968, Christian mystic Thomas Merton undertook a pilgrimage to the American West. Fifty years later, filmmaker Jeremy Seifert set out to follow Merton’s path retracing the monk’s journey across the landscape. Amid stunning backdrops of ocean, redwood and canyon, the film features the faces and voices of people Merton encountered.

Source: Emergence Magazine (photo by Thomas Merton: California 1968)

”The film shares a remarkable geography, as well as the perceptions of Merton who took his first extended trip away from Gethsemani Abbey, his monastic home in Kentucky.”


Emergence Magazine, Fred Bahnson’s, On the Road with Thomas Merton, includes a link to Jeremy Seifert film, On the Road with Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton, 1988, Thomas Merton in Alaska. Prelude to the Asian Journey, New Directions Books.

Posted in biographical sketch, Book Review

Connecting Communities

This week, I received the 2023 calendar from Esri Canada.

Image Source (front and back covers): Esri Canada, Marketing Communications

The new calendar includes a map of “Sable Island” by Lost Art Cartography (November 2023), “Marine Stewardship” initiative by MakeWay (December 2023), and “Old Growth Forest” for the Indian River watershed (March 2023).

A blog post announcing the selected maps can be found at “announcing-the-winners-of-the-2023-Esri-Canada-map-calendar-contest“. Individual maps that will be featured in 2023 can be found at Esri’s Map Calendar Hub.

This week, I also received the Year in Review from Shorefast, Fogo Island. Programming highlights include ocean stewardship, community hub, diversifying our economy, Art and Climate Change, and Network building to strengthen community economics.

It includes excellent links to presentations by Zita Cobb.

In Halifax, we continue to expand our knowledge of bookstores.

At Bookmark, I found three chap books by local authors, FOR FREE, under their Readerity program.

Alexander MacLeod. Re-reading J.M. Barry’s Peter and Wendy.
Deidre Kessler. Indigo Bunting in a Date Palm.
Sheree Fitch. A child with a book in a tree.

At the Trident bookstore and cafe, I found two second-hand books: Thomas Merton in Alaska: the Alaskan Conference journal and letters, and Gary Saunders’ My Life with Trees.

Finally, at the Halifax Public Library today, discovered Oliver Sacks, The River of Consciousness. Ten essays were outlined in the two weeks before his death. They include Darwin and the meaning of Flowers, Sentience: the mental life of plants and worms, the Creative Self, and the River of Consciousness.

While recovering from my heart surgery, I am enjoying excellent medical support in the city. Over the Christmas period, we shall have to evaluate the two communities: rural and urban. For now, we appreciate the connections in the urban environment.


Thomas Merton, 1988, Thomas Merton in Alaska, A New Directions Book.

Gary L. Saunders 2015, My Life with Trees, Gaspereau Press.

Oliver Sacks, 2017, The River of Consciousness, Alfred Knopf.