Thunder Bay Part III: Street Art

"Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules." 
- Raymond Salvatore Harmon

Beautiful, yes. Artistic, check. Controversial, definitely. I have never dabbled in street art but that never stops me from appreciating an amazing work of art when I see it. Whether someone has legal permission to enhance a building's exterior or they're beautifying an ugly public bridge, I love free public art.

You don't have to agree with me, I know most people won't. I have always been drawn to street art and I consider it a highly valuable counter cultural movement. Although, one could debate how counter cultural street art is becoming when big named celebrities pay millions for art created by big named graffiti artists. Theoretical debates aside, here are some beautiful pieces I stumbled upon while walking about.


Algoma Street & Trowbridge Park 
Artists unknown

Thunder Bay Part II: Wild Spaces


If you're from northern Ontario, your time is generally absorbed by some sort of activity which draws you outdoors. While there may be a great number of businesses and cultural activities to support within the greater city, the best part of living in a remote Canadian city is the proximity to natural spaces. While places like Central Park (New York) and Cootes Paradise (Hamilton) are phenomenal urban green spaces, there is something to be said for the lack of traffic (noise and pollution) in a park near a small city.

While I was in Thunder Bay my parents took me to Centennial Park where we hiked to the nearby Trowbridge Park. These northerners love their parks! We saw dog walkers, runners, hikers and meandering teens (or what fascists would call "loiterers"). Although the deciduous trees had shed their leaves, the coniferous trees made for a gorgeous green walk through the forest.

Little known fact: Centennial Park is where I used to compete in cross-country running races in high school.

Thunder Bay Part I: Downtown

My vacation began in Thunder Bay, Ontario (formerly known as Port Arthur and Fort William respectively). A small city, innitially important as a trading post for the coureur des bois. Later on, the city became an important shipping port for grain coming from the prairies through the great lakes. Little known fact: Thunder Bay has the largest Finnish population outside of Finland!

November is not exactly the perfect season to visit Thunder Bay, it's cloudy and cold and generally causes you to huddle up in warm campuses and coffee houses. At this point in the year, there hasn't been enough snow to go nordic skiing (a local obsession). Luckily the things that make a city great are the wonderful people you are visiting. I must thank my loving sister and her roommate Dudley (future nordic skiing olympian) for housing me. My childhood friend, Jeremy, for ushering me about town when I was dangerously nearing the end of my sister's wits. My parents for driving three hours in each direction to visit me. And finally, longtime family friends the Coulters' for the visit at the Nordic Festival.

If you are ever in Thunder Bay I would highly recommend some of the following activities:

Drink Fair Trade Coffee at The Bean Fiend
Eat authentic Finnish Pancakes at The Hoito
Shop for local arts and crafts at Fireweed
Juiced fruits and vegetables at The Juice Collective
Walk around one of the local parks
Catch a community theatre production, we saw The Importance of Being Earnest
Walk around Lakehead University campus, drink hot cocoa in the student lounge
Eat dinner at Ruby Moon 

 The following photos show a bit of downtown Port Arthur.

Lest we forget...

Many summers ago, I worked on a docked WWII ship in Hamilton harbour. I spent my days giving tours and fielding questions about life on a Canadian ship. Today I remembered many of the great veterans who worked on HMCS Haida and her sister ship, HMCS Athabaskan, among other amazing men and women who have contributed to the armed forces. 

I learned many amazing and interesting things on the ship, I could explain a twin turbine steam powered engine to almost any guest and my favourite part of giving a tour was explaining how the sailors on board lived their day to day lives. For instance, they would often steal potatoes, wrap them in tinfoil and leave them on a pipe in the boiler room or engine room to make a delicious hot potato snack. Most of the men on board slept on hammocks which were allegedly far more comfortable than the beds used by the officers and captain. If you were ever wondering if you should call something a ship or a boat there is an easy trick to remember: ships carry boats. In other words, boats are small and ships are large. Just warning you: if you ever decide to visit HMCS Haida on Hamilton's waterfront and you call her a boat, you'll risk getting the cut-eye from one of the volunteers.   

HMCS Haida National Historic Site
658 Catharine Street North



I am about to embark on a long vacation, from the great lakes to the Pacific ocean. I've never been further west than Manitoba and I'm thrilled. First, I will visit my sister in Thunder Bay for a week. For the second part of my trip Rysio will join me in Vancouver and we will end up in Prince George, British Columbia. I'm excited to see how the whole trip turns out, I guarantee there will be an obscene amount of photos and experiences to share. 

I'm looking forward to art galleries, Finnish food, re-uniting with far away friends and exploring a new corner of this fine country. I love wandering around a new place, getting lost and making fantastic discoveries. 

A pretty good day...

Being mindful, thankful, appreciative (call it what you want) I am feeling incredibly blessed today. I saw my cousin and her husband for the first time in four months. We planted crocuses and tulips, hiked along a beautiful river and watched huge salmon spawning and swimming up stream. In the evening, Rysio took me to my favourite coffee shop (Mulberry St. Cafe) where we practiced my Polish. When I came home I found out that a close friend had been in a car accident but she has no major injuries. Life feels pretty good right now. I hope you have many things to be thankful for as well!


Autumn in Algonquin

Saying goodbye to Algonquin Park was made easier with the knowledge that the cold weather was coming. My barometer for weather is the number of layers I'm wearing, now that I'm up to double and triple layers I know it's autumn and in Canada that means winter is quickly approaching. I took a lot of photographs in my last few days in the park and I wish I could share them all but that would surely grow old quickly (like when your aunt invites you over to view a 5000 photo slideshow of her last vacation). Therefore, I have carefully curated a couple of my favourites from my last few days in the park (and I've kindly omitted all of the awkward photos of me smooching my man, unlike your aunt's slideshow). 



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