Monday, 26 October 2009

Robet Bateman Wows Them In Stroud - Earthlinks



What would make the planet healthier and a better place to live? According to artist and eco-activist Robert Bateman, it is as simple as making sure that our children go for a nature walk ever day.
"Leave the Play Station, Internet and TV behind and enjoy the outdoors," the artist told a Standing-Room-Only crowd at the Georgina Arts Centre & Gallery in Sutton, Ontario on Saturday October 21st. "Through an understanding of our great outdoors and the balance of nature, our children will get a better understanding of the ecological challenges we all face."
Saturday was the International Day of Action on Climate Change and the British Columbia based artist was in Stroud to talk about children and the environment and to show and sell more than 100 pieces of his work. About fifty people attended his one-hour lecture in a basement hall and then jammed the upstairs gallery to talk to the artist while he signed books, paintings and art prints.
Robert Bateman has been a man with a mission in October. Prior to flying out to Toronto the 79-year old artist was in St. Petersburg, Russia to open a four-city tour of a retrospective exhibition of his work.
Four galleries in Russia will be showing his work over the next six months. On October 8th the State Russian Museum in the Mikhailovsky Palace, St. Petersburg was the first art gallery to show the exhibition ROBERT BATEMAN IN RUSSIA. This is the first time a Canadian wildlife artist has been invited to show his works in Russia.
"When I arrived in St. Petersburg I was dismayed that the English language entertainment paper wasn't listing my show," he told me on Saturday. "The museum staff laughed and told me not to worry, that my exhibition wasn't for tourists, it was for the Russian people. They were right! The local press were excited about the show and the people came out (and continue to do so)."

CUTLINE: Top Left - Sign out front of the Stroud gallery. Top Right - Robert Bateman (left) signs the frame of one of his wildlife art prints for a Stroud, Ontario fan. Bottom Left - The Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery was filled with people waiting in to talk to artist Robert Bateman. Bottom Right - Robert Bateman talks about his art to a standing-room-only crowd at the Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery in Stroud, Ontario.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Diver Death Near One of The Upper Key's Oldest Dive Sites



Dive boats operating within the John Pennekamp State Park Underwater Preserve have been taking divers to the wreck of the Benwood for 50 years. Picturesque. Shallow (50ft max,) close to shore, the Benwood is considered a safe dive and is suitable for novice scuba divers. However on Tuesday August 20th, the body of a diver was pulled from the Florida Keys waters close to the Benwood.
According a U.S. Coast Guard press release, a 67-year-old Blount County man died Tuesday in a scuba accident in the Florida Keys. Larry Reeves of Maryville, TN was diving on or near the Benwood wreck dive site, four miles east of Rodriguez Key, according to the Coast Guard.
Crew members from the Coast Guard Station in Islamorada responded about 2:30 p.m. to a call from the Coral Princess I (a glass bottom snorkeling boat that was being used for an Army Ranger training charter) of an unconscious diver on the Key Largo flat-top pontoon dive boat The Amoray. Reeves was brought on board the Coral Princess 1 and off-duty Army and Navy medical personnel who were on the glass bottom boat began administering CPR. After 20-minutes CPR efforts were reportedly ended.
A Coast Guard crew escorted the two boats to the Port Largo Marina where marine casualty investigators and deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office were waiting to begin investigations into the incident.
UPDATE: Two days after the death of Mr. Reeves, a TN TV station is quoting his wife as saying that she was in the water as his scuba-diving partner when the accident happened -- she said that he became unconscious shortly after entering the water Tuesday afternoon to explore the Benwood.
The Benwood, a WW2 Victory ship was sunk in 1942 after colliding with another ship - The Tuttle - both were travelling without lights to avoid German submarines. Because she was close to shore much of the ship was stripped before being declared a protected wreck in 1959.
I used the Benwood for a photo shoot earlier this year. The picture above was taken beside the coral encrusted bow. The bow is the most intact part of the ship. One Florida dive website describes why the ship is popular with divers: "the primary deck has been punctured in many places forming a network of "nooks and crannies." These provide important fish habitat but are not large enough to allow diver entry."
Much of the is scattered around the bottom, making for an interesting, photo friendly dive. So safe is the dive that can be a waiting line of charter boats to moor up to the Benwood's marker buoys.
Obituary for the late Larry Reeves:
CUTLINE - Knoxnews TV posted a map showing the location of the Benwood Wreck and where the body of a Maryville TN diver was found.
Stephen Weir photographing the hull of the Benwood - February 2009.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

McMichael Canadian Art Collection curator, Anna Stanisz beside "Lone Figure", from the new Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth exhibition

McMichael Canadian Art Collection curator, Anna Stanisz beside the "Lone Figure", a carving from the new Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth exhibition
Anna Stanisz is the curator of the new exhibition Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth now showing at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. This exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative and celebrates the remarkable achievement of the internationally acclaimed artistic community of Cape Dorset (Kinngait). The show features a large selection of prints, drawings, and sculptures spanning three generations of Cape Dorset artists. Ms. Stanisz stands beside a stone sculpture(The Lone Figure, 2006) carved by Jutai Toonoo.
The new exhibition Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth will be on display at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 17, 2010. The gallery is open 7-days a week from 10am until 4pm.
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is located at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, Ontario. For directions visit For more information and pictures from the show please contact Stephen Weir, 416-489-5868,
photo by Stephen Weir

Tuesday, 6 October 2009




Flaming pumpkins, Skeletons, and Scarecrows have taken over New Hampshire and are dyin’ to put a friendly scare on visitors. Canadian travelers consider yourself warned!
Pumpkin festivals, haunted houses and other delightfully ghoulish attractions are spooking up the Granite State this October. Looking for a screaming good vacation? Attractions and Howl-aween events range from an actual haunted ghost town to the world-renowned children friendly Pumpkin Festival in Keene.
No need to ask your Ouija Board about what to do in New Hampshire this Halloween season. Here are just a few things that are sure to rattle your chains and scare up some great travel ideas!
Ghost Town At Six Gun City. Take part in a Sooktacular Halloween Adventure every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. The White Mountains’ amusement park (near Jefferson), has unlimited free rides and shows. Young ghouls and goblins get in touch with their "inner compass" as they weave their way through a corn maze, while adults and teens will enjoy scary attractions such as the Haunted Boot Hill, and the Undertaker's
Canaboie Lake Park. This 106-year old amusement park advertises that its month-long Screemfest festival is where “Fear Meets Fun”. The park, located near the city of Salem, has evening Monster Parades, a Monster Rock & Roll Bash and a wild and weird magic and variety show called Circus of the Strange. Group visitors can arrange for a visit from the Screemfest hearse. Even their website is scary, see it if you dare:
The Haunted Goullog. The Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire, has created the only Mountaintop haunted Halloween happening in New England! Visitors take a nighttime chairlift ride to the top of Cranmore Mountain where haunted happenings are sure to frighten and surprise the hardiest souls.
Haunted Acres. The town of Epping’s Haunted Acres is set in an 1860's Western ghost town. This is where you will find the Skeleton Saloon & Hotel, the Dark Maze, the 3D Nuclear Accident House, and the Quarter Mile Nightmare Walk (a walk through the woods that is not for the faint of heart). Visitors can also play Zombie Shoot-Out Live! – fire paint ball funs at actors dressed as monster set in a haunted Western town. .
Keene Pumpkin Festival. This year the 19th annual all-day festival will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2009. In the evening there is a pumpkin light (a tower of flaming pumpkins) followed by fireworks. During the day the entire family can take part in a costume parade, a seed spitting and pie eating contests, live music on three stages, and lots of chances to eat homemade pumpkin pie.
Return of the Pumpkin People. The pumpkin people have already arrived in Jackson and they are expected to hang around the downtown area until Friday October 23, 2009. For the past 20 years the residents of Jackson and the downtown businesses, have decorated their properties with people and animals that have real pumpkin heads.
To find out more about New Hampshire or to receive a free visitor’s guide, call 1-800-FUN-IN-NH (386-4664) or visit Canadian travel trade and media may call 1-888-423-3995, or email
WRITER'S NOTE- The actual press release sent out to Canadian travel writers was an edited down version of this release.
CUTLINE: the two flaming pumpkins is a photo taken from Flickr at:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

New Hampshire Tourist Industry Newsletter article



The Most Beautiful Time of The Year - Fall Colours

Mother Nature's annual rite of fall is spectacular in New Hampshire with an explosion of rich and vibrant colours blanketing the Granite state. With a 6,288-foot elevation change within the state, leap peepers around the world can follow the spectacular fall foliage from the lower altitude valleys to the highest peaks in New England.
Since the date for peak colour changes, depending on where you are in the state, what elevation you are at and varying weather patterns, New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development has launched its popular and interactive foliage tracker map at Leaf peepers can also sign-up for foliage text alerts and updates on Twitter ( and Facebook (
Fall is an ideal time for Canadians to visit New Hampshire with the spectacular fall colours and many properties throughout the state offer excellent value fall packages, (

Why come to the Granite State to see the blazing colours of Autumn?

With the dollar close to par and no sales tax in New Hampshire it is also a great time to get a head start on holiday shopping. One of the most enjoyable and relaxing ways to experience New Hampshire's fall foliage is by train.
There are a number of departures this fall for various fall foliage train excursions from one hour in duration to full day trips including meals and refreshments. The price is as low as $13 US per person. For complete details on dates, prices, times please visit
Fall is of course harvest time and there are many opportunities throughout the state where visitors can visit farmer's markets, agricultural fairs and festivals, and pick your own farms. Check out for complete details on dates of festivals, scenic drives, harvest itneraries and farmers' markets.
To find out more about New Hampshire or to receive a free visitor's guide, consumers can call 1-800-FUN-IN-NH (386-4664) or visit Canadian travel trade and media may call 1-888-423-3995, or email
Photo from Kportimages' photostream on FLICKR