a hometown hero’s threatened home

In the town that Honda built, it isn’t surprising to see a modern subdivision just off the main street.  But drive a bit further north on this rural road in Alliston, Ontario and the whole place takes a turn into another century. The road becomes gravel, the yellow fields open up, and a scruffy Victorian farmhouse sits back from […]

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best books

Sadly, I’m edging my way toward the end of Centennial, James Michener’s epic 1086-page tome about a fictional town in Colorado, from the formation of the earth all the way up to the 1970s. But as I put to rest this long trip of the mind, Conde Nast Traveler has released their list of the 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time. Gleaned […]

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end of the line: the detroit train station

   The Michigan Central Train Station, back in the day During dinner with friends on Sunday night, we ended up, a few bottles in, hovering over my friend J.’s laptop, perusing pictures of the unbelievable abandoned buildings in Detroit. Specifically, the train station.        J. grew up in Windsor, so she often tells stories about being across the border, cruising […]

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vice vacations

Circa 1984, my dad and I climbed on a Greyhound to head up to the Soo. Our car had received some specialist attention in the big city, an hour-and-a-half drive away, and we were going to pick it up. That, of course, is not remarkable. What is, seen through the lens of history, is that nearly everybody on the bus was […]

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joie de vivre en la belle province

 Across the invisible border, the land is no different and the money is the same but for anyone who thinks that Quebec doesn’t demonstrate a distinct culture, I have one thing to say: get thee east, young man (or woman). Deep within the province that saw some of the earliest occupiers set up shop lives that trademark joie de vivre that […]

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the age of green goodness

 Not long ago I heard an interview on CBC. It was with a guy. Nobody special. A businessman, I think, if I remember correctly. But he did have one claim to fame. He decided to cancel his family’s summer trip to Europe in order to save on the carbon costs. Good for him, you’re likely thinking. And, yeah, sure, so am […]

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slow going

I realize I am crawling along in the blogosphere these days. While the words launch and ricochet and ping on other blogs all around me, I am in slow motion, watching my brain creep along before anything gets written down. Hence, the desert of days between updates. I know why this is. It’s because I think too much. […]

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file under weird

Coincidence. Serendipity. Whatever you call it, I know it. Intimately. I’m one of those people who might be riding a bus through the wet jungles of Bolivia only to find I’m sitting beside a long-lost cousin. No, that hasn’t happened to me, but lots of other oddities have, many of which I recounted recently in […]

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secret michigan

The more I travel the more I find places I want to return to. This occurred in Kentucky, exploring former coal mining boomtowns reshaping themselves into historical destinations (Now Magazine, June 21, 2007), and now it’s happened with Michigan. Michigan, you might be thinking, as I was when I first contemplated heading off to visit […]

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