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Copyright © 1997
WILDS of Manitoba

2017 February 10


WILDS Of Manitoba

Gifts & Reviews



Companies and Products ENDORSED



for the wilderness enthusiast


Butterflies of Ontario & Eastern Canada
book by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon

Spiders of Western Canada
book by John Hancock and Kathleen Hancock

Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada
book by George Barron

Turbo Jetslams
book by Jass Richards

Wanapitei Canoe Trippers' Cookbook III
book by Carol Hodgins

The Bow Drill Fire
book by James Black

Birds of Canada
book by Tyler L. Hoar, Ken De Smet,
R. Wayne Campbell & Gregory Kennedy

Manigotagan River Canoe Map
map by Manitoba Eco-Network

River Rough, River Smooth
book by Anthony Dalton

Black Spruce Journals
book by Stewart Coffin

True North
book by Elliott Merrick

A Death On The Barrens
book by George Grinnell

Sleeping Island
book by P.G. Downes

Animal Tracks of Manitoba
book by Ian Sheldon & Tamara Eder

Manitoba Birds
book by Andy Bezener & Ken De Smet

Mushrooms of Western Canada
book by Helene M.E. Schalkwijk-Barendsen

Plants of the Western Boreal Forest & Aspen Parkland
book by Derek Johnson, Linda Kershaw,
Andy MacKinnon & Jim Pojar

Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada
book by Chris Fisher, Amanda Joynt, & Dr. Ronald J. Brooks

Plants of Alberta
book by France Royer & Richard Dickinson

Manitoba, Naturally
book by Bill Stillwell

Compact Guide to Manitoba and Saskatchewan Birds
book by Alan Smith, Ken De Smet,
Krista Kagume & Carmen Adams

Classic Solo Canoeing
video by Becky Mason

Paintings and books by Clarence Tillenius, wildlife and nature artist extraordinaire.

R.M. Patterson, A Life of Great Adventure
biographical book by David Finch

Paintings, books or canoeing videos by authors and artists
Becky Mason, Reid McLachlan & Bill Mason, Paul Mason




Butterflies of Ontario & Eastern Canada

by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Butterflies of Ontario & Eastern Canada

This compact book is optimal for novice "butterfolk" because it is compact and inexpensive ($28.95 CDN) and provides information on common butterfly species a person would find in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Some of the species identified in the book may also be found further West. This book is not meant to be comprehensive.

The book is broken into five major sections reflecting the major groups of butterflies: swallowtails; whites and sulphurs; gossamer-winged; brush-footed; and skippers.

The photographs in the book are by Author John Acorn, who is the well known host of the television series Acorn, The Nature Nut, as well as a number of photographers who are acknowledged in the book credits. Ian Sheldon created excellent illustrations showing the intricacy of patterns on the tops and bottoms of the butterfly wings, essential to species differentiation. Male and/or female sex symbols help to differentiate the colouring of the identified species and maps of Ontario and Eastern Canada are shaded to indicate distribution.

It is the opinion of the reviewer that if the maps are shaded in North East Ontario or all of Ontario it could be inferred that the species also exists in Manitoba and further west. The text provides further geographic distribution information, some seasonally, which may indicate extended distribution. For example, I have seen Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Papillio canadensis (the map shows distribution through all of Ontario) and White Admiral Limenitis arthemis arthemis (the map shows distribution through Southern regions of Ontario and NE Ontario) in various locations in Southern Manitoba.

A pictorial Quick Reference Guide is provided at the front of the book prior to the Introduction which provides an overview of butterfly biology, morphology, identification history and references, study, field methods, equipment and naming. A general pictorial key is provided on the back cover of the book breaking the covered species down to the five groups of butterfly species with associated page numbers and colour keyed pages: swallowtails; whites and sulphurs; gossamer-winged; brush-footed; and skippers. Each section begins with an overview of the group. Each species is listed by the common name followed by Genera and species names, informative text and anecdotes about the species, and a description which includes information on Identification, Wingspan, Habitat and Flight Season, Caterpillar food plant, and Similar species.

The back of the book includes an Index of Scientific Names, an Index of Common Names, a Checklist of common and scientific names, a Glossary and References.

The colour coded pages and keys, simplified grouping, common name index, scientific name index and excellent illustrations make it possible to quickly find a given species in the book.

The "Butterflies of Ontario & Eastern Canada" will be made available at many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering on or after 2017 April 1.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.75"
320 pages
ISBN 978-1-77213-032-4
Price $28.95 CDN
Publication date 2017 April 1
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Spiders of Western Canada

by John Hancock and Kathleen Hancock

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Spiders of Western Canada Book Cover

This is a very good introductory spiders book for novice arachnologists because it is compact and inexpensive ($24.95 CDN). By no means is it meant to be, nor is it, comprehensive.

The book covers British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Many of the species identified in the book can also be found in Manitoba. The book is broken into two major sections Hunting Spiders and Web-Weaving Spiders. Hunting Spiders includes Tarantulas and their kin (Mygalomorphae) and True Spiders (Araneomorphe). Web-Weaving spiders includes True Spiders (Araneomorphe) that weave webs. The book includes a useful pictorial Reference Guide of spiders based on their morphology, am arachnologist's Glossary, References including websites, and an Index which mixes common names with scientific names of which the primary species taxa are bold-faced.

The artwork in the book is excellent, including coloured pencil drawings of intriguing spider faces, body parts, intricate webs and/or prey by John Hancock as seen through his stereoscopic binocular microscope, part of a collection of 4000 drawings he has created over several decades. John's artwork was inspired by Michael J. Roberts, a British arachnologist. The species database is based on data collected by Don Buckle, a Saskatchewan arachnologist. The photographs are by Kathleen Hancock.

A pictorial quick reference guide is provided at the front of the book and a general key is provided at the back of the book.

The various species are grouped with an array of colour codes to facilitate finding the species in the book. The introduction and descriptions provided with each species includes information such as their relations with other organisms, life cycle, reproduction, anatomy, habitat, size, mobility, web building, moulting and how they fit in the "food web". Over 100 species are illustrated and information is provided how to collect and observe them. The book may inspire you to start to sketch them as well.

"The Spiders of Western Canada" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information on this book, go to Lone Pine Publishing.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.41"
192 pages, over 400 colour illustrations and photos, over 100 species discussed
ISBN 978-1-55105-916-7
Price $24.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada

by George Barron

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada Book Cover

This is the New Edition of the book, published in 2014.

This is one of the two or three mushroom books I now carry with me when I go foraging, I highly recommend it. The book identifies species common to Ontario and Eastern Canada, Quebec, Eastern Canada and North Eastern Unites States. However, many of the species are also found in Manitoba and other places in North America. It includes mushrooms found in gardens, around the home as well as in the wilderness.

The book is well laid out in colour-coded sections each of which begin with an explanation of mushroom life, morphology, toxicology, edibility and other facts pertinent to the section. There is a handy photo reference guide at the start of the book and the sections identifying the various species include the taxonomical order and family of mushrooms. The first section is the Non-Gilled Mushrooms including Myxomycota slime moulds, Ascomycota sac fungi, and Basidiomycota including puffballs and allies, jelly, coral, tooth, bracket, and boletes. The second section deals with all the Gill Fungi (which are also Basidiomycota) in four colour coded sections delineating gilled mushrooms based on spore colours. The final section Mushrooms as Food addresses Edible Fungi and Mushroom Poisoning.

I recommend that all mushroom foragers read the last section of this book before their next foray or experimentation with mushrooms, as it provides an excellent introduction to mushroom toxicology. And be sure to carry a second mushroom reference guide to verify the species you have encountered, as no one mushroom book.

The photos of mushrooms are quite good, capturing the morphological features of mushrooms. Throughout the book there are interesting tidbits of other species of fungi that have impact on other organisms. When a species is poisonous, it is noted as such in bold face in the description. Some poisonous look-alikes of edible species are also described.

The book is most useful as a field guide for mushroom hunters who sometimes want to collect edible species. It does not address all possible mushroom species, no one field book can possibly do this. The author does not include popular herbal medicinal ethnobotanical uses of mushroom species in the descriptions although some are briefly discussed in the Mushrooms For Food section. For example, the use of Ling Chi Ganoderma tsugae as popular Reishi herbal tinctures, or Turkey Tail Trametes versicolor as an immune system booster. Although this book does identify two Inonotus species, it does not include Chaga Inonotus obliquus a very popular herbal mushroom used as an anti-cancer preventative and cure. Hence the need for additional reference books.

The index at the back of the book references the common names and the latin scientific names of the mushrooms.

"Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores and on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web site.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.65"
336 pages, 875 colour photos, 609 species
ISBN 978-1-77213-001-0
Price $29.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Proof#29 of the Non-Existence of God

by Jass Richards

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


TurboJetslams Book Cover

This compact and inexpensive ($9.99 CDN) pocket book provides insight to a phenomenon experienced by many people who go to the wilderness for solitude and are confronted by other people who are obnoxious, belligerent and unfriendly.

The story is set in the Canadian wilderness, about a single woman who attempts to retire in a cabin on a lake that is populated with cabins. That right there sets the stage for calamity and frustration. As a paddler I typically expect to find motors and noise of all kinds that are used by people getting to their cabins or motoring around the lake.

The book builds on numerous stories that lead to sarcastic or, more appropriately, sardonic humor relating to the protagonist's experiences with how noisy, drunk, raucous cabin dwellers residing on the same lake end up being maligned in various manners over a number of years. The Non-Existence of God is shown in the many conflicts and affronts to the protagonist's expectations of a wilderness experience.

As a paddler and lover of wilderness, I disagree with the tendency for people to acquire a cabin in nature as it inherently destroys the essence of that nature and solitude that one is seeking and the disruption to the environment changes forever the wilderness that was there. In my honest opinion, to expect solitude in a lake cohabited by other people is a pipe dream. The sarcasm in the book illustrates the frustrations and entertainment one would encounter in such a scenario. If you want to experience life in a wilderness cabin do it vicariously through this book, perhaps it will fuel your resolve to never own a cabin on a lake cohabited by other people.

The single illustration is justifiable in its solitude as it indicates how gasoline toxifies our lakes, negatively affecting aquatic life. Sarcastically expressed, of course.

I had trouble laughing at some of the humour in the book, because I have found my own such ludicrous encounters with other people to be unsettling in their disrespect for nature, other humans and beings.

"TurboJetslams" is available from many sources online in paperback, as well as softcopy, Kobobooks, iBooks, etc.

For more information on this book, go to TurboJetslams web page

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.25"
120 pages, 1 illustration
ISBN 978-1-926891-65-1 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-926891-66-8 (html)
ISBN 978-1-926891-67-5 (pdf)
Price $9.99 CDN (paperback)
Publisher: Magenta





Wanapitei Canoe Trippers' Cookbook III

by Carol Hodgins

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt

Wanapitei Canoe Trippers' Cookbook III copyright © 2009 Carol Hodgins

When I bought the first issue of the Wanapitei Canoe Trippers' Cookbook in 1986 I was not expecting to obtain the value it has since given me. Ever since then paddling partners on numerous canoeing and hiking trips have commended the meals I made from recipes such as Mulligatawny Stew, Logan Bread or Vegetarian Chili. There are many other recipes in Issue III that are equally scrumptious and that are on my list to prepare.

This issue is a combination of the two previous editions with updates and metric measurements; Issue I was first printed in 1982 by The Highway Bookshop and Issue II was first published in 1999. As before, all recipes are sized for six energetic people.

Carol Hodgins has arranged the book with contributions from other sources into sections dealing with:

  • Water treatment and environmental concerns
  • Nutrition, meal planning, preparation and packaging
  • Recipes for meat-eaters, vegetarians and allergies
  • Fires, stoves and ovens
  • Breakfasts, pancakes, bannocks and breads
  • Meals, fish, soups, and salads
  • Dressings, sauces, dips and spreads
  • Desserts, snacks and fruit leathers
  • Fitness and injury prevention

Issue III of the cookbook includes numerous photos that inspire the reader to get out cooking and canoeing and it most aptly closes with:
Happy Tripping! Eat Well, Have Fun!

For more information, go to White Mountain Publications web page about this book.

Glossy softcover, spiral cerelux bound, 6" x 8.5" x 0.5", color
188 pages, Black and White and Color Photos and Illustrations
ISBN 10: 1-894747-43-7
ISBN 13: 9781894747431
Price $24.95 Canadian
Publisher: White Mountain Publications





The Bow Drill Fire

by James Black

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt

The Bow Drill Fire copyright © 2001 by James Black

James Black provides very thorough step-by-step instructions on how to select materials found in nature and use them to start and nurture a fire without use of flint, matches or lighter. Instead a bow is used to drill a piece of wood on another piece of wood to cause friction in turn creating ashes that are used to nurture a flame in flammable duff material. This is a valuable survival or camping skill for those who venture into the wilderness because a person can not always depend on other sources of flame or spark being available to start a camp fire.

The book includes a fire-making troubleshooting section and also describes how to make your own string or cord from plant or root fibers. Black and white illustrations and photographs help clarify the instructions.

For more information, go to White Mountain Publications web page about this book.

Softcover, edge stapled, 5.38" x 8.5" x 0.25", color cover
45 pages, Black and White Photos and Illustrations
ISBN 10: 1-896331-51-3
Price $8.95 Canadian $7.00 US
Publisher: White Mountain Publications





Birds of Canada

by Tyler L. Hoar, Ken De Smet,
R. Wayne Campbell & Gregory Kennedy
with contributions from Krista Kagume

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt

Birds of Canada copyright © 2010 Lone Pine Publishing

This comprehensive book includes:

  • ID, size, habitat, nesting, feeding, voice and similar species
  • Common and latin names
  • Notes on each species' natural history, name origins
  • Specific behaviours and habits to watch for
  • Mnemonics to help remember species
  • Update conservation activities underway in all provinces
  • Beautiful full-colour illustrations and photos for each species
  • Range maps
  • Birdwatching tips and best sites.

Lone Pine Publishing has produced quality bird field guides for cities and provinces across Canada for many years. This book presents up-to-date, fascinating information for people of all ages interested in watching birds and learning more about them.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 6" x 9" x 1", color
Hardcover also available
528 pages, Illustrations
ISBN 13: 978-1-55105-589-3
ISBN 10: 1-55105-589-9
Price $32.95 Canadian $32.95 US
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Manigotagan River Canoe Map

by Manitoba Eco-Network

Map Review
by Donna R Kurt

The Manigotagan River Canoe Map provides an excellent resource of information regarding a multitude of aspects of this very popular whitewater river which is just a few hours drive northeast of Winnipeg in Nopiming Provincial Park. It has a number of very good nature photographs, illustrates forest fire burn areas, and provides information on historical, geological, ecological and environmental aspects of the river.

The Manigotagan is a fun and challenging whitewater canoe route only a few hours north of Winnipeg, Manitoba's capital and population centre. Its watershed drains an area of approximately 217 square kilometers or 22,000 hectares, most of which is located in Manitoba (the river originates in Woodland Caribou Park in North-Western Ontario), and discharges into Lake Winnipeg from the East. The part of the river that is most frequently paddled is the 134 kilometres between Highway 314 and the community of Manigotagan at the mouth of Lake Winnipeg. This novice to intermediate canoe route takes between 5 and 7 days, although there are access points further downstream should you wish to shorten your trip (for more information regarding access points, see below). There are 32 beautiful waterfalls and rapids which range from Class I to Class IV depending on the water level. The longest portage is close to 450 metres, while the shortest is less than 20 metres long. Note that some rapids do not have a portage trail and must be run.

The area between Highway 314 and Quesnel Lake is typical Canadian Shield country, boreal forest interspersed with marshy areas. This is part of Nopiming Provincial Park. You will need to cross 4 larger lakes (Long Lake, Manigotagan Lake, Quesnel Lake and Turtle Lake, some of which have cottages. The area downstream of Quesnel Lake is undeveloped (with the exception of Turtle Lake), but was largely burned in a forest fire in 1999. This part leads you through regrowth forest and marshy areas and belongs to Manitoba's newest provincial park, Manigotagan River Provincial Park.

The entire river flows through beautiful landscapes. The map is an excellent on-water resource and it has an excellent on-line interactive version that is worth exploring on the Manitoba Eco-Network website. The paper map includes the various names that have been given to a number of the rapids and which can cause some confusion, a long-standing problem for those who paddle the river.

Untreated, 6" x 8" x 0.125",
unfolds to 23.675" x 34.75", two sided, color
2 pages, text, photos and maps
ISBN 1-895465-26-5
Price $10.00 Canadian
Publisher: Manitoba Eco-Network
(204) 947-6511 phone
www.mbeconetwork.org web





River Rough, River Smooth
Adventures on Manitoba's Historic Hayes River

by David Finch

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


 River Rough, River Smooth copyright © 2010 Anthony Dalton

Manitoba's Hayes River runs over six hundred kilometres from near Norway House to Hudson Bay. On its rush to the sea, the Hayes races over forty-five rapids and waterfalls as it drops down from the Precambrian Shileld to the Hudson Bay Lowlands. This great waterway, the largest naturally flowing river in Manitoba, served as the highway for settlers bound for the Red River colony, ferrying their worldly goods in York boats and canoes, struggling against the mighty currents.

Traditionally used for transport and hunting by the indigenous Cree, the Hayes became a major fur trade route in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, being explored by such luminaries as Pierre Radisson (1682), Henry Kelsey (1690), David Thompson (1784), Sir John Franklin (1819), and J.B. Tyrrell (1892). This is the account of the author's invitational journey on the Hayes from Norway House to Oxford House by traditional York boat with a crew of First Nation Cree, and later, from Oxford House to York Factory by canoe in the company of other intrepid canoeists - modern-day voyageurs reliving the past.

Softcover, 6" x 9" x 0.675"
304 pages, photos and maps
ISBN 978-1-55488-712-5
Price $32.99 Canadian
Publisher: Dundurn Press
www.dundurn.com web





Black Spruce Journals

Tales of canoe-tripping in the Maine Woods, the boreal spruce forests of northern Canada, and the Barren Grounds.

by Stewart Coffin

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Black Spruce Journals

When the trail peters out in tangles of Labrador tea, follow a compass bearing onward through unbroken wilderness to an unnamed lake. You can imagine you are exploring new country in this land of the beaver and moose. Yet you know in your heart that sometime in the dim and distant past, your lost lake has seen paddles dipped into its waters, snowshoe tracks made upon its frozen surface, or moccasin footprints pressed softly into caribou moss along its shores. As these ancient trails gradually disappear, a bit of history vanishes along with them. Herein lies the story of a least a few of them, as traveled and photographed by the author.

The book includes photos, historical and personal anecdotes from wilderness canoe trips on the following rivers: The Rapid, Dead, Kennebec, Kazan, George, Wacouno, Naskaupi, Moisie, Kipawa, Dumoine, Bow, Ste. Marguerite, Wakwayowkastic, Ugjoktok, Magpie, Ashuanipi and features other canoeing areas in the backwoods of Maine and wilds of Labrador.

"Black Spruce Journals is an account of one man's explorations of wild places. Starting at an early age, Coffin's love of adventure inevitably drew him from his New England beginnings farther and farther into the boreal forests of northern Canada and beyond. His retrospective of forty years of wilderness journeys, which includes many remarkable photographs, reveals the writer's deep attachment to the land." -Herb Pohl

"Black Spruce Journals" is available at Heron Dance Press.

Laminated softcover, 6.75" x 9.75" x 0.38"
196 pages, many black and white photos and maps
ISBN: 978-1-933937-40-3
Publication Date: 2007
Price: $19.95 US
Publisher: Heron Dance Press





True North

by Elliott Merrick
with an introduction by Lawrence Millman

Book Review


True North

In 1929, at the age of 24, Elliott Merrick left his position as an advertising executive in New Jersey and headed up to Labrador to work as an unpaid volunteer for the Grenfell Mission.

In 1933 he wrote True North about his experiences in the northern wilderness, living and working with trappers, Indians and with the nurse he met and married in a remote community.

The book describes the hard work and severe conditions, along with the joy and friendship he and his wife experienced.

"Merrick's account of life in a harsh and unforgiving land is a tribute to the hardiness and generosity of the people whose life he shared. His vividly evocative prose stimulates the imagination such that the reader becomes a participant in the exhausting struggles and profound joys of the trail. An absolute masterpiece."
- Herb Pohl, retired McMaster University biology department instructional assistant and lab supervisor and a solo canoeist who paddled extensively in the Canadian North.

"True North" is available at Heron Dance Press.

Laminated softcover, 5.5" x 8" x 0.75"
305 pages, map of the voyage through Labrador
ISBN: 0-9755649-9-4
Publication Date: 1933, republished 2005
Price: $19.95 US, $24.00 CDN
Publisher: Heron Dance Press





A Death On The Barrens

by George Grinnell

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


A Death On The Barrens

Once this book is started, you will not want to put it down, especially if you are a canoeist.

George Grinnell published "A Death on the Barrens" in 1995, 40 years after his ill-fated 1955 canoe trip down the Dubawnt and Thelon Rivers in Northern Canada with 4 other men in their twenties, and 36-year-old leader Art Moffat. With spell-bounding clarity and insight Grinnell recollects the emotions, energy and timelessness defining the group interaction and events that occurred such as the canoe upsets in the rapids, death and near death from hypothermia, societal isolation, interpersonal conflicts, hoarding and sharing, loving and caring.

I first heard Grinnell introduce the story and book "A Death on the Barrens" at the Wilderness Canoeing Symposium in Toronto in 1995. Since then, while preparing for many of my own wilderness canoeing trips, I would recall George's various anecdotes about the trip in which Moffat dies of hypothermia following an unexpected lengthy immersion in a large set of rapids nearing the end of their journey. The group was not prepared for the cold and had used up most of their food. What I recalled most from the presentation was how Grinnell had emphasized the limited food rations for the trip and how important the rationing of the sugar was to the men.

It seemed a shame that someone would die due to lack of time and provisions in the North; I would have expected a Northern expedition to be better prepared. Since then I have learned that there are many factors that can affect the integrity of a wilderness canoe trip, even if provisions are adequate. I should have purchased "A Death In The Barrens" at that Symposium, as well as a number of other books that were released at the event, but it was not within my budget. I was President of the Manitoba Recreational Canoeing Association and was attending the Symposium to hear my friend Victoria Jason introduce her book "Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak". There were so many excellent presentations that year, and it was an honour to have been able to meet all those amazing paddlers, telling stories of their wilderness adventures; they have all inspired me greatly.

As the story progresses, Grinnell's spiritual interpretations transform from traditional western beliefs to those of eastern and also aboriginal beliefs. His involvement in the events are grounded in his understanding and explanations of his upbringing, family history, education and work experiences up to the canoe trip. Grinnell effectively connects the reader to the beauty of the Barrens, to timelessness in paddling, and freedom from identity that can be encountered during isolated wilderness travel.

Even though the reader is prepared for the eventuality of Moffatt's death, the event occurs at an unexpected time and place, as is typical of mishaps, and with unexpected consequences. The loss of Moffat has a profound effect on the character and interaction of each man in the surviving party. They are humbled in realizing their existence is no more important than the Inuit family that shares their meager food supply with them in the face of starvation. The characters are built very well by Grinnell up to the point in time when Moffat dies, so that the ensuing changes in character of the surviving party is fully understandable in light of their need to survive and reach civilization. Their determination to survive and persistence in reaching their goal, the Hudson Bay Post on Baker Lake, is admirable despite not having any food or provisions for the ensuing freeze up.

Grinnell's story does not end with the canoe trip; he shares with the reader how his life unfolds following the trip and how he is affected by the experiences of the trip.

Photos of the group are provided at the start of the book and it is illustrated throughout with maps showing the progression of the trip. The latest version of the book is illustrated with wonderful watercolors by Rod MacIver.

"A Death On The Barrens" is available at Heron Dance Press.

Laminated softcover, 6.25" x 9" x 0.45"
188 pages, photos, watercolors
ISBN: 1-933937-17-3
Publication Date: 1996, republished 2006
Price: $19.95 US, $23.95 CDN
Publisher: Heron Dance Press





Sleeping Island
A Journey to the Edge of the Barrens

by P.G. Downes

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Sleeping Island

In an age when bush planes and outboard motors were opening up previously inaccessible regions of the Canadian North, Prentice G. Downes, a graduate of Harvard who worked as a school teacher just outside Boston, chose to travel alone by canoe to explore the Great Barren Lands. Sleeping Island is the sensitively written and moving account of one of his trips, a journey made in 1939 to remote, and at that time unmapped, Nueltin Lake.

In Sleeping Island, Downes records a North that was soon to be no more, a landscape and a people barely touched by white men. Downes describes the excitement of wilderness canoe travel, the delights of discovering the land, and his deep feeling for people met along the way. His respect for the Indians and the Inuit and their ways of life, and his love of their land, shine through this richly descriptive work.

The illustrations and maps are from authentic sketches; the photos of the Indians and Inuit, of Downes portaging and of his canoe connect the reader with the era of the story.

With the kind permission of the Downes family Heron Dance has republished this classic.

"Sleeping Island" is available at Heron Dance Press.

Laminated softcover, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.8"
324 pages, photos, drawings
ISBN: 0-9755649-4-3
Publication Date: 1943, republished 2004
Price: $19.00 US, $24.00 CDN
Publisher: Heron Dance Press






Animal Tracks of Manitoba

by Ian Sheldon & Tamara Eder

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Animal Tracks of Manitoba

"Animal Tracks of Manitoba" is a compact field guide useful for identifying tracks of animals common to Manitoba.

Each species is identifed with concise line drawings of the animal and it's tracks as well as it's front and rear prints, stride patterns and other important aspects. Each animal is drawn very well in black and white illustrations including pattern and print comparisons. The descriptions of each animal are informative and interesting.

The key at the front of the book helps the reader quickly identify where to find more detail about each animal. The rear of the book has very useful indexes.

"Animal Tracks of Manitoba" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 4.25" x 5.75" x 0.69"
176 pages, 198 Illustrations
ISBN-13: 978-1-55105-316-5
ISBN-10: 1-55105-316-0
Publication Date: 23 February 2001
Price $9.95 CDN, $9.95 US
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Manitoba Birds

by Andy Bezener & Ken De Smet

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Compact Guide to Manitoba Birds

"Manitoba Birds" is a compact guide to the birds of Manitoba.

The back cover has a colour-keyed quick guide to various bird groups with page numbers to 145 species of the most common birds found in Manitoba. At the front of the book there is a 5 page detailed color-coded key as well. This book is not meant to be a comprehensive book on birds but proves to be a handy quick reference book.

Each species description includes the bird's key features as well as the bird's voice (song), size, abundance status, habitat, nesting locations, feeding habits, similar species and best sites for viewing. The book is beautifully illustrated with paintings of the birds, beginning with the cover. A map of Manitoba accompanies each species, highlighted to show the bird's range.

The end of the book includes a checklist for 405 species of birds identified in Manitoba, grouped by Genera, plus an index of common names and an index of scientific names.

"Manitoba Birds" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.38"
176 pages, 146 maps, 150 + illustrations
ISBN-13: 978-1-55105-255-7
ISBN-10: 1-55105-255-5
Publication Date: 29 September 2000, Printed 2004
Price $17.95 CDN, $17.95 US
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Mushrooms of Western Canada

by Helene M. E. Schalkwijk-Barendsen

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Mushrooms of Western Canada

Helene M. E. Schalkwijk-Barendsen's "Mushrooms of Western Canada" contains such wonderful color illustrations of wild mushrooms that I was inspired to create my own line drawings of wild mushrooms that I have found on numerous wilderness canoeing trips in places such as the Yukon, Ontario and Manitoba. Sketching and drawing the convoluted, irregular, myriad shapes of mushrooms is a wonderful past-time. However, I can only hope to reach the breadth of experience and skill that Schalkwijk-Barendsen has attained, as illustrated in this book.

"Mushroom's of Western Canada" contains multiple paintings of over 550 species of mushrooms that Schalkwijk-Barendsen has found in Western Canada. Many of these species occur world-wide, expanding the useable range of this book. The mushroom paintings make the book an excellent reference for any library. However it is invaluable as one of at least two references any mycophaginist should carry with them when hunting mushrooms in the wilderness.

The book introduces the reader to mushroom identification methods, how to obtain spore prints and dry mushrooms, as well as classification. The reader is introduced to how mushrooms coexist with their environment, as well as taxonomy or scientific classification and the focus of the book, Subdivisions of Basidiomycotina and Ascomycotina comprising the fleshy mushrooms we are most familiar with.

The book introduces each species of mushroom, grouped by the Subdivision, Order, Class and Family then by species. Each Family is introduced with notes related to the common identifying characteristics of that family of fungi. Each species that is illustrated in the first half of the book is identified by it's common name and then by it's scientific name (Genera species) and is accompanied by a short description of the mushroom. The mushroom's edibility is generally unedible unless noted as being poisonous, unedible, or edible. Edible and poisonous mushroom look-a-likes are noted. Each species has a page reference to excellent detailed Class, Family and species descriptions in the latter half of the book, which have cross-references back to the illustration pages.

The end of the book includes: an illustrated glossary of shapes of gilled caps, fruiting bodies, universal veil and volva, caps, cap edges, stalks, and gill attachments; a glossary of terms (including Latin names); References; Index of Common Names; Index of Species and Index of Genera.

"Mushrooms of Western Canada" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.75"
416 pages, 550 species from Manitoba to the Pacific, north to the Yukon and Pacific, south to California
ISBN: 0-919433-47-2
Publication Date: 1991
Price $26.95 CDN, $26.95 US
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Plants of the Western Boreal Forest
& Aspen Parkland

by Derek Johnson, Linda Kershaw,
Andy MacKinnon, Jim Pojar

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland

Plants of the Western Boreal Forest & Aspen Parkland covers Western Ontraio to British Columbia, Yukon, North West Territories and Alaska. It includes more than 800 excellent colour photographs and 900 line drawings.

The book is divided into color-keyed sections: Trees, Shrubs, Wildflowers, Eating For A Living (carnivorous plants), Aquatics, Graminoids (Sedges, Rushes, Grasses), Ferns and Allies (Horsetails and Club-mosses), Mosses and Liverworts, and Lichens.

There is an introduction to each section with an appropriate plant key and description of the species identified in the section.

Each plant is identified by its most prevalent common name, followed by the scientific species name (Genera species) and then by alternate common names (if Clear species descriptions help identify plants. When appropriate, there are intriguing notes about edible plants, native uses of plants and origins of plant names provided with each plant description. Photos and line drawings depict overall plant appearance, as well as close-ups of flower heads or seed pods.

For most readers, the quickest way to identify an unfamiliar plant is to browse through the illustrations to find species the plant most closely resembles. The largest section of the book is the Wildflower section and it provides a very useful color photo key.

The book often describes differences in the plant through different regions, ages of the plant, time of year, weather soil types, disturbances and other factors such as local variant differences.

I have used this book extensively over the last 13 years on wilderness canoeing and backpacking trips in the Canadian Rockies, the Yukon, Manitoba, and Ontario. This reference book's knowledge-to-weight ratio is very high (it is well worth carrying).

"Plants of the Western Boreal Forest & Aspen Parkland" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.7"
392 pages, 800 colour photographs, 900 line drawings
ISBN-10: 1-55105-058-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-55105-058-4
Publication Date: 1995
Price $23.95 US, $29.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada

by Chris Fisher, Amanda Joynt,
& Dr. Ronald J. Brooks

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada

The threatening ground view stare of a Prairie Rattlesnake coiled to strike draws one's eye to the book and one's hand to pick it up and explore it's contents. This book provides information on 84 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Canada today plus another 9 species that are either introduced, migratory or can no longer live in Canada. This book is meant to be comprehensive and is educational for those who are novice and experienced with respect to reptiles and amphibians.

The Introduction's "It Ain't Easy Being Green" section provides excellent information regarding the endangered status of one third of the species in the book, including two thirds of Canada's reptiles. You will also find excellent guidance and information for handling, interacting, and respecting the wildness of these delicate creatures. The introduction also addresses issues such as global, social-economic, psychological relationships that we have with our green friends.

The illustrations are informative and attractive, including hand drawn images and photographs.

The book is laid out so that each species description has sections to address identification, overall length, distribution, selected sites, preferred habitat, activity patterns, reproduction, food, call, similar species and the french name. As with other field guides published by Lone Pine, each species also features "Did You Know" trivia to test your eco-partners with.

The book is color keyed for turtles, lizards, snakes, other reptiles, salamanders, and frogs & toads with a key at the front of the book.

"The Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores, on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.5"
208 pages, 93 species of reptiles and amphibians
ISBN-10: 1-55105-279-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-551-5-279-3
Publication Date: 15 May 2007
Price $18.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Plants of Alberta

by France Royer & Richard Dickinson

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Plants of Alberta Book Cover

The Western Wood Lily flower blooming on the book's cover invites the passerby to open the book to examine it's other enticing images. This book is comprehensive as it provides information on over 1000 species of plants native to Alberta including trees, shrubs and vines, wildflowers, ferns, aquatic plants and grasses. If one book is to be carried as a plant reference in Alberta without overloading the pack, this is it. Many of the species identified in the book are also common in neighbouring provinces.

There are over 700 primary species of plants identified in the book; each species has a very good colour photo, range map, alternate names, habitat, identification, leaves, fower clusters, flowers, fruit and at least one interesting note about the plant or family, such as whether the plant is edible or poisonous or if there are aboriginal or common uses for the plant. Each plant family is introduced relative to worldwide information, member types, typical identification and differentiation, and a "QuickId" description.

Each section starts with a pictorial thumbprint key relating each species' scientific name to the page number the description is provided on, along with colour keys related to colours of the flowers, shapes of the leaves, stems or spores.

Glossary, references and index are provided at the back of the book. The authors, France Royer and Richard Dickinson, have been working together operating a botanical and photographic service company and have authored previous publications about wildflowers and weeds.

"Plants of Alberta" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores and on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 1"
528 pages, over 1000 species of plants
ISBN-10: 1-55105-283-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-55105-283-0
Publication Date: 02 April 2007
Price $29.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Manitoba, Naturally
Scenic Secrets of Manitoba

by Bill Stillwell

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Manitoba, Naturally Book Cover

This is a nice reference book, published in 2006, for birders and nature lovers of all species because it is compact, inexpensive ($14.99 cdn) and provides information on 60 less commonly publicized sites to view nature and wildlife in Manitoba. The book is not comprehensive in all such sites as it does not address sites more commonly promoted in Manitoba public relations documents.

The various photos by numerous photographers often provide the common name of the species in the photo is shown. Each site description provides a short list of species the author noted during his visit(s) there. The driving directions and illustrations provide general directions to the locations and sometimes the reader is advised to check with locals as to the more accurate location of the destination. Each location includes a small graphical key indicating the best time to visit the site.

There are a couple locations for which the directions provided in the written description do not match the information in the map or for which the directions are unclear. With today's general availability of inexpensive and more simple-to-use Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation systems, the site location information would have done well to include each site's latitude and longitude. Also, although rivers, lakes and streams are mentioned, there is little advice on how to access them, or if there are any limitations or safety aspects with respect to different modes of travel in the area, whether it is paddling, skiing, or biking; the book appears to be oriented to the drive/walk/hike naturalist in this regard, although those determined enough usually find their will to push their way through a bog to find a rare glimpse of Manitoba's scenic nature.

The descriptive information is general in nature and some history and protected status classification of the area is provided along with some personal anecdotes, such as the author's involvement in helping to protect an ecologically important area. The text and writing is upbeat and encourages the reader to explore some of the sites identified in the book.

If you are looking for new areas to explore in Manitoba, this is a useful reference to add to your library.

"Manitoba, Naturally" is available from numerous bookstores.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 5.5" x 8.5" x 0.25"
96 pages
ISBN 0-9781001-0-7 (softcover)
Price $14.99 CDN
Publisher: William Street Publishing
P.O. Box 1427, Neepawa, MB, R0J 1H0





Compact Guide to
Saskatchewan and Manitoba Birds

by Alan Smith, Ken De Smet,
Krista Kagume & Carmen Adams

Book Review


Compact Guide to Saskatchewan and Manitoba Birds Book Cover

This is a good introductory birding book for novice birders because it is compact and inexpensive ($12.95 cdn) and provides information on 80 common bird species a person would find on short outings in urban and rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan. By no means is it meant to be, nor is it, comprehensive.

The bird illustrations are informative and attractive whereas the eggs shown are actual photos. Some readers may find the illustrations of similar birds helpful.

The descriptive information is of a general nature, pertaining to area of distribution, breeding, calls, habitat, etc. Each species has short notes providing "Did You Know" and "Look For" bird trivia which may be of interest to experienced as well as new birders.

A general key is provided at the back of the book and the various species are grouped with an array of color codes to facilitate finding the species in the book.

"The Compact Guide to Saskatchewan and Manitoba Birds" is available from many sources, at numerous bookstores and on the web and directly from Lone Pine Publishing at www.lonepinepublishing.com/ordering.

For more information, go to Lone Pine Publishing web page about this book.

Laminated softcover, glossy, 4.25" x 7.5" x 0.5"
192 pages, 83 species of birds
ISBN 1-55105-503-1
Price $12.95 CDN
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing





Classic Solo Canoeing

by Becky Mason

Video Review
by Donna R Kurt


Classic Solo Canoeing is not just another shoreline how-to-canoe production; Becky's talent shows through in the filmmaking, artistic and paddling skills she learned from her father in the production of his award winning canoeing films Path of the Paddle, Song of the Paddle, her father's autobiographical film Waterwalker and his many other films.

This video is an essential sequel to the Path and Song videos in the refinement of solo canoeing, which Mason is so eloquent at teaching. The video introduces solo canoeing strokes so paddlers can feel comfortable with "jumping" into a canoe for a leisurely paddle.

The focus is solo canoeing, but most of the paddling strokes are also pertinent to tandem canoeing with the sage advice that there are many ways to learn to paddle. Mason also gives advice on other aspects of canoeing such as lifting a canoe, portaging, care of equipment and safety. Between paddling lessons she also shares her views and concerns, learned from her parents, for the environment and nature.

Classic Solo Canoeing includes some beautiful scenery, shot in the Gatineau Hills area north of Ottawa in Quebec, with perspectives from the canoe, from the water and from elevated or secluded locations. Ian Tamblyn's music anoints the video beautifully as scenes are transitioned through various shimmering elements of our natural world.

Mason's finesse with the paddle, which I remember from several courses I took from her a decade ago, inspired my desire to improve my paddling skills. She teaches in a down-to-earth manner that does not intimidate the novice. She shows that it is the pleasure of paddling that really counts. The finesse comes from attempting to do this pleasurable activity with less effort and more grace each time you go for a paddle.

In closing, Mason says, in a wistful tone reminiscent of her father in Waterwalker, "... and take your time learning ... because I think adding to your paddling knowledge never ends ..." while she spins eloquent pirouettes in the mist of Tamblyn's meditative strumming.

It was mesmerizing, like I was out on the water spinning my own little red cedar canvas canoe, letting the day's stress float away ... even though it's minus 30 something and the water is hard like steel! Perhaps I don't have to travel south this winter to destress myself paddling on "soft" water ... I'll just put on Becky Mason's new canoeing video ... again and again!

38:48 minutes
ISBN 0-9688146-0-3
Price $39.95 CDN, $29.95 US plus applicable taxes, shipping and handling
511 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4
redcanoe@istar.ca email Becky Mason






by Clarence Tillenius

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


Tillenius Book Cover

The autobiographical work Tillenius by famous wildlife and nature artist Clarence Tillenius gives an intimate view of the octogenarian and his amazing accomplishments ranging from the huge dioramas in museums across Canada to his thousands of sketches and paintings covering the 85 years of his career.

Tillenius' exciting stories of his wilderness exploits give insight to the origins of his paintings and expose his sincere love and concern for the Canadian wilderness. He has many times put his life at risk so he could obtain visions of wilderness scenes and wildlife. He vividly remembers these experiences and continues to bring them to life in his paintings. His fine skills brings the viewer quickly to the point of action in his sketches and paintings.

Tillenius' other books include Days of the Buffalo (1998) and Sketch Pad Out-of-Doors (1656, reprinted 1962 and 1986) and he has contributed award winning artwork to the book Buffalo (1992).

Tillenius was produced to celebrate the opening of the Clarence Tillenius Gallery on the second floor of The Pavilion in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1998. Profits from this book go to support The Pavilion Gallery.

Softcover, glossy, 8.5" x 11"
84 pages, over 300 photos and paintings
ISBN 1-55056-618-0
Price $25.00 CDN incl. taxes, shipping, handling
Publisher: Trails of the Interlake Studio
ctillenius@home.com email
www.wilds.mb.ca/tillenius web





R.M. Patterson
A Life of Great Adventure

by David Finch

Book Review
by Donna R Kurt


R.M. Patterson: A Life of Great Adventure copyright © 2000 David Finch

The brilliant colours on the cover of R.M. Patterson, A Life of Great Adventure wake you up to the potential of this new biographical book about the famous author by David Finch, cross-country skier, canoeist, canoe restorer, hiker, historian, father, husband and author of a number of books about Canada's geology and history.

I have read a number of Raymond Murray Patterson's books, beginning with Dangerous River, a factual book published in 1954 about his travels on the Nahanni River/NWT. I was skeptical about the value of a book on Patterson because I had learned so much about him in his analysis and approach to the wilderness from his personal stories which form the basis of his books; I felt I had known Patterson even though I had never met him. However, Finch has researched Patterson to the T from his birth in England in 1898 to his demise in British Columbia in 1984 and rendered him suitably with the eloquent style and manner found in Patterson's books; Finch shows us a lot more about the makings of this wilderness and ranch man.

In addition to the best selling Dangerous River Patterson had published The Buffalo Head in 1961, Far Pasters in 1963, Trail to the Interior in 1966 and Finlay's River in 1968 about the Rocky Mountains and Peace River Country of Northern Alberta.

Finch has divulged aspects of Patterson's life that provide greater insight into the man's desire to experience Canada's wilderness and ranch/farm life with a zest greater than most Canadians have. Patterson's daughter helped Finch to write the book and Patterson's neighbour, friend and publisher, Gray Campbell, provided additional insight into the wilderness adventurer.

I found the book to be inundated with information about the Nahanni and parts of Alberta and British Columbia (I want to visit).

On March 1, 2000 the Alberta Government has recognized Patterson's stature by commemorating a mountain in the Higwood Range "Patterson's Peak."

In the Foreword, Gray Campbell aptly quotes Bruce Hutchison's description of Patterson as "a mixture of Thoreau and Jack London."

Hardcover, 6.5" x 9.5"
304 pages, photos and maps
ISBN 0-921102-75-5
Price $34.95 Canadian
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books
(403) 249-9490 phone
(403) 249-2968 fax
sales@rmbooks.com email
www.rmbooks.com web





Companies and Products ENDORSED

by Donna R Kurt


Mountain Equipment Coop always provides excellent support and pricing and the staff are always friendly and helpful. Their Rock Solid Guaranty cannot be beat.


The We-No-Nah Prospector was introduced in 2003. I bought two of these from Wave Track in 2004, one being an ultralight kevlar 40 lb 16 foot version, for lake and "easy" movingwater trips, and a second one being a 65 lb Royalex 16 foot version for whitewater trips. At 40 lbs, the ultralight is a delight to carry, you begin to wonder what you can add to it to make up for the loss of weight compared to the older 58 lb kevlar canoe, but I am working hard on keeping from adding too much, other than kneeling pads (made from yellow evazote foam sleeping pads which is not slippery when wet and is uv and tear resistant, I've use it in my other canoes), a deep dish yoke, and a kneeling thwart (for solo paddling and as a third seat). Both versions handle beautifully, with lots of rocker and excellent tumblehome, you can heel the gunwales down to the water very nicely and the boat spins with wild abandon. I was going to get wood gunwales on the ultralight, but kept to the low weight initiative and went with the standard anodized aluminum gunwales, and kept the color simple, basic gold kevlar because tinting adds weight (to make up for the UV protection, I treated the boats inside and out with 303 protectant). The reason I am changing from my Bluewater 16' 56lb Kevlar Prospector to this canoe is because it has more rocker and is lighter. The Bluewater Prospector has been a very nice, durable canoe, and is excellent for someone who wants a canoe that tracks easily, because it has no rocker and its shape has been modified, so it steers easier than most other prospector canoes, but I want a canoe that challenges my steering, and don't mind doing more correction strokes. I am a larger, heavier paddler, so when I sit midships in the Bluewater Prospector to do solo canoeing, the stern drags in the water because of the lack of rocker, even when the canoe is heeled over, and the bow is out of the water, so this makes the canoe not handle symmetrically so that spins are more difficult to do as nicely as I can do in a canoe that has more rocker. The Bluewater is still a beautifully crafted boat, with no waves in the layup and a very nice shape, it is perfect for someone who does not want to waste any energy steering, and its weight is still quite reasonable. I also have a Trailhead 17' Royalex Expedition Prospector, made by Mad River Canoes that is very nice for whitewater canoe tripping. An indestructible boat, its only drawback is that is weighs in at 85 lbs without the extras (like kneeling thwart, knee pads, thigh straps, tie downs, spray deck, etc.).


303 Protectant is an excellent UV protectant! I put a coating on all my canoes helps to protect them from UV and to restore weathered and worn gelcoat and Royalex. A coat on the inside helps protect the "other side" of the boat, which is normally facing up to the sun while you are paddling, although you might find it a bit slippery for the first few times out, it is not noticeable later. I give my canoes a coating of 303 protectant when new and every couple years and I also put 303 Protectant on my PFDs, tents, tarps, ropes, drysuit rubber, car tires, car dash board, paddling jackets, eyeglasses, Thule racks. It has restored rotomolded plastic caneo hulls too. It works a lot better than Armorall, which goes grey over time. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way! Use a small sponge and apply it over the item you are protecting in a very thin layer. It is enviromentally safe and is not toxic.


La-Z-Boy Furniture, in Winnipeg, has provided excellent support to me on a recent purchase. I highly recommend them for accommodating me with very good pricing and product support and a wonderful set of furniture for my front room!


Costco has provided excellent support over the past few years. Their product return policy is excellent and they have provided very good products, from clothing to furniture to produce and other foods. I have bought many articles, brought them home to try them or see how they fit in and have taken them back with no problems! They have excellent pricing on their photo finishing and dry mounting for posters and pictures. Their eyecare centres have provided me very good support, providing ongoing repair and adjustments for eyeglasses.


SuperStore has very good pricing and an excellent variety/selection of products to choose from, I have shopped there for many years and will continue to do so. Photo finishing is pretty good, too.


FutureShop on Leila, in Winnipeg, has offered very good pricing on a number of electronics and appliances purchased the past few years.


The Pentax Optio 43WR, was a wonderful, rugged, compact water resistant digital camera. I have used it extensively the past 4 months and have found it to be very versatile and rugged, too. The only things I would like to see improved on this camera would be the addition of a remote control, as is available on the Pentax Zoom 90WR 35mm water resistant film camera, a microphone which does not pick up the phonic noises from the camera body (even rain drops hitting the camera case or my fingers operating the camera make a noise), a larger LCD display on the back of the camera with better contrast for use in daylight, a jack to connect an external microphone, and a second lanyard attachment point on the other side of the camera, so it can be hung horizontally by the cord (there is only one lanyard attachment point on the upper left corner of the camera body, so it hangs diagonally). But there is nothing else as rugged or as versatile and as small or light, so this is the compact digital camera for me. I have used this camera while standing and steering at the back of a dragon boat, making a movie clip of the 20 paddlers and drummer paddling in practices and races while in rain and cold conditions, and there is almost always water being splashed up at the camera. This little camera takes excellent close up photos and is easy to use, even if it is a bit pricey. This camera finally packed it in with a smash to the LCD display so I upgraded to a SONY DSC-TX10 which is a great waterproof camera, although it's plastic housing is a little fragile, requiring repairs twice, but I would buy another one and treat it more gently. Sony has provided excellent repair service.


I love my Apple G4 Digital Audio desktop computer, and my other Apple computers, like the PowerMac 7100, they do things my PCs with faster processors can't do. Mac OS 10.3.8 Panther is great! For the past 4 years the MacBook Pro has been one of the most useful computers I have ever used. Over the years I have upgraded from iPod bricks to the iPhone 5 and 93 year old Mom is doing Facetime, Skype, music, photos, email on her iPad Air and iPhone 4s.