To My Dear Readers:

This summer I have been fortunate enough to be offered a summer camp position in an urban ESL(English as a Second Language) camp.  While this is great news for me career wise, it is a sad day for me site wise.

I have decided to step away from the blog for a while so that I can concentrate on camp and making it the best experience for my campers.   During that time I will also evaluate the site.  The blog has grown in leaps and bounds and I’m grateful for that but it’s also a time consuming thing to keep up with.

I don’t want the blog to stop, in fact while I’m away I would love for some guest bloggers to post on the site.  If you are interested in this opportunity please email me and let me know!

Thank You for your loyalty and Enjoy your trip!

Jennifer Kerr

 

Thank You!!

canoe

 

This year has been my best year yet and it’s all because of you!  I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for the site and me!  I know that there will be a solo canoe trip in June, a trip back to the Boat Show and the Outdoor Adventure Show, and (hopefully) some trips up on the Parkbus.  Once again Thank You for reading!

~Enjoy your Trip!

Mark Your Calendars

TEDxAlgonquin Park is returning for it’s sophomore year on September 5th.

A little bit of history for those who have never heard of TEDx:

TEDx is a branch of TED which is all about Ideas Worth Spreading.  TEDx events are locally organized events that bring people together under one roof to celebrate one common theme.  Each speaker is limited to 20 minutes (acutally more like 18) and they must encompass the theme within their topic.  TEDxAlgonquin started last year and was a success.  With speakers like Olympic Athelete Adam Van Koverdyn, Artist Gene Canning, and Terri LeRoux, it was a well rounded event and took place at the Visitor’s Center in Algonquin.

Speakers have yet to be announced for this year but I encourage you all to apply to attend the event.  The application can be found here:

http://www.tedxalgonquinpark.com/attendee-registration/

Just so you can get a glimpse of what the event was like, here is Terri LeRoux speaking about Algonquin Deficit Disorder:

I hope to see you all there!

~Enjoy your trip!

 

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Tweeting A Mystery

ttlastspring

Last spring, the twitterverse was immersed into a 95-year-old mystery when Tom Thomson himself took to twitter.  Over the last year he has gathered over 1500 followers and has made over 4700 tweets.  I myself started following Tom around June/July of last year and have loved every minute of it.  The cool thing about his tweets is that he makes you feel like you are on the trail with him paddling, walking, and sketching every step of the way.  He’s very interactive with his followers and has now branched into a blog.  Tom focuses on the final fall/spring of Tom Thomson’s life.  This week I had the chance to interview Tom about his journey with us on Twitter.  He also included some answers from previous interviews .

Early Spring

Jenn: Why twitter?  Why not Facebook or some other form of social media?

Tom: Twitter enabled me to construct Tom’s identity and character. That’s not possible with Facebook. As well the follower concept is different from friends on Facebook.

I’ve decided to conceal my real identity and have everyone interact with me as Tom. Only a very few people know who I am and I have sworn them to secrecy and say they are now part of the ‘ TT Inner Circle’

Also, by being covert, no one knows who I am and where I will show up. It’s all part of the ongoing mystery.
Jenn: What inspired you to become the voice of Tom Thomson? 

Tom: I’ve always known Tom. I have read most, if not all of the literature and research about Tom. I also have some ‘inside’ or local knowledge of where he grew up and what he experienced during his informative years. We’re not related, but we have relatives in the same cemetery.

Reflecting on his character, I have a lot of similarities and could relate to the situations he was in.

Tom wasn’t a big writer. Very terse and unrevealing in his prose. His tone and choice of words was actually perfect for tweets.

As well, I am fascinated by his sketches. I have been compiling as many as I can (I have several hundred now). I realized the size and quality of the boards were perfect for tweeting and look especially wonderful on mobile devices.

Jenn: Why the last spring?  Why not the 5 years that Tom explored Algonquin?

Tom: Tom’s Last Spring is a culmination of many factors and achievements. He had produced his masterpieces, the Canadian icons of the Jack Pine and the West Wind but he didn’t realize it.

The spectre of the War and the looming conscription crisis was a factor, I believe, in his plans to flee or make himself scarce.

Finally, his affair with Winnie, ran into a major complication (alleged pregnancy). I could see a man cornered with little or no choice who was about to achieve something grand. And then it didn’t happen.

There’s an exceptional story here – from hs return to Toronto in Nov 1916 – to his last spring and fate in July 1917. No one has really explored the psychological aspect, the internal drama, so to speak. I’ve realized that many people know of Tom Thomson and his death, but know nothing of the circumstances or his thoughts and feelings leading up to the end.
Jenn: What’s next in your journey?

Tom: I am re-tweeting Tom’s Last Spring once again. Like any good ghost, they are repetitive and tend to haunt the same thing over and over again.

I am using the timeline I have built, adding in more detail, and correcting things that weren’t quite right. If I do this two or three times, I will have built a completely plausible story of his last spring, and it is my hope this ‘story’ will become a part of history.

This year I am writing blog entries (In real time as best I can). I know enough the characters, structure and timeline that I can slip into character when I write. All the research is paying off.

I am thinking about turning this into a book – Tom’s Lost Journal, but I’ll see how this year goes. I’m not setting any expectation.

Early Spring, Algonquin Park
Jenn: How are you able to portray your character so flawlessly? 

Tom: Research, reflection and more research. Everyday, I try to imagine what Tom is doing. I try to reconstruct the circumstances. I am reading the papers of the day; I am reading books that he would have read, and then project what I would be thinking into his character. It’s a hell of a lot of work. I comb through material, over and over again, always thinking ‘What would Tom think (say or tweet). Generally something spontaneously pops out and voila, I have new material.

Jenn: Do you feel that if Tom were alive today that you would be as big of a deal or do you think that Tom is who he is because of the mystery and possible fates that surround his death?

Tom: Everyone loves a mystery and a tragedy. Had Tom have lived to a ripe old age, he probably would have been well-accomplished but not as well-known.

We are all ‘inventing’ Tom (phrase borrowed from Sherrill Grace). It’s this act of speculating of what might have been and what could be drawing everyone into the story. It’s like going to a theatre – plays are more powerful than any CGI movie because we are constructing ourselves the characters we see on stage and it becomes a more personal experience. Same with the tweets – when you read the tweets you have to construct the circumstance and it becomes more powerful. Just as Tom let the wood show through in his sketches, forcing the viewer to construct the picture – it makes it a much more powerful experience.

Jenn: Do you feel that had Tom survived that he and Winnie would have gotten married?

Tom: I think Tom was ready to split. Out of wedlock was such a scandal in those days. He would have gone to the Rockies out west, or my speculation he would have gone to Colorado.
Jenn: Can you please remind our readers what the possible fates surrounding the death of Tom Thomson are?

Tom: My goodness. If I can remember them – there are 7.

1. Death by accident
2. Death by suicide.
3. Death by the hands of Shannon Fraser
4. Death by the hands of Martin Blecher
5. Death by the hands of Hugh Trainor
6. Death by the hands of a Poacher
7. Disappearance, after fatal encounter with a Poacher (the poacher is the recovered body)

(I wrote these without consulting my notes)

I have my opinion on what is the most plausible one is, but I’m not telling. Also, the seventh fate, despite being the least plausible, is still a definite possibility. Who knows, direct descendants of Tom Thomson might be alive and well in Colorado today!

Wood Interior, Winter

Some previous interview responses that I found to be quite interesting:

I was wondering a bit about your background (Academia? Art historian? Curator?). Your tweets (not to mention the images to which you seem to have access) indicate you have a much richer and deeper knowledge about Tom Thomson and his era than most.1. 

I am none of the above. I am a professional, but in none of those fields. I have some close connections to Tom Thomson, but to reveal more might compromise my anonymity.

How did you come up with the idea for this mode of expression about Thomson?

I have been working on an alternative theory – and part of the exercise is to reconstruct the timeline. When I saw the twitterfeed about real-time tweets in World War II, I thought why not do not this for Tom?

I can see some reaction from some of your RTs on Twitter. What kinds of responses have you received?

The biggest, most unexpected and powerful reaction was the excitement when people are “followed by Tom Thomson” (Tom follows back every follower). I quickly realized that this tied back to the myth of Tom Thomson paddling in the park and that he might be following (as any good ghost would do). Also, I received several comments that were direct allusions to the Tragically Hip’s “Three Pistols” and I responded in kind. Also, I have numerous followers from Algonquin Park, who are excited about being “followed by Tom” – I feel like I’m bringing back to life some part of history, but also tying into an important part of the Canadian psyche. By keeping myself anonymous, people have no choice to think that they are talking to Tom and I respond in character.

There are still stories to tell…each one as different as the next and Tom is here to recount them all.  Now if only we knew what happened with Winnie and the other people who made up the township of Mowat!

Tom’s Blog: www.ttlastspring.com

Tom’s Twitter: @ttlastspring

Winnie’s Twitter: @winnietrainor (she’s been quiet lately)

~Enjoy your trip!

 

 


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Happy March Break!

I hope everyone has some excellent plans for March Break in Ontario or your destination.  Going to Algonquin Park would be a great way to spend March Break.  There is still some snow on the ground so skiing is an option although I heard the other night that Arrowhead’s trail was closed.  Personally I’m spending my first day in an airport travelling west to Vancouver for some R&R.  I’m hoping to get some outdoor adventures done however the weather is so far not cooperating as it’s supposed to rain all week :(.  If I do get to do anything I will blog about it and post some pictures!  In the meantime what are you up to this March Break?

~Enjoy your trip!

Winter Activities In Algonquin

There are a few fun winter activity days coming up in the Algonquin Park area that you should know about!  Click the event titles to see more details.

First up is Algonquin Outfitter’s Winter Fun Day on February 9th.

On February 16th Algonquin Park is hosting Winter in the Wild Festival

On Family Day, February 18th Algonquin Basecamp is hosting a Snowshoe Hike In Algonquin

 

These events are a great way to see Algonquin in a different season.

~Enjoy your trip

 

Song of My Heart Algonquin!

Back in 1993 the Provincial Parks – specifically Algonquin Park – celebrated their 100th birthday. I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with them and have quite a few pieces of memorabilia because of it! There was a logger’s day and evening concert that featured the music of The Wakami Wailers. During the evening presentation they sang a song, that while originally written in 1985, made its debut in Algonquin’s Outdoor theatre. The song is called Waltz with the Woods and to this day is one of the few songs that puts to words how many paddlers and adventurers feel about Algonquin. The song is the last track on their Waltz with the Woods album which celebrates Ontario’s Provincial Parks. All of their albums are available at the Visitor’s Center in Algonquin Park just east of the Spruce Bog Board Walk at km 43.0 on Hwy 60.

Waltz With the Woods
Mark Despault © 1985

Lonely the wind moans through the trees
Softly the dew is lifting
Treasures of soul waltz with the woods
Song of my heart, Algonquin

Paddles have drawn dreamers and seekers
Sharing Her wealth and beauty
All that she is, is all that she offers
This queen of the forest reigns for all time

Horses and sleighs in the cold nights of winter
Smoke from the wood fire rising
Natives and rangers, trappers and loggers
All left their mark, all touched Her soul

Many a soul has passed through these wild woods
Many a weary traveler
Tired and torn from a world filled with madness
Seeking the strength that this earth can bring

And given this gift of wildwoods and water
Silver of winter gold from the fall
With peace in their hearts they faded to darkness
Leaving their spirits to waltz with the woods

We’re on Pinterest and Twitter!

As I promised before the new year…we are now available to follow on Pinterest! Mostly what you’ll find from us are pins related to canoeing/camping/backpacking and Algonquin. There will be the odd mix of outdoor quotes/humor mixed in.

Check us out: http://pinterest.com/algonquinblog/

We are also on Twitter! Follow us @Algonquin_Blog! Newest blog postings as well little tidbits to help you out will be posted there :). Of course you can always follow my personal twitter @jenn_kerr too :).

Coming next week: The Toronto Boat Show! We are going to scope out the newest gear and offerings from companies like Swift (@swift_canoe) and the Paddle Shack!

Going to try to video it for you :) who knows maybe (if it’s not crazy busy) we’ll get some expert opinions.

~Enjoy your Trip!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013!  I hope that this year brings you many paddling and camping adventures in Algonquin Park.  To help with the planning Algonquin Outfitters has started a new contest.

From their facebook:

“Here’s your chance to Experience Algonquin this summer with some great camping gear from Marmot Canada, and a wilderness canoe or backpacking trip in Algonquin Park outfitted and organized by Algonquin Outfitters. http://bit.ly/12ULdYY

The contest is easy…all you have to do is click on the link above to go like them on Facebook, enter your information and share with your friends.  You will be entered to win some amazing gear and an awesome trip!  Plus…as a thank you for entering you get a coupon to save $10 on any purchase over $50.  Coupon expires March 17th.

Good Luck!

~Enjoy your trip

Paddling Canada Canoeing Courses

Coming up within Southern/South Western Ontario area Paddle Canada will be offering a couple of canoeing courses.  They have a boxing day deal going on now for registration.  If you or someone you know want’s to learn or brush up on your canoeing basics and tandem skills then check out the following link:

http://silentcanoe.com/page4/page5/index.html

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