Monday 28 June 2010

My Town Monday - Toronto

My idea of a peaceful demonstration is not what happened in Toronto this weekend during the G20 Summit. I attended many peaceful demonstrations during the late 1960s. As a teenager I saw the grim realities of the Vietnam War broadcast every evening on the six o’clock news. A permit was obtained and concerned citizens protesting this war gathered before specific government buildings where our concerns could be seen and heard. Of course, anyone who attends any demonstration is photographed by the police for future reference and investigation.

It was appalling as to what occurred this weekend in Toronto with the many who attended for peaceful demonstrations, those who went to watch and report the events, and those who intended to wreck havoc upon those who represented authority: the police, banks, American franchised stores and businesses.

When there is civil unrest or unlawful activity in progress, the police are entitled to use as much force as necessary to stop those parties engaged in such activity. On Saturday I didn’t see much in the way of the police hampering the unlawful assembly of the supposed ‘anarchists’ and thugs dressed in black complete with hoods, masks and gloves to hide their identity while they engaged in damaging property. In fact, they allowed many of their police cars (7) to be burned to a crisp.

In essence, because of the liberal civil rights citizens have in this country, those demonstrators and agitators who attended in the financial district, Yonge, Dundas and Queen Streets, Spadina and Queen Streets of downtown Toronto were allowed to do what they did. The police did very little to quell the riots though they did protect the G20 attendees in their ‘fortressed area’. The police were entitled under the Criminal Code of Canada (“CCC”) (s.32(1)) to suppress a riot with as much force as they believe necessary. This section of the act also applies to citizens (s.32(4)) who witness or believe serious mischief will result in a riot or an ongoing riot. Citizens or witnesses can hold the offending party until a peace officer is available. The police in attendance on Saturday did not suppress the riots. On Sunday the police took action in rounding up protestors in various locations throughout the downtown area including those who happened to be in the crowd.

All citizens of Canada are expected to uphold the law and are bound by the articles in the CCC. These laws also apply to non-Canadians who reside here. The definitions for unlawful assembly (s.63) and riot (s.64) include those people participating in a lawful assembly who are incited by others to engage in a riot that “disturb the peace tumultuously”.

There are parties to an offense: those who commit it, those who aid, those who know about the offense but fail to do anything about it, combined with a common intention while knowing that to do so is unlawful; those who counsel another person to be a party (procure, solicit, incite). That is, those who committed the damage to private, municipal and government property have committed an offense, as have those who witnessed such offenses. Why did those in attendance who witnessed the unlawful acts do nothing to stop it? That would include bystanders, those protestors engaged in a lawful assembly, emergency service personnel and news reporters.

Those protestors that were rounded up and arrested on Sunday will allege there was police brutality including unwarranted treatment, and the lawyers they obtain to represent them will say the same. It’s amazing what people will do and say to avoid responsibility of their actions during a riot or unlawful assembly or anything unlawful.

It will be interesting to see if and when our liberal civil rights in Canada are taken away from us because of the apathy of its citizens.

The next G8 Summit is in France. I’m quite certain the French President knows exactly how to handle protestors who riot and at less cost.

For other participants for My Town Monday go here.

UPDATE: Those people who were arrested, detained and charged after the sweeps and confrontations made by the police were as the result of the enforcement of the Public Works Protection Act (1990), with Schedule I Ontario Regulations 233/10 being amended June 2, 2010 and published on the Ontario e-laws website on June 16, 2010. This Act was first enacted on September 22, 1939 shortly after the British Empire declared war on Germany. It is an obscure Act that is still in force, usually referring to hydro-electric stations and courthouses. An amendment was passed to cover the period June 14 to June 28, 2010 specifically for the G20 Summit meant as a preventative to protect the leaders, the public, the protestors and the police. Having the G20 Summit in Toronto was expected to attract a criminal element to the city as has occurred in other cities around the globe.

Two weeks ago I heard on the radio that anyone wanting to go near the security fence close to the area where the G20 Summit was being held would be expected to produce ID and a reason for being in that location to a police officer when requested. Also, if the person was requested by a police officer to leave the area they would be required to do so or face arrest. This was repeated daily and on numerous occasions throughout the day on the classical station I listen to. It's not as if this was a new law suddenly enacted at the last minute as if underhanded. I recall reading or hearing about this when it was first known that Toronto would be holding the G20 Summit, that security would need to be increased and that was some time ago.

Photos borrowed from Reuters News Service.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Hiking Trails - Lake of the Hanging Glacier

[1-Purcell Mountains from Radium Hot Springs]

Lake of the Hanging Glacier is an alpine lake at 7,000 feet in a cirque below the Jumbo Glacier and Commander Glacier in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia. The Purcell Mountains are located in one of the last pristine wilderness areas in Canada. This is not a hike for the beginning hiker, but one for those who are seasoned and comfortable with being in a remote area without the comforts or relative safety of civilization. It is a good idea to be in a group of six or more people as the hiker will be entering wilderness that is prime grizzly territory. ParksCanada has a webpage regarding bears and your safety.

Rated: Moderate to strenuous hike
Distance: 18km (11mi) round trip
Elevation gain: 720m (2,362 ft)
Location: Rocky Mountain Forest District, B.C. - Purcell Mountains
Map: 1:50,000 scale - Duncan Lake 82K7 available at Government Agents office in Invermere.
Best Time: July to September only, with the trail being driest in September. The B.C. Ministry of Forests recommends waiting until July for the bridges to be put in place.

The trailhead is located at the end of a logging road about 52km from Radium Hot Springs. From the Junction of Highways 93/95 turn west onto Forsters Landing Road and cross the bridge. Here the road will angle to the right. After reaching the fork turn left onto Horsethief Creek Forest Service Road (a gravel logging road, stay to the right and watch out for the logging trucks!). Ignore any of the other turns. Go straight through the 4-way intersection with the Westside Road. At 39km there is a footbridge at a camping site at the Stockdale Creek FS Recreation Site (not large enough for motorhomes or trailers). A little farther on park at the 50k sign where there is room for 10 vehicles.

The trail begins by following an old roadway for 2km to the trail registration box. There is no charge for the use of this trail or the campsite near the lake. The hiker/camper is expected to pack out whatever they bring in.

[2-View of glacier from trailhead]

Here the trail narrows and begins to climb toward the first bridge over Hell Roaring Creek.

[3- Hell Roaring Creek]

[4 - Bull Elk with velvet antlers]

[5 - Hell Roaring Creek]


[7 - Waterfalls along the trail]

[8 - Steep sides of Hell Roaring Creek - click to enlarge]

[9 - Crossing Hell Roaring Creek - click to enlarge]

The bridge is removed during the off season, and crossing the creek without a bridge is not recommended due to the treacherous current and the slick sides.

[10 - Horsethief Creek - click to enlarge]

[11 - Golden Eagle]

[12 - Steep sides above Horsethief Creek - click to enlarge]

[13 - Waterfall from icefield above - click to enlarge]

From the creek the trail climbs up into thicker forest and a junction. Stay left (the right trail leads to a horse crossing) to cross a metal bridge over Horsethief Creek.

[14 - View through the trees on the way up]

[15 - Another view through the trees - click to enlarge]

[16 - Waterfall]

From the second bridge the trail goes along the creek for 1 km or so through mature forest to reach the start of the switchbacks. There are 13 of them, and the grade is moderate. Those hikers unaccustomed to the altitude should take it slower to avoid respiratory problems.

[17 - Waterfall farther up]

Once above the switchbacks, the trail goes through the valley until alpine meadows are reached. This is where the camping area and pit toilet is. Use a gas stove in sub-alpine areas like this.

[18 - Wildflowers enroute]

[19 - Alpine Cinqfoil]

From here an 800 m hike past a beautiful cascading waterfall brings you to the head of the lake. To this point in the trail there has been no glimpse of the lake.

[20 - Cascading waterfall below Lake of the Hanging Glacier - click to enlarge]

[21 - Marmot]

[22 - Ice floes in the Lake of the Hanging Glacier - click to enlarge]

The Lake of the Hanging Glacier is over one mile in length, and often has small icebergs floating in the water.

[23 - click to enlarge]

[24 - click to enlarge]

Access to the vicinity of the glacier is possible along the east shore over rocky terrain with no trails. Do not attempt to travel on glaciers without experience and proper equipment.

After the hike there are several places to take a hot dip in a mineral pool to ease those aching muscles. Try Radium Hot Springs, Fairmont Hot Springs or Lussier Hot Springs just south of Canal Flats.

Research: Research: B.C. Ministry of Forests

Photo Credits: [1]-outofsocks CC=flickr, [2][3][5][6][7][8][9][10][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][20][22][23][24]-brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, [4]-mike wood photography CC=nc-nd-flickr, [11]-Chris & Lara Pawluk CC=nc-flickr, [19]-anselm CC=flickr, [21]-brewbooks CC=nc-sa-flickr.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

An Echo In The Bone Available In Paperback

For those diehard Outlander fans, the paperback edition of An Echo In The Bone is available today in book stores. My review for the hardcover can be found here.

Friday 18 June 2010

Reflections (6)

This lake is near Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park, British Columbia with the eastern face of Ringrose Mountain [3278m, 10,755 ft] in the background. Ringrose Mountain sits on the Continental Divide between B.C. and Alberta. Behind Ringrose Mountain on the Alberta side lies the Horseshoe Glacier and Sentinel Pass.

I have written hiking posts on Sentinel Pass and Goodsir Pass which is southwest of the lake in the photo.

Research:, ParksCanada
Photo Credit: two_roads CC=nc-nd-flickr.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (Book Review)

From the publisher:

Vish Puri, India's self-styled Most Private Investigator, is portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi. Backed by his team of undercover operatives, he cuts a determined swath through India's swindlers, cheats, and murderers. When an honest public litigator is accused of murdering a maidservant, he turns to Puri for his help and discretion. It's a tough case. How will Puri trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? The search for the missing servant takes Puri on a journey that reveals not only the detective's clever methods of investigation but also modern India's vivid, seething complexity.

Vish Puri, a private investigator living in Delhi, is a very likeable character. He will remind some readers of Columbo or Hercule Poirot, whose nattily dressed appearance conceals an analytical mind. The majority of Puri’s cases are matrimonial investigations into prospective partners. With the changes of a new modern India, detailed to provide an in-depth look at Puri and the world he lives in, families no longer know each other prior to the arranged match. Puri’s investigations reveal the personal backgrounds of the proposed husband or wife: financial, social, moral and any involvement in criminal activity.

Although Puri has been ordered by his doctor to diet, he sneaks his favourite snacks throughout the story. For those who love Indian food, the descriptions will create cravings that need to be satisfied by the time you finish reading. Or before.

Puri has honed his detective skills by using 2000-year old Indian principles of detection. He uses a variety of resourceful techniques at his discretion, such as undercover, larceny and blackmail. His operative assistants have various nicknames: Tubelight, Facecream, Door Stop, Flush and Handbrake, with a multitude of abilities gleaned from not so legal activities. Also assisting Puri are an assortment of friends in high and low places, and those he would rather not assist him: his Mummy (formidable in her own right), and his wife, Rumpi.

The story is complex, fast-paced with hilarious and touching moments while looking at Indian culture. Puri’s investigations take him from the country clubs and mansions of the wealthy classes to the squalor and poverty of the slums of Delhi and Jharkhand. In the end, Puri has done what he could with the majority of his cases closed and the missing servant located in a manner befitting Perry Mason.

Like all good mysteries it does contain a few bodies to keep the plot interesting. The violence is kept to a minimum with low graphic details, and foul language is often in Hindi. At the end of the story is a glossary containing definitions of unfamiliar Indian terms used throughout.

I was pleased to learn that there is a sequel coming, “The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing,” to continue the adventures of Vish Puri, private investigator.

Book format: paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Author website: Tarquin Hall

Available at:

A book draw will be made on July 30, 2010. For those wishing to enter please leave a comment.

Friday 11 June 2010

Hiking Trails - Wilcox Pass

The hiking trail over Wilcox Pass was used frequently before the Icefields Parkway opened in 1940. It is best in late June through to mid-August, although snow can remain in Wilcox Pass until late July. Wilcox Pass is in Jasper National Park, Alberta and accessed just off the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93).

[1- Indian Paintbrush near the Icefields Parkway - click to enlarge]

The trailhead begins at the Wilcox Creek Campground with the distance to Wilcox pass is 4.0 km (2.5mi) one way. To take the full hike one-way from the Wilcox Creek Campground to Tangle Falls is 11.2km (7.0mi).

Half day to day trip
Allow 1.5 to 2 hours to Wilcox Pass
Elevation gain: 335m (1,100ft)
Maximum elevation: 2375m (7800ft)

To reach the trailhead take the Icefields Parkway Hwy 93 to the Wilcox Creek Campground on the east side of the highway 2.8km (1.7mi) south of the Icefields Centre or 1.9km (1.2mi) north of the Banff-Jasper boundary at Sunwapta Pass.

This hike is considered one of the best day hikes in Jasper National Park.

[2- Golden Mantle Ground squirrel aka Chipmunks - click to enlarge]

These little guys seem to populate the wood piles near campgrounds wherever one travels in the mountains.

The Wilcox Campground road is at an elevation of 2040m with a steep climb through alpine forest.

At approximately the 1.7km mark the trail emerges above the treeline gaining 120m in less than a kilometre.

In another 2.5km there is a steep climb to flat alpine meadows and the viewpoint for the Athabasca Glacier.

[3- Viewpoint of Columbia Icefield, Mt. Athabasca to left with Mt. Andromeda behind, the Athabasca Glacier in the middle and Mt. Kitchener and the Snow Dome on the right - from the Wilcox Pass Trail - click to enlarge]

Only a small portion of the Columbia Icefield is visible from the Icefield Parkway. The Athabasca Glacier is the most accessible and visible of the glaciers which flow from the Icefield, but there are numerous others. Over three hundred square kilometres in area, the depth of the icefield varies from 100 to 365 metres. The average annual snowfall on the upper reaches is seven metres.

From the viewpoint the trail moderates, opening out onto a ridge overlooking the Icefields Parkway and the Athabasca Glacier. The hiker can feast his/her eyes upon the massive ice-covered Mount Athabasca (3491m) (11454ft), Mount Andromeda (3450m) (11,319ft), the Snow Dome (3460m) (11,399ft) and Mount Kitchener (3511m) (11,500ft).

Mt Kitchener was named in 1916 after Horatio Herbert Kitchener (Viscount Kitchener), a British Field Marshall who organized the British armies at the beginning of WWI. He was lost when HMS Hampshire struck a mine in 1916.

[4 - Snow Dome and Mt. Kitchener from the Wilcox Pass trail - click to enlarge]

Norman Collie and Hermann Woolley completed the first ascent of Mount Athabasca on August 18, 1898. Collie described a vast icefield that stretched westward and surrounded by unknown peaks.

[5 - Snow Dome Glacier above Mt. Kitchener - click to enlarge]

The Snow Dome was named in 1898 by J. Norman Collie . This dome-shaped mountain is covered by the Columbia Icefield. The water produced from this mountain flows into three oceans through the Saskatchewan and Nelson rivers to the Atlantic, though the Columbia to the Pacific, and through the Athabasca and Mackenzie Rivers to the Arctic.

[6 - View from Wilcox Pass trail toward Mt. Andromeda, the Athabasca Glacier and Mt. Kitchener on right - click to enlarge]

Past the viewpoint the trail climbs along the edge of a creek, then levels out across alpine tundra and heads northwest into the long U-shaped pass between Wilcox and Nigel peaks.

[7 - Looking back to Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda from the Wilcox Pass Trail - click to enlarge]

Here the wildflowers grow close to the ground.

[8 - Wilcox Pass trail - click to enlarge - Mt. Wilcox is above horizon of hill on left side]

At 4.0km is the summit of Wilcox Pass (2374m). Wilcox Pass and peak are named after Walter Wilcox, whose party first crossed the pass in 1896 on horseback. The pass became the usual route north as it avoided the Sunwapta Gorge and the Athabasca Glacier, which nearly blocked the valley below.

[9 - on Wilcox Pass trail - click to enlarge]

It is here and at the other end of the pass that the hiker will find Bighorn Sheep.

[10 - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep at Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

[11 - Wilcox Pass trail with Rocky Mountain Sheep - click to enlarge]

Here the hiker can often find small herds of Rocky Mountain Sheep grazing.

[12 - Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

[13 - NW on Wilcox Pass trail with Mt. Wilcox in background - click to enlarge]

[14 - Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

[15 - Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

To continue on to Tangle Falls the route continues north across the pass to trail makers or cairns at the 7.1km mark, where there is a steep descent into the forest. Stick to the left side below Mount Wilcox. At about 8.6km, the trail crosses to the left of the creek where it becomes more defined. Here the slope goes from moderate to steep on the descent south of Tangle Creek.

At 11.2km is the Tangle Creek trailhead (1860m) with the Icefields Parkway 200m south of Tangle Falls and 10km north of the Wilcox Creek trailhead.

Otherwise, at the rock cairn the hiker can begin to backtrack the way they came to return to the Wilcox Creek Campground.

[16 - Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

[17 - Coming down from Wilcox Pass - click to enlarge]

[18 - Mt. Athabasca with glacier - click to enlarge]

[19 - On Wilcox Pass Trail looking toward the Athabasca Glacier]

[20 -Mt. Kitchener beneath the Snow Dome]

Photo Credits: [1]-jdww CC=nc-nd-flickr, [2]-karenwithak CC=nc-nd-flickr, [3][16]-richd777 CC=nc-sa-flickr, [4][6][7]-A tea but no e CC=flickr, [5][9][13]-Alaskan Dude CC=flickr,[8][19]-BinoCanada CC=nc-sa-flickr, [10][11][12][14][17]-Feffef CC=nc-sa-flickr, [15]-canoe too CC=nc-nd-flickr, [18]-gordmckenna CC=nc-nd-flickr, [20]-DavidQuick CC=nc-nd-flickr,

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Cougar Sightings

Cougars are on the endangered list in Canada, including Ontario. Because they are elusive animals they are rarely seen.

Recent sightings have occurred in Morden, Manitoba located in the southern portion of the province near the U.S. border at North Dakota. The article in the Mordon Times reports the deer population in the Morden area is larger than normal due to humans feeding them over the winter. The Manitoba Conservation is looking for methods to move this deer population away from human populated areas thus assisting in luring the big cat away.

UPDATE: The Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario has annouced that there have been 30 confirmed sightings of cougars since 2006 with an estimated population of 550 animals.

For those interested in cougars there is a website dedicated to them: .
This site covers all cougars in Canada and the United States.

More information can be found on Wikipedia about cougars, especially for writers looking for characteristics and behaviour in creating a realistic animal.
Photo Credit: digitalART2 CC=nc-nd-flickr.