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Thousand Islands Life in March

Crossing the Thousand Islands Bridge, on March 7, was a new experience: the temperature was 50F/10C, the sky was clear, the River was dark blue, and there was no sign of ice. I realized that I do not need to “think spring” it is spring!

This month’s issue began a few months ago when I discovered that one of the leading Crime Writers Festivals in North America, takes place each summer on Wolfe Island. Vicki Delany tells our readers about the Festival in Wolfe Island, Scene of the Crime and provides a “winner’s short story” by Sam Wiebe - “He’s No Humanitarian, But Damn, Can He Take a Punch”.  Yes, there is a lot going on in the Thousand Islands that will amaze you.

Another new contributor is Tara Hutson who spent last summer a long way from the Thousand Islands, but with a bit of ingenuity was able to play a ship-watching game by Almost Being Here…  and Jack E. Churchward’s - James Churchward’s Fishing Among the Thousand Islands, provides a link to a  difficult-to-find piece of 1000 Islands memorabilia.

Kim Lunman presents Toujours Frontenac on Round Island and Lynn E. McElfresh presents The Cottages of Grenell.    Lynn also reviews a new book,  “Counter Currents” the Novel, which she highly recommends. Boating enthusiasts will enjoy Jim Morrison’s A 21st Century Lady, and I describe an unusual water craft in “Pot Pourri’s” Story. Completing this issue we announce the largest real estate transaction in the Thousand Islands region in Du Zhongyi buys Eagle Point Estates.

New Contributors

Vicki Delany - Wolfe Island, Scene of the Crime

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most  prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and Among the Departed) have been optioned for TV by Brightlight Pictures. She is the author of Burden of Memory, More than Sorrow, Gold Digger, Gold Mountain, and A Winter Kill.

Sam Wiebe - “He’s No Humanitarian, But Damn, Can He Take a Punch”

Sam Wiebe’s short story won second prize in the 2011 Scene of the Crime short story contest held at Wolfe Island. His current projects include Last of the Independents, a novel about an iconoclastic private eye’s search for a missing child, and radio adaptations of Frankenstein and Hamlet, available on iTunes and at He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Tara Hutson - Almost Being Here…

When Tara Hutson sent us her story we smiled. What a great way to almost being here…Tara Hutson lives in Columbus Ohio and works at the local library. She is a graduate of Ohio Dominican University. During her childhood, her parents would send her to Kring Point for the summer where she had a perfect view of passing ships. Her ultimate dream is to find a way to live near the river year round.

Jack E. Churchward - James Churchward’s Fishing Among the Thousand Islands

James E (Jack) Churchward is the great-grandson of James Churchward who was author of the book The Lost Continent of Mu.  Jack spent six years in the United States Navy and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida. He  has over thirty years experience in the Aerospace and Defense industry, having worked on both manned and unmanned Space and Military platforms with the same firm.  Jack is a fourth generation engineer and fourth generation patent holder and identifies himself as a Tibetan Buddhist.  His book, Lifting the Veil on the Lost Continent of Mu Motherland of Men contains his latest published research and includes the entire text from his great grandfather’s 1926 book.  Jack lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Sad News

There are three types of islanders: those who live on the mainland or on islands, those who visit for a week or two and those who come by boat, throw down an anchor and enjoy the life of a mariner.

Roland (Roly) Pootmans died on March 8, in Montreal. Roly and his wife Danielle are well-known sailors as they have cruised the Islands since 1971. In February 2009 they provided a cruising-tips article, Spring into the Boating Season. Roly was a former chief pilot for Quebecair and Nationair, and trained pilots for the Flight Safety Company. Danielle is a former travel consultant. They had a slip in Gananoque and on most weekends they were usually found anchored in a secluded bay. The boating community is close and those who frequent the Canadian St. Lawrence Islands National Park Islands will remember the Lanikai and Lanikai II. Roly will be missed.

In January 2012, Gananoque lost one of its most dedicated citizens, Fred Delaney.  John Nalon, President of the Gananoque Historical Society, gave a tribute in their latest newsletter, saying, “Giving back to the community he so dearly loved and was so proud to be able to call home,  Fred began his political career as a member of the water commission, followed by town council, and his election to the town’s top position as Mayor of Gananoque for three consecutive 3-year terms during the years 1986 through 1994.”  Both the law community and the Town of Gananoque have lost a champion.

New Publications

Ellen Potter is no longer in the North Country, but she did, until recently, live in Lafargeville, NY. This month her latest book the Humming Room was published and reviewed in The Wall Street Journal. “Ellen Potter has reconfigured recognizable elements to create something fresh as well for "The Humming Room" (Feiwel & Friends). In fact, she has essentially rewritten Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel "The Secret Garden," moving the story from the Yorkshire moors to an island-bound sanatorium on the St. Lawrence River and plucking her heroine not from a cholera-devastated compound in Raj India but from a crawl space beneath the trailer in which the girl's drug-dealing parents lie murdered.” Read more about Ellen and her writing at (See Publications)

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Karyn Burns,
a hobby artist, has published the ABC’s of the1000 Islands poster which will be on sale this month at the Antique Boat Museum and several other outlets around the River. Karyn made the poster for her son’s bedroom, but friends and family persuaded her to share this unique piece by artwork. Karyn grew up in Bennington, Vermont, attended Syracuse University and today she is a Vice President, Communications & Government Relations for MACNY, a manufacturing trade association based in Syracuse, New York.  Karyn writes, “The poster was created out of boredom and to pass the time while I was expecting my second son, Charlie.  I wanted to create something that they could enjoy throughout the year, even when we were not doing our weekly trips up to the River. I made a similar one for my son, Jack when I was pregnant with him on the ABC’s of Vermont, and plan on doing another one for my impending arrival in June. It is just a hobby, really, and fun to pass the time”. (see Publications).

Coming soon to the River…

Great Lake Swimmers, a Canadian folk/rock band, releases their fifth studio album, New Wild Everywhere on April 3.  You will remember the band  was invited to record the “Lost Channels,” album in the Thousand Islands in 2009 by Ian Coristine. 

[see Navigating Lost Channels by Kim Lunman]

Also the Great Lake Swimmers were on hand when the book The Best of Ian Coristine’s 1000 Islands was launched at the Clayton Opera House in June 2010.   Since then Great Lake Swimmers have sung the praises of the River and its Thousand Islands communities many times. And they are about to do even more. 

Ian Coristine will launch his first eBook, One in a Thousand, on May 1st, 2012 and the Great Lake Swimmers have supported “One” with exclusive, instrumental tracks.  In fact, Tony Dekker,spokesperson for GLS, wrote “Ian Coristine does more than open our eyes to the beauty of the Thousand Islands, he navigates with us through its heart. His photographs, knowledge, and love of the place is a well-spring of inspiration, which is now offered to the world in the form of this book. Our music would not be the same without it; his story will have the same effect on you.”

TI Life will present more on One in a Thousand as we get near the launch date.  But we want to share this  preview with our readers: 


One in a Thousand will be released on May 1st, 2012.


One in a Thousand is a memoir reminiscent of The Olive Farm, A Year in Provence or Under the Tuscan Sun. It will be released on the Apple iPad App store on May 1st, 2012. In addition to the 100,000 word text, it will include hundreds of “retina display” high resolution aerial and landscape photographs embedded in the text, slideshows and galleries, narration, nature sounds and video, all set to unpublished instrumental tracks by the Great Lake Swimmers.

A Compliment

Of course the most wonderful part of editing and publishing Thousand Islands Life are the people we meet through the printed digital word. I counted TI Life statistic. An amazing 522 articles have been written by 112 authors. Each day we receive comments, questions and often link families with island stories, or reconnect lost friends.

This month while I was in Florida I attended the Thousand Islands Land Trust Winter Gathering. There were more than 100 attending and I met one gentleman whom I will remember for a long time. John (Jack) Woolverton was turning 90 years old the next day so I made my way over to congratulate him. While we were talking a Picton Island resident passed by. Jack turned to me and said, “Do you know who Sir Thomas Picton was?” I was taken back and quickly said, “Yes, I do know, (And realizing I may never have the chance to say the following,  ever again) I said,'’I wrote the book!” and I started to laugh. Whereupon Jack asked, “You wrote The First Summer People?” He was honestly surprised, but not nearly as surprised as I was, when he said the most incredible comment, “Why you are my favorite author”. I have to admit that I was floored and extremely proud. Thank You, Jack! (And yes, I have repeated this story to everyone I have met since).

Winter Photographs from Facebook Readers

We asked Facebook readers if they had winter photographs to share.  The response was terrific.  We don’t have room for all, so I chose those that should delight our snowbirds who may not remember why the winter is so special.

Photographers include: John Bradford, Paul Cooledge, Mark Davis, Peter Johnson, Sue Marsh, Dennis McCarthy, Chris Murray, Marcia Rogers, and Janet Sullins.


As we head into the Spring and Summer 2012, follow us on Facebook and @TILife (Twitter)  and check our Events page.  If your organization has a special event happening, send us the information. 

Special thanks to Jane Taylor and David Ray for editing TI Life and to Mike Cox of Creative Information Solutions for his web magic.


  • Chris Matthews, Minna Anthony Nature Trail 2011

    Chris Matthews, Minna Anthony Nature Trail 2011

  • Tree exposed, Marcia Rogers.JPG

    Tree exposed, Marcia Rogers.JPG

  • Peter Johnson, Lots of ice storms this winter

    Peter Johnson, Lots of ice storms this winter

  • Sap buckets by Marcia Rogers

    Sap buckets by Marcia Rogers

  • John Bradford, Reflection

    John Bradford, Reflection

  • There was some ice early in the winter, Mark Davis

    There was some ice early in the winter, Mark Davis

  • Rockport Carnival divers by Janet Sullins

    Rockport Carnival divers by Janet Sullins

  • Yes, Februray 2012 by Peter Johnson

    Yes, Februray 2012 by Peter Johnson

  • Ice skating sky by Janet Sullins

    Ice skating sky by Janet Sullins

  • Mark Davis, 1000 Islands Bridge

    Mark Davis, 1000 Islands Bridge

  • Ready to go... Janet Sullins

    Ready to go... Janet Sullins

  • Sue Marsh sends this 2011 Spring photo.  The ships return at the end of March

    Sue Marsh sends this 2011 Spring photo. The ships return at the end of March

  • Dennis McCarthy catches the geese coming into Beadles Point

    Dennis McCarthy catches the geese coming into Beadles Point

  • Paul Coolgedge took this at sunset, March 14. The buoys are ready to go...

    Paul Coolgedge took this at sunset, March 14. The buoys are ready to go...


Posted in: From the Editor
Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Catharine Van Sickle
Comment by: Catharine Van Sickle ( )
Left at: 8:52 AM Thursday, March 15, 2012
I look forward to each issue and,once again this one is full of great reading.I cannot wait until I am back among those islands
Phil Klygo
Comment by: Phil Klygo ( )
Left at: 8:54 AM Thursday, March 15, 2012
Happy to have Great Lake Swimmers continue their love affair with the region. Best wishes to you all.
Phil @ (weewerk) GLS MGMT