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Seasons Greetings from the Privy

Privies Enduring Symbol Holiday Season Outhouse by Back Roads Bill Full Christmas Card  Christmas images pdf The ground is almost frozen but not everywhere, not in an outhouse anyway. And I wanted to match the Back Roads holiday season greeting card with a story. One of the rural ways of life’s most enduring symbols has been the outhouse and you can see them on the back roads. It also goes under the name of back house, john, the wee or little house, the house of parliament , the inconvenience or the privy. “Thunder boxes” without the protective shed are most often found along canoe routes at designated Ontario Parks’ campsites. Outhouse owners take advantage of this self-supporting abode to sit and browse through magazines and the shopping flyers within ‘Community Voices.’ In the past, Sears and Eaton’s catalogues were the reading material of choice. It’s actually a tribute to the popular makeshift toilet paper of the past. The farmers would take these catalogues and when they were done with...

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The Only Hebrew Cemetery in Northern Ontario

Not Forgotten on the Back Roads by Back Roads Bill Steer While other things fade, stones and souls endure. It is said that one of the first communal obligations is to provide for the dead. In the case of some Jewish settlers the establishment of their cemetery took on certain urgency. Northern Ontario Jews from other communities are buried here; the only such dedicated Hebrew cemetery in the northeast. There are more than 100 burial plots in the cemetery including a war grave. Krugerdorf was founded as a farming homestead in Chamberlain Township in the early 1900s, about 25 kilometres south of Kirkland Lake. Not officially named Krugerdorf until 1949, the area was largely settled by a number of German families. The town was given the name “The German Settlement” until it became to be called Krugerdorf. One of the first settlers was August Kruger, a farmer and blacksmith from Germany. Having migrated to Renfrew County in 1879 (northwest of Ottawa), August and his son Frank left for northeastern Ontario,...

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Moving Our Animals – Under and Over in NE Ontario

Overpass and  Tunnel Benefits to Animals and Humans Animal Bridges – Wildlife Crossings by Back Roads Bill You’re driving north  to your next BIG experience in Northeastern Ontario, most likely on Highways 11 or 69.  You notice the change in landscape, the flora; consider the fauna though, the animals are part of your experience. Why do animals cross the road?  They always seem to run on to the road at the wrong time. It occurs because wildlife and people driving vehicles are on the roads simultaneously cannot predict the behaviour of one another. You most likely have had a close encounter of the animal kind. Review these stats.  In the Ministry Transportation (MTO), Northeastern Region (NER),Wildlife Vehicle Collisions (WVCs) account for 29% of the total number of WVCs on Ontario’s Highways each year. Deer account for 61% and Moose account for 26% of all WVCs in NER. When looking at these data on Highway 11 between Huntsville and North Bay, deer account for 76% and moose for 11% of the...

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Watch for the Animals Crossing – Slate Islands (Terrace Bay)

Watch out for Animals Crossing! by Backroads Bill One minute you’re concentrating on fishing the green and the black, the next you see a caribou approaching your boat.  And that’s not tackle tangled in their rack. A trip to the Slate Islands can satisfy the senses of the outdoors enthusiast in a number of ways.  For the angler there is the excitement of landing and experiencing some of the finest red-finned lake trout anywhere.  There are no caribou crossing road signs, but there should be, they’re everywhere.  Keep your camera ready as they swim from island to island.   For the kayaker/canoeist it is an opportunity to explore the natural and cultural heritage within the protection of a group of islands.  You are constantly landing and looking at all there is to see. The Trans Canada Highway, east of Thunder Bay, sweeps through rock cuts past small Canadian Shield lakes and red cliffs, skirting the cold sparkling waters of Lake Superior. As you pass through Rossport, Schreiber and Terrace Bay...

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Two for the Price of One – Nipigon

Two Destinations – Dramatic  Ice  Relief and a Railway Tunnel Highway 11 – Nipigon – Winter and the Rest of the Year by Back Roads Bill You often hear the expressions “two is better than one,”  “the more the merrier” or perhaps “good things come in pairs.”  When you are exploring, two finds make for a good day; especially when they are so different but close to one another. We have two Trans Canada Highways in Northern Ontario and they start in North Bay and meet again in Nipigon; that’s a story in itself.   The present layout of Highway 11 along the east side of Lake Nipigon is a winding, two-lane paved highway with very narrow gravel shoulders.  At the scenic lookout on the east side of Highway 11, 12 km south of Orient Bay, 41 km north of Nipigon you will see one of those blue  bronzed  Ontario heritage plaques. It reads:  “Here at Pijitawabik Bay and other Lake Nipigon localities ancient rocks of the Precambrian Shield were...

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Rock Hounds – Gowganda and Gogama

Rock Hounds – Abandoned Mines – BIG Rock Discoveries Tourism – Lapidary- Nature Avocation – Rock Hobby- Rock Pirates by Back Roads Bill There is the idiom: “You’ve got rocks in your head.”  Something about having poor judgment or a supposed substitute for brains.  The loose definition of a rock hound is one who collects rocks.  We like rocks, we pick them up. So why did more than 25 people, families for the most part, travel more than 700 km to find and collect rocks?  They will tell you that “we’re insane” and “we’re always looking for the next rock,” or “my wife says don’t bring any more rocks home.” They utilize the services of local lodges and community service infrastructure they are definitely tourists of a different sort.  They have metal detectors for conductivity and probes that make high pitched noises, a big signal when there is a “strike.”  But the instruments are complemented with good ‘ole picks and shovels, pry bars, and those large, white plastic buckets. ...

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