Wood Buffalo

Wood Buffalo is the largest national park in Canada (44,807 km^2) - slightly larger than Switzerland. The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of an estimated 5,000 free roaming wood bison.


The only (drivable) access to the park is from Fort Smith which is 270 km east of the (last gas) Hay River. The entire way looks like:


Fort Smith was founded on the Slave River where there are four sets of impassable rapids (Cassette Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Mountain Rapids, and Rapids of the Drowned). The portage around the 4 rapids (traditionally used by local aboriginal people for centuries) is the last on the way to the western Arctic which made Fort Smith an important trading hub.

The Oblate Catholic Mission had a large presence - 151 acres in the center of Fort Smith with various building as well as this grotto church:


Pelican Rapids are so named as the Slave River here is a northern nesting spot for pelicans - who knew?


Within the park is the remains of an ancient inland sea which evaporated 270 million years ago, leaving a huge (370 km^2) salt flat littered with boreal forest. 




Hours and hours and hours with a view like this: 


If you don’t like the weather, drive another 10 minutes. I ❤️ this section of 🇨🇦.

West of Edmonton now at the juncture where highway #43 heads north from the Yellowhead highway (16W) towards Grande Prairie. 


Big motorcycle trip in 2018 - heading off to Tuktoyaktuk now that the road is open from Innuvik - dip my toe in the Western Arctic ocean, with a side trip into Kluane National Park. Below is some information & photos on what I'm taking (and, more importantly, what I'm not).


Motorcycle Trip

Toronto / Tuktoyaktuk / Kluane National Park.



Battery pack to charge electronics (or jump-start a truck) with charger, kindle, iPhone, camera batteries & charger, sd card reader for phone, headphones, USB charging cables.



25 prepared meals with beef, chicken and/or shrimp with rice and assorted veggies, cured meats, aged gouda cheese, strawberries, bananas and other staples, milk powder, ghee, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup flakes, salt, pepper, spices.


Right Pannier

Fuel can and bottle, coleman and whisperlite stove, kitchen utensils, aeropress coffee maker in mug, bear spray, potset, fry pan, bowl and small mesh bag of ropes, straps, zipties, etc.


Left Pannier

Contains a dry bag wiith first aid kit, gear repair stuff, and bear bangers. And the tent.


Big Dry Bag

This massive dry bag contains a thermarest, sleeping bag, clothes, towel, personal gear, rubber boots, crocs, electronics bag, maps, etc..


Mesh Bag

A mesh duffle goes on top of the big dry bag - this  contains jumper cables, tire repair kit, tire pressure gauge and inflator, nalgene bottle, water bag, camp chair, bear proof bag full o' food and dry bag with rest of food.

Mock Duck

Mock Duck was an underground band out of Vancouver with a few incarnations - the longest running lineup was Joe Mock (g), Glenn Hendrickson (d), Rick Enns (b) and Ross Barrett (sax). The name came from a spoonerism of 'fuck mock' in reference to the guitarist planning yet another rehearsal. Rick Enns was previously in Tom Northcott's band and the United Empire Loyalists.

Mock Duck's self-released 1968 Test Record is considered one of the rarest Canadian LPs ever made, as only 14 copies were originally pressed. The album is a collection of studio tracks (the single Do Re Mi had some local success) as well as live tracks recorded in 1968 including a 12 minute live improv. There's a strong element of jazz in their sound - the CD re-issue of Test Record also contains a 20 minute extended jam (Live Mock).

The single linked below is the fantastic Easterdog from 1968 - how this didn't dominate the charts at the time is a mystery:

Here is a link to a youtube video of Mock Duck playing Do Re Mi and Hurt On Me for the Cool Aid House Benefit concert.

Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck

Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck was started in 1967 in Vancouver as a collective: Kathy Kay (Mother Tucker), John Patrick Caldwell (The Yellow Duck aka Raphael Red The Village Idiot), Bob O'Connor (Dogan Pink Foot aka Sheldon O'Dogan), and Michael Goldman (Garnet Crystalman). At that time, O'Connor was the only musician - he left to join Medusa and the band proper formed around John Caldwell, adding Roger Law, Charles Falkner, High Lockheed and Donnie McDougall to become MTYD. Their first two singles were released on their own Duck Records label - the second single has the track One Ring Jane as the a-side:

The b-side is Kill The Pig which was recorded as a result of a run-in with the Vancouver police:

MTYD put out two albums - Home Grown Stuff in 1969 and Starting A New Day in 1970. They toured all over Canada and were active politically at rallies and protests; at some point they moved east from Vancouver to Toronto and Ottawa, but details are sketchy - this is one band crying out for a biography as the story would no doubt be fascinating.

Here is a link to a youtube video of MTYD playing for the Cool Aid House Benefit concert - they start with "I" (also their first single) and follow up with "Times Are Changing" which is the first track on Home Grown Stuff.

Cyber 170

In 1975, Control Data Canada sold a $1 million Cyber 170 system to Spain for use in agrarian research.

The Cyber 170 had one (or two) CPUs running at either 25 or 40 MHz and the memory operated in units of 60-bit words. A Control Data byte was 12 bits (same as the bit width of the peripherals), a character was 6 bits, the CPU instructions were either 15 or 30 bits. The memory addressing was 18 bits which results in a maximum of 256K words of addressable memory. The CPU was incapable of input or output and relied on Peripheral Processors to do any IO - the CDC170 could be configured with 10, 14, 17 or 20 of these processors.

In the photo is Irene Lazaro of the Spanish Tourism office, Layton Kinney (president of Control Data) and Harold Fishleigh, honorary vice-consul for Spain.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

Witness Inc.

Witness, Inc was formed by Kenny Shields and some high school friends in Saskatoon 1967, gathering a reputation as a live act and releasing a number of singles such as Not You Girl:

In late 1969 Shields was in a serious car accident and required surgery and therapy - the band continued without him without much success. Kenny's recovery took until 1975  - he reformed Witness Inc. briefly but soon left to form Streetheart in 1976.

There is a nice CD release collecting up their singles.

Toronto Roadwork

The intersection of the Spadina (now Allen) Expressway and highway 401; photograph by Boris Spremo, taken in 1966.

Barbara Gryfe

Barbara Gryfe was 18 when she recorded this pop vocal album in 1969 for CBC records (LM 68). A regular performer for the CBC, Barbara had appeared on a number of tv shows and won the CBC Song Market in 1968 with ‘Colours Of The Rainbow’. On this album, she covers songs by Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, as well as a couple of tracks from Fiddler on the Root. The orchestra was arranged and conducted by Rick Wilkins and it was recorded at Eastern Sound in May 1969.

The track linked below is Who Am I, written for Petula Clark by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. Upon hearing the song for the first time, Glenn Gould remarked that it was a "document of despair [which] catalogues [the] symptoms of disenchantment and ennui". Enjoy!

The CBC recordings were intended for distribution on vinyl to affiliate stations and were limited to only 250 copies, making the albums extremely rare collectors items. The vaults are being opened through the MajikBus transcription series which is releasing vinyl re-issues and other treasures. The full list of CBC recordings is on discogs.

Food Planning 1971

If you think it's tough stretching your dollar these days...

Perth County Conspiracy

The Perth County Conspiracy is forever associated with the Black Swan Coffee House in Stratford ON where the band would play shows following performances at the nearby Shakespeare Festival, often playing to 4:00 AM. The two main co-conspirators were Cedric Smith and Richard Keelan along with a roving cast of musicians, friends and family members.

Richard Keelan was part of the Detroit scene in the mid-60s - he was a member of the Spike Drivers and The Misty Wizards (both with Ted Lucas) before coming up to Canada. The Spike Drivers and Misty Wizards put out some fantastic stuff - for example It's Love by the latter:

Richard Keelan moved to Canada and settled near Stratford and met Cedric Smith, a poet, folk singer and actor (he won a Gemini award in 1993 for his work on Road to Avonlea).

In 1969 they named themselves the Perth County Conspiracy. In 1970 they recorded their first album (Does Not Exist) for Columbia. They were also invited to record an album in the CBC studios; their self-titled LP which immediately followed their first. They then put out a double live album (Alive) on Columbia and recorded several more (live) albums under their own label.

This episode of Inside The Music from CBC radio in 2011 discusses the PCC's first album (Does Not Exist) and also delves into the counter-culture and the surrounding community of musicians, poets, friends and family.

The second (self-titled) album was recorded on the CBC label as promotion to the affiliate stations across Canada, so only 250 copies were originally pressed - this LP has now been re-issued as part of the CBC music transcription series. From this album, this is If You Can Want:

Here's a youtube link to the Spike Driver's playing Strange Mysterious Sounds on the tv show Swingin' Time from 1967, and finally, the cover of the Spike Driver's single Baby Won't You Let Me Tell You How I Lost My Mind.


Now go give It's Love another listen. Yea.

Kensington Market

The band Kensington Market at the market - left to right is Alex Darou, Keith McKie, Jimmy Watson, Gene Martynec (who appears disinclined to pose with vegetables) and Luke Gibson.


In 1968 Kensington Market did the soundtrack for the NFB film 'The Ernie Game' and later that year Felix Pappalardi produced their first album  'Avenue Road' (which non-Torontonians found to be a strange album name). Here is the lead off track 'I Would Be The One':

In 1969 John Mills-Cockell was added on keyboards - this is 'Help Me' from the second album 'Aardvark':

The album covers from the two Kensington Market albums.

Kilcoo Camp 1942

Kilcoo Camp is a summer boys camp on Gull Lake in Haliburton - in 1942 it cost $170.00 to send a boy for the full 8 weeks and this cost has risen to $9,500.00 in 2018. The brochure is a really interesting snapshot of the times, and the design (especially the canoe trip map of the region) is top notch - enjoy.

Computer Kids

Live At The Flick

The line-up at The Flick in Yorkville for May 1968 - here's a bit of info on the bands.

The Ugly Ducklings were a garage band based out of Toronto - they put out a number of singles in 1966 and 1967 as well as one album (Somewhere Outside). The track below is Just In Case You Wonder from 1966:

The Fifth were formed in Gimli MB and worked out of Winnipeg between 1968 to 1970. Their debut single Yesterday's Today won the Lloyd C. Moffat award for best Canadian produced recording of 1968 and it reached #93 on the regional charts.

The Riffkin were out of North Bay ON, and they changed their name to Buckstone Hardware after moving to Toronto in early 1969. They put one single Pack It In in 1969 which reached #33. Buckstone Hardware ended up on the 1970 Festival Express train with the Dead, Janis, the Band, etc.

The Stitch In Tyme started in Parrsboro NS as the Untouchables and in 1966 they moved to Toronto and changed name to The Golden Earing - learning that name was already taken, they changed again to Stitch In Tyme. After returning from playing a stint during Expo 67, the band bought and opened The Flick - this is their place. Here is Point of View, the b-side to their first single from 1966:

Burton Cummings on hanging out with The Riffkin in Toronto (facebook).

Hagood Hardy And The Montage

Hagood Hardy wrote 'The Homecoming' in 1972 as a jingle for Salada tea and then re-recorded it in 1975 to be a massive hit. In 1972 he also released the album 'Montage' which was formed out of a jazz trio with the addition of two singers - the group played live all over Europe but never in Canada. They released this one album of pop covers as well as original tracks - the vocalists (and co-writers) are Stephanie Taylor and Lynne McNeil with Rick Homme on bass, Dave Lewis on drums, Bill Bridges on guitar - arranged and conducted by Hagood Hardy. The track here is 'It's Too Late' intertwined with 'I Feel The Grass Under My Feet':

Here is some choice video of The Guess Who with HeyGoode Hardy on Show of the Week 1968.

Agile: Daily Stand Up

"Margaret - we discussed this in our one on one - the team is doing agile now, so please put the phone away and join the stand up meeting."

Live At El Patio

The line-up at El Patio in Yorkville in June 1966 with a bit of info on the bands.

The Dimensions changed their name to A Passing Fancy in January and they put out one consistently good self-titled album in 1968. Here's I'm Losing Tonight which was their first single, and the lead off track from their LP.

The Paupers put out a number of singles in 1966 before recording Magic People in 1967 and Ellis Island in 1968. One of their earliest singles was Free As A Bird from 1965:

The Last Words were originally The Beachcombers, then The Nighthawks, then The Shamokins, and finally they became The Last Words (at which time Jack Sparrow, formerly of The Sparrows took over as manager). The bassist was Brad Campbell who would later leave to join The Paupers when Denny Gerrard departed. They put out a couple singles; their hit was I Symbolize You, which went to #2 on the Canadian charts:

Asthma Cigarettes

These are Kellogg's asthma cigarettes (containing stramonium!) from 1968. The Datura Stramonium plant is a member of the nightshade family (it is also known as jimsonweed or devil's snare) and smoking stramonium is known to relive asthma symptoms. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and delirient, which is a clinical term meaning it causes fully formed and extremely unpleasant visions and delusions. In just slightly higher doses it is fatal so "careless use often results in hospitalizations and deaths". Consider this a public service announcement in these times of trump & ford.

The wikipedia entry on Datura Stramonium.
Image courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

The Sparrows at Chez Monique

The Chez Monique coffee house was at 88 Yorkville Avenue and in 1966 the house band was the Sparrows. The band started in Oshawa 1964 as Jack London and the Sparrows - in 1965 John Kay replaced Jack London and they become The Sparrows - in 1967 the band moved to California and became The Sparrow - they changed once more to settle on the name Steppenwolf.

The lineup in 1966:

John Kay – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Goldy McJohn – keyboards, vocals
Jerry Edmonton – drums, lead vocals
Dennis Edmonton (aka Mars Bonfire) – lead guitar, vocals
Nick St. Nicholas – bass, vocals