Toronto Island Ferry , we often visited Toronto when my father was stationed at RCAF Trenton ON. Toronto Island was where all the artists and musicians could get away from the bustling city. Of course properties were cheap until the rich figured out the artist recognized a magically place. The same thing happened to Cumberland on Vancouver Island. I talked a friend into buying house on acreage in Cumberland $26,000 now worth $1.3 million however she is not happy her taxes are sky high. – Acrylic on Canvas


Dimensions 30 × 40 in


Toronto Island was the enclave for artists and musicians until it got discovered by the elite and it became a tourist mecca.   I remember a movie about an artist living on the Island starring Richard Burton.   In my depiction the ferry is coming in loaded with day trippers and the locals are waiting to separate them from their cash.  The red awning add the local colour as the sun is setting over the city.

My first home in the Comox Valley was in Cumberland an old mining the houses were falling down, the infrastructure  deteriorating.  It got discovered also and now features miners cabins for sale for $800K.   Of course they are modernized, gutted for open concept living and don’t have 8 children destroying the well groomed property.   My neighbour in Black Creek, a Menonites family  home schooled 8 kids the house looked like a war zone.  When she launched all 8 kids she divorced and moved to a small cabin with 1 million dollars and to sing in the local choirs.   She got the cash from the sale of the milking dairy cows and the farmer got the farm to raise beer cattle.

We visited Toronto, regularly as a kid as my uncle and aunt lived there.  They didn’t have kids so we got to go crazy with Aunt Shirley who was a kid at heart.  Uncle Grant was a hunter so we went duck and pheasant hunting; rambling over the bush country.  For some reason I  was a terrible shot and could never hit any game whereas older brother was a crack shot and could shoot a duck flying at 30 miles an hour trying to escape the crazy humans who wanted to make duck soup.   Uncle Grant was a tail gunner in Lancaster bombers in WW2 and shot down a night fighter had a swastika painted on his turret.   However the physical affect of flying at 20,000 with no heat as Lancs unlike American B-17 were not heated.   Commonwealth air crew wore heavy sheep skins to stay warm as the temperature dropped to Minus 20!   Also the stress of 88mm. cannons trying to shoot you out of the sky lead to his early death.

We thought it was a turkey shoot.  You flew to your target such as Hamburg dropped your bombs and returned to the pub and the adoration of the local Belles.    Vets never talked about their experiences as they didn’t want to relive the absolute terror  they had  experienced.  Hours of boredom then suddenly all hell breaks loose,  you face death and struggled to stay alive.  Personally I would have to change my underwear on returning to base.  My father made sure we all went to University and never served in the military.    I met a veteran of Afghanistan, he had been wounded 3 times and survived.

Aunt Shirley had a twin sister and they drove the boys crazy with the cloths and war paint.  Its interesting they grew up in Toronto but both ended up on Vancouver Island.   It was the pull of family.  My Uncle knew he would face an early death as he smoked and drank Rye and Water.    He saw the value in family as they would all look out for each other.  This ethic is sadly gone in todays world where is everybody for themselves.  The nuclear family died, as associations are fractured single mothers,  50% divorce rate  and single men wondering what happened.  The men think they are innocent the woman have other ideas.  Mars and Venus.