Northern, Ontario, Canada - 20150602 - Lake Superior. Photo © Grant Black

Paddling on Lake Superior

After several months away from shooting for clients – a cross-country move and a summer job at the Pan Am Games limiting my availability – I’m back being a photographer. Recently, a long-standing client hired me to shoot an environmental portrait in Leamington, Ont. Yes!

It has been a exciting few months. In early May we watched as our stuff was loaded on to a moving van for our move to Amherstburg, Ontario, an historic town south of Windsor on the banks of the Detroit River. That day was the start of a complicated cross-country tango that saw us fly to Windsor to meet the furniture, fly back to Calgary to pick up our vehicle and camper trailer and then drive across the western flatlands through Northern Ontario and finally to our new home in southwestern Ontario.

Along the way we visited scores of friends and saw many members of our families. (Thanks to all for your hospitality.) Our decision to leave so many good friends in Calgary was a tough one, but we’ll be back to visit this winter and to continue our passion for skiing.

Three weeks after finally arriving in Amherstburg, I took the train to Toronto to start my stint as a photo venue manager at the Pan Am Games. It feels like I’ve spent more time away from home than at home. The move is still a work in progress. I’ve opened most of the boxes that line the basement, but storage must be built and a workroom finished before things normalize.

Why Amherstburg? We lived in Windsor/Essex for many years and have longstanding friendships that go way back. Within days of our arrival I was diving a shipwreck on the bottom of Lake Erie with old friends. Familiar and comfortable, it feels like I never left, even though it’s been 15 years.

I keep running into familiar faces at restaurants, wineries or even in the most Canadian of Canadian places – Canadian Tire. Sometimes I know who they are instantly, other times I don’t come up with a name until much later, recognition clouded by the intervening years.

In many ways, Calgary and Windsor/Essex couldn’t be more different. Calgary finds the oil that runs the cars and vans that Windsor builds.

Calgary: A martini town that makes beer. Windsor/Essex: A beer place that makes wine and whiskey.

Windsor: The Big Three rules. Calgary: Big trucks rule.

Calgary: Business tycoons are cultural heroes. Windsor: A good job is steady and preferably with a union card.

Alberta: Grain and beef. Essex County: A both plus corn and beans, fruits and vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers under glass and the much-diminished fishery that pulls tasty perch from the green depths of Lake Erie.

Essex County: Pancake flat but surrounded by water. Calgary: Flat with rolling hills and magnificent mountains to the west.

The last leg of our cross-country tango followed the route I drove a lifetime ago when I moved to Windsor from Saskatchewan. I drove a less-than-reliable compact who’s starter died in Kenora. I found a replacement in Thunder Bay and donned my coveralls to replace it in the parking lot of a grocery store. This time a more reliable vehicle, but still the rugged scenery of the seemingly-endless Northern Shield.

Then I was apprehensive. A new job in a strange city where I knew no one. A move away from ‘home’.

That move worked out just fine and I know this one will too.



6 thoughts on “BACK TO THE FUTURE

  1. Thank you for your information. I hope the both of you are well and satisfied with your move.

    This year was very exciting for me. In May I visited Andalusia ( Spain ) and Gibraltar. In August I was in Verona ( Italy ) for the Opera festival. Then I was invited for my stepgranddaughter’s wedding in England. After that I wisited Verdun. Chartres, Reims and the Loire chateauxs in France. I just have come back from Ireland where we visited Belfast and the Titanic Museum and the Republic with Dublin. Very exciting!!!

    I wish you all the best,



  2. Great move Grant, Amherstburg is a wonderful little town. Went to school there for a few years. Still a little chilly for our us though. We still love Venice Fl. Good friends just moved to Amherstburg some where around Edgewater Beach, on a golf course. You may know him, D’Arcy Van Nest, used to be with Chrysler just retired as VP for Green Shield, nice guy. You cannot miss him, from Iceland & really looks like a Viking white flowing hair and all. Good to hear from you.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Grant, many thanks for the update. We’re in Richmond now, but we’ll be back in April. Glad this is going well. Did not know you were working the pan am, hope it went well. Isn’t Bobby Carroll somewhere close to you? Also, saw Brian Clark this summer, he’s doing remarkably well. bes, jcp

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