December 2013 – The Annual Update from Purple Hill


As I sit here on the ice clad hill I say Seasons Greetings to you All

I’m so glad you have a moment to take a look at what we have been up to (mostly ” I” for the rest now do their own thing these days )

As I am a month and a bit from completing my 3/4 century mark the accumulated wear and tear on my body slows me down a bit and my attention span is even shorter, so short I did not even get an update done last year therefore this covers the last two years.

Allthough I did have some health problems like getting a new knee installed on Halloween of 011 and being diagnosed with a low grade Lymphoma  I did manage to stay upright most of the time. and even do a bit of traveling.

In February of 012 Paula and I circumnavigated New Zealand on a small ship the Oceanic Discoverer here are a few shots on some of the spectacular parts of New Zealand .


One of the smaller waterfalls of Milford Sound. It rates way high on the beauty/spectacular scale.


Some kind of rock some where


Paula and Friend



Sperm Whale

This was my second trip to the land of the Kiwi, Paula’s first. I keep promoting that we organize to spend our remaining Canadian winters there, it is about the same latitude south as we are north so unlike the tropics where the sunsets are short and sweet there are the long days we enjoy here in summer and those lovely hours of twilight , hey two summers a year, and no ice, plus a comfort culture like Canada, what’s not to like? The long flight and proximity of friends and family poses a problem.


Back home for a spell walking with a cane while my knee takes for ever to heal, in the meantime the rocker I designed and made in some quantity back in the seventies appears on two television shows one the antique scrabbling show “Canadian Pickers”  They find one in an attic and value it at $5,000

whooee you know you are getting old when they find something you made on an antique show! I still had the dies and jigs plus a few of the cast aluminum seats so I produced a few more only in stainless steel, now I am going to go hide them in some attics.

In August I went traveling again this time with Students on Ice to the Arctic ( a great organization check their website ) After spending a few fretful days in Iqaluit where a mish mash of house size chunks of ice kept us from getting to the ship, which lay anchored in sight in deeper water. Eventually the Canadian coast guard were able to put us all on ice bashing barges that bunted us through to get us on The Academic Ioffe.  That’s the converted Russian “research” vessel that some of you have sailed on.

Here are some images of that marvellous trip through the icebergs, bays and inlets of the Baffin coast then across the Davis straight to Greenland.


This is old ice maybe 100 thousand years old as it floats down the coast of Baffin Island


At least the background is beautiful


Ahe MV Ioffe in Disko Bay Greenland


Visiting an Inuit sculptor Iqualuit


Lunch Inuit style of arctic char at Qikiqtaqq (ok you pronounce it )

Culture shock! Once that Arctic trip was done it was a family road trip to Detroit for the biannual Cronk-iet family reunion at the home of cousin Madeleine where, of course grand children are the stars.


Family is so important in our short lives it is the crucible of our human existence. I am not doing the name thing but aren’t we a fine looking group, there are a few that did not make it to the event.


Grand son Deagan contemplating dinner


while LeRae his cousin walks Tony


While in the Arctic I got inspired to design a monumental “iceberg” sculpture this is the model the full size piece will be grounded at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. hopefully by 2015

One of the things that stands out in 2012 that I am proud of was to initiate and co produce  with Peter Shatalow, two Youtube videos on the Pickering lands that were expropriated  in 1972 for the proposed second airport for Toronto,  In 1975 it was stopped by the citizens group People or Planes

Very few people understand how much land is involved and how it is so valuable to the well being of the Toronto Area. The two videos speak for themselves the second one is longer and deals with the land issues in  more detail. It was funded by the group Green Durham which is the distilate group of People or Planes, here are the links   and  the federal lands

2012 was not kind to Paula, she continues to design and produce her originals but has grown sick of the business end and she finds that downsizing a business is no where near the fun of growing it. She has good friends that are a great support.

Okay that was a glimpse of 2012

Now this past year 2013


Here we all are December 26 2013

From the left Della the dog, Carmelo, Deagan, Ivy, Cadence , Bill, sister Louise, Paula , neice Alicia, Geordie, Carmen, and Aaron

Carmen the youngest just turned 30,  she and husband Carmelo have been living in Halifax these past three years Carmen completing her course in Speech and Language Pathology at Dalhousie,  Carmelo learning English and how to survive Halifax winters. They are moving back to Ontario to put down roots,  Carmelo has held down two jobs; one in construction the other in the food industry.

Geordie keeps building on his Sculpture Career still living at the old Family homestead on Westney Road in Ajax  he has had a number of good commissions and a one man show a the McGlauchlin Gallery in Oshawa.

Aaron and Ivy still live with our two grandchildren where they have for the past ten years in Dummer Township east of Peterborough  we lovingly call them the dummer Lishmans.   During the winter Aaron is a Prof in the electical engineering department at Sir Sanford Fleming College  in Peterborough and all summer he teaches trail riding on dirt bikes in the Ganaraska forest.  Ivy spends most of her time homeschooling the kids both she and Cadence are learning Ballet dancing in Peterborough.

18 19 20


Here are pictures of 3 generations of male Lishmans all at roughly the same age.  There is definitely a blond gene in the DNA that we grow out of.


Again escaping Canadian cold has become a priority so in February we joined friends Matt Swan and Ajju Peter in Kuuai , Hawaii  for a couple of weeks

No sense going to some place ugly and Kuaai is wonderful it has everything from beaches to spectacular canyons   here is a selfy of us from high up in Kuaai (no matter the temperature you cannot get the fur off Paula).


In the past year The community of Hastings Ontario which is part of the region of Trent Hills was branded with being the ultimate fishing spot in Canada.In this picture I took of it last spring shows it has a bridge in the middle of town it is the only bridge in Ontario from which you can legally fish – anyway a comittee from Hastings approached me to design something monumental to commemorate their honour. So why not celebrate fish on a monumental scale. here is a short animation of what the concept is and below is the first Pickeral under construction by me and Richard Vanheuvelen.


The Hastings Pices Park comittee is busy raising money to complete the project

In May a secondary honorary doctorate was bestowed upon me by Niagra University in New York state three of us were so honoured  now I’m double Doctor Bill


Fellow Honorees Ken Taylor the Canadian Diplomat who spirited Americans out of Iran and on my right, far left is John M. Howard owner of the John Howard winery, with NU., president Rev. Joseph Levesque. I kept saying to myself is this real? 

I did a bit More Traveling in June as part of the Adventure Canada staff on the newly named and owned Sea Adventurer (previously the Clipper Adventurer same ship  that I was on when it ran aground in the Arctic in 010).

Neice Zilla Parker accompanied me on this trip and we had

a great time first visiting relatives in Northumberland England then shipping out of Aberdeen Scotland visiting the Shetlands, the Faroes, Iceland and finishing in Greenland  truly the route of the Vikings  a wonderful experience with imagry that stirred our Viking heritage

what follows are some of the images of that journey.

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Neice Zilla and first Cousin Pauline / with Judy and Sally Brewis at the Limery Northumberland UK   Zilla and I in Lerwick capital of the Shetlands


The Adventurer off the Isle of  Mykines in the Faroes

the Faroees people were great and treated us Royaly. On the Island of Vagur they turned out in all their finery and hosted us in the community center feeding us well and enteraining us with song and dance .  the Capital Torshaven is a beautiful city with green roofs everywhere it has been a tradition there for centuries and then the remote island of Mykines partially shrouded in fog with colonies of puffins and Gannets .


Zilla in Iceland, the three cottages complex  in the background was the site of the original Icelandic parliament,  the rough terrain is the great Atlantic rift that bysects Iceland and allows the hot magma of the earth to well up and keep the island cosy year round. – hey- Free energy you just have to put up with the odd earthquake and volcano .I could fill a couple of pages of imagry of that trip but moving on –  In July Paula Carmen and I took a tour of Nova Scotia particularly the Anapolis Valley  below a picture of Carmen looking out to sea some where near Peggys cove


Amazing what you can get with an I phone these days

Im still flying, albiet when the conditions are perfect and in August I flew from home over the Airport lands in Pickering to Honeywood in Malancton Township north west of Barrie where the NDACT citizens group were having and event to celebrate stopping the mega quarry that would have destroyed a few thousand acres of prime farm country.

The concept was to link the groups in Pickering who are working on saving the expropriated lands, for the issues are virtually the same. The new group is entitled Food and Water First and that really says it all (check their website )


Here is a pic someone shot as I departed Honeywood.

Paula In her work downsizing her business, one of the major stumbling blocks was selling the big school house in Blackstock which had been center to her business for three decades.  In September it sold and that was a big lump out of the way.

Now I come to a difficult part. —In August Paula went west to visit her parents in BC and missed a family gathering at the Parker farm in Arden Ontario. Little did we know for some of us it would be our last visit with Zilla’s husband Dominic, A month later in a sensless and purposeless random act of violence he was killed while sipping tea at cafe on Torontos Danforth Ave.  He was just 45 and in the hight of his career, Aside from Zilla he also left his two beautiful daughters Ryla and Brenna who were both just starting their university education. We were all devastated with the loss, for Dom was not only a relative he was a great friend and a pillar in the family. Zilla, Ryla and Brenna still daily wrestle with the senseless loss and our heart goes out to them.

In his varied career starting in the military then in the film industry and finally as a fire fighter Dom had touched many people and the turn out for his funeral was over the top.


Dom front row 3rd in from the right Zilla directly behind, his arm around Ryla and Brenna just behind.


Dominic Parker  1968 – 2013

To end this rather lengthy update (much has been left out), thanks for hanging in to this point. I have several projects on the go, one in particular that I am passionate about is a book centered around aerial images of the OAK RIDGE MORAINE. With it I hope to accentuate the importance of this wonderful piece of Ontario here is a sample, I will expect you all to buy one  the profits will go to Save The Oak Ridge Moraine.


The view is from south west of Dagmar Ski hill looking North East that is the Dagmar parking lot top right.  Thats all for now again thanks for visiting the site and I hope 2014 brings great things for you.

Bill Lishman