Once There Was Winter Part II

Kayaking in early morning ice, Inner Harbour, Toronto Islands

Harbour Dawn

After going through Hanlan’s and the airport for almost six weeks in 2004 the ice was pretty thick, and the City contracted out one of the largest tugs in the harbour to break up the ice as much as possible. After six weeks of relative silence the crunchy tinkling sound woke me up, in time […]

Toronto Island Community on the ferry Ongiara, Toronto Islands


Time warp back to 2004, and a sudden cold snap breaks the Ward’s dock hydraulics, trapping the Ongiara in place for several hours. The legendary ingenuity of the Island community came to the fore, assuming that having everyone run from one end of the boat to the other might shift it enough to get free […]

Ice covered sign, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

No Access

Signs and trees lie entombed in ice at the end of the boardwalk after a wicked winter storm in 2004.

Frozen emergency station, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Don’t Fall In

Lifesaving gear on the boardwalk sits useless, encrusted with heavy ice, after a good winter storm in 2004.

Jimmy Jones black ice 2005, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Jimmy Jones Center Ice

Jimmy Jones takes center ice with Leo and Samantha on the legendary black ice of 2005, seen here off the boardwalk and frozen all the way to the spit. Click image to view larger.

Black ice panorama, Toronto Outer Harbour, Toronto Islands

Distant City

Zeke and a friend light up the fabled black ice of 2005, seen here at sunset about half a kilometer off of the boardwalk. Click image to view larger.

38 Lakeshore Ave., Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

38 Lakeshore Ave.

Snow blankets the gate in front of 38 Lakeshore during the winter of 2008.

22 Lakeshore Ave., Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

22 Lakeshore Ave.

22 Lakeshore Ave. sits derelict and empty in the winter of 2009, before renovations completely replaced the structure. Click image to view larger.

Kayaking during ice-out, Toronto Inner Harbour, Toronto Islands


An early panoramic self-portrait, kayaking on a delightful ice shelf formed during ice-out in March of 2004 as the Ongiara rumbles past. Click image to view larger.

Toronto skyline ice panorama, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Black Ice Twilight

An inner harbour frozen solid in early February reflects the twilight hues of Toronto, as seen here between Algonquin and Snake islands. When doing this kind of shoot, it pays to have an extra battery kept handy in a warm pocket somewhere. Click image to view larger.

Mute swan, Outer harbour, Toronto Islands

Approaching Storm

A wounded mute swan sits on the ice pack of the outer harbour, waiting as a winter storm approaches.

Winter beaver, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


A beaver, awkward on land, pushes its way through the snow on Ward’s beach.

Ward's beach geyser, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Old Faithful

Another Ward’s beach geyser erupts into strong sidelight.  After each session of shooting in -18°C weather, the cameras would be coated in ice and require careful defrosting for several hours near a constant heat source.

Cpt. Tom on the Ongiara, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Cpt. Tom

A gem from the archives: it’s January 2004, and the temperature has just plummeted by over 20°C. Plastic shatters, pipes burst, and hydraulic lines fail.  Without hydraulic pressure, the crew of the Ongiara are unable to raise the Ward’s Island dock, effectively trapping the ferry Island-side. For two hours everything was tried, including something enterprising […]

Ferry Ongiara, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

1830 to the City

The Ongiara streaks to the city at 6:30 P.M., punching through the January ice in this two-minute exposure.

Winter Chickadee, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Chickadee Isolation

A Chickadee puffs itself up against the cold of winter, searching for food behind the filtration plant.

Stained beaver teeth, South Island, Toronto Islands

Surprising Teeth

A beaver, teeth stained red from a winter diet of nothing but bark, floats in a hole kept open in the ice off of Snake Island.

Smirnoff Snowman, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Smirnoff Snowman II

A close view of the boardwalk’s Smirnoff Snowman, and his novel way of staying warm on cold winter days.

Red fox in snow, Algonquin Island, Toronto Islands


The eyes say it all, as this red fox stares down the camera.

Beaver in winter, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Canadian Hero

A true Canadian hero:  a beaver, doing what it does best, hauls a branch out of the Ward’s dunes through a winter blizzard, back to the water where it will swim with it through the breaking surf to its lodge. Absolutely epic, for the amount of nutrition that the underbark of dogwood contains. This is […]

Mink underwater, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Proof of Concept

Hot on the heels of their newfound popularity from the front-page Toronto Star article, a curious Toronto Island mink checks out the experimental IceCam, underwater and under the ice near Snug Harbour. A terrible photograph by any stretch of the imagination, there isn’t much light down there, but an interesting portrait of our furry little […]

Ferry Ongiara, Inner Harbour, Toronto Islands

Steamy Ongiara

The Ongiara makes her way through thick steam thrown up by an almost 30°C temperature drop.