Thursday, 30 July 2015


 Cobalt is an old mining town in northern Ontario.  Silver was discovered  in 1903 and this lead to a frenzy of fortune hunters.  The story of silver's discovery is a classic tale of gold rush lore.  Fred Larose, a blacksmith employed by the railway, was working at his forge when disturbed by a fox.  He threw his pick at it and when he went to retrieve the pick realised that it had broken off a piece of rock which glittered.  In reality Fred was an amateur prospector who found silver, he did not know what it was, but it looked valuable.
The mine above is what we saw when we first drove into town....the Glory Hole mine.  Here is a sketch from the other end.

Since the first boom, the mines have opened, closed and reopened many times.  The glory years were between 1904 and 1920.  Unfortunately two fires over the years destroyed many of the original buildings from Cobalt's hayday.  It is still interesting with streets that curve around many corners reflecting the unplanned nature of the town's development.

Another sketch of Glory Hole

We walked along a trail to see Devil's Rock.  It is a 300 foot high cliff on Lake Temiskaming with views over to Quebec.
It would be great to end more time in Cobalt and sketch the other mines and buildings.  Next time...


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Powassan Buildings


It's great to be on holidays and have time to sketch.   It has been hot in Powassan and so time of day and shady spots have to be considered.  The building above was originally Scarlett's store, built in 1891. When I was a child it was Cox's General Store.
I sketched this early yesterday morning before it got too hot.  By the time I got home there was a message on facebook from a lady saying she saw me sketching her parent's building and would like to buy it. Within a few hours of being sketched  it was gone to it's new owner!

This restaurant was for many years a hang out for kids and a place to spend your pocket money if you were younger.  


This was originally a Presbyterian Church and was moved to Clark Street across from my parent's home.  It became the Masonic lodge after moving to this site.  My mother planted the trees to the left of the building but before that this area was often used by our family for baseball and Badminton games or just a place to hang around.  It wasn't our property but we used it like it was!
The lawn was cut just before I sketched this and you can see the marks for the lawn mower and the dry grass.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Service Stations in Powassan


The town of Powassan had 7 service stations when my parents were young.  There are only two left.  This one is Garlands and has been around since 1929, originally owned by Mr Demaine.  It has been renovated of course and probably does not look much like the original garage. I wonder whether the lights at the front are original.
The owner, Gary Garland owns the vintage truck and placed it at the front when he saw I was sketching.

This garage was built in the 1930's and originally owned by Ed Purdon.  It has had many owners over the years including my school friend's father, Mr Yates.  He had in in the 1950's and 1960's.  His family recall that he would work through the night when busy during the summer.  He gave driving tests and they talk about the time that three nuns came to be tested.
There is a chip wagon next to this garage called Trackside Fries and according to my ten year old nephew, it is awesome.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Powassan, Ontario


I am back in the town I grew up in, Powassan, Ontario, Canada.  It's small, over a thousand people in the town itself and three thousand in the council area.  
Our house is in a convenient spot and when I was growing up it was a minutes walk to school, to the pool, park and shops.  I sat on the corner of the property and sketched the view looking up to the United Church (see above).


Last night I sketched this  view from Mom and Dad's back deck, looking to the north.  I like the vintage chair, one of a pair.
It's great to be on holiday!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Back to Newtown


On this cold and threatening to rain day, Sketch club met in Newtown to sketch the chimneys . These are at the back of restaurants on King St.  Chatting and sketching with good friends is hard to beat.


This is a little street called Crooks Lane, sketched from Church St.
After lunch we sketched each other which was great fun.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Church in Woollahra


Sketch club met at Woollahra in Sydney which is an inner eastern suburb.  This church burned down in the 1980's.  I remember seeing the ruins for many years.  Twelve years ago it was converted into a small number of apartments.  We met the woman who lives in the section which I sketched and she said that her apartment was four bedrooms and five stories.  She weaves on a loom in the top room with views of the city.  The windows in the room were put in for the apartment otherwise the rooms up there would have had no light.
It was a beautiful winter day, warm in the sun.

Monday, 6 July 2015

George St Barber Shop


After sketching at Central Raulway Station on Saturday we headed over to Chinatown for lunch.  We passed this colourful building on the way and I returned there to sketch later.  At street level there is a barbershop, $9 a cut according to the sign.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Central Station


Urban sketchers met this morning at Central Station.  It was a beautiful day but quite cold even when sitting in the sun.  It's a great group getting together and lovely friendships exist,