Preserved Stories Blog

Etobicoke Creek thousands of years ago gave rise to what is now an underwater valley

At a presentation I attended in Mississauga of an underwater valley — now located south of teh current shoreline of Lake Ontario — associated with an earlier stage in the history of Etobicoke Creek.

We know from geological evidence that, during its Glacial Lake Iroquois stage, the water level of Lake Ontario was higher than it is now.

There’s a road in Oakville, north of the Queen Elizabeth Way at Trafalgar Road, that is conveniently named Iroquois Shore Road. The road indicates where the Glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline used to be located. Evidence of the shoreline is visible across Mississauga and Toronto as well.

For example, the old shoreline is indicated by a hill that one encounters when travelling north along Avenue Road or Yonge Street when approaching St. Clair Avenue West. Similarly a hill, with a less abrupt slope is encountered, as I recall, in Mississauga when travelling north along Hurontario Street north of Dundas Street West.

An excellent account of the rise and fall of this lake is provided by John Chapman and Donald Putnam in their classic and authoritative text, Physiography of Southern Ontario, 3rd Edition (1984).

Thereafter, the water level went much lower than it is now, during what is called the Lake Admiralty phase of Lake Ontario.

During the time Lake Ontario was at a lower level, Etobicoke Creek formed a valley which is now underwater.

I look forward to learning details about this valley

In an earlier version of this blog, I wrote:

“The map below, which I’ve created to show the configuration of Etobicoke Creek in the years before and after it was channelized, provides useful information concerning the direction in which the creek would likely have flowed during the thousands of years when the water level of the lake was lower than its current level.”

The text above is based on an incorrect assumption on my part.

That is, it’s not likely that the creek has flowed in a westerly direction for thousands of years. In fact, as I understand, the flow might have been in all manner of directions over such a period of time.

We owe thanks to Robert Lansdale for sharing the fact — based on his knowledge as an engineer with direct experience with the physical features of Lake Ontario — that one cannot make the assumption that I have made in the above-noted earlier version of my text.

Robert Lansdale notes that Etobicoke Creek and the surrounding lands have changed drastically over thousands — and even hundreds — of years.

“The spit where Lake Promenade and the cottages were located,” he comments, “was mostly created via sand being dumped in this area from the Lake Ontario beach currents, such as from the Sunnyside areas and easterly. That’s what most likely caused the creek to have become diverted. ”


Configuration of Etobicoke Creek prior to its channelization


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Reminder: MPP Peter Milczyn’s New Year’s Levee: 2:00 pm, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at Royal Canadian Legion, 110 Jutland Road

Full details >

An excerpt from the above-noted message, from MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office, reads:

Dear Neighbour,

As we head into 2018, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and remind you that my 4th Annual New Year’s Levee will take place this Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 643, 110 Jutland Road. I hope you will join me for refreshments and an afternoon of enjoyable conversation.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Peter Milczyn


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Statement from Credit Valley Conservation on the passing of City of Mississauga and Region of Peel Councillor Jim Tovey

Photo source: Credit Valley Conservation website

Photo source: Credit Valley Conservation website

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Click here for previous posts about Jim Tovey >

Statement from Credit Valley Conservation on the Passing of City of Mississauga and Region of Peel Councillor Jim Tovey

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) expresses its deep condolences on the sudden passing of City of Mississauga and Region of Peel Councillor Jim Tovey.

“In my 30 years of service, no other politician has in just six short years made such a tremendous impact on constituency, community, city, and region,” said Nando Iannicca, Chair of Credit Valley Conservation and Regional Councillor for Mississauga Ward 7. “Jim was a true environmentalist, visionary, and city-builder. The transformation of his beloved waterfront will be his enduring Legacy.”

Councillor Tovey served on Credit Valley Conservation’s Board of Directors‎ since January 2011. He championed the redevelopment of the Port Credit and Lakeview shorelines and was the driving force behind the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project. His unique connection with the City of Mississauga, Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation and Toronto and Region Conservation served to bring the organizations together to partner on the development of a new 26 hectare waterfront conservation area.

“I had the privilege of working with Jim to realize our collective objectives for the environment. It was hard to keep up at times with his enthusiasm and energy,” said Deborah Martin-Downs, Chief Administrative Officer of Credit Valley Conservation. “He envisioned an environmental gem on the shores of Lake Ontario, and has been working tirelessly with us, the Region of Peel and Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority to enhance the Mississauga waterfront.”

“Equally important was Jim’s dedication to the Great Lakes,” said Martin-Downs. “Leading the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project was just one way Jim was working to improve the local environment, Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes ecosystem. He saw the potential for environmental action and refused to let barriers get in the way of making a lasting difference. We’ve lost a friend, a visionary and one of our strongest advocates for the environment.”

Flags at CVC’s administrative office will be flown at half-mast.


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MPP Peter Milczyn’s New Year’s Levee: Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion, 110 Jutland Road

Click here to access the full details >

An excerpt from the above-noted message, from MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office, reads:

Dear Neighbour,

As we head into 2018, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and remind you that my 4th Annual New Year’s Levee will take place this Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 643, 110 Jutland Road. I hope you will join me for refreshments and an afternoon of enjoyable conversation.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Peter Milczyn


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Mindfulness is a great thing, as is human happiness – especially without the hype!

I’ve written about my encounters (such encounters as continue, as I type this) with mindfulness, and will not bore you with a retelling of a tale about what I have learned, as a beginner practitioner (it’s been going on for over a decade now) of mindfulness.

Click here for a previous post about mindfulness >

I’ve spent several weeks, since the end of the year 2017, reading in detail about the Second World War, about the year 1946 (when many things began), and about the postwar era.

I’ve posted a few items, in recent weeks, based on this reading, which began (by way of an intensive reading and study project) with my interest in getting a sense of the stories behind the images in my late father’s 1936 Berlin Olympics photo album.

So, what prompts me to post an item today?

I recently borrowed Happier?: The history of a Cultural Movement that Aspired to Transform America (2018) from the Toronto Public Library. I want to share the blurb, at the Toronto Public Library, for this book; the blurb (I’ve broken the single paragraph into shorter ones, for ease of online reading) reads:

When a cultural movement that began to take shape in the mid-twentieth century erupted into mainstream American culture in the late 1990s, it brought to the fore the idea that it is as important to improve one’s own sense of pleasure as it is to manage depression and anxiety.

Cultural historian Daniel Horowitz’s research reveals that this change happened in the context of key events.

World War II, the Holocaust, post-war prosperity, the rise of counter-culture, the crises of the 1970s, the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the prime ministerships of Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron provided the important context for the development of the field today known as positive psychology.

Happier? provides the first history of the origins, development, and impact of the way Americans – and now many around the world – shifted from mental illness to well-being as they pondered the human condition.

This change, which came about from the fusing of knowledge drawn from Eastern spiritual traditions, behavioral economics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and cognitive psychology, has been led by scholars and academic entrepreneurs, as they wrestled with the implications of political events and forces such as neoliberalism and cultural conservatism, and a public eager for self-improvement.

Linking the development of happiness studies and positive psychology with a broad series of social changes, including the emergence of new media and technologies like TED talks, blogs, web sites, and neuroscience, as well as the role of evangelical ministers, Oprah Winfrey’s enterprises, and funding from government agencies and private foundations, Horowitz highlights the transfer of specialized knowledge into popular arenas.

Along the way he shows how marketing triumphed, transforming academic disciplines and spirituality into saleable products. Ultimately, Happier? illuminates how positive psychology, one of the most influential academic fields of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, infused American culture with captivating promises for a happier society.




There is much to be said, in my anecdotal experience, in first-rate instruction in mindfulness through a program such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), after which the task is to practise it.


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Update from Graeme Decarie, retired MCHS and Concordia history teacher: Three children in school, one at McGill, two at Concordia

I recently told Graeme Decarie that I would put together an update based on a recent email exchange with him.

The update follows below.

On Jan. 9, 2018, Graeme Decarie wrote: One of my boys, Nicholas, has been studying at university in Fredericton, and will graduate this year. Today, he got accepted for a master’s programme at McGill, starting in September. It’s information studies (archives).

So, in September, I shall have three children in Montreal, one at McGill and two at Concordia. And I think that could convince me to move back.

Anyway, it might get dangerous here. New Brunswick is owned by a billionaire named Irving who owns the government and also owns all the newspapers. For tomorrow’s blog, I wrote an article that is more than somewhat critical of him.

Graeme Decarie. Source: MCHS 1962-63 yearbook

He is not a forgiving man.

Jaan Pill (Jan. 9, 2018):  This is great news!

I will post some version of your update to my website, when I get to my site. I’ve been staying away from posting for a while, taking a break.

I’m really pleased your children are doing well. That is great to know!

I continue to focus on workouts at a local college fitness centre. I’ve been working at learning to do the deadlift properly, using a hex bar.

We’ve visited a couple of universities last year. Whenever we see a university fitness centre, I enjoy seeing how students are doing their squats and deadlifts. I’ve observed they are all doing a great job of keeping proper form – e.g. maintaining a neutral position of the spine (which along with using the hips as a hinge, involves taking in a deep breath and holding it, while tensing specified muscles) during the deadlift; and keeping the knees from travelling forward (past the toes) during the squat.

Good-looking guy on the left is Graeme Decarie. Person on right is a blogger who was travelling through town and ran into Mr. Decarie at a Tim Horton's coffee shop in Moncton, N.B. on Aug. 6, 2016

Left to right: Graeme Decarie, Jaan Pill at a Tim Horton’s coffee shop in Moncton, N.B. on Aug. 6, 2016.

Graeme (Jan. 9, 2018): I took to very long walks in a neighbouring wilderness park – until the big storm. Now, I settle for swimming in a pleasantly heated pool, and I shall be moving to weights.

Jaan (Jan. 10, 2018): You have a good plan in place.

I am going to make an effort to post an item to my website over the next day or two.

I’ve been spending much time writing notes in a notebook, using a calligraphic fountain pen.

The last while, I’ve also been reading about Mussolini, decolonization, and related topics:

My father’s photo album from 1936 Berlin Olympics prompts my reading of Richard J. Evans’s trilogy about Nazi Germany

Fascism and the Italians of Montreal: An Oral History: 1922-1945 (1998)

1946: The Making of the Modern World (2015)

Newsletter from the Friends of Fort York & Garrison Common features items of interest related to blurbs and slogans

Graeme: Your reading reminds me of Vera Lynn, the British songstress of World War 2 who sang about how we were fighting the war to end all wars so we could live in a world of peace. “There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover….”

Our political and business leaders broke every promise that was made. The UN was created, but immediately neutered. The U.S. has invaded over 70 countries since 1945. And Britain, far from being free, lost its empire and so now has to kiss up to the U.S. – as does Canada.

The reality is that World War Two is still on. But the U.S. is now the great Nazi power.

Jaan: A good overview, that you have shared.

I forgot to mention that I’m reading all of this with an ear for the Indigenous perspective. It’s been remarked that, if one wants to know what the world would be like had the Nazis won the war, one would need only to consider the fate of Indigenous peoples in North and South America and elsewhere.


I would say, speaking for myself, the Nazi comparisons can only go so far. The United States does not have a plan, as Nazi Germany did, to murder Jews, wherever they are living.

Among the themes that I’m exploring in my reading concerns the similarities between nineteenth-century massacres in Germany colonies in Africa, and Nazi Germany’s later massacres related to empire-building in Central/Eastern Europe. From what I’ve read, with regard to the two events, there is not a direct link. The Nazi empire was a unique formulation, drawing upon circumstances that were not at play, in the same manner or at the same extent, in the German colonies.

It took me a while, based on my reading over some time, to understand the conclusions that researchers have arrived at, regarding this topic.

Another theme I have been exploring, in my reading of a wide range of recent books, concerns the Addis Ababa Massacre during Italy’s Fascist era. In a book entitled The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy’s National Shame (2017), Ian Campbell suggests that the Nazi attempt to set up an empire stretching across Central/Eastern Europe was directly influenced by the atrocities, that occurred in Ethiopia in 1937.

With both my strength training regime, and with my reading related to the Second World War and postwar era, I’ve been focusing on studying these topics at some depth.

With history related to the Second World War, I have found that Richard J. Evans serves as an exemplar of history writing at its best, at least from my perspective as a reader. In all my reading, I want to know how well acquainted a writer is with the available evidence, and I want to know the framework within which it is presented. As well, I attend closely to the quality of reader engagement, and the flow and structure of the writing.

The value of compound exercises (such as the deadlift) is something that dawned upon me in recent years, as I read book after book about strength training. Learning all of the details, of how to perform a compound exercise correctly, is a great learning experience.

Mastery of the correct form does not come easily, for me. It requires a lot of practice, and close attention to detail. Perhaps especially because it requires a lot of work, in order to attain mastery, I so much enjoy the entire process. Having a good place to work out, with all of the equipment and space that is required, has been especially important, to enable me to make good progress, in this area.

Similarly, I’ve been reading about prewar, wartime, and postwar history in much greater depth than I have in the past. It’s my way of learning about this aspect of history, so that I better understand the meaning of the photos in my father’s 1936 Berlin Olympics photo album – and that I so much better understand the present moment.


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In 1980, 2% of Peel’s neighbourhoods were considered low-income. Now, 52% of Peel’s neighbourhoods are considered low-income.

An early January (Jan. 4, I believe) 2018 tweet from United Way Peel @Unitedwaypeel reads:

In 1980, 2% of Peel’s neighbourhoods were considered low-income. Now, 52% of Peel’s neighbourhoods are considered low-income. Learn more about income inequality in Peel Region:

I have written about income inequality at previous posts.

The tweet, that I refer to, features Map 12: Average Individual Income, Peel Region, 2015, which is what caught my eye when I read the above-noted tweet.

Map 12 is from an online PDF document entitled: The Opportunity Equation in the Greater Toronto Area: An update on neighbourhood income inequality and polarization.

It was the map – a form of data visualization – that caught my attention, and prompted me to find out more.

The “Opportunity Equation” document, which also describes trends in other areas of the GTA, in addition to Peel region (named after the British, colonial-era politician, Robert Peel), makes for informative reading.

I have posted Map 12 from the document, as well as Map 11: Annual Individual Income, Peel region, 2000.

As the maps indicate, low-income areas have grown in Peel from 2000 to 2015. The trend goes back years before that, as well.

Demographics – and in the wider sense, materiality – tends in some cases to have an impact on our worldviews, mindsets, and perceptions of everyday life. For that reason, in recognition of the role that materiality plays, I have posted these maps.

Materiality concerns itself, among other things, with dominance, power, resistance, stereotyping, and labelling.

Materiality is a feature of the Story of M, as is the case with every story on the planet.

Materiality is not the only thing that influences our perceptions and our interactions, but it does play a role.

map 12015

Map 12. Source: online PDF document entitled: The Opportunity Equation in the Greater Toronto Area: An update on neighbourhood income inequality and polarization. Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.


Map 11: Source: online PDF document entitled: The Opportunity Equation in the Greater Toronto Area: An update on neighbourhood income inequality and polarization. Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.


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1946: The Making of the Modern World (2015)

A previous post is entitled:

Richard J. Evans’s Nazi Germany trilogy along with a subsequent 2015 text is strongly evidence-based

I have been reading widely about the years from the 1920s into the postwar years, by way of making connections with my father’s 1936 Berlin Olympics photo album; pondering his photos has prompted me to read widely about those years, as I’ve outlined at another post:

My father’s photo album from 1936 Berlin Olympics prompts my reading of Richard J. Evans’ trilogy about Nazi Germany

Over the past few days, along with other books I’ve been reading reading 1946: The Making of the Modern World (2015) by Victor Sebestyen.

A Publishers Weekly review [which I have broken into shorter paragraphs] reads:

In this salient, grim narrative history, journalist and historian Sebestyen (Revolution 1989) portrays 1946 as the year that “laid the foundations of the modern world.” The early postwar period witnessed vast and unprecedented destruction, famine, and displacement throughout much of Europe and Asia, which Sebestyen describes in harrowing detail, reminding readers that human suffering didn’t end with the conclusion of the war.

With mesmerizing detail and riveting vignettes scattered throughout, Sebestyen explores virtually every major postwar theme and event: German de-Nazification and guilt (or lack thereof), lingering anti-Semitism throughout Europe, the early stages of the creation of Israel, civil war in Greece, the disarmament and remaking of Japan, British imperial exhaustion and decline, the lead-up to independence and partition of India and Pakistan, the increasing likelihood of a communist victory in China’s civil war, the division of Europe, and the early stages of the Cold War.

Though admittedly focused largely on Europe, this informed, engaging, and accessible history of the year that U.S. president Harry Truman called the year of decisions will prove to have wide and diverse appeal.


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Deadlift – with barbell and with hex bar – requires close attention to proper form

Hex bar. Jaan Pill photo

Hex bar. Jaan Pill photo

My big project these days is learning to do the deadlift, with proper form, both with a barbell and with a hex bar.

Some people can learn to do the deadlift, with proper form, at once. I am not in that category.

Using a barbell, I have learned to work with both the double overhand and the mixed grip.

I’ve learned to take a deep breath at the start of the lift, and to exhale once I have reached the point where I am standing straight, at the top of the lift. I’ve learned that I then take another deep breath and exhale once the bar is again on the floor.

It’s taken me some time, and focus of attention, to generate tension in my lats while keeping the chest up and back flat [or better yet, as I have learned from a Facebook comment: keeping the back neutral]. Good posture and proper breathing are key considerations.

Assisted Pull-Up machine. The Assisted Pull-Up is an exercise that I recently got around to learning, as it was included in one of the routines in Anita Bean's book that I've recently been following. Jaan Pill photo

Assisted Pull-Up/Chin-Up machine. In recent months, I’ve made a point of including the Assisted Pull-Up a regular part of my strength training routine. Jaan Pill photo

I have found The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015) a first-rate resource, by way of organizing my strength training workouts, which I’ve been focusing upon (at times off and on) for close to forty years. I’m really pleased that, with experience, I’ve picked up extensive information about how to go about organizing a strength training program.

I spend a lot of time reading and writing, about a lot of topics. From such activities, I’ve learned many things, and have sharpened some of my skills. That said, strength training is a particular area, where the process of skills development has been even more readily evident.

In learning the deadlift, squat, and other compound exercises, two books that I’ve recently found especially useful are:

Eat. Lift. Thrive. (2017) and

Bigger, Faster, Stronger: The Proven System for Developing Athletes (2017)

I also find the occasional personal training sessions, that I sign up for from time to time, also of tremendous value, in ensuring that I learn to perform the key exercises with proper form, and with proper settings for any equipment that I may be using.



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Curated Decay (2017). Some things are worth preserving. Some things can’t be preserved. Better by far to watch them rot.

This post concerns Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving (2017) by Caitlin DeSilvey.

I first learned about this impressive book some time back on Twitter.

You can access a London School of Economics review of it here.

If you do a Twitter search for “Curated Decay,” you can find many interesting tweets about the book.

Not all things can be preserved

I am highly taken by the concept underlying Caitlin DeSilvey’s study.

The concept is most interesting. In a nutshell, DeSilvey notes, some potential heritage sites are not going to be preserved, no matter what.

Sometimes, that is, transience and impermanence – as demonstrated through (by way of example) the imposing power of rot, decay, deterioration, and erosion – have the upper hand.

Under such conditions, what does a person, trained within the framework, mindset, and worldview of “preservation,” as it is traditionally configured, to do?

The book is positioned as an experiment. It’s a work in progress.

For some readers, the lack of a definitive conclusion, in Caitlin DeSilvey’s study, may be irksome. I would not know. I feel at home with uncertainty and ambiguity. For that reason, from my perspective, the lack of a conclusion warrants celebration. The lack of a conclusion, in fact, is the underlying theme of the study.

Trees and metal intertwined

At an early chapter, the author refers to a situation where a tree at an abandoned site has over the years incorporated chunks of abandoned machinery into its bark.

I was reminded, when I read this passage, of situations in my local neighbourhoods, where parts of metal fences have, similarly, been incorporated into the barks of trees. I now see that metal-and-wood configuration from a different perspective, having read the above-noted passage.

The book is a work of art. It prompts a person to look at things anew. I recommend it highly!


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Happy Holiday Wishes and a Grateful Thank you – Message from Diane LaPointe-Kay, president, Small Arms Society, Mississauga


The following message is from Diane LaPointe-Kay of the Small Arms Society:


The incredible story of the historic WWll Small Arms Building at 1352 Lakeshore Road, Mississauga brings together so many people whose lives would not have otherwise intersected. Thanks to the dedicated work of a number of driven and committed individuals and organizations, we have made huge strides in 2017 toward realizing our vision for the adaptive re-use of the Small Arms Building into a Creative Hub.

In April 2017, the City of Mississauga completed the acquisition of the Small Arms Building and approximately 9 acres of developable lands. The city then began Phase One of the remediation, focused on upgrades to the south end of the building, replacing windows, skylights and mechanical systems, adding new washrooms and the creation of a servery area.

The building, scheduled for completion in Spring 2018, will provide a collaborative, interdisciplinary space where education, heritage, environmental sciences, technology and artistry meet. How exciting! We invite you to share our 2017 moments read more.

None of this would have been possible without the vision and tireless efforts of our many volunteers, business leaders, stakeholders, board members and city/elected representatives working to bring this significant historical building back to life.

We look forward to the transformation of this wonderful light-filled building into a creative hub where students, artisans, entreprenuers and practitioners of all disciplines can connect, collaborate and foster innovation.

SAS would like to acknowledge and thank the City of Mississauga for their excellent work in bringing this project to fruition. A special thank you as well to Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey whose inspiration and commitment to this project was the driving force for turning a vision into reality.

We couldn’t have done it without you.


Diane LaPointe-Kay

Small Arms Society


To see the progress of the Small Arms Building Phase One remediation, click here.

For more information on SAS, check out our website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Stay tuned for future updates. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and we’ll see you in 2018!



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