The regional overview (On and beside the River, above the River or under the River!) provides a comprehensive resource for information about the St. Lawrence River, from Cape Vincent and Kingston on Lake Ontario to Brockville and Morristown, fifty miles down the river. The web site is huge, providing information about twenty-two communities and other subjects".
All authors and photographers provide content strictly as volunteers. All Photographs are copyrighted and the property of the photographer.
A team of three created and managed TI Life from 2006-2008. Paul Malo, emeritus professor architecture, Syracuse University; Mike Franklin, property specialist with Sotheby's International Realty, (Saratoga Springs and Lake Placid, NY) and Ian Coristine, renown Thousand Islands photographer and writer.
In August 2008 when the community learned of the death of Paul Malo, Ian Coristine made a request, “would someone like to help keep TI Life alive?” Susan Smith volunteered as editor and Kim Lunman, then publisher of the print magazine, “Island Life” volunteer her writing and photographic skills. The rest they say, is history.
Susan Weston Smith (known as Susie) took over as the production editor of Thousand Islands Life in December 2008. She is the author of The First Summer People, Thousand Islands 1650-1910, Boston Mills Press (1993) and working in the volunteer world is her passion. She is currently on the board of the Thousand Islands History Museum in Gananoque. In addition she a member of the Zonta Club of Ottawa and an avid antique button collector! She is serving as the Chair of the National Button Society Publicity Committee. In the past she has served on the Board of the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save the River in Clayton, NY, as well as the 1000 Islands History Museum and the Thousand Islands Association both in Gananoque.
In 2021, Susan was honored to receive the Friends of the River Award from Save The River Upper St. Lawrence RiverkeeperⓇ and in 2010 she received the Keeper of the Islands Award by the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce. She is retired from her career as a professional fundraiser, having worked for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and at Queen's School of Business, Queen’s University in Kingston, the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and St. George's School of Montreal.
Click here to see all of Susan’s contributions to TI Life!
The "Real Editor"
Meet Elspeth Naismith
Sometimes a person calls offering to help and suddenly you find a good friend. Elspeth Naismith called to offer to help TI Life in the summer of 2020 and since that time, she has become our "go to for both grammar and copy editing" team member.
Elspeth Naismith grew up in Gananoque, and despite years spent on both east and west coasts, neither one could compete with the siren call of The River. So after retiring from the Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve) in 2011, she left Ottawa and returned to “the scene of the crime”!
For 10 years, Elspeth worked as a Registered Nurse at the Vancouver General Hospital, first on an acute medical ward, then on the newly established Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and eventually as a Critical Care Nurse, in the Cardiac Care Unit. In December 1987, she took a three year sabbatical from nursing, to work full time for the Canadian Forces, at National Defence HQ in Ottawa. The three years turned into 20+ years.
Elspeth’s career and postings in the military were quite varied; it included both full time and part time service and ranged from: Administrative officer and Training Officer at three Naval Reserve Divisions, part time; developing the policy and pushing through approval for Reserve health care and insurance benefits; getting approval for a pension plan for Reservists, the culmination of 25+ years of work by many people; being Officer In Charge of the Canadian Forces Military Museum system (about 45 museums at the time); heading up a team to bring thousands of tons of former Warsaw Pact military equipment back to Canada, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the imminent closure of the CF bases in Germany; a tour in Bosnia as Detachment Commander for the Canadian personnel based at the British camp of Banya Luka, Bosnia, for which she received a Brigade Commander’s citation; recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, both for her work to develop “total force” policies (to create personnel policies that applied to both Regular and Reserve Force members), and her role as Project Manager responsible for designing and overseeing implementation of the CF Self-Identification Census Project and establishing the long-term management of the data collected (this was a mandatory activity under the Employment Equity Act); she was also awarded the corporate award for Leadership in Human Resource Management in Employment Equity; to, on promotion to Commander, a two year posting as Chief of Staff to the Director General Military Personnel, a Division that was responsible for 80% of all CF personnel policies and two major Crown Projects, a position which she described as being akin to being the ringmaster of a five-ring circus! It was definitely not a boring career!!
Having been raised by an English teacher (and often having often graded her students’ papers), then spending 20 years as a policy analyst and writer in the military, offering to help with TI Life seemed like a no-brainer. It didn’t take long to shift from being a proofreader to being the copy editor. Once again, she is definitely not bored!!
Elspeth now spends part of the year in Gananoque, and part of the year in the US, accompanied by her husband and (badly spoiled!) dog Charlie.
We welcome Jennifer Caddick to the team. Jennifer first visit to the Thousand Islands was on a family vacation at the age of 10 and she was immediately smitten with the River. Her time on, in and beside the River led to a career in the environmental movement.
From 2006-2012, Jennifer served as Executive Director of Save The River and led the organization through a period of growth and expansion. Throughout her more than 20 years in the environmental movement, she's led numerous advocacy campaigns on issues impacting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, from stopping invasive carp to preventing plastic pollution and everything in between. She currently leads communications and marketing for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a regional Great Lakes advocacy organization. She splits her time between her home in Clayton and her family's cottage on Linda Island on the US side of the River, enjoying the River in all of its amazing seasons.
Beth Levos a native to the Watertown area is Chief Information Officer at United Food Service Operators and a 1000 Islands enthusiast stemming from childhood. Her lively wedding reception held at the T.I. Club on Wellesley Island is legendary.
When not working or writing, she is “The Mediterranean Seaster”, a local baking company of baklava and other Mediterranean cuisine and pastries, she enjoys any beach, a tall Diet Coke and lives with her husband Peter and their two German shepards, Reagan and Simon.
TI Life Illustrator
An accomplished artist Marie-Anne is also Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at Canada's Royal Military College where she taught for twenty years. She has already produced individual illustrations for Patrick Metcalf's The Witch of Wellesley Island (see STORIES+) and more.
Here is Marie-Anne Erki's Artists Statement:
Growing up in Montreal in the ‘60s, I had two major influences in art, my mother Maria Erki, a pastel and oil painter, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) program for young people, run by Arthur Lismer. I spent some of the best Saturdays of my young life at the MMFA school.
My life-long love of making art led me initially to consider a career in architecture, but my love of mathematics led me to become a structural engineer. At a time before computer assisted drawing (CAD), both disciplines required a huge amount of freehand and mechanical drawing. After a quarter of a century of great fun as a structural engineer, I decided to pursue painting full time.
Since retirement, I have taken some short courses and have followed a program of self-study, using advanced texts, with a focus on development and control of colour. Most of my work is in portraiture, mainly in oils, but recently I have developed my skills in digital art, which I enjoy using for illustration work. I have had paintings accepted in the Kingston Arts Council Juried Salon, the Window Art Gallery in Kingston, and two solo exhibits at the Domino Theatre in Kingston. I have also been a guest speaker for the Limestone District School Board’s Creative Arts Program, which brings together the most promising senior high school art students from across Kingston and the surrounding region.
Our newest member of the team is Daniel Mathais who places updated Events on TI Life each week. He is retired after spending 38 years with a major computer company. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University where he earned bachelors and masters degrees. Nearly fifty years of fishing on eastern Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River (with the same group of struggling anglers) has further enhanced his love of the region. Dan is a resident of the Capital Region of New York State where he is active in environmental and open space issues as well as community service projects through his local Elks Lodge.
The Over 20 Team…
The following authors have written more than 20 articles for TI Life. Their time, energy and expertise is greatly appreciated.
Tom King has been a contributor to TI Life since 2011 and has written about a wide array of subject matter in that time, ranging from Water Snakes to Tour Boats, with a few stories about personal experiences thrown in for good measure. Tom grew up in Gananoque and was a RiverRat from an early age, spending countless hours out on the water with his trusty first mate, Heidi.
He and his wife, Marion, settled in Milton, Ontario in 1985 where they both worked and raised their three children. The family rents a cottage on the river each summer and spends a couple of weeks savouring the beauty of the 1000 Islands. For the past few years Tom and Marion have enjoyed introducing their grandchildren to the River and watching them grow to love the area too.
Since the time that he started writing for TI Life, Tom has developed a keen interest in the history of the region and has done a lot of research into it. He has a special fascination with the old Thousand Islands Island tour boats that operated from towns on both sides of the river and has amassed quite a collection of post cards, photographs and brochures related to the industry. It is a hobby that he enjoys sharing with others and Tom credits his association with TI Life for the opportunity to cross paths with so many interesting people over the years.
Kim Lunman wasthe founder, owner and publisher of Island Life Magazine (www.islandlifemag.ca) based in Brockville, Ontario. The annual edition of the glossy print magazine which was one of the most popular, was distributed in May throughout the 1000 Islands in eastern Ontario and northern New York. A photographer and award-winning writer, Kim is an avid kayaker and boater who lives in her hometown of Brockville, “The City of the 1000 Islands.” She was awarded The Keeper of the Islands Award by the Gananoque 1000 Islands Chamber of Commerce in 2013. The Canadian journalist is a former national correspondent for the Globe and Mail's Victoria and Ottawa bureaus and staff reporter for the Calgary Herald.
Kim is also the recipient of a National Newspaper Award for feature writing and a National Newspaper Award nominee for enterprise reporting. Kim was nominated for the Michener Award, the highest honour in Canada for public service journalism. Her freelance writing has appeared in Boat U.S. Magazine, Lakeland Boating, the KingstonWhig-Standard, the National Post, and Reader's Digest.
Lynn McElfresh was also a regular contributor to TI Life, writing stories dealing with her favorite Grenell Island and island life. We have learned a great deal over the years from Lynn McElfresh’s musings, from moving pianos to island weddings or from plumbing problems to meeting old friends, taking nature walks and the importance of trees. Recently she presented several articles about Grenell for its 100th Birthday. Lynn is the author of Can You Feel the Thunder? published in 1999 in New York by Simon & Shuster Children's Publishing Division. It is suggested for youth ages 10-14. She is also the ghost writer for several other children’s books. Lynn’s is a regular contributor to TI Life.
Lynn McElfresh and her husband, Gary, spend their summers in the Thousands Islands on Grenell Island and their winters in Dunedin, Florida.
And good news: Lynn has finished four novels, the subject of which all take place in the Thousand Islands! Recently she has helped research Grennell Island history.
Dan LeKander, Sudoku Master
"Everyone knows someone who is hooked on Sudoku puzzles. For those who love them, Sudoku is quite meditative and just plain fun. However, even the most devoted fans sometimes experience frustration when a puzzle is hard. If the first puzzle you encounter is a tough one, it is easy to just give up and never try again."
This is the introduction to Jessy Kahn's book review and article about Dan LeKander and his book on Advanced Sudoku Techniques written in June 2015. after the article was written Dan offered to give TI Life readers a puzzle to solve each month! And now in 2019 we are in the puzzle numbers in the 100s!
We thank you Dan for your time effort and expertise... and we also thank Peggy, your proofreader! What a team!
Dan LeKander loves Sudoku, too, and he's figured out a technique that eliminates guessing and erasing. His book explains, step by step, how to understand the principles behind Sudoku and how to solve the puzzles efficiently. He takes you through a puzzle, explaining each step. Each step is accompanied by a diagram that shows what was done.
Michael Folsom was a regular contributor to TI Life. His work has been featured in Thousand Islands Sun, Know Your Ships, Boatnerd.com and more. He is also created his website Ship Watcher Blog – the most comprehensive seaway information site for the region. Michael was the creator and organizer of Sailing Seaway Clayton which was a weekend of waterfront activities . When not on the River, Michael can be found in Syracuse, NY.
Click here to see all of Michael’s contributions!
Brian Paul Johnson is one of five captains of the Wolfe Island car ferry Wolfe Islander III. He has worked for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for more than 30 years, recently celebrating 20+ years as captain. He recently retired as a captain of the Canadian Empress.
Today, Brian combines his marine career with writing. Fascinated by stories and legends of the 1000 Islands area he has written for the Kingston Whig Standard, Telescope Magazine and the Great Lakes Boatnerd Website: Seaway News. Brian co-edited Growing up on Wolfe Island, a compilation of interviews and stories with Sarah Sorensen. He is also a past president of the Wolfe Island Historical Society and former president of the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime mystery writer’s festival held on the island in August.
Click here to see all of Brian’s contributions!
The Design and Magic…
In December 2008 TI Life took on a new look. David O’Malley, principal designer at Areographics, in Ottawa ON. provided a unique style for TI Life's graphic look from 2008-2018, complete with a tag line: put a thousand islands in your life. His distinctive design provided an easily managed template.
Michael Cox, chief IT Magician
Hailing from North Western Ontario, Mike Cox spent his time working at his family tourist business in many different capacities. Having a penchant for technology, he bought his first computer in 1995 and started developing web sites for marina operators.
Mike learned that simply building web pages was not sustainable. Businesses needed a way to manage their sites and to have their sites be more than HTML brochures. Mike specializes in offering web database integration and created Content Management Solutions which enables his customers autonomy from their web masters at affordable prices.
Mike now resides in Rural Ottawa with his wife and two daughters and services a boutique clientele from his home. The original Content Management System he developed has been replaced with a younger more nimble offering that is supported by developers all around the world. Mike is adamant that site maintenance does not need to be done by the tech savvy, and as a result, the TI Life Team has been given great tools to do the job. The newest version of TI Life, February 2019 is just one example.
He also is well known in the Ottawa region playing his Ukulele… and in December 2018, Mike did a humanitarian trek on a motorbike in Patagonia. See his website for the exciting journey.
The Original Team
The facts tell us that Paul Malo was an award winning historical preservationist, architect, professor, author and passionate Thousand Islander.
Paul created over 100 articles for TI Life magazine. He shared his training, knowledge, research and photographs through the magazine, his books and in person to foster a greater appreciation for and preservation of important places like TI Park, Carleton Villa and Boldt Castle amongst many others. Paul leaves behind many legacies, but arguably one of the most important is ThousandIslandsLife.com. It exists thanks to his dedication, leadership and inspiration.
See October 2008. Paul Malo Remembered by Kim Lunman
Mike Franklin was a founder of Thousand Islands Life Magazine and a good friend of Paul Malo.
Mike is licensed Real Estate Broker and President of Franklin Ruttan a real estate brokerage that specializes in marketing unique Upstate properties to Down-state, Out-of-state and International buyers. (Mostly waterfront and historical properties)
Mike previously worked as a historical property specialist with Sotheby’s International Realty.
Examples of his photography, that highlight important architectural attributes, can be found in many of TI Life feature articles.
The late Ian Coristine
When Ian Coristine met Paul Malo he recognized a kindred spirit. Not only was Paul fostering a greater appreciation for the Thousand Islands, but he was also encouraging others in “raising the bar” to ensure that all aspects of the region were promoted – from economic prosperity to appreciating its beauty through photograph.
For more than two decade, Ian provided hundreds of photographs to TI Life as well as publishing a free Screensaver on the first day of each of the winter months beginning in November. The notice for the Screensaver was sent to a notification list as is our Monthly TI Life. It was Ian's way of sharing his magnificent views with the community.
Perhaps one of the best ways to meet Ian is by watching - not reading.
Ian Coristine's died in January 2020 after a valiant battle with cancer. His photography lives on in Thousand Islands Life thanks to the generosity of his wife, Lyne Roberge. They were quite a team and thanks to Lyne his memory lives on.
A new TI Life Launched - 2019
In February, 2019, we launched a new version of TI Life - TI Life.2! Using an interactive format readers can see the version on any screen with ease. We encourage you to comment on what you like, and what you dislike! Also please send comments and new submission to email@example.com
Susan W. Smith, Editor TI Life