We have been thrilled to start sharing some travel features on our blog! We LOVE to travel! Travelling nurtures the soul. In our travels, we always love to visit the unique shops, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries that each place we visit has to offer. We love Manitoulin Island.

Manitoulin Island is the largest fresh water Island in the world! It is a very beautiful part of Canada and is known for it’s pristine lakes, amazing sailing in the North Channel, intact eco systems and rich cultural diversity. Casey’s parents grew up on Manitoulin Island and have since moved back up there and built a beautiful home since retiring. Casey & I have the pleasure of visiting the island a few times each year. This past summer, we took a drive over to Gore Bay and I fell in love with the many artist studios and galleries found in the Gore Bay Harbour Centre on the waterfront. I picked up some lovely gifts in two of the artist galleries.

Our family loves the outdoors! We love to camp, hike and spend time on the water during the summer months. I found these gorgeous books at Fish Point Studio. This is the artist studio of Helen Siksek. Helen is a member of the Manitoulin Arts and Cultural Council, the Manitoulin Fine Arts Association and the Northern Ontario Arts Association, and is currently working as a full-time visual artist. Her work was stunning! Helen is an abstract expressionist painter and also creates mixed-media collages. I wish that I had a photograph of her beautifully vibrant art to share with you! She had some gorgeous pieces on display in her studio this summer! I’ll have to share that another time. I did, however, pick up some lovely gifts in her studio. Artists always tend to curate very interesting pieces, books and giftware for their shops and galleries. I fell in love with these two art books. The first is Woodcut by Bryan Nash Gill. I picked this up for Casey who used to be a tree planter during the summer months throughout University.  During his tree planting career he planted over 1 million trees….yes, that’s right 1,000,000 trees! He has a true love for the environment and a deep respect for the natural beauty of our many forests here in Ontario. He is an inspiration to me.

Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island

Bryan Nash Gill is a Connecticut-based artist who creates large-scale relief prints from cross sections of trees. I loved looking at his prints of various trees in his book and their many beautiful patterns. Bryan rescues various pieces of wood from around the property surrounding his studio to create these stunning prints. The very detailed prints truly capture the beauty of the contours and patterns of the wood.

Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island
Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island
Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island

I also picked up this book The Native Trees of Canada by New York based illustrator, author and publisher  Leanne Shapton, for my 5 year old daughter, who also has a love of being in nature and also loves trees! She has actually randomly just stopped to hug a tree on various occasions while hiking. One of the things I am most proud of as a parent is that both Casey & I have inspired our daughter to love nature. This gorgeous book is filled with beautiful paintings of all the different varieties of native tree species found in Canada. I love that there is only one page in the beginning with text that explains where Leanne found her inspiration, and I will share that with you.

This book owes a great debt to one I purchased from a Toronto Bookstore in December 2009. It was titled : Native Trees of Canada, Bulletin No. 61. Fifth Edition; Published in 1956, by the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources Forestry Branch.” – L.S. New York 2010

Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island
Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island
Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island
Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island

I had to pick up two of these reindeer beer openers. One which was to be a gift and one for our home. Reindeer grow new fur and antlers every year. They are the only member of the deer family where male and female both grow antlers. The antlers were humanely collected in the forests of Finland. I love it!

I am so inspired to connect with the artists in all the communities that we visit. I also love to support the locals… the artists, the restauranteurs and the boutique owners who bring so much character to their respective communities. The experience of visiting these artist galleries in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island is one that I will cherish forever. Speaking to the artists in their studio about the inspiration they find in the natural beauty of Manitoulin Island was amazing! It is truly a very special place in Canada.

It’s all about living slow and savouring the sweet moments and surrounding yourself with all that is good.


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