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 watershed icon white bg 74x74 editorial | Watershed’s award-winning editorial
takes readers to the heart
of our community
with insightful stories
and articles.


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 watershed icon white bg 74x74 design | Watershed’s classic design appeals
to both readers and
advertisers who are
drawn to its artfully
designed pages.

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circulation | With a regional circulation of 25,000 magazines per issue, Watershed is the largest publication
in the region.




HMCS Skeena
the Spirit of a Ship


Chris Barker has spent the last twenty-five years ensuring that the sacrifices of the fifteen seamen who lost their lives when HMCS Skeena was wrecked…read more

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author: David Newland   

The McLuhan


Over 6,000 books from Marshall McLuhan’s library sat in boxes waiting to be catalogued. The task went to his grandson, Andrew McLuhan, who discovered…read more

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author: Conrad Beaubien  
illustrator: Carl Wiens


Kiss Me Under a Shining Sun – the Lovely Kait Shannon


Jeanette Arsenault looks beyond a parent’s grief to keep the memory of her beloved daughter, Kait Shannon, alive. Kait’s Comfort Kits – packets of small luxuries…read more

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author: Janet Davies  
photography: Jeanette Arsenault

The Hay-Man of
Hastings County


John Macoun, an Irish immigrant, arrived in Canada as a young man. Over his lifetime, he dug up grasses, scraped mosses from rocks and pressed plants…read more

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author: Orland French  


BEYOND THE GARDEN GATE: Winter at Tamarack Farms

author: Denny Manchee / photography: Meg Botha

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Even the Dorset-Rideau-cross sheep need a hit of grain when it's 30 below and howling. Houston, the Great Pyrenees guard, agrees.

THEY WORK LIKE DOGS. They have dogs (three) and 130 sheep and eight New Hampshire hens and a growing market garden and five grown children.

Meet the indefatigable Nancy and Richard, who retired from corporate life a few years ago and then hurled themselves into a new adventure of relentless work and sustainable farming.

Why? Because the land seemed to ask for it, although that wasn’t clear at the beginning. “It started as a passive investment,” says Nancy. There was no grand vision when they bought the 100-hectare property in Northumberland in 2012, since they were still living in Vancouver, where they’d spent the previous two decades. “But once we decided we were going to live here, we wanted it to be a working farm,” says Richard, who has family roots in the area. “The property had been fallow for the better
part of 60 years. There had been attempts to establish a gravel pit but the permits were a problem so the land just sat and grew weeds.”

“Hardscrabble, no curb appeal!” adds Nancy, laughing.

The first project, even before building a house, was a dry stack stone bridge over one of the creeks. “It’ll still be there in a thousand years, and it seemed more appropriate to drive over the creek than through it,” says Richard, who camped in a trailer on the property while the house was being built.
The speed of their scale-up speaks to their unstoppable energy and brilliant project management. In the first year and a half, they cleared 100 acres for hay and sheep pasture, tapped 150 maple trees, put in two ponds with the help of Ducks Unlimited, planted 20,000 trees with Trees Ontario, created a market garden, raised two pole barns, fenced and then welcomed sheep onto the land. Sure, they hired people to help, but they also bent their backs to the infinite tasks that confronted them.

“You don’t get to this stage in life without working hard,” says Nancy who, like Richard, is in her late 50s. “We’ve built houses. We’re workers, although sometimes I get a little tired. I said to Richard the other day that we have to figure out how we can actually have a day where we’re not working 14 hours but we’re still at the farm.”

Challenges? There’ve been a few. Last winter, the ground froze before they had a chance to get the water lines in for the sheep. They were “hand-bombing” water twice a day, hauling five-gallon buckets from the back room of the house down to the heated water tank.

The learning is constant – lots of old-school research and reading – and they’ve had great help from their neighbours. They ask lots of questions, use common sense and avail themselves of all the expertise they can rustle up.

“It’s a luxury at our age to be doing something completely new,” says Nancy, who rolls with the punches, even the bloody drama of lambing. “I never wanted to be a veterinary gynecologist. Ever!” she says. “But when it comes to it, you actually do that stuff because you don’t want the sheep to be uncomfortable, right?”

For the most part, Nancy focuses on growing, making and selling things – during tomato season she was delivering to the city three days a week – while Richard, who has a design sensibility, handles infrastructure. He put in a sawmill when they were constructing the house and, yes, he’s learned how to use it, and still has all his digits intact. “This place is for the soul,” he says. “It’s about using the materials and opportunities we have here to rehabilitate the land. We don’t own it, we are stewards.”

What do their kids think? “They’ve really embraced it and they want to come here and bring their friends,” says Richard. Though these five young adults are scattered across the country they will all be at the farm for Christmas. The fare will include local food, some of it carrying the family brand, “Tamarack Farms: Remarkable Food, Sustainable Farming”. One could add, brought to you by remarkable people.


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FENCE POSTS: Keeping the Mind Free of Reptiles

author: Dan Needles   illustrator: Shelagh Armstrong

I’ve always felt like a bit of a rebel, living as I have for nearly 40 years as a back-to-the-lander and filling the freezer every fall with food I produce myself. But to the bearded hobbits in my son’s…

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MUST, MUST, MUST: What’s New and What’s To Do

Our Must, Must, Must section highlights a broad range of events, festivals, activities and galleries that contribute to the diverse character of the Watershed region…

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author Chris Cameron   photography: bekky O’Neil and Keith Del Principe

The rolling Northumberland countryside can be a place of delightful contrasts, where unlikely dreams take root and grow. Keith Del Principe and bekky O’Neil…

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GEORGE'S POND: All That Glitter

author: George Smith   illustrator: Lee Rapp

If you’re a regular reader of my contributions to these pages, you know very well that deep thinking is not my forte. You’ll have to look elsewhere for an in-depth analysis of the Mueller Report…

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author: Shelby Lisk  

A derelict truck in a field, large skies at the edge of day, or billowing clouds over prairies, mountains and lakes. Through his graphic, colourful, large scale oil paintings of the landscape…

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Watershed Teaser: True or False

author: Tom Cruickshank   illustrator: Marc Mireault

Test your knowledge of local geography and other trivia related to our favourite corner of the countryside.…

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A CURATED COLLECTION: Signals in Silences - Yves Gaucher

The Art Gallery Of Northumberland Presents: Yves Gaucher…

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INNOVATION: The Market & Smør

author: Meghan Sheffield   photography: Mat + Sara

On the face of it, a brick and mortar greengrocer opening up on the main street of a small town shouldn’t necessarily bring the word…

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HABITAT: Conservation Authorities Under Provincial Fire

author: Norm Wagenaar  

For more than 70 years Ontario's conservation authorities have taken a watershed-wide approach to flood control, conservation and land management, a model which bypasses political boundaries…

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FIELD NOTES: Following the Flight and the Plight of the Tree Swallow

author: Terry Sprague   photography: Nicole Watson

It happened 50 years ago on the shores of the bay of Quinte but if I close my eyes, I can still remember the scene. Daybreak was faintly illuminating the distant horizon…

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FOOD & DRINK SCENE: The Comeback Kid: Where There’s Life There’s Hope

author: Signe Langford   photography: Johnny C.Y. Lam

Welcome to the local Food & Drink Scene where Watershed shares its secrets and discoveries. Our region is blessed with creative chefs, restaurateurs…

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WATERSHED PRESENTS: Spirit of the Hills

author: Chris Cameron 

The life of the creative artist can be a solitary one. There are the hours spent alone in front of a blank canvas or computer screen, and those little insecurities that can accompany any artistic…

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LOVIN' THE LOCAL: A Showcase Of Locally Curated Products

author: Stephanie Campbell

We’re Lovin’ the Local: A showcase of locally made and locally inspired products that reflect the heart and soul of entrepreneurs rooted in Watershed Country

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MEANDERINGS: Murder Most Foul

photograph: Courtesy of The Toronto Star Archives

Harold Vermilyea was a victim of the great depression. He lost his job as a manager of a California fruit packing operation and needed money. Sadly, his request for financial help from the family estate…


First Words


The fall brings back memories of duck hunting with my brothers when i was a kid. I was a tag-along but as long as I didn’t complain and I could distinguish between a blue-winged teal whistling into our blind and the silhouette… read more


I’m writing on behalf of the entire Wellington Water Week team to thank Watershed magazine for the gorgeous piece in the current Summer issue, created by Micol Marotti and Tim Zeltner. We were literally…



19th yr



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hairline wide 865x8CONTRIBUTORS
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shelagh armstrong

sheilagh armstrongA graduate of the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design…

david newland

david newland

A writer, speaker, and musician based in Cobourg, David travels widely…

janet davies

janet daviesAfter a move from England to Toronto in 1993, Jan stayed there only until she discovered…