Even a one-person production company needs help to complete a project like this one. Often what kept me working was the remarkable kindness of strangers. I'd like to thank them, and to tell you a bit about the parts they played in making the work better.
The late Albert Fulton, Toronto, ON
I first met Albert at the Island Archive, a lovely dwelling on Algonquin Island, five minutes from the Ward's Island Ferry. We sat surrounded by thousands of artifacts from the island's rich history and it seemed that he knew the location of every item. I like to think that we became friends, and that he and his lovely wife, Emily, wer happy to see me as the project developed and the visits grew more frequent. Emily and Albert were among the very first to see a rough cut of the video and their input improved the final product. Albert called the work "amazing" and nothing could have thrilled me more than his validation. He offered to keep copies on hand for sale, even took copies to the annual December Gift Sale held on the island, leaving cheques for me outside his Wychwood Park home. His passing in the summer of 2008 was a terrible loss to those who knew him and to all who care about the history of Toronto. Thank you and bless you
Barry Taylor, Victoria B.C.
I was looking for period music to accompany the story of Ned Hanlan when I came across a tune written in the late 1800's, called "The Maple Leaf Forever". Barry had a version of his own making on a web site I discovered and I wrote to ask if I might use it. The next morning I had an email reply with an attachment. Barry had completely revised the version I had auditioned, adding horns and making other tweaks he thought would make the piece work best with my tale. Thank you, Barry.
Edward (Ted) English, Atuscadero, California (by way of Toronto Island)
It is impossible to say too much about this fine gentleman. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Ted while creating the documentary but he was an early and generous buyer, sending copies to relatives all over the continent, and telling me stories I wish I'd known before the project wrapped. He is a great grand nephew of Ned Hanlan himself, coming from the family who owned and operated English's Boathouse on the island until the early 1950's. His invitation to the 200th birthday of the Gibraltar Island Lighthouse was not only a fine day in July but also a chance to shoot the event from lining up for the ferry to heading home several hours later. Over time I intend to make more and more of that material available on this site, starting with Councillor Pam McConnell's remarks at the base of the lighthouse, which you may access from the link on the home page, labelled "Birthday of a Lighthouse." Thank you very much, Ted and all the best to you and yours.
Laurie Jones, Toronto, ON
Laurie is a local artist whose work includes illustrations in water colour of several of the more famous events in the life of William Ward, whose record of life saving in the Toronto bay is the stuff of legend. She cheerfully agreed to the use of a number of her works in my story, and made several helpful marketing suggestions, including the creation of a version in Japanese, to cater to the many tourists from Japan who visit Toronto every year. Thanks, Laurie.
Gary Smith, Toronto, ON
Gary and his partner Irina Schestakovich are, among their other talents, muralists whose work I first discovered within the Rectory Café on Ward's Island. Gary's portrait of a young Ned Hanlan had to appear in the work. Fortunately he agreed, but our efforts to find a mutual meeting opportunity have failed so far and I hope he won't be unhappy about the colouring. Our North American broadcast standard is called NTSC. Many in the industry joke that it stands for "never twice the same colour". Thank you, Gary.
Christie Wrightson, NSW, Australia
Shortly after I learned that New South Wales, Australia was home to a town named Toronto, I wanted a picture of it. It got its name in 1884, when Ned Hanlan returned to race there. A series of emails to various long shots brought a reply from someone close to Christie, and an aerial view of the marina and town shore.
Len Ashby, NSW, Australia (formerly and soon from Toronto, Canada)
My quest for a picture of the other Toronto soon had me emailing my old friend Len, who moved to Australia some years ago. He and wife Judi actually drove to Toronto and shot pictures for me, delivering them by email. One, of a roadsign showing the mileage to Toronto, made it into the story, right before Christie's aerial view. Thanks Len, thanks Judi.
Douglas Spotted Eagle
Doug, or Spot as he's known to his friends is an award winning audio producer and a large part of the Sundance Media Group, known to enthusiast digital Videographers everywhere. He is also a composer and offers some of his work free of charge for small commercial and non-commercial projects. His song "The Gift" found its way into the work and a quick check by email returned his blessings on its use and his best wishes for success. Thanks, Spot.
Manuel (the Keeper) Cappel
From my first sight of it I wanted to get access to the Lighthouse on Hanlan's Point. Thanks to Albert Fulton, archivist to the Algonquin Island Archives, I got in touch with Manuel, the closest thing the Lighthouse has these days to a Keeper. Manuel let us in between visiting school groups one glorious, sunny morning in the spring of 2006. He took us to the top and outside onto the narrow walkway that rings the lamp room. One of the video takes from up there makes a very pretty moment in the movie. Thanks, Manuel.
Richard MacFarlane, Toronto, ON
I owe Albert Fulton for my conversations with Richard, an author and long time rowing enthusiast and member of the local Ned Hanlan Rowing Club. Richard played a major role in the relocation of the Ned Hanlan monument from an obscure location in the CNE grounds to a place of rightful prominence at the ferry dock on Hanlan's Point. He shared the story with me over lunch one Friday, and brought along some interesting and useful history in print form. He also added names to my contact list, watched the early Ned Hanlan segment on my laptop and pronounced it an accurate portrait of the young champion. Thanks, Richard.
And finally, for the moment:
Rick is not a stranger to me. We've been friends for twenty years, but it was he whose casual remarks about biking on the island started the whole adventure. There have been many days when I did not thank him for that, but without his input I would not have found a subject so fascinating nor learned so much about the business of documentary-making. So, thanks, Rick, I think. You certainly gave me something to do with my time for a year!