March 31, 2018

Mission Bay Sunset

Mission Bay, San Diego, California, 2018.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 30, 2018

March 29, 2018

Stone Chorus

Chorus by Barbara Liotta. "A Dark and Scandalous Rockfall" exhibitMexican Cultural Institute, Washington, D.C., 2018.

Photos by I. Peterson

March 28, 2018

Island Port

Greece, 1977.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 27, 2018

Luneburg Crane

Old riverfront crane, Luneburg, Germany, 1985.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 26, 2018

Five Petals

Hawaii, 1983.

Photos by I. Peterson

March 25, 2018

Udaipur Boat

Udaipur, India, 2010.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 24, 2018

Porch Trim

Kingston, Ontario, 2006.

Photos by I. Peterson

March 23, 2018

Spheres of the World

Around the year 1220, John of Holywood (Johannes de Sacrobosco) wrote De sphaera mundi (Spheres of the world) to introduce ideas from Ptolemy's Almagest to medieval Europe. His slim volume explained lunar and solar eclipses and presented evidence that Earth is indeed a sphere. The pages shown below are from a 1577 printed edition.

Reproduced from the collections of the Library of Congress

March 22, 2018

Wall Geometry


Van Vleck Hall, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2012.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 21, 2018

Prairie Town

Brandon, Manitoba, 1976.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 20, 2018

March 19, 2018

Standing Arch

Standing Arch by Kenneth M. Thompson. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2011.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 18, 2018

Missouri Rowboat

Missouri, 1981.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 17, 2018

Square Forms

Square Forms with Circles by Barbara Hepworth. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 2006.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 16, 2018

March 15, 2018

Octagon Lights

Light fixtures, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., 2018.

Photos by I. Peterson

March 14, 2018

Infinite Pi

Pi by David Reimann. Displayed at Bridges 2012, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, 2012.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 13, 2018

Kummer Areas

Plaster models of Kummer areas with 8, 16, and 4 real intersections. Mathematics Department, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2012.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 12, 2018

High Wires

New Orleans, Louisiana, 2010.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 11, 2018

Sky Scraper

New York City, 2009.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 10, 2018

Marble Crinkles

Marble facade. East Building, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2017.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 9, 2018


Ottawa, Ontario, 1974.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 8, 2018


Striving by Charles Searles. African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2000.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 7, 2018

Wave Rail

Sculpted handrail by Ann Hamilton. Allegheny Riverfront Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2010.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 5, 2018

Wintry School Fields

Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario, 1979.

Photo by I. Peterson

March 4, 2018


TECOTOSH (TEnsion COmpression TOrsion SHear) by Ed Carpenter. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 2009.

Photos by I. Peterson

March 3, 2018

Caribou Falls

In the summer of 1956, my parents, Arnis and Zelma Peterson, my younger brother, Evalds, and I moved from the mining town of McKenzie Island to Caribou Falls, located on the English River in northwestern Ontario, near the Manitoba border.

Caribou Falls was to be the site of a dam and generating station, built by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (Ontario Hydro).

Caribou Falls in the fall of 1956. Several newly constructed buildings are visible on the far shore, the beginnings of the temporary town that would serve as headquarters for the two-year, dam-building project.

Why my brother and I were so formally dressed for this occasion in such a remote location is a mystery to me.

We were among the first families to arrive for the Caribou Falls project, and initially there wasn't anywhere for a family to stay near the construction site.

We spent the first few weeks in a motel in the town of Minaki, just a handful of train stops west of Vermilion Bay, the nearest station to Red Lake and McKenzie Island.

Our next stop was a tent cabin, just down the river from Caribou Falls and accessible only by boat.

Later in the fall, we lived in a housekeeping cabin at a hunting and fishing camp, several miles downstream from Caribou Falls. The camp catered to wealthy sportsmen, mainly from the United States, seeking a wilderness experience and plentiful game. In the meantime, I was missing the beginning of third grade.

My father started off as a surveyor's assistant (chainman), before becoming a surveyor himself, then a draftsman. He was to remain a draftsman for the rest of his working life, retiring in 1990 as head draftsman for an engineering company in Toronto.

One of his tasks, early on, was to check gauges at various locations along the river to monitor water levels as dam construction proceeded.

A boating party near a water gauge (right) for monitoring river levels.

Spanning the river at the start of dam construction at Caribou Falls.

By the beginning of 1957, like dozens of other families, we were settled in a trailer home along a makeshift dirt road in Caribou Falls.

It also meant starting school, which was 20 miles of gravel road away in the somewhat larger but still temporary town of Whitedog Falls, the location of another dam-building project, which had begun before the Caribou Falls effort.

Initially, a van served as the school bus. Later, as the number of students grew, a full-size bus carried pupils to and from the primary school in Whitedog Falls.

To my relief, I discovered that I could keep up with the class, even after missing several months of third grade. Getting eyeglasses (finally) helped a great deal, too. With four grades (three to six) and just one teacher in the same room, I could readily sample and benefit from lessons taught in higher grades.

After I finished my assigned work, I could also slip to the back of the classroom to read. The available collection of books was a bit limited and quirky, but I particularly liked the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries (original editions, with roadsters and other quaint artifacts of long-ago decades).

Fall 1957: Waiting for the school bus, lunch boxes in hand.

Atop the Caribou Falls dam after most of the concrete had been poured.

New Year's Eve 1957: Even in a trailer in a remote community, we still celebrated Christmas Eve and New Years's Eve (and birthdays) as special, formal occasions.

My parents loved dancing and took advantage of the few times, such as New Year's Eve, when they could get to a dance. My mother was quite stylish and made her own dresses and other clothes.

A major source of entertainment for all of us was evening movies shown regularly in the town's cafeteria/recreation hall. Watching the projector operator fumble with changing reels or repairing film breaks right there in the hall was often entertaining in itself. Saturday mornings, if the package of reels arrived in time, meant a string of cartoons, cliff-hanging episodes of serials featuring Gene Autry and others, and various other short films. To add to the fun, serial episodes did not always come in the right order.

By the summer of 1958, the Caribou Falls dam and generating station were nearing completion. Water levels below the dam were already considerably lower than before, baring a rocky shoreline. Workers and families were starting to move away, some to other hydro projects. However, many, including my father, had to find new work elsewhere.

So, in the fall, my mother, brother, and I traveled to the city of Kenora, while my father wound down his work at Caribou Falls. We stayed in a motel, and I enrolled (starting the year late) for grade five in Kenora's Central School.

Central School, Kenora (photo taken in 1974), The school was demolished in 1977.

My most vivid memory of the two months that I spent at Central is of fire drills. From our classroom on the third floor, we would "escape" by entering a chute with a slide (cylinder to the right in the photo above) that whirled us down to ground level in seconds. It was a thrilling ride.

Evalds and I returned to the Caribou Falls Generating Station in the summer of 1974. The gravel road to the dam was still there, but nearly all signs of the town had been obliterated, the site overgrown with brush and other vegetation. A rough road led to a few primitive campsites near where our trailer had once stood.

Summer 1974: Caribou Falls Generating Station.

Downriver from the Caribou Falls dam, 1974.

We ended our stay in Kenora in November 1958, leaving northwestern Ontario behind. Next stop: Toronto.

Previously: McKenzie Island