Paton Lindsay the Author

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Biography of Paton Lodge Lindsay

Paton spent her earliest childhood years in the City of Toronto in a lovely home on the hill top just a few blocks from Casa Loma, the playground of the little fairy princess. She lived there until she was about eight years of age. Even at that young age, when not in school most time was spent exploring the wilderness found beneath the viaduct on St. Clair Avenue that crosses what is now known as ‘Nordheimer Ravine’ or at the family’s Lake Simcoe cottage. She says, “The wilderness always called to her.”

In 1952 when nine, her parents moved northwest of Toronto to a rural setting with a few forested acres of land that included a ravine through which Black Creek meandered. She, and her younger brother and sister enjoyed great adventures exploring the creek and forest. Paton there found a beaver pond and would daily watch the beaver build on the dam and the lodge, cut feed and raise their young. There were always muskrats and ‘coons and occasionally a duck or heron by the creek. Some years later the family moved further north yet again to a rural ten acre bush lot twenty miles south of Barrie, Ontario. Paton says she then knew she was living in heaven, her world was full of wildlife.

From the age of seven for the next forty years Paton was very active with the Girl Guides of Canada as both a youth member in Brownies and Girl Guides and then as a leader with Brownies, Girl Guides and Sea Rangers spending many summers on staff at Doe Lake Girl Guide Camp and later was involved administratively at various levels. Virtually every moment of her life was devoted to wildlife and to youth; endeavoring to inspire a love and respect of nature and to teach outdoor skills and citizenship. Guiding was very fundamental to Paton’s life. The Girl Guide Promise was her Creed; the Girl Guide Law, at that time comprised of ten laws, was her Ten Commandments. When census people or government enumerators came about, they could at that time ask your religion, Paton always said her religion was “Guiding.” Even now, nearly seven decades since Paton was enrolled as a Brownie she says, “Guiding is very fundamental to the way in which I live my life. Once a Guide, always a Guide.”

Paton has enjoyed being a member of both church and community choirs. As an artisan English smocking, embroidery, and knitting Nordic wool sweaters are amongst her sedentary ‘activities’ but favorite activities include time spent in the garden, canoeing, photography and capturing the beauty of nature putting paint to canvas and of course writing.

Paton’s goal in Life was to graduate from the University of Toronto; a degree in biology with a fish and wildlife major and then be a government biologist with the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. However, in 1968 a very serious equestrian accident fractured her skull leaving her in a coma for several weeks. When she regained consciousness she had amnesia and not only did not remember the accident but did not know who she was or any of her family. Paton says, “I do remember leaving the hospital and going home with two total strangers. I mean, they had to be my parents but I felt like a little puppy being dragged down the street on the end of a leash for the very first time.” It took several years for residual problems involving sight, hearing and memory to improve. University was out of the question.

“1968 seemed to be about the beginning of the animal rights movement. I was very concerned, moved and stirred by their media information and photos both of which were not always correct or honest but they had an important agenda; I hoped they wanted to inform rather than inflame the public. Even today, I do not always agree with their methods, but they brought to light a matter that did indeed need to be addressed and they successfully, I feel, brought about some significant changes. In 1968 I decided to find out just exactly what was going on in the wilderness with the environment, forests, habitat and wildlife. I would venture out into the wilderness and seek the truth. That is exactly what I did.”

Paton’s time and experience in the wilderness forests, both boreal and mixed, brought her face to face with the harvesting of furbearers and game; with the harvesting of the forest and with government forest management policies that would plan and allocate to the logging industry, huge areas of forests to be clear cut. She says, “Today, one only has to visit such sites to see the devastation. Even though you may not be a harvester of fur, fish, feather or other game a conversation with someone who is may enlighten you as to the effects such policies seem to have had on wildlife habitat and hence wildlife populations. In the 1990s I felt I had no option but to make a stand, speak up for the wildlife that had no voice and make presentations to several environmental assessment hearings.

The ‘King of Algonquin Park ’ is Paton’s first book. She is presently writing a second book of short stories about the dozens of wonderful, very special friends, the wild animals, that over the years were rescued, nurtured, even at times vetted and then returned to the wild. Now at seventy, Paton is still living in the wilderness enjoying canoeing, photography, painting, writing and the company of life with her husband, a wonderful woodsman , who she calls her 'Wild Life Manager' .

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