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  • Recent Trip to Banff, Alberta

    Banff, Alberta
    Not Caledon related but I recently was in the Banff, Alberta area over the holidays and took a lot of photos of the beautiful, breath-taking area and thought I would share some of the pictures. As a child my family visited Banff, Alberta and surrounding areas many times. The last time I was there however was over 12 years ago so it was really good to go back and although it has been built up more it is still very familar to me and pretty much what I remember. While there on this visit I stayed in Canmore, Alberta which is just 5 minutes outside of Banff and went to see Banff, Lake Louise and Radium B.C. while I was there. To view the entire set of photos of my trip to Banff, Alberta click here.

    FBI, OPP & RCMP work on profile of Sonia Varaschin’s killer

    Mountainview Road and Beech Grove Sideroad
    In an effort to try to solve the brutal killing of Sonia Varaschin in Orangeville, Ontario from earlier this summer a group of top criminal profilers and investigators gathered to pore over the details and create a working profile of the potential killer who murdered her, similar to the show Criminal Minds on TV. In fact it was the same unit for which the TV show is based on, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Virginia-based behavioural analysis unit which is assisting the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP as well as other senior homicide investigators from several forces including York Region, Toronto and Ottawa. The killer attacked Sonia Varaschin in her home in Orangeville, either late on Aug. 29 or early on Aug. 30, when her blood-smeared white Toyota Corolla was found, doors open, in an alleyway in downtown Orangeville. "Anybody who enters somebody's house where you should be safe and kills you, in my view is cold-blooded," Ontario Provincial Police Det.-Insp. Mark Pritchard said. He said the killer not only entered Varaschin's Spring Street home, he moved her body into her vehicle, despite "the close confines of the townhouse complex." After dumping her body, he then recklessly drove back near the scene of the murder and into town with blood that would have been "clearly visible on the outside of the car." A week later, on Sept. 5, somebody walking a dog discovered Varaschin's remains on a rual road in Caledon near Beech Grove Sideroad and Mountainview Road about 12 kilometres from her home. Police have released few details about how Varaschin died and even refuse to reveal the weapon used. At the news conference nearly four months after her death, very little new fresh evidence was presented. Pritchard defended the investigation, "It's not a TV show," he said. "These things take a long time." Lead investigators did release a general profile that they created of Varaschin's killer, hoping it might help them "zero in" on the killer by sparking further tips. In the days after Varaschin's death or the discovery of her body on Sept. 5, police say the killer may have:
    • Increased alcohol or drug use.
    • Seemed irritable, agitated or anxious.
    • Moved from the area.
    • Limited social interactions to avoid detection.
    • Had unexplained absences from work, school or missed appointments.
    • Displayed other unusual behavior.
    The suspect  police say is likely very familiar with the Orangeville area and the gravel Beech Grove Sideroad, near Mountainview Road in Caledon, where Varaschin's body was dumped. He may know it because of "recreation, occupation or illegal activities." Police and investigators have received 460 tips to date on the Varaschin case and conducted more than 500 interviews but say they are still looking for a tidbit that might lead them to the killer. "There's no tip that isn't worth the police looking into," Pritchard said. "And I think the message I'm trying to get out is that no matter how insignificant a suspicion or information is, we want them to come forward and talk to us." If you have any information that may help solve this case please call Orangeville Police Service Tip Line at (519) 941-2522, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

    Downy Woodpecker

    Downy Woodpecker in Caledon, Ontario
    Here is a close up of an adult male Downy Woodpecker. The active little Downy Woodpecker is a familiar sight at backyard feeders and in parks and woodlots, where it joins flocks of chickadees and nuthatches, barely outsizing them. The Downy is the smallest woodpecker in North America and their breeding habitat is usally forested areas mainly deciduous which makes Caledon, Ontario a good home for them. They nest in a tree cavity excavated by the nesting pair in a dead tree or limb. Downy Woodpeckers forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries. In winter, especially, Downy Woodpeckers can often be found in treed suburban backyards and will feed on suet at birdfeeders. Photo was taken with my new ultra zoom lens (50-500mm) and cleaned up a little in photoshop, click on the image above for a larger photo.

    Caledon/Bolton teenager Luke Armstrong not criminally responsible for violent murder of his mother

    Krystina Armstrong
    From the Toronto Star, here is a follow up to the violent murder in Caledon/Bolton, Ontario of Krystina Armstrong by her own son Luke Armstrong. -------------- Luke Armstrong thought his mother was the devil, “who had to die for mankind.” On the night of April 30, 2010, the trouble 18-year-old Caledon high school student repeatedly stabbed Krystina to death while driving his Jetta — and then nearly decapitated her afterwards. He and his mother were on their way to a local Dairy Queen to meet his father George and his younger sister Hailey after watching her perform at a school play. On Friday, Justice Bruce Durno accepted Armstrong’s plea of being not criminally responsible to second-degree murder because he was suffering from a profound psychotic mental disorder at the time of the vicious and relentless attack. The teen was kneeling over his 54-year-old mother’s lifeless body, her seat belt still buckled, when OPP Constable James Shay arrived at what initially appeared to be a minor hit-and-run collision around 9:38 p.m. on Simpson Rd. in Bolton. The officer smelled booze on the teen’s breath and was about to charge him with impaired driving. Armstrong appeared stunned and was covered in blood when he exited the car. “Is she dead? She’s the devil...,” Armstrong told the officer. “She tried to stab me. I killed the devil.” Krystina had been stabbed more than 100 times, including 26 wounds to her face, 12 to the back of her neck, 11 to her chest and five to her abdomen. There were also 13 defensive wounds to her right hand. Armstrong told Shay and another officer that he killed his mother for “mankind” and that his hand was cut when his mother “took the knife from her head” and cut him with it. At the hospital, he told Cst Dwayne Smith that he knew what he did was a sin. “I was still driving when I stabbed her,” he said. He said a song written by rap musician Eminem told him to “drown his mother” but he decided to stab her instead. Two days later in hospital, Armstrong asked if he was speaking to television’s Judge Judy when he was remanded by a justice of the peace. Court heard how Krystina and George separated in 2007 after 13 years of marriage, partly over parenting issues involving their son's discipline. Krystina had just moved into a new home on the day of the tragedy. Armstrong had a history of violent outbursts, once breaking his mother’s finger during in a March 2009 in an argument over his lunch while she was driving. He was diagnosed with ADHD at 14. Had uncontrollable temper outbursts and had set fires. School officials called Armstrong’s father in the day of the tragedy saying he was acting strangely and appeared dishevelled. During a ride with friends, he said he hated women and mumbled “everyone is in danger and “people are going to die.” He also talked about conspiracies and was acting paranoid. In the days before the tragedy, Armstrong asked his mother if he had been named after Lucifer and if she knew anything about the Illuminati, a rich and power full group that ruled the world. In accepting his plea, Justice Durno told the court he hoped Armstrong will received the treatment he needs. The Ontario Review Board will review case and determined when, if ever, he will be released from hospital, Durno said. -------------- Previous articles:

    Red Squirrel caught red handed

    Red Squirrel Caledon, Ontario
    I caught this Red Squirrel red handed invading one of my bird feeders. This little guy has a home further back on my Caledon property but occasionally comes around to raid the bird feeds. Red Squirrel's actually known as the American Red Squirrel is one of two species of tree squirrel currently classified in the genus Tamiasciurus and known as pine squirrels. It is a medium sized (200–250 g) diurnal mammal that defends a year-round exclusive territory. The diet of these tree squirrels is specialized on the seeds of conifer cones. As such, they are widely distributed across North America wherever conifers are common, except on the Pacific coasts where they are replaced by Douglas Squirrels. Recently, American Red Squirrels have been expanding their range to include primarily hardwood areas. For more info on the American Red Squirrel click here. I took this picture with my new zoom lens I recently bought, a Sigma 50-500mm lens which is actually 1000mm max focal length equivilant under the 35mm film standard. For a larger picture click on the image above.

    Hawk Standing Guard

    Hawk in Caledon, Ontario near Orangeville
    Here is a beautiful hawk standing guard, photo taken on highway 10 in Caledon near Orangeville, Ontario. Click on the photo above for a larger picture, this hawk was patient enough and stuck around long enough to be captured by my fiance using the Olympus 70-300mm zoom lens. To see some more hawk photos in Caledon click here.

    Caledon Municipal Elections 2010 Candidates

    With the 2010 municipal elections just days away here in Ontario, Monday Oct. 25th, below is a list of candidates for Caledon. I have tried to include a link to each candidates official website where available or a new story about them if not possible. For more info on the election, click here for the Town of Caledon elections website. Election Day voting locations is also available by click here. Be sure to get out there and vote this monday, there are 42,588 people eligible to vote in Caledon this year. (x) = Incumbent Mayor Marolyn Morrison (X) Annette Groves Regional and Town Council Caledon Ward 1 Richard Paterak (X) Tim Forster Caledon Ward 2 Allan Thompson (X) Tom E. Dolson Valerie M. Arnold-Judge Caledon Wards 3 & 4 Richard Whitehead (X) Nancy J. Stewart Gary Caprara Tony Viola Caledon Ward 5 Amanda J. Squire Mark Pavilons Patti Foley Gary Cascone Town Council Ward 1 Douglas A. Beffort (X) Gino Petricca Ward 2 Gordon D. McClure (X) Jim Cassell Ward 3 & 4 Nick deBoer (X) Dianne Henriques Ward 5 Kevin R. Junor Trudy Valier Rob Mezzapelli Luciano Di Palma Andrei Belooussov

    Oh… hello

    Deer in the Bushes
    Not the greatest picture but I stumbled upon this deer near my property earlier this year. He was suprised to see me and not about to wait around for me to take another picture, he bolted two seconds later with lightening speed.

    Caledon, Ontario ranked once again Safest in Canada

    Maclean's Magazine
    Maclean's magazine has once again been ranked Caledon, Ontario as the safest city in all of Canada. Caledon has consistently been rated the safest community in which to live by the magazine for several years now. Nearby Halton, Ontario is 3rd on the list as well as Nottawasaga which covers New Tecumseth, Essa and Adjala-Tosorontio is 5th on the list and South Simcoe also ranking in at 8th on the list. As published previously in Maclean's:
    Certainly affluence helps shape Canada's statistically safest place, Caledon, Ont., a scenic, semi-rural suburb northwest of Toronto. It is, at least by the most recent numbers, a larger, real-life equivalent to such fictional television inventions as America's Mayberry, or Dog River, Sask., of Corner Gas fame — an idyllic world of carefree kids and unlocked doors, or more likely, of very good security systems. Caledon's policing district of almost 71,000 residents comes by its reputation honestly (naturally), with no murders or aggravated assaults in 2006. Caledon has the third-lowest level of robbery among the 100 areas and the lowest rates of break and enter, sexual assault and auto theft, combining for an overall crime rate of 107 per cent below the national average.
    Click here to see the full list of the safest and worst cities in Canada.

    Sonia Varaschin Murder Investigation Update

    Sadly Sonia Varaschin who was reported missing after she failed to turn up for work two weeks ago in Orangeville, Ontario was found dead, her remains were found in a wooded area in Caledon near Beech Grove Sideroad and Mountainview Road. Ontario Provincial Police said Tuesday the autopsy on human remains found in southern Ontario Sunday confirmed they were those of a missing nurse. Homicide investigators have now switched their focus to finding her killer, Ontario Provincial Police told a news conference Wednesday in Orangeville that they are looking for just one person and the suspect is likely a man who wore a Size 10 or 11 work boot. Mark Pritchard, an OPP detective inspector, said the brand of the boots is either Wind River or Dakota, sold exclusively by Mark's Work Wearhouse. He asked the public to think back to Aug. 30, when the killer may have come home with unexplained stains on his clothes or boots, adding that he may have thrown out the boots since then.
    "We believe that Sonia's killer is very familiar with Orangeville, with the outskirts of Orangeville, Sonia's neighbourhood, Sonia's townhouse — and potentially Sonia herself," Pritchard said. OPP said earlier they believe the killer used Varaschin's white Toyota to move her body from her home to the wooded area where it was found. So far, investigators haven’t revealed the cause of death. Days into the investigation, Varaschin’s family had been told to expect the worst and this weekend their fears were confirmed. The victim’s friends and family are asking for privacy during this time. Last week, police asked people in rural areas in and around the city to scan their properties for the bloody bed sheets believed to have been used in the crime. Investigators are also asking anyone who saw her white Corolla on Aug. 29 or Aug. 30 to contact them. If you have an information about the murder of Sonia Varaschin please contact the dedicated tip line at 519-941-2522, ext. 2211. Anonymous calls can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. A $2,000 reward has been offering for tips leading to a conviction. Some photos of Sonia Varaschin in happier times, a memorial group has also been setup on Facebook.