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Vishwawalking

About "Us"

Frink - Cedar Creek boardwalk





A website that lacks identifiable author(s) or dates is a site to be wary of. Herewith are my credentials. I promise, this page is as self-indulgent as it gets.

This site was officially launched on February 3, 2009. The software I use is primitive, but I hope the information will help walkers.


   




Frink Centre: the boardwalk to Cedar Creek
Photo: November, 2008

I was born in England on February 3, 1950 and decided to come to Canada with my parents when they moved to Port Hope, Ontario, in 1954. Overall, it was a good decision. Years ago I returned to England several times to work in the theatre. It was in England that I undertook one of the best jobs I ever had: busking in London's Underground.

Whenever I can, I walk with my son Matt, and his wife, Rebecca. Matt is also an addicted walker and a musician.


pete as sheriff in Chinese hat family
Left: everything I need for a good walk.
Photo: Matt Snell

Above: My family, early summer, 1963. I'm second from the left. Photo taken in the driveway, 12 Trefusis St., Port Hope, Ontario
When I was a kid, I played a lot of hockey. I was above average but far below the best. Now I get puffed after three minutes of skating at my friends' pond once or twice a year. At around the age of 10, I wanted to be a prospector (which involved a lot of walking in the woods, something that turned me on even back then). At our family cottage on Looncall Lake near Apsley, Ontario, I would colour in a special map every time I explored a new area. My Vishwawalking maps, complete with GPS-created trails, are not that different.

I live in Thomasburg (which I refer to as "corpus mundi") with my wife Carol. I have spent much of my life as an actor, and even more as an out-of-work actor. When I get a chance (i.e., when someone will employ me) I still act. Here's more detail about that aspect of my work at the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia.
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I am a musician and have an "organization" (members: one — me) known as the Choking Hazard Orchestra. I am a multi-instrumentalist, with flute and sax as my main instruments. (The website as of 2013 has cobwebs and is rotting at the core).

I have worked in local media, have done some writing for a now-defunct theatrical magazine and now teach in the media department at a community college.

I often use my middle initial in correspondence because there are other Peter Snells out there. At least one is a scoundrel. Several are high profile: Peter Snell the Olympic runner, the film producer, the lawyer, the musician. There's a soldier, a high audio equipment designer, a motorcycle enthusiast (you'll see "Snell Foundation stickers in motorcycle helmets, named after William "Pete" Snell) and even a guy in Devonshire with a middle initial "R" that wrote a PhD dissertation on dairy cattle. I'm none of those...

When Australian Peter Snell, assessed by some as the best runner the world has ever seen, broke records and stunned folks at the 1963 Olympics, I became an instant fan. Occasionally I have been mistaken for him. I have also been mistaken for Peter Snell the famous movie producer (again, see above). It's unlikely either of these men have been mistaken for me, but I still await their emails describing such incidents.


Peter in mirror, Prince Edward Heights, abandoned institution, PictonI hold an MA in philosophy from Queen's University in Kingston Ontario, and struggled to get my PhD from York University in Toronto. I gave up at the dissertation stage, allowing me to join the ranks of the ABD ("All But Dissertation") fellowship.

Why a Vishwawalking site? Well, of course, like any project of this nature, it's partly vanity. As Thoreau said somewhere, he worried about talking about himself, but it was the subject he knew best.

However, I hope the practical research is useful and prompts more people to walk. Some people cultivate secret walks, or secret fishing spots and the like. I am not one of those. If I can convince someone to walk for the joy of it, I'm happy. Like many, I have problems with yahoos strewing garbage in beautiful places. I'm arrogant enough to think that walkers who look at my site are not destroyers but creators and caretakers of places of beauty.

Here I am finding the light in the washroom of  a large
institution — an abandoned "school for the "mentally retarded"
(to use the official 1971 terminology). I have worked in and been shaped by
many an institution, so I felt at home.

I have a soft spot for 19th century walking chronicles, so at times there is a slightly academic side to this site. I trust folks will enjoy readings by and about those who have walked before us.

To contact me, click on the "Contact us" link to the left.

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Page created: February 3, 2009
Updated: September 3, 2013