KILLFULLY MADE FISHING FLIES of all types are noteworthy, and yet there is something especially captivating about the exquisite salmon flies of the nineteenth century, which were also known as gaudy flies. My fascination with Victorian salmon flies started when I was a child, raised on the lore of fly-fishing—tales of clear rivers, far away, and the silver ghosts that inhabited them. On the West Coast the steelhead was revered as fly-fishing’s finest quarry, and yet it was the Atlantic salmon—“the leaper” by its Latin name Salmon salar—that captivated me. Like the Victorians before me, I placed the leaper at the pinnacle of fly-fishing’s hierarchy. In Canada, Agnes Macdonald (18361920), wife of Sir John A. Macdonald, experienced first-hand the appeal of fly-fishing for this king of game fish. Wrapped up in the lore of an imported British sport are the flies, the objects that lure and catch the fish. Made by wrapping or tying materials such as silk, fur, and feathers around a hook, flies were developed to catch fish, yet as history has proved, many an angler was also ensnared by their beauty.
Sheldon Posen, Ph.D.
N 1934, THE ST. LAWRENCE STARCH Company Ltd. of Port Credit, Ontario, introduced a campaign to promote sales of their Bee Hive Corn Syrup. They commissioned photographs of the best-known hockey stars on two NHL teams—the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens—from the teams’ official photographers. The photos showed each player in uniform on the ice, stick in hand. The company offered fans a straightforward deal: send proof of purchase of our product, and we will mail you a photo of the player of your choice.
The Bee Hive hockey photo offer was heavily advertised on radio and in newspapers, and the promotion was a great success. Sales boomed, the players from all the NHL teams were photographed, and the offering was expanded. By the end of the decade, as many as 2,500 “ready for framing” black-and-white prints might be mailed on a single day from Bee Hive’s offices to every region of Canada. When the promotion ended in 1967, the complete roster of Bee Hive photos included 1,026 players.
HE EARLIEST RECORD OF HUNTING as a recreational activity in Britain appears in AD 43 after the Romans introduced the brown hare and new species of deer as quarry. With the victory of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Normans ushered in new breeds of hound dogs, and successfully established hunting as a royal pastime. Foxes, which were previously chased down only by farmers for the purpose of pest control, were added to the list of acceptable prey when medieval laws on hunting were formalized in 1340. Thereafter, the fox, along with the red deer (stag) and roe, were collectively referred to as “beasts of the chase.” A Norfolk farmer is known to have attempted a fox hunt with trained dogs in 1534, but England’s oldest official fox hunt is the Bilsdale Hunt in Yorkshire, established in 1668.
ITH FREEDOM AND SPEED defining the most adept skateboarders’ moves, it’s easy to be dazzled by the motion and lose sight of the spaces in which such skilled practitioners of the sport are performing. But if one looks beyond the physical dexterity of the young skateboarders themselves to the open space designs in which they practise their skill, what one can often find, in the most successful skateboard parks, is a kind of functional sculpture—decorative elements embedded in, and inherent to, the use of the space.
Landscape architect Bill Gurney, and the company at which he is senior design manager, New Line Skateparks Inc., which specializes in concrete skatepark design and construction, takes this design idiom even further. For Kyle Dion, New Line’s founder, president, and creative visionary, the functionality of a park’s skateboard terrain is not the only goal. Instead, the purpose is, as Gurney puts it, “to design successful public spaces that are also skate-able.” A subtle but crucial distinction.