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The TI Life Story

Thousand Islands Life: a monthly journal of articles about our distinctive region--its current development, its colorful heritage, and its characteristic marine lifestyle.

The regional overview (On and beside the River, above the River or under the River!) provides a  comprehensive resource for information about the St. Lawrence River, from Cape Vincent and Kingston on Lake Ontario to Brockville and Morristown, fifty miles down the river. The web site is huge, providing information about twenty-two communities and other subjects.


TI Life does not accept advertising.  There is no subscription fee.  However, new issues are announced to subscribers  by e-mail and are always accessible for everyone at this web site.  Our site is also RSS enabled  RSS Enabled .

All authors and photographers provide content strictly as volunteers.  All Photographs are copyrighted and the property of the photographer.


A team of three created and managed TI Life from 2006-2008.  Paul Malo, emeritus professor architecture, Syracuse University; Mike Franklin,  property specialist with Sotheby's International Realty, (Saratoga Springs and Lake Placid, NY) and Ian Coristine, renown Thousand Islands photographer and writer.

In August 2008 when the community learned of the death of Paul Malo, Ian Coristine made a request, “would someone like to help keep TI Life alive?”  Susan Smith volunteered as editor and  Kim Lunman, now owner and publisher of the print magazine, “Island Life” volunteer her writing and photographic skills.   The rest they say, is history.

The Over 20 Team…

The following authors have written more than 20 articles for TI Life. Their time, energy and expertise is greatly appreciated.

Editor - Susan Weston Smith

Susan Weston Smith (known as Susie) is the author of The First Summer People, Thousand Islands 1650-1910, Boston Mills Press (1993) and working in the volunteer world is her passion. She is an Adjunct Advisor to the Stakeholder and Community Relations Board Committee of the Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Centre in Ottawa and is also assisting with fund raising for the Frontenac County Mental Health and Addiction Services in Kingston.  In addition she a member of the Zonta Club of Ottawa.  In the past she has served on the Board of the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save the River in Clayton, the Arthur Child Heritage Museum and the Thousand Islands Association both in Gananoque.

In 2010 Susan was honored to receive the Keeper of the Islands Award by the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce. She is retired from her career as a professional fundraiser, working for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and at Queen's School of Business, Queen’s University in Kingston.

Click here to see all of Susan’s contributions!


Kim Lunman

Kim Lunman is the founder, owner and publisher of Island Life Magazine  ( based in Brockville, Ontario. The 2017 edition of the glossy print magazine will be distributed in May throughout the 1000 Islands in eastern Ontario and northern New York. A photographer and award-winning writer, Kim is an avid kayaker and boater who lives in her hometown of Brockville, “The City of the 1000 Islands.” She was awarded The Keeper of the Islands Award by the Gananoque 1000 Islands Chamber of Commerce in 2013. The Canadian journalist is a former national correspondent for the Globe and Mail's Victoria and Ottawa bureaus and staff reporter for the Calgary Herald. 

Kim is also the recipient of a National Newspaper Award for feature writing and a National Newspaper Award nominee for enterprise reporting. Kim was also was nominated for the Michener Award, the highest honour in Canada for public service journalism. Her freelance writing has appeared in Boat U.S. Magazine, Lakeland Boating, the KingstonWhig-Standard, the National Post, and Reader's Digest. 

To see all of Kim Lunman’s TI Life articles, click here, and to read a more complete biography, see our About Page.



Lynn McElfresh

Lynn McElfresh is a regular contributor to TI Life, writing stories dealing with her favorite Grenell Island and island life. We have learned a great deal over the past three years from Lynn McElfresh’s musings, from moving pianos to island weddings or from plumbing problems to meeting old friends, taking nature walks and the importance of trees. Recently she presented several articles about Grenell for its 100th Birthday. Lynn is the author of Can You Feel the Thunder? published in 1999 in New York by Simon & Shuster Children's Publishing Division. It is suggested for youth ages 10-14. She is also the ghost writer for several other children’s books. Lynn’s is a regular contributor to TI Life. Lynn McElfresh and her husband, Gary, spend their summers in the Thousands Islands on Grenell Island and their winters in Dunedin, Florida.

Click here to see all of Lynn’s contributions!


Michael Folsom

Michael Folsom is a regular contributor to TI Life. His work has been featured in Thousand Islands Sun, Know Your Ships, and more. He is also created his website Ship Watcher Blog – the most comprehensive seaway information site for the region. Michael is also the creator and organizer of Sailing Seaway Clayton which is a weekend of waterfront activities taking place in June. When not on the River, Michael is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Antique Boat Museum, in Clayton, NY.

Click here to see all of Michael’s contributions!


Brian Johnson

Brian Paul Johnson is one of five captains of the Wolfe Island car ferry Wolfe Islander III. He has worked for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for more than 30 years, recently celebrating 20+ years as captain. We often see him pass through the islands as captain of the Canadian Empress. Today, Brian combines his marine career with writing. Fascinated by stories and legends of the 1000 Islands area he has written for the Kingston Whig Standard, Telescope magazine and the Great Lakes Boatnerd Website: Seaway News. Brian co-edited Growing up on Wolfe Island, a compilation of interviews and stories with Sarah Sorensen. He is also a past president of the Wolfe Island Historical Society and former president of the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime mystery writer’s festival held on the island every August.

Click here to see all of Brian’s contributions!


The Design and Magic…

In December 2008 TI Life took on a new look. David O’Malley, principal designer at Areographics, in Ottawa ON. provided a unique style for TI Life complete with a tag line: put a thousand islands in your life. His distinctive design provided an easily managed template.

Michael Cox

A most important participant is Michael Cox, Creative Solutions, Dunrobin, ON. Mike took the O’Malley template and married it to a computer interface. Complete with tutorials for Smith – the editor. Smith and Cox “publish” TI Life on the 15th of each month.

Hailing from North Western Ontario, Mike Cox spent his time working at his family tourist business in many different capacities. Having a penchant for technology, he bought his first computer in 1995 and started developing web sites for marina operators.

Mike learned that simply building web pages was not sustainable. Businesses needed a way to manage their sites and to have their sites be more than HTML brochures. Mike specializes in offering web database integration and created Content Management Solutions which enable his customers autonomy from their web masters at affordable prices.

Mike now resides in Rural Ottawa with his wife and two daughters and services a boutique clientele from his home. The original Content Management System he developed has been replaced with a younger more nimble offering that is supported by developers all around the world. Mike is adamant that site maintenance does not need to be done by the tech savvy, and as a result, the TI Life Team has been given great tools to do the job.

He also is well known in the Ottawa region playing his Ukelele

The Original Team

Paul Malo: Mr. Thousand Islands 1930-2008

The facts tell us that Paul Malo was an award winning historical preservationist, architect, professor, author and passionate Thousand Islander.

Paul created over 100 articles for TI Life magazine. He shared his training, knowledge, research and photographs through the magazine, his books and in person to foster a greater appreciation for and preservation of important places like TI Park, Carleton Villa and Boldt Castle amongst many others. Paul leaves behind many legacies, but arguably one of the most important is It exists thanks to his dedication, leadership and inspiration.

See October 2008.  Paul Malo Remembered by Kim Lunman

Mike Franklin

Mike Franklin was a founder of Thousand Islands Life Magazine and a good friend of Paul Malo.

Mike is licensed Real Estate Broker and President of Franklin Ruttan a real estate brokerage that specializes in marketing unique Upstate properties to Down-state, Out-of-state and International buyers.  (Mostly waterfront and historical properties)


Mike previously worked as a historical property specialist with Sotheby’s International Realty.

Examples of his photography, that highlight important architectural attributes, can be found in many of TI Life feature articles.

Ian Coristine

When Ian Coristine met Paul Malo he recognized a kindred spirit. Not only was Paul fostering a greater appreciation for the Thousand Islands, but he was also encouraging others in “raising the bar” to ensure that all aspects of the region were promoted – from economic prosperity to appreciating its beauty through photography.

Ian Coristine had been active in aerial photography for over 25 years and had written extensively for U.S. and Canadian aviation publications. His air-to-air aircraft photography graced numerous magazine covers and stories, while also serving his former career in aircraft distribution. The demands of air-to-air photography proved ideal training for an unexpected career.

Ian Coristine's sixth book is an interactive eBook for iPad, titled One in a Thousand. The memoir was co-written with Donna Walsh Inglehart (Grindstone, Breaking the Ring). One in a Thousand describes the challenges of acquiring Raleigh Island, the restoration of an abandoned cottage, and his adventures in the air and on the water as he immersed himself in a new, unexpected career. Produced by McLellan Interactive Publishing, it includes an 85,000-word text set in a beautiful layout, videos of his flying adventures, nature sounds from the River an interactive map with hundreds of his best images embedded in the text, in galleries and in automated slideshows set to unpublished instrumental tracks from Great Lake Swimmers.

TI Life today

As of January 2015, TI Life boasts a monthly average of ten articles and more than 150 photographs. We have 2800+ Facebook “likes” - Be sure to check our FBFACEBOOK page throughout each month, as we add material about the 1000 Islands. Follow us on Twitter. Send us your tweet tag and we will start to follow you.twitter 2