Introducing: Peter Iden

When I was a kid in Germany I had the dream of many of my contemporaries: I wanted to become a cowboy in the Wild West, ride horses all day and sing Western songs. Of course, none of that ever came true, but moving west did when my parents immigrated to Canada.

Much of my childhood had been spent in the woods around my home, watching birds and nature. Arriving in Canada at age 17, I became a part-time paid professional Naturalist almost immediately, working first for the Commissioner of Parks for Toronto, Tommy Thompson, then for Ken Strasser, the Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Chief Naturalist.

Peter Iden

Naturalist and photographer Peter Iden

Apart from being raised to appreciate nature in all of its aspects my young family became very involved in sports, first in skiing and in the late 1970’s in boardsailing. We all became very proficient in both, to the extent that I placed 13th in my weight class in the August 1985 World Masters Windglider Championships in Toronto.

In 1981 Wasaga Beach Mayor Walter Borthwick visited us at a Boardsailing Regatta in Florida and convinced us during a weak tornado to bring our next Canadian Championships to Wasaga Beach. We did, and in August 1982 we brought more than a hundred boardsailors from as far away as France and Hawaii and thousands of visitors here. But Mayor Borthwick apparently did not want a tornado to hit his Beach, so he ordered absolutely no wind for three days!

A Thank You picture of Wasaga Beach presented to me by the Town in 1982 hangs in my front hallway to remind me of my long-lasting ties to this town and its beaches. We had visited here countless times in more than 60 years but never actually planned to live here, although some of our friends did. Life moves in very strange cycles! Following the death of my wife in 2018 I sold my house in Brampton and purchased a house in Wasaga Beach to be near two of my three daughters, one of whom has lived here for five years, the other has just moved here recently after her husband retired.

In 2019 I joined the Friends of Nancy Island as a volunteer Warden in their Piping Plover Recovery Programme. I also volunteered as photographer for the Canadian National Parachuting Championships, hosted by Skydive Wasaga Beach. I was assisted by my very competent youngest daughter Sylvia, who lives in Port Sydney. My other two daughters who live in Wasaga Beach are also avid and good photographers, as well as being part of the support team for their father, grandfather and, most recently, great-grandfather.

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Peter Iden is a resident of Wasaga Beach and a Naturalist and Photographer who has a broad range of knowledge of the natural world. Peter is also a volunteer Warden for the Piping Plover Recovery Programme with the Friends of Nancy Island.


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