About Kenneth Bagnell

Kenneth Bagnell , born and raised in Nova Scotia, is a writer whose articles have appeared in all of Canada major newspapers,  including The Globe and Mail, The National Post, the numerous papers of  Sun Media, The Montreal Gazette and The Hamilton Spectator. In his early years he was a broadcaster and announcer  in both public and private sectors. He has served on the editorial board of The Toronto Star and subsequently became, in turn, an editorial  writer, magazine editor and daily columnist on The Globe & Mail. He has received various national awards including a citation for his magazine article on The Vatican in the early 1980s.   During the 1970s, he was Editor of The Review, the Canadiana publication of Imperial Oil Ltd. and winner of numerous  national and international awards for  editorial and graphic excellence.  More recently his work has taken him to most parts of the world, from which he has written travel essays.( He is also a former Managing Editor of The United Church Observer for which, over the past 50 years, he writes columns and essays on the sociology of  religion and its role in our changing culture; some are included here.) He is well known for early books, in particular The Little Immigrants, published by Macmillan in 1980, on all of Canada’s bestseller lists for roughly a year and after over a dozen printings still available through bookstores. In 1989, Macmillan also published his well -received Canadese: A Portrait of the Italian Canadians. As a graduate in theology and as a United Church minister he has been extensively  engaged in bereavement issues as speaker and writer. In recent years he wrote Then and Now, a limited edition history of funeral service in Ontario. It includes several major tragedies that  involving major, complex and voluntary cooperation among Ontario funeral service professsionals; it reports on numerous cultural changes  including the increase in women entering the vocation and its adaptation to serving our increasingly multicultural society. See www.ofsa.org/History_Book_-_Then_and_Now_427271.html .  He is husband to Barbara, his  collaborator on all his essays and books, who frequently writes of her own travels in The Travel Society Magazine and  in Romantic Traveling,  a US publication. They have three adult children Paul,  David and Andrea. Each is engaged in distinct careers which reflect aspects of of their father’s lifelong vocational interests.

Here are some of his random thoughts on travel:

NORTH AMERICA: This morning as a wind of winter chilled the windows where I live, I remembered warm places I reached over the years, places just a few hours from my Toronto home. Most were in the Southern US, small cities, quiet towns. St. Augustine in Florida. Bisbee in Arizona. Palm Springs in California. Charleston in South Carolina. I found in each not just the warm and sunny welcome of friendly people but something unique. Each is special. As a British writer once said: “I know of no town like any other, if that town be truly known.

EUROPE: The word itself brings images and memories from stately streets of London’s yesterday, to remnants of the past in Sicily, to aromas of street vendors in Istanbul by the Bhosphorus. I first went to Europe in 1964. I was not yet 30, flying into Moscow, during what was called The Cold War, and then on to Irkusk on the shores of the very deep and silver Lake Baikal. I ‘ ve returned to Europe in recent years almost yearly. I hope to go back again and then again, as long as I can in the fortunate life that has come my way.

THE CARIBBEAN : When I first went to the Caribbean it was to the tiny sliver of Vieques the island, in the seas beyond Puerto Rico’s walled and historic Old San Juan. I felt I’d truly entered another land and culture,  one where clocks had been discarded as time  no longer mattered. It’s not quite that way now, but I still return still and will return again. I prefer small places. I find them even more to my preference the second time I go and sometimes the third. I went not long ago to another small and beautiful island of the Caribbean. It’s Anguilla, where I was struck not just by the spell of the endess silent sand and sea, but also by a people of long  integrity, effort and ambition. It was my kind of island. That’s why it’s here.

CRUISES : “The sea,” Cousteau once said, “once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” The most vivid memories of my cruising life are not just of magnificient seas but of places: Dubrovnik in Croatia. Santorini in Greece. Helsinki in Finland. Skagway in Alaska, the rivers of Germany and France. Yes,  I knowe that  some frown on cruises as not being genuine travel. But consider for a moment. One of the great advantages of a cruise is basic: the economies it offer. Visiting each land destination along the way is economic — certainly  moreso than overland travel. I’ll continue cruising as long as memory draws me back.  And not just to the ports of call along the way. The sea itself  beckons, often with the recall of those evenings when, from a favorite dining room window aboard a Princess vessel, the red sun slips beneath the seas of the world. I like what Mark Twain wrote: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover .”