Joggins for More Birthday Celebrations

13 09 2009

Last week-end was Labour Day holiday here in the Americas and is the last big holiday before Thanksgiving Day. It marks the end of summer and then students return to school.

We decided to take a trip to Joggins, a Unesco site on the Bay of Fundy, near the New Brunswick border.

This is a world recognised site with the earliest known reptile fossil. This was a small reptile, discovered by Sir Charles Lyell in 1859, and called Hylonomus Lyelli


The new building is on the site of a former coal mine and has been designed to look similar in shape to a mine. The layers of sandstone mimic the layers of rock on the cliff.


Likewise the wood siding is placed horizontally.


Jeff just loved the building and would love a house like it – on a smaller scale.

6 The wind generator and solar panels produce almost all the electricity needed for the building and there is a ‘living’ roof, made of sod, with flowers growing on it. This helps insulate the building.


We had a tour of the museum and once the tide had receded enough we went down onto the beach .

What looks like a lump of concrete in the cliff below is a fossilised tree.

7 Fossil tree 4

Most of the fossils are of plants and trees.

8 Fossil EYou can see the patterns that were on the outside of these massive plants.

9 Fossil JAfter an exciting time, we walked around the village of Joggins and were surprised and disappointed to find the following. I will leave it up to you to comment.

Playpark 2




4 responses

15 09 2009
Jenna Boon

Jackie (and Jeff),

Thank you for visiting the Joggins Fossil Centre and Cliffs during the 2009 USA Labour Day weekend. Your comments are appreciated and the photos (of the fossils and in particular the centre) are great!

A couple of notes for clarification purposes:

The energy required to operate the building systems at the centre and to provide visitor services is not entirely produced through renewable energy sources (wind and solar). The wind turbine and photovoltaic panels provide the majority (estimated at about 65%) of the energy that is consumed (we also use solar panels for heating water). It is indeed flattering to hear that you would consider modelling your home after the centre. We (The Joggins Fossil Institute and WHW Architects) received a provincial award for the design and the building has been featured in “Canadian Architect” and “Sustainable Architecture and Building” Magazines.

The stone that faces the building is Wallace Sandstone (rather than slate) that has been quarried locally and was installed by local trades people.

Sir William Dawson (rather than Sir Charles Lyell) discovered the fossil of the earliest reptile in 1859. Dawson named the fossil after Lyell (his friend and mentor). This discovery is one of the main reasons that the Joggins Fossil Cliffs were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. There are other sites in the world that have older fossils than the ones found at Joggins The cliffs at Joggins (the grand exposure) provides the best examples of fossils from the Carboniferous Period or Coal Age.

Regarding your perception of the community (surprise and disappointment) – for me, the photo of the old play area evokes some fond memories as I played there as a child and had heaps of fun with my friends and brothers. Currently a resident of Joggins (A fellow who lives across the street)volunteers his time and resources to mow the area to maintain an open public space for when the play area is addressed by the community. The Joggins Fossil Institute has, in fact, partnered with the community development association and has recently received funding to develop a new play area. The current socio-economic condition of Joggins has resulted from many years of economic decline however there are proud people (children and adults alike) who live here in Joggins and who remain optimistic about their future especially with the recent infrastructure developments that include a municipal sewer, high speed internet access and of course the new fossil centre. There are other community services (including the school and the cooperative grocery store) that have been jeopardized because of the decline of the coal industry. The community continues to work to maintain and grow/improve these services. The staff and board members of the Joggins Fossil Institute remain committed to working with the community to continue to improve our collective future. Although we may not be building Rome – it was not built in a day. With the ongoing perseverance and optimism of the community, we expect that there will continue to be positive changes in the near future that will improve the lives of local people and visitors alike!

Kind Regards, Jenna Boon (Director, Joggins Fossil Institute)

15 09 2009

Thanks for your response, Jenna. I did know that it was sandstone on the building, I must have written slate in my hurry to write it all down. We had such a great day at the centre and have told everyone here in Lunenburg that they must visit.
As for the play park, I appreciate the problems in the area, as I come from a mining village in Scotland. We noted that the grass was kept cut but really felt that the swings were not ‘safe’ and that the ‘Health and Safety’ Authority in the Uk would have closed it down.
You have such a great facility (we also had a super lunch) that I wish you success for the future. All the best, Jackie

17 09 2009
Anne Logie

Sure youwould have a great day.
Horrified with the play area

20 11 2009

I never have seen fossils in the nature. We have some petroglyphs here, but no fossils.

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