Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

7 10 2013

Louisbourg, on the north east coast of Nova Scotia is an amazing visit and was the highlight of our trip to Cape Breton, last week.

You get an idea of the size of the town as you approach from across the bay.

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This is the Frederic gate, the access to the town from the sea. You can see it in the photo above too.

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This was how the harbour looked in 1730, with ships coming from France, Quebec, New England and the Caribbean.

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We walked to the Kings Bastion Barracks and Governors Apartments.

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This part of the building was the barracks.

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There we met a soldier who told us his sad tale. He had been enlisted into the army from the streets of Brest. He was promised a secure job, with good pay, food, a bed to sleep in and a roof over his head. All this in an exciting new country. He grabbed this opportunity and signed up for 6 years. After a stormy crossing he arrived in Canada and found that the reality was not what he’d hoped for.

AbpngHe had to stand on guard at this guard house for 24 hours – non stop, with no sleep. Anyone caught sleeping was punished. Usually made to side astride a wooden horse, with weights attached to their feet. Beds were shared by 3 soldiers, 2 sleeping while the other was on duty.

The pay was good, 9 livres a month, but after money was taken for his food and bed, he was left with only 1 1/2 livres a month. What was there to do, but drink that away to console himself. This poor soldier was only 30 years old, but looked much older. He did not think that he’d ever marry as the few women in the town preferred fishermen who made a lot of money and could support them.

As for getting out of the army, that did not seem possible as he had no money and was already in debt, so would be forced to sign up for another 6 years. It was all very depressing, yet he still managed to give us a smile. I hope he was not punished for speaking to us!

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The Fortress – a Fort is manned solely by military but a Fortress is a fortified town with civilians, like any other town – was founded by the French,  in 1713.

The main reason for this settlement  was the cod fishing on the Grand Banks. Cod fishing was so lucrative that it brought in more money in one year than all the years of fur trading!

The fish was salted and laid on stages to dry, before being exported.

The harbour was well defended, but on the landward side, there was little defence. The story goes that a British officer was being held prisoner at Louisbourg, but was allowed to roam free, as was the custom. He saw all the weaknesses in the landward side and when released back to New England told them how to attack. His information was actioned and led to the first fall of Louisbourg in 1745. This officer was deemed not to be a ‘gentleman’ for telling and was expelled from  the army.

Three years later the town was restored to the French, but was besieged a second time, in exactly the same manner as the first! The French had learnt nothing from the first attack!

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Opposite the Frederic gate is the Hotel de la Marine. This was where the soldiers, sailors and townspeople spent their money on food drink and entertainment.

There we had a very good meal of pea soup, followed by haddock and vegetables, served by costumed servers. We ate from pewter dishes and had only a pewter spoon to eat with.

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A juniper branch was used above the signs for ale houses and eating places as the towns people could not read.

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Further along the waterfront is the home of the Commissaire Ordonnateur. This was the person who kept all the accounts, paid the colony’s bills, compiled statistical accounts, and had a hand in local justice. Francois Bigot was the Commissaire Ordonnateur from 1739 to 1745 and was the sole resident of this huge house with 6 female servants. The system allowed  Bigot to misuse funds and build up his own fortune. This was his eventual downfall. He was tried, confiscated of all his property and exiled from France, in 1763.

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This was the home of Joseph Lartigue. He came to Louisbourg with the first settlers, from Newfoundland. He was a fisherman and trader, but because he could read and write, he became the town magistrate. Part of the house was used as a courtroom.

Lartigue and his wife had 12 children and several servants in this house and were thought to be well off in their day.

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The Dauphin Gate was the main land entrance to the town. It was manned around the clock by an officer and thirty soldiers.

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The  Royal coat of arms sat above the arch.
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You can walk around the ruined part of the town and see where the hospital, convent, mass graves, and breweries used to be.

Parks Canada has certainly done an impressive job of reconstructing Louisbourg and anyone who gets the chance should pay it a visit.

 

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Inside White Point Lodge

7 04 2013

When I visited White Point Resort in November last year, it was a music week-end, so I couldn’t really get any photos inside.

Today we went back for a walk there and I had a look inside.

The fireplace is faced with White Point beach stone.

The building is a steel frame, but wooden posts and beams add detail.

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You can see how the wood just abuts the steel and the wooden pegs are decorative rather than structural.

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These moose antlers make an interesting chandelier in the dining room.

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I liked the use of these strips of pine to make internal dividing walls.

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There are some pieces of folk art, like this lobsterman, by Joe Winters. His ‘little people’ were destroyed when the old lodge burned down.

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Do you like this bird bath?

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Or this colourful chair?

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In the crow’s nest are some wonderful old photos of the resort in the 50’s.

I wish these  tuna were still around our shore.

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I think this little pier and swimming platform must be in one of the lakes and not the sea.

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Women in dresses for their archery lesson on the beach!

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You can look down into the bar and lounge from above. The sea is right outside those windows.L

There was a great smell of food, but it was too early for lunch and we had brought a picnic with us. On our next visit, we’ll sample the food.





La Ferme Hotel, Baie Saint Paul, Quebec

10 10 2012

 

We have just returned from a trip to Quebec. One of the hotels I really wanted to visit was the brand new Hotel La Ferme, at Baie-Saint-Paul.

In 2005, Le Massif de Charlevoix bought the old farm which had been run for over 80 years, by the nuns of the Little Franciscan of Mary. This was one of the largest wooden farm buildings in Canada.

However in 2007: the Filbaie farm was completely destroyed by fire. The new owner, Daniel Gauthier,  of  Le Cirque du Soleil, continued with his plan to build the hotel and it opened this summer.

From the front of the hotel the spires of the  Little Franciscan of Mary convent tower over the trees.

The hotel is made up of five pavilions, to create the feeling of the farm.

This is the main building.

 

Our room was in The Clos. It had an internal courtyard, with the corridors arranged around it, like  a cloister. This eliminated those long dark hotel corridors and replaced them with a bright airy space.

It was pleasant to sit out in this garden in the sunshine among the vegetables and grape vines. I liked the vertical black boards, with the lighter contrasting strips.

Our room was bright, white, fresh and clean.

We are not lovers of TV, but for those who are the TV was set in the wall at the bottom of the bed.

These lights  in the main building were fluorescent tubes, set vertically and covered with some sort of mesh.

Again, to create the feeling of the farm, this life size Canadian cow was painted by Humberto Pinochet.

A new railway track links the hotel with Quebec City, Le Massif ski area and La Malbaie and tourists are already using it to travel to the hotel and take day trips along the Saint Lawrence.

 

We were very impressed with our stay here. I know that this contemporary hotel will not be to everyone’s taste, but I love modern architecture.

Quebec City architect Pierre Thibault, designed the building to include natural lighting in all its spaces  and the use of renewable energy. Water and indoor spaces are heated with solar and geothermal energies as well as biomasse. The building design minimizes thermal loss  and uses energy-wise insulations and windows. The lighting systems are designed to reduce energy consumption and boost the buildings’ energy performance. There are grass roofs, the recycling of rain water, and refuse triage, recycling and composting. These are all things modern architects have to think about to care for our environment.





The Mystery of the Carved Stone in Nova Scotia

27 08 2012

On a recent coastal walk here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, we came across this interesting rock.

It lies among other boulders and looks as if it has been here for a very long time. But has it, is it an ancient petroglyph or is it a modern carving, done by someone having a bit of fun?

The carved scene is complicated and looks like St George and the Dragon, or some sea serpent, with a knight and horse.

 

It reminded me of photos I have of the Pictish Stones at Aberlemno, in Angus, Scotland.

This stone is carved on both sides. One face is decorated with an elaborate cross flanked by angels while the other shows a hunting scene.

This stone has several Pictish symbols; a serpent, a double disc and z-rod and a mirror and comb.  These Pictish stones date from the 6th to the 9th Century – so they’re very old!

This standing stone below, was in Glenshee near our pottery. It was known as ‘The Parliament Stane’, and was believed to be the place where Scottish Kings held parliament when they were on hunting trips in the Royal Forests in the area. There were no carvings or markings on the stone.

But back to the mystery in Nova Scotia.

I found this site with these photos of petroglyphs at Bedford.

http://www.nsexplore.ca/places/halifax-county/bedford-petroglyphs/

 

These are much shallower markings than the ones on my stone.

 

So, who carved this horse on the stone?

And this knight who has just killed the dragon?

And the creature with two heads?

 

The Mi’kmaq recorded images of people, animals, hunting and fishing. With the arrival of the Europeans, they began to include images of sailing ships, men hunting with muskets, soldiers, Christian altars and churches, and small items like coins and jack-knives.

 

Can anyone solve this mystery for me? Is this a modern day carving or is it an ancient stone, with a meaning?

 

Update – January 24th, 2017

 This post has attracted a lot of interest and comment.

In 2013, the Curator of Archaeology at the Nova Scotia Museum said it had been carved with a metal tool, so was probably done by a local artist.

Then the Director of Studies in History at Yale University said it was a clumsy copy of the Ramsund Carving.

                                                

 It is really very much a copy of this!
I continued to try to find out who had done the carving. Someone thought a local stone mason had carved it, but the name I was given said he had carved stones, but not this one.
Some theories that were voiced in the comments were that it was to do with the Knights Templar and Oak Island, a Memorial stone, the Halifax Chiseller, Rosslyn Chapel …………..
My photos have been copied and posted by someone, stating that this stone was covered in seaweed and seagull droppings, before it was cleaned up – with no photos to support such a claim!
I have tried several times to have a photo printed in the local newspaper, hoping that someone would solve this problem, but that never happened.
Last summer, I had a friend who is a dowser, look at the stone. He was very excited by it and gave me this report.
The runestone is genuine and was created in 1167 during the month of October.
Three men were committed to creating this wonderful original which took them 7 days to complete.
The process used in creating this masterpiece is still a puzzle except that heat was used before the caring as carried out. no chisels were used.
At the period of carving the stone was further inland. However, due to environmental changes, erosion of the coast, the stone was finally situated on the beach. Much of the erosion was caused by ice pushing up against the cliffs in winter periods during the small ice age which finally ended in the late 1800s.
The stone is currently buried to a depth beneath the beach of nearly 3 metres. In other words there is more stone beneath the beach than above it.
There are 6 ley lines ( earth energy lines) crossing the centre of the stone. All are positive- some male others female.
I put my post onto the Local Lunenburg Community Facebook Page and was told that this carving was done in the 1980,s by the nephew of 2 artists who came to the nearby beach cottage for the summer.
Now this is the one story that makes sense to me – no mystery or magic – just someone having fun and leaving their mark on the beach, and causing a good bit of discussion.
I think the mystery of the stone has been solved!




Nova Scotia Folk Art – Folk Art Maritime – Lunenburg

17 07 2012

Folk Art was a new form of art for me until I moved here to Nova Scotia and I have come to enjoy the bright colours and humour in it.

At Folk Art Maritime in Lunenburg, right across from the Library, there is a fine selection of pieces by artists from all corners of Nova Scotia.

There are figures, animals, birds, fish and paintings.

I love this  smoking sailor by Bradford Naugler. The carving is 36″ high and is very colourful.

This fisherman is all set to head out to sea. The artist is Reed Timmons of Cape Breton, who worked as a lobster fisherman, so lots of his pieces are inspired by that.

Frank Corkum is a local artist. He was a carpenter and built some of the church steeples around Lunenburg. He carved this tall Sailor. The Puffin is by Mae Workman, the Loon by Sam Amiro, and the Maroon Clown Fish, by Bill Roach.

I think this is my favourite piece in the Gallery at the moment, again by Reed Tmmons. This is what folk art is all about – something to make you smile and enjoy it.

Fishwing the Heron is a nicely finished piece by Terrance Fortune. It is very appropriate to this area, as we see herons in every bay, every day, stalking their breakfast.

The tail feathers on the  Red Tailed Rooster make it look very striking.

Cats and dogs are always popular subjects and I’m sure it won’t be long until Calimanco the Cat, finds a new home.

Likewise, the Brown and White Dog, which looks a bit like a beagle.The Wasp Queen with Tulip, shows what folk artists do best; take a theme and make a whole story around it. This wasp could be a character from a child’s story book.

I chose a few of my favourite pieces from the gallery, but now realise that this is mainly a Reed Timmons blog! I guess he must be the artist I rate highest – at the moment.

If you want to see the other pieces in the Gallery, look at

http://www.folkartmaritime.com/index.htm

or come by the Gallery and see them for yourself. Maybe you need a special gift for a wedding, or are travelling to visit someone in another province or country. You couln’t find anything more unique to Nova Scotia!





New Folk Art Gallery in Lunenburg

9 07 2011

The major event of this summer in Lunenburg, is the opening of a new Folk Art Gallery in Pelham Street, right opposite the Library.

Over the past few weeks our friends, Gareth and Bill Miller, have been busy planning and researching for this building, intent on making the space match its purpose.

I had never heard of ‘Folk Art’ until I came to Nova Scotia. This work is done usually by people who have not been trained as artists, their themes being unsophisticated, but highly original. There is usually a humourous and often eccentric slant to it.

So this building had to reflect its purpose and instead of the boring grey building  –

it was transformed to this bright happy colour.

The inside had an even more dramatic change, with the removal of a wall and the addition this vibrant turquoise paint.

It wasn’t until the art work was added that it really looked like a Gallery.

In the window, you can see Moe the Dog, by Bill Roach, the Blue Cow, by Reed Timmons, and Blue Rooster by Barry Colpitts.

This piece is called ‘Lunenburg Bump with Sou’wester’ by Vivian Bell Zinck, making a play on the architectural window feature of Lunenburg.

The rooster, you will see is a recurring theme, as well as cows, cats and dogs.

This lady is a bird house!

‘Smoked Cod’ is the title here, I think that says it all.

So, if you are visiting Lunenburg this summer, you must make your way to Folk Art Maritime, where you are sure to find something unique for yourself, or as a special gift.

You can also look at their other Folk Art at

http://www.folkartmaritime.com/





Bear River Revisited

8 07 2011

I love Bear River, this little tidal village just inland from Digby, Nova Scotia. The last time I wrote about it was in April 2009 and everything was closed as the season hadn’t begun.

Last week-end Jeff and I headed to Digby Pines Resort for our 40th Wedding Anniversary!

We decided to stop at Bear River to have our picnic beside the river. There is a lovely garden, complete with picnic tables and benches.

The roses were in full bloom,

and a wonderful perfume filled the air.

I’m not sure what this lovely white flower is – a member of the geranium?

Or these?

I think this must be the remains of an old wharf at the riverside.

Bear River has some great little shops and galleries.

The Flight of Fancy is a fantastic shop with art, pottery, glass, jewellery, rug-hooking, carvings …….

Myrtle and Rosie’s.

This Bargain Book Shop seems to sell a lot more than just books!

We saw the sign for the Sunday afternoon market and headed back to the river.

There I met Flora Doehler – a Facebook Friend, artist and writer of a Blog about her life in Bear River.

Our Bear River Adventure

These young folk filled the air with lively Irish music.

It was a hot day and we continued our travels to Digby Pines for a swim in their outdoor pool. (another Blog to follow)