Pier 21, Halifax

6 11 2013

It’s a few years since we visited Pier 21 at Halifax.

This was the immigration shed, where about one million immigrants, refugees, war brides, evacuee children and displaced persons entered Canada between 1928 and 1971. It was known as the ‘Gateway to Canada.’

Pier 21 became a National Museum of Canada in 2011.

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Liners docked at a wharf divided into Piers 20, 21, 22 and 23.  Pier 21 had a railway booking office and passenger train sidings for special immigration trains.

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Various posters show how Canada tried to entice new immigrants to Canada, with promises of free land, healthy climate and cheap passages.

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Boat loads of people, disembarked at pier 21, with their few belongings.

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Then had to wait on hard seats until they were processed and admitted into Canada, or rejected and returned to their place of origin.

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The ‘Oceans of Hope’ multimedia presentation takes you on a journey through Pier 21’s history, and presents individual stories and memoirs.

War brides tell how they followed their Canadian husbands to Canada and how they settled, or didn’t, with their new in-laws.

During  WWII, 500,000 military personnel departed from Pier 21 and then came back through it, if they were lucky enough to have survived.

This was the storty of the Walnut, from Estonia.

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But the tale of the St Louis was not so happy.

The MS St Louis was a German liner which made a memorable voyage in 1939, with 937 German Jewish refugees.  The passengers  were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and then Canada, and had to face a journey back to Europe. Historians have estimated that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died in concentration camps.

I have not written about Pier 21 before, as I did not find it a particularly exciting museum. It was not a patch on the Mining Museum at Glace Bay, The Fortress of Louisbourg or Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

Pier 21 invites you to look up your ancestors who arrived here. I didn’t think we had anyone to research.

BUT —-Not so long ago, Jeff received an email from a cousin, telling him how their Grandfather’s brothers had been sent to Canada in 1914. These boys of 13 and 16 years had been at Quarriers Home, just outside Glasgow, after the death of their parents.  They were then sent to Canada on the Hesperian which landed on 14th May 1914.

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These boys were 2 of what became known as the ‘Home Children’, here in Canada. The Quarriers children  went initially to “holding houses” at Belleville and Brockville in Ontario, before dispersing to an often arduous life on farms and homesteads.

At no time during Jeff’s upbringing did he ever hear of these uncles from his father or Grandfather. It’s sad that these boys had no further contact with any of their relatives in Scotland or Ireland. I have read that  the Home children were ashamed of what had happened to them and kept their past hidden from their families in Canada.

It is estimated that 12%, over 4 million, of the Canadian population is a descendant of a Home Child.That is a shocking statistic!

I borrowed a book from the local library about British Home Children – Neither Waif nor Stray, by Perry

http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/

Today I received an email saying that this book is free to download!!! It really tells the reader about these Home Children and how they felt about being sent away from everything they knew.

http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/perry-snow—neither-waif-nor-stray.html

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Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, Cape Breton

20 10 2013

While we were at Cape Breton, we visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum at Baddeck.

As my fellow Scots would agree, we were taught at school, that A G Bell invented the telephone. So, I was not prepared for the surprise and enlightenment that awaited me, for Alexander Graham Bell was a prolific inventor.

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Bell visited Baddeck in 1885 and fell in love with the surroundings.

He said, “I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all!”

He built his family’s summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, just across from where the museum is built, on a peninsula on the Bras d’Or Lake.

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We were met at the door by Alexander himself, and his wife, Mabel.

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He was the inventor while she managed the business issues. When Alexander had an idea for a new invention, he would grab whatever came to hand, whether it was Italian silk fabric to use on a tetrahedral kite, or a wooden blind to design an aeroplane propeller.

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His fascination with kites led to his designing kites which would carry a man.

The Cygnet I, made of 3393 cells flew on December 6, 1907, manned by Lt. Thomas Selfridge. Selfridge lay in a space in the centre of the kite, moving his weight to control it. The Cygnet was towed by a steamer and rose to 168 feet for 7 minutes. However, when the wind dropped the kite came down on the water and was draggged along, destroying it.

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AGB moved his attention to other flying machines.

The  Aerial Experiment Association was formed at Baddeck, in October 1907. Their work progressed to heavier-than-air machines, applying their knowledge of kites to gliders. Their final aircraft design was the Silver Dart. It was flown in February, 1909 and was the first aircraft flight in Canada.

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A full-scale replica of The Silver Dart is on display at the museum.

A4This replica was flown by former astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason across Baddeck Bay in February 2009.

A5Bell had been working on hydrofoils as a means to help aeroplanes take off from water.

After several designs and protypes the HD-4 was built.

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It was a sleek grey giant with a cigar-shaped hull sixty feet long, riding on two sets of hydrofoils, one forward and one aft.

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On each side was a small hull attached to a solid, streamlined outrigger.

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On September 9, 1919, the HD-4  set a world’s marine speed record of 70.86 miles per hour, a record that stood for ten years.

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Bell managed to get both the British Navy and the United States Navy interested in his design, but neither navy saw fit to place an order. In the fall of 1921, the HD-4 was dismantled. Its big grey hull lay for decades on the shore at Beinn Bhreah, before it was eventually cut into sections and taken to the museum.

Among a few of his other inventions, Bell invented pasteurization,an audiometer (a device to detect minor hearing problems),  a photophone (a wireless telephone)  and the metal detector.
Like the Louisbourg Fortress, this is another wonderful museum run by Parks Canada.





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.

 





Mill Village, Nova Scotia

9 09 2013

Today we decided to have a closer look at Mill Village, rather than just driving past it on the highway. Mill Village developed as a logging and lumber community because of the River Medway.

We left the car at the Post Office and walked over this bridge which crossed the Medway.

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Right on the other side of the bridge, by the river, is this interesting old village store.

A2The store sells most grocery items as well as Martock beef, chicken, veil and bison and Foxhill cheese. There is a gift shop and a very nice Cafe. We didn’t know about the cafe and had our picnic with us, but we still managed to try out their coffee and blueberry scones! Next time we’ll stop for lunch.

A1The walk through the community is surrounded by ancient hard wood trees and pine trees.

I  loved the way this tree and rock made a natural scupture.

A5There weren’t many locals about, apart from this little girl, tied to the tree. Perhaps this is a local form of punishment?

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Next to Mill Village is Charleston, not Charlestown as in Fife.

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The residents of this house seemed very pleased to see us.

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As we walked back to the car, we had a last look at the River Medway.

We will bring our bikes here in the fall and cycle up the Medway to Bang Falls. I think the colours will be amazing!

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A Typical Morning in Lunenburg

16 08 2013

Lunenburg has a population of just over 2,000, but in the summer months it fills up with visitors.

We enjoy a walk around the town in the morning, before the tourists are on the streets.

This is Monday morning, looking down to the Railway Wharf.

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And across to the Bluenose Golf Course.

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This is the same view on Wednesday morning.A1a

This is the Martha Seabury schooner, which was built here in Lunenburg.

https://queensincanada.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/the-launch-of-the-martha-seabury-schooner-at-lunenburg/

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During the summer months, this old fishing boat, The Cape Rouge, sits at the wharf. It is used in the filming of the TV series, Haven.

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The Adams and Knickle building is undergoing renovation work.

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The booths are open ready for trips on the ocean.

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The nearest boat does harbour tours, the Eastern Points goes  whale watching and the Eastern Star, sailing trips.

https://queensincanada.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/a-sail-on-the-eastern-star-at-lunenburg/

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The waterfront restaurants are open for breakfast.

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But no one wanted to sit outside on Wednesday.

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The horses are ready to take tourists on a tour of the old town.

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And the Fisheries Museum will open to educate visitors on the history and past life of Lunenburg.

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There is also a cruise ship in the harbour.

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The Lagniappe, registered in the Marshall Islands, which you could charter for $110,000 per week!!!

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The little shed beside the foundry is crooked and worn.

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The latest boat at the foundry wharf. Am I back in Dundee – it is called the Discovery?

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Looking across to Lunenburg from the golf course road,

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to the colourful town and the Fisheries Museum.

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But there was no view on Wednesday.

Even this osprey didn’t seem to see us.A9g

He flew just above our heads.

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Then back into the nest with the young.

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There’s always something to see, walking around Lunenburg.





Bluenose II – In the Water Soon?

31 07 2013
On 3rd February, 2011,  I wrote about the restoration of the Bluenose II.
Last year, I took this photo once it was out of its shed and was hopeful that we’d see the Bluenose II sailing out of the bay this summer.
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Yesterday, I took these photos in the Lunenburg fog, as the Bluenose still sits in the dry dock!
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Definite progress has been made.
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The masts are in place.
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So why the delays

On June 13th, the news was that they were working on the rudder.
That the refit was well over a year behind schedule and the $16-million pricetag for the work was expected to go up!
Then the news this week -July 22nd

The much-delayed Bluenose II rebuild has suffered another setback.

The schooner was to start sea trials this month, but Communities, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Michael Noonan told CBC News that plan has been delayed.

Noonan said a machinist suffered a serious injury this weekend and he will need to be replaced. The man’s injury has nothing to do with work, it occurred off-site.

Noonan said the machinist is one of the key members of the rebuild’s staff as builders prepare to install a steel rudder, the last step before the sea trials begin.

However, the injury means the sea trials won’t start on schedule, but will be delayed by a week or two as the builders try to find a replacement for the injured man.

We can only hope that there will be no more delays and that we will soon see the Bluenose II back in the water.

Like this photo of the old Bluenose  I took in 2009.

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Until then you can watch this Petro Canada Commercial from 1985 showing this icon in action.

http://yarmouthshipping.com/id124.html





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.