Tag Archives: Newfoundland

Getting to Know John Cabot

hello-john-cabotDave waves from behind a statue of John Cabot in Bonavista Newfoundland where the Italian explorer is said to have landed in 1497 and claimed North America for the British King Henry VII who had given Cabot money to seek out new lands for England. up-to-john-cabot

The plaque at the statue gave us some more information about John Cabot. He was born in Genoa in 1450 and named Giovanni Caboto by his father who was a spice merchant. John grew up in Venice, married a woman named Mattea and had three sons. One of them Sebastian followed in his explorer father’s footsteps. John thought he was on his way to Asia when he landed in Newfoundland with his crew of 18 men on a fast and able 50 ton ship named The Matthew. (There is some discussion about whether the ship was actually named The Mattea after John Cabot’s wife.)

Dave looks out over the spot where Cabot is thought to have landed.

Dave looks out over the spot where Cabot is thought to have landed.

Some historians say Cabot may have explored the eastern Canadian coast, and that a priest accompanying Cabot might have established a settlement in Newfoundland. John Cabot claimed North America for England, setting the course for England’s rise to power in the 1500s and 1600s. 

john-cabotWhen Cabot returned to England the king gave him a reward and support for another voyage. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s voyage in 1997 a replica was built of his ship and sailed from Bristol England to Bonavista, Newfoundland. 

Other posts……..

Discovering Sakagawea

Blown Away in South Dakota

A Bone Rattling Introduction

 

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Mars Survival Lessons in Newfoundland

dave-checking-out-tablelandsLast night the CBC program Ideas began a series called Generation Mars about the possibility of exploring and colonizing the red planet.  Last Tuesday President Obama said we will be sending people to Mars by  2030. On our trip to Newfoundland we went for a hike in a place that is helping scientists figure out just how people might survive on Mars. tableland-marylouWe hiked the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park. dave-tablelandThe rocks which make up this desolate place originated in the earth’s mantle. They were forced up during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. boulder-tablelandsThere is methane in these rocks from deep in the earth and since methane is also produced on Mars, there’s the possibility that deep down in the crust of Mars, there could also be life. dave-rod-tablelandsThat makes the Tablelands a great place to test technology and equipment that will be needed for space missions to Mars. stream-tablelandScientists have discovered that the water flowing through The Tableland rocks while low in oxygen and high in pH is actually teeming with life. That gives them hope that there may also be life on Mars.  plant-on-tablelandI think its pretty cool that the Tablelands of Newfoundland are helping us discover how we might explore and even live on Mars in the future.

Other posts about Newfoundland

 

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Finding An Old Friend

home-to-bragg-island“I know that painting,” I said in surprise as I walked down the stairs at The Rooms museum in St. John’s Newfoundland.  “It’s Home From Bragg’s Island,”  I said to my husband.  

In 2013 the Winnipeg Art Gallery celebrated its 100 birthday by hosting an exhibit called  100 Masters.  As a guide in the education department of the gallery I gave countless tours of that exhibit and got to know the pieces in it very well.  One of them was Newfoundland artist David Blackwood’s painting Home From Bragg’s Island. Seeing it again in St. John’s was like seeing an old friend. 

black-well-home-to-bragg-islandThis isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Since the art for 100 Masters was drawn from galleries all over Canada and some in the United States, it isn’t surprising that if you visit art galleries in other North American cities you have a chance of seeing some paintings from the 100 Masters. 

I look forward to finding more old friends on my future travels. 

Finding an Old Friend in Quebec City

Kirchner at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Rooms

Thanks to the 100 Masters

 

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Exploring Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park

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Other Newfoundland posts

 

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Holding Joey Smallwood’s Hand

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In Gambo Newfoundland I held hands with Joey Smallwood, the first premier of the province and the man who was behind Newfoundland becoming a part of Canada in 1949.

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The statue of Joey Smallwood in Gambo his birthplace shows him with one hand over his heart to demonstrate his love for his province and his other hand pointed down to show how he was a down to earth man who concerned himself with doing things in a practical way.

I have been reading The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson during our time in Newfoundland.  It is a fictionalized account of Joey Smallwood’s life. The book makes me appreciate Joey Smallwood for the things he accomplished, how he survived through incredible hardship, and his dedication to his ideals. But there are some things about the way he is portrayed in the book that I don’t find appealing. I don’t like the way he treats women. I don’t like his single-mindedness and inability to consider other points of view.  I felt sad about the seeming lack of real pleasure and personal joy in his life.  

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The bottom of the Joey Smallwood statue is a tree to show that the first premier was firmly rooted in the life and land of his province. He is surrounded by rocks representing the people who supported him and came out to hear him speak. The rocks also allude to the fact that Newfoundland is often called ‘The Rock. ‘

I have read that Joey Smallwood was a much more interesting and likeable figure in real life than he is portrayed in Johnson’s book. There are many people who admire the way he pulled Newfoundland into Canada and really into the modern world.  But I also have talked to people here in Newfoundland who don’t like Joey Smallwood because he shut down many small communities where people had lived for hundreds of years and basically forced them to resettle in other places. 

joey-and-meWe decided to stop in Gambo on our way to Gross Morn National Park because I had read they had some nice hiking trails. Finding the Joey Smallwood statue and learning more about his story in Gambo, was one of those coincidental things that happens sometimes when you travel.  And now I can say that I’ve held Joey Smallwood’s hand. 

Other posts………

Brush with Greatness

 

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The Arches

color-the-archesjpgMillions of years of water erosion, wind erosion and glacial action have created a unique geological formation called The Arches in Newfoundland just north of the Gros Morne National Park.  Severe storms continue to change The Arches. serious arches.jpg

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Other posts…….

The Dawn Chorus

Tree Inspiration

A Serendipitous Sail

 

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On the Eastern Edge of Canada

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How far east can you go in North America?  To Cape Spear Newfoundland!

eastern edge of canadaThe sign proves it!warnings-at-cape-spearAnd this sign warns just how dangerous it can be at Cape Spear. At least eight people have been swept out to sea there by the high waves!waves-at-cape-spearThe waves at Cape Spear were impressive on the day we visited wavesbut I don’t think there was any danger of us being washed out to sea. 

family-at-tip-of-peleeA couple years ago we hiked to the southern tip of Canada at Point Pelee with our family.  most-easterly-place-in-canadaNow we have been to the eastern tip of Canada  too!

Other posts……

Trekking to the Tip of Canada

Hiking the Route of a Ruthless Warrior

The Blueberries Slowed Him Down

 

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Harriet’s Story

marylou-and-harrietHarriet and I are the same age. She was our friendly hostess at the Lancaster Bed and Breakfast in Bonavista Newfoundland.  One morning she told me the story of a very difficult time for her family.  

When Harriet was five years old her mother was sent away  from their tiny community in Elliston down to St. John’s for almost a year. Her mother had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and rest and treatment in a sanatorium was the only way to battle the disease.  While her mother lived in a sanatorium Harriet’s father was left to cope with five small children.  Harriet’s mother gave birth to another baby while she was in the sanatorium but she couldn’t keep it there, so the little boy went to an orphanage till his mother was better.

Travel to St. John’s was too costly for their family so they didn’t see their mother that whole time.  They didn’t have a phone so the only communication they had with her was by letter and a regular radio broadcast they listened to where sanatorium patients could submit messages to be read to their families. 

colony-of-unrequited-dreamsI found Harriet’s story particularly interesting because I am currently reading The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson and one of the characters in his Newfoundland novel also gets tuberculosis and spends time in a sanatorium. 

Nurse at the hospital with Oviloo

Nurse at the hospital with Oviloo

In a recent exhibit we had at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Inuit artist Ovillo Tunille used sculptures to tell the story of her stay in a TB sanatorium as a young child.

mom at ninette hospitalOne summer when she was in college my mother worked in a TB sanatorium in Ninette Manitoba. 

Harriet’s story is typical of the experience of thousands of families in Canada who were impacted by tuberculosis. 

Other posts…….

Hearing Naomi’s Story

A Terrifying Story Politely Told

A Titanic Story- Annie Funk

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Filed under Art, Books, Health, Newfoundland, winnipeg art gallery

Home is Where the Light is

bonavista-lighthouseWe stayed in Bonavista for two nights and while there maarylou climgs lighthouse stepswe took a tour of the Bonavista Lighthouse which was built in 1843.

Bedroom of lighthouse keeper and his wife

Bedroom of the lighthouse keeper and his wife

Some lighthouse keepers and their families lived right in the lighthouse providing ready access to the light in all kinds of weather.

dave-checks-out-the-lampsWe climbed to the top of the lighthouse lights-bonavistato see the seal oil fueled light apparatus from Scotland that was used in the 1800s. 

Mary White and her grandson Frederick who was the third generation of his family to serve as the lighthouse keeper

Mary White and her grandson Frederick who was the third generation of his family to serve as the lighthouse keeper in Bonavista

The first keeper of the lighthouse was Jeremiah White. He and his wife Mary had four children Matthew, Nicholas, Joanna and Thomas.  Thomas succeeded his father as the lighthouse keeper and then Thomas’ son Frederick replaced him.  cradle-in-lighthouseApparently it was not uncommon for lighthouse keeper jobs to pass from one generation of a family to another. bonavista-lighthouseI imagine if you were born in a lighthouse and grew up in that life it was familar to you and you saw it as comforting and natural for you to continue in it. 

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Children’s bedroom in the lighthouse

There were lots of tasks involved in keeping a lighthouse and a lighthouse household going….. polishing glass, filling lamps, hunting for food, tending the garden, caring for livestock, painting the lighthouse, chopping wood for fuel, maintaining equipment, watching the waves and keeping weather pattern records. The lighthouse keeper’s family helped out with this work, so they learned about the profession.signal-flags

These shelves held marine flags used to send messages from the lighthouse to ships.  An International Code of Signals was developed in 1857 that allowed ships and lighthouses to exchange messages.  The code book on the table showed what combination of flags to hoist to send a certain message.  These messages might be about a medical emergency on board, the condition of a harbor, the break out of a fire or a disabled vessel.  The lighthouse keeper needed to be able to understand the code in order to send and receive messages from ships. lighthouse-bonavistaThe knowlegeable guides at the Bonavista lighthouse helped us learn lots of interesting things about lighthouse keepers. Being a lighthouse keeper was a respected job that required responsible, skilled and independent people who shared their often isolated life and hard work with their family. rocky-harbor-lighthouse At another lighthouse we visited in Rocky Harbor a sign outside the building said, “Home is where the light is.” For many lighthouse families in Newfoundland that was uniquely the case. 

Other posts…….

The Light Between Oceans

Hiking the Trail of a Ruthless Warrior

Homegrown in Newfoundland

 

 

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Sunday Worship

marylou-newfoundlandLast Sunday morning we did a three hour hike along the Skerwink Trail in Trinity East, Newfoundland. Our friend Simone had recommended this hike. skerwink-vistaShe did it last year and said it was spectacular. hiking-the-skerwinkMy goodness was she ever right!

This dog started tagging along as we began the trail and walked most of the way with us. He kept trying to take away Dave's walking stick.

This dog started tagging along as we began the trail and walked most of the way with us. He kept trying to take away Dave’s walking stick.

Can you see the eagle on top of the tallest rock?

Can you see the eagle on top of the tallest rock?

Dave took this photo of the eagle.

Dave managed to photograph it

and so did I.
and so did I.

Dave also photographed this bird on a cliff.

Dave also got this shot of a bird on a cliff

Our dog friend desperately wanted to get to the bird but it flew off before he reached it.

Our dog friend desperately wanted to get to the bird but it flew off before he reached it.

Of course Dave found more blueberry bushes. Of course Dave found more blueberry bushes. He discovers them everywhere.some-parts-of-the-path-lined-by-rocks

Some parts of the trail were lined with rocks.

Can you spot Dave on the cliff?

Can you spot Dave on the cliff?

From the hiking trail we could see the village of Trinity where they filmed the movie The Shipping News. From the hiking trail we could see the village of Trinity where they filmed the movie The Shipping News.

There were so many beautiful spots along the trail. You just couldn't photograph them all.

There were so many beautiful spots along the trail. You couldn’t photograph them all.

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Dave contemplates the ocean. there-was-a-lone-pine-way-out-on-a-cliff

There was a lone pine up on one cliff.

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These bare birches have a natural beauty all their own. 

Of course my sociable husband made friends along the trail including this couple who run a bed and breakfast in Norris Point Newfoundland

Of course my sociable husband made friends along the trail including this couple who run a bed and breakfast in Norris Point Newfoundland

And this couple from Calgary. The man used to play fast pitch ball and so he and Dave chatted about the good old days of the sport.

and this couple from Calgary. The man used to play fast pitch ball and so he and Dave chatted about the good old days of the sport.

The trail is very well maintained by a local group and they just ask you to put something in a donation box at the end of the hike.

The trail is very well maintained by a local group and they just ask you to put something in a donation box at the end of the hike to help with the costs of upkeep. 

skerwink-trailI can’t think of a better worship experience than the one we had last Sunday on the Skerwink Trail.  hiking-the-skerwink-trailIt’s a wonderful world!

Other posts……………

The Fishing Village That Changed The World

Homegrown in Newfoundland

The Blueberries Slowed Him Down

A House With A View

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