2014 Aug 11 – Day 53 – Bridgewater, NS to Halifax, NS

Today was a bad day.   The weather man had promised sunny skies all day today.  We woke up to overcast skies – again.

But….by the time we had been on the road for awhile blue sky appeared with some very interesting white and grey clouds.  This is what caused the bad day because it was a perfect day for photographs – and I took almost 300 of them TODAY!  And you are going to see lots of them in this blog because I want you to see the lovely places we saw. (I recently discovered that if you click on the photos in the blog they will come up full screen if you want to see any of them in a larger format.  My sister figured this out already, but I thought I would pass it along in case any of you didn’t know; like me.)

It was our last day before we reached Halifax and we had three stops planned.  None of them were historic; just pretty places.  And pretty places they turned out to be!  Oh my, did I have fun.

The fishing village of Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement. Under the protection of the British Government, in response to an advertisement in European communities, several hundred people (431 from an area of France, others from several German states, Switzerland and Holland) came to the New World for a new start in 1753. The lot descriptions of the land parcels were written on playing cards and chosen at random by the settlers.

We had a great view of the town from the top of the hill at the golf course parking lot, then we parked the truck in town and wandered down to the wharf to see the Bluenose II (the Bluenose is the sailing schooner on the back of our dime.  She was undefeated in the Fisherman’s Racing Cups – she sunk off the coast of Haiti some years later).  Bluenose II is undergoing a VERY expensive refurbishing – cost overruns big time  – by the Nova Scotia Government.  The two ships were made in Lunenburg and made the town famous among sailing racers.

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Remember my comment awhile ago about the how I liked all the brightly coloured houses in the Gaspe?  Well Lunenburg had them beat!  Everywhere you turned there was colour.  (And some nice dogs too.  I met a very nice white Standard Poodle name Frisco and an English Bulldog named Otis who loved to have his back scratched. I can always take time to visit with a dog.)

IMG_5775 IMG_5780 IMG_5783 IMG_5788 IMG_5791 IMG_5797 IMG_5776  Some Dory boatsIMG_5794  WI and WWII MemorialIMG_5795 IMG_5801  Model of the Bluenose

We drove south of Lunenburg about 8 km to see Blue Rocks, an area where the rocks are supposed to have a bluish caste.  The light must not have been right because they just looked grey to us.  It was a beautiful little bay though – very popular with kayakers.

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After we left Lunenburg we drove along the coast to Mahone Bay where we stopped for lunch.  There are three churches side by side at Mahone Bay (and a fourth one back in the trees) and on a sunny day the reflections in the waters of the bay are stunning.  When we were there conditions were not quite right for the best shots, but it was pretty anyway.


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45 km west of Halifax you will find the quintessential Maritime village of Peggy’s Cove.  Just west of town is a memorial to the victims of the Swiss Air plane crash in 1998.  A huge granite rock was cut in half and each half was inscribed.  A path through lichen covered boulders leads you to the memorial overlooking the Atlantic where the plane went down.

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The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove is considered to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world.  It is built on solid rock.  All of the buildings at Peggy’s Cove are nestled among huge granite boulders.  The place is swarming with tourists.  The population of Peggy’s Cove is about 100 people; fishermen and artists mostly, but there were probably 500 tourists clambering over the rocks and having their picture taken in front of the lighthouse.  But…oh my, oh my was it beautiful.  I could have stayed there all day.

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Note the name on the boatIMG_5958 IMG_5963 IMG_5964 IMG_5965 IMG_5968 IMG_5970 IMG_5969 IMG_5971 IMG_5972 IMG_5973 IMG_5975 IMG_5978 IMG_5976 IMG_5979 IMG_5981 IMG_5983 IMG_5988 IMG_5984 IMG_5990 IMG_5992

And…. in the parking lot at the Visitors Center was a white Ford truck with an Ontario license plate.  The truck had been purchased at Hanna Ford in Collingwood, ON.  We drove by that dealership when we stayed at Blue Mountains last month and I pointed it out to John saying I had to take a photo of the sign.  A Hanna Ford  dealership!  John’s family only bought GM products when he was growing up and he still likes General Motors.  My family however drove Fords.  My dad and his brothers bought Fords exclusively for over 50 years. Somehow John managed to leave Collingwood without passing that car dealership so I couldn’t get my photo.  Well I have one now!

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Today was a fabulous day!  We saw so many beautiful bays and inlets as we drove along.  I was constantly snapping photos out the window and asking John to slow down here, or please stop here.  We did make it to Halifax in time for dinner.  If you take the main highway from Bridgewater to Halifax it is about 94 km.  We took the winding coast so we traveled an extra 100 km.  Still, we left our hotel in Bridgewater at 9:45 this morning and checked into our hotel in Halifax at 6 pm.  Not too bad really.  Yes, it was a bad day all right.  I hope tomorrow is another one just like it!

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2014 Aug 10 – Day 52 – Yarmouth, NS to Bridgewater, NS

A glorious, glorious sunny morning in Yarmouth and we enjoyed it almost all day, just a few smatterings of rain as we approached Bridgewater this afternoon.

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We had to visit the only provincial firefighter’s museum in Canada before we left Yarmouth.  John was a happy man wandering around all that antique equipment for over an hour.  I was impressed with the scope of their artifacts; not just apparatus, but leather buckets, old helmets and speaking trumpets, toys, cups and glasses, patches and badges galore, buttons, medals, you name it – if it was fire department related it was on one of the two floors in the museum.

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We left Yarmouth and made our first stop not too far out of town at Tusket to see the oldest surviving combination courthouse and gaol left in Canada.  There are older court houses and older gaols, but no other buildings that contained both.




Built between 1802-05.  Court opened in 1805.


A young 6′ 4″ fellow guided us around the basement jail cells, ducking through every doorway so as not to bash his head; which he has done often he said.  There were 6 cells under the court room, one of which was for fellows incarcerated for unpaid debts and it had two bunks. The guard lived in the building and made the meals for himself and the prisoners.  The courthouse was used for Magistrates Court (the judge being an upright local man elected by the community) and Supreme Court (the judge having a law degree).  Supreme Court only happened once a year so if you committed a serious crime (murder for example) soon after court had recessed this year you would be kept in solitary confinement for the year until the judge made his circuit and returned to Tusket.

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NovaScotia law books dating to 1874

Our lunch stop was beside the bay at Woods Harbour.  John had some fun photographing a seagull sitting on a rock just offshore while I read my book for awhile.

IMG_5657 IMG_5659IMG_5663We stopped next in Shelbourne, which had a lovely old waterfront area with brightly-colored typical Maritime buildings.  There were, like many parts of Nova Scotia, a lot of shipbuilding companies here once upon a time.  They became quite famous for some of their racing yachts but are best known for creating the Dory.  This little flat-bottomed stackable boat became very popular with fisherman.  At one time a shipment of 28 railway cars full of dories was sent to Ontairo, the largest single shipment of boats ever in the country.

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IMG_5688IMG_5705In Liverpool we had hoped to see the Sherman Hines Museum of Photography which housed not only photographs by the likes of Hines and Karsh, but lots of old photography equipment.  We found the building, but they had moved the museum to the Cultural Center which was not open on a Sunday.  Boo hoo.  I think that would have been very interesting. Nonetheless it was a very nice day.

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2014 Aug 9 – Day 51 – Digby, NS to Yarmouth, NS

It poured rain overnight in Digby, but there was a yellow sun shining through the clouds when we got up at 7:30.  We spent the night at Harmony B & B in Digby.  Wayne and Helen have run their B & B for 14 years, year-round.  They have four bedrooms in their house and they are the B & B part, but Wayne figured that would not be a sufficient money-maker; they would have to do all the work themselves. They had a large lawn behind their house so they built four suites at the back.  These are the money-maker units that provide the income to hire staff to clean the units.  They rent the suites out all winter to people in town on business.  In the summer all the B & B rooms in the house and the four suites are rented every day.  Digby is a very popular place to visit. We had a lovely room with a comfortable bed and a good breakfast to start our day.  I couldn’t imagine doing that all year-round for 14 years, but they like it.  Wayne said they are on the “Freedom 85” plan.

Since we were unable to see all of the things that interested us in Annapolis-Royal yesterday we drove back up the road to see the Historic Garden and Fort Anne.  The rain last night was hard on some of the plants and it being August many of the flowers in the garden had finished blooming but it was so nice to walk around a garden and see pretty flowers.  I hate gardening (translate: I hate weeding the garden) but I love flowers and I love photographing flowers.

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After we walked all the garden paths we drove into Annapolis-Royal and went to see Fort Anne, which is just a block away from the main street.


A Scot named Sir William Alexander was given a charter for New Scotland – Nova Scotia in Latin, the language in which the charter was written – in 1621 to establish a Scottish colony in North America.  (There is one of the two surviving copies of the charter in the museum at Fort Anne.)  Sir William built Charles Fort (in honour of King Charles 1) at the present Fort Anne Historic Site in 1629 and the ruins of Charles Fort have been found under Fort Anne.

The earthworks here are the earliest Canadian example of a Vauban-style fort (He is the French fellow that came up with the star-shaped fort) and were built by the French in 1702. Fort Anne is the oldest national historic site in Canada, designated in 1917.  It also holds the title for most-contested piece of land in Canada having been the object of 13 battles and a change of hands 7 times (back and forth between the British and the French).


The gunpowder magazine built into the ground on the left is the only original structure of the fort.

IMG_5518 IMG_5531After the defeat of the French with the fall of Quebec in 1751 the commander at Fort Anne surrendered to the British and handed over the key to the fort (300 ill-provisioned, weary French soldiers that had not been paid in a year facing 3500 fresh British troops). The honking-big original key is in the museum.


They also have 4 tapestry panels that depict major events in the life of the fort – 1 panel for each century in the history of the fort. They were made by over 120 volunteers in 1994 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada.

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After we left Fort Anne we drove back to Digby to drive the spit of land that runs parallel to the coast for 35 km called the Digby Neck anticipating the advertised ‘breathtaking scenery.’  Not – 33 km of trees beside the road with the occasional glimpse of a bay.  We did take a couple of photos on the way back, but that was an hour of my life I will never get back.

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From there it was a meandering drive along the coast to Yarmouth on the SW end of Nova Scotia.  Tomorrow we start our drive along the southern coast and up to Sydney for our ferry across to Newfoundland on August 18.

2014 Aug 8 – Day 50 – Wolfville, NS to Digby, NS

Friday was an overcast day, sadly, as our first two stops were Look Offs as they say here Down East.  We left Wolfville and followed Highway 1 west to Greenwich.  There we turned off and drove about 20 km north to the top of a hill above Blomidon Provincial Park.  From the viewpoint you can see the Minas Basin at the end of the Bay of Fundy, five counties and the valleys of six rivers.  On a clear day it would have been spectacular.  It was pretty impressive even on a hazy day. I took 12 photos spanning the view to stitch together when I get home.  That might give you an idea of the scope of the panorama.

IMG_5267  The Minas BasinIMG_5268 IMG_5269 IMG_5270

We tried to find the Greenwood Military Aviation museum which is located on the Canadian Forces Base at Greenwood, but the address we had led us to a secured gate with barricades, razor wire and a gate house.  The notice said the gate is open 7-8 am and 3-5 pm.  Well it really said 15:00-18:00 but I translated for you.   Since it wasn’t even two o’clock at this point we turned around and headed to Bridgetown.

From the Look Off above Valleyview Provincial Park north of Bridgetown you can see for 50 km over the fertile Annapolis Valley.  Again a lovely view that would have been fabulous on a brighter day.



Campsites at Valleyview Provincial Park.IMG_5302




The Annapolis Valley



We were hoping to see all three of the historic sites near Annapolis Royal but by the time we got to the first one, Port Royal, it was 4 pm.  We spent the hour until closing time before heading to Digby, 25 km down the road for the night.

Port Royal was a French fur trading post established in 1605.  A gentleman, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, arrived in the New World with a fur trade monopoly from King Henry IV and cartographer and explorer Samuel de Champlain.  They established good relations with the local Mi’kmaq people who helped them learn the land and its trees, berry, roots, etc.  The Mi’kmaq traded their beaver, wolf, raccoon and other fur pelts for blankets, iron tools, etc.  The two nations established very good relations and were friends and allies for years.

The port was only used for 8 seasons.  The French would arrive in the spring, trade with the Mi’kmaq, gather up all the furs and sail for France in the fall.  In 1613, while the inhabitants were away, an English expedition from Virginia looted and burned the Habitation (they were starving down at Jamestown).  The French survived the winter before sailing back to France and the Habitation was never rebuilt.

Spurred by the efforts of Harriet Taber Richardson of the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal, the Canadian government rebuilt the Habitation in 1939-1940 based on detailed journal notes from an inhabitant and the drawings and engravings of de Champlain.  They used construction methods used in France at the time the Habitation was built, and hired retired shipbuilders to work on it since they were familiar with many of the tools and techniques.  This was the first major reconstruction undertaken by the federal government and was a milestone in the preservation movement.  Port Royal is considered the second most significant historical site in Canada after the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.


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Deer skin window panes.

IMG_5321 IMG_5322 IMG_5324 IMG_5325 IMG_5333 A wooden wood latheIMG_5334 IMG_5336 Sleeping quarters

for the fur traders.     IMG_5337 IMG_5349 The Sieur de Mons quarters.  His bedroom is above the ‘living room’

IMG_5352 IMG_5355  I loved the leather bucketIMG_5357  A grizzly hideIMG_5358 IMG_5345 IMG_5340 IMG_5330 IMG_5375 A nice farewell.

Another great story, another good day.

2014 Aug 7 – Day 49 – Truro, NS to Wolfville, NS

Today was a seafaring day.  All three of our stops were related to the ‘sea’.

John was wakened at 6 am by torrential rain, but by the time I woke at 8 it was done and only the heavy clouds were left.  I was a bit dismayed because we are now driving the north coast of Nova Scotia which is along the Bay of Fundy (and its inlets and bays) and home to the highest tides in the world.  The cliffs and shoreline are supposed to be very scenic and dramatic and I didn’t want the sky to be cloudy all day.

What saved us from getting to the tidal lookout we were to stop at as early as we would have – and while the skies were still grey – was a stop in Maitland at the home of ship builder/designer W.D. Lawrence.

This strip of Nova Scotia shore was strewn with ship building firms and the company owner’s houses.  It was referred to in the late 1800’s as Millionaires Row.  Mr. Lawrence’s house was three stories with about 18 rooms.  Three generations of his family lived in the house until 1969 when the grand-daughter gifted it to the Provincial Museum Society with all of its contents (about 80% of the original furnishings) so that it would always stay “Grandma’s house.”

Mr. Lawrence designed and built the largest wooden full-rigged (three mast) sailing vessel ever made in Canada.  He named it after himself, the “W.D. Lawrence”.  It was 262′ long, 48′ wide, 29′ high and weighed 2459 tons.  On its maiden voyage it did a 2 1/2 year trip around the world.  Mr. Lawrence went on the trip and while the ship was being loaded and unloaded at various ports he went exploring in the area and brought back many interesting things.  He had been scoffed at while the ship was being built; people said it would never sail, it was too big and the construction would bankrupt him – but it was a very profitable vessel for his company.  It transported lumber, coal and guano (bird droppings) from Chile to Europe.  Once the ship left Nova Scotia it never returned there while Mr. Lawrence owned it.  He sold it about 8 years later to a Norwegian firm who removed the masts and sails and used it as a coal barge.  It sank in high seas a couple of years later.

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All the pattern on the furniture was hand painted – even the wood grain.



A model of the W.D.Lawrence. 5/16″ to the foot.



We had a lovely lady named Elizabeth as our guide.  We were the only people in the house at the time and she loved to talk (almost as much as I do – hard to believe I know but true nonetheless) and tell stories so we were there for over two hours.  We had a great time.  And by the time we left at 2 o’clock the sky was blue and it was a top-down day the rest of the day. Thank you Elizabeth and Lawrence House.

Bruncoat Head is a small jut of land in the Copequid Bay at the end of the Minas Basin of the Bay of Fundy.  The highest tide every recorded in the world occurred here at 16 meters (50′).  Due to our lengthy visit at Lawrence House it was low tide by the time we got there and we had wandered the pathway to the stairs to the shore.  It was interesting to note that the last flight of stairs was hinged so it could move with the water.  There were lots of people wandering around on the flats.  We stay up on the rocks where our shoes did not get sucked in to the mud and we did not risk falling on the slippery shore.


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Note how high the cliff has been eroded by the tides.IMG_5229 IMG_5233


This island was once part of the mainland and had a lighthouse.IMG_5236

As I have mentioned before, when the British defeated the French in 1751 and the Acadian settlers (many of whom had fought with the French in battles against the British during the Seven Years War) refused to swear oath to the King they were expelled from the now-all-British Colony.  All their possessions and land were seized and they were rounded up and shipped back to France (even though most of them had been born in the colony and never set foot in France) or to the American States.  Over 1/2 of them died from disease or shipwreck.   It was a very tragic event in the history of Canada.

The American Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about the event called “Evangeline,” a woman torn from her family and lover during the expulsion.  (How many of you remember it from English Lit?)

The popularity of this poem placed a great deal of focus on the story if the Acadia and this public interest was a prime motivator in the creation of Grand Prè National Park.  It is located on the lands that the Acadian farmers had dyked to create exceptional farmland from the salt marsh created by the area’s high tides and where most of the people were interred until they were shipped off.

At Grand Prè there is a statue of Evangeline that ‘ages’ as you walk around it clockwise.  And it does. The woman looks very youthful from one side and as you move around her face gains maturity.  We were unable to go through the Interpretive Center since it was 5 pm and they were closing up, but we wandered the lovely gardens for awhile before digging Stella (our GPS) out of the console and asking her to direct us to our hotel: Old Orchard Resort and Spa; located in the middle of who-knows-where just outside of Wolfville.

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2014 Aug 6 – Day 48 – Charlottetown, PEI to Truro, NS

We said a fond farewell to PEI this morning, crossed the bottom of New Brunswick and made our way to Truro, Nova Scotia.  Province number 8.

Right near the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border there is a Parks Canada Historical Site: Beausejour Fort/Fort Cumberland – the little fort with two names.  Beausejour was one of the first pentagonal five bastion forts built in North America – in 1751.  It was designed by a Frenchman as a defensible fort on lower ground.  The British laid siege and secured the fort in 1775, renaming it Fort Cumberland.  It successfully repelled an attack by American rebels in 1776.

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Huge earthworks all the way around.IMG_5143


They had artifacts from the 1750’s and early 1800’s in the Visitors Center and had some really interesting things.

IMG_5100  Powder hornsIMG_5104 An 1850 tea caddy


Ships in bottles made by POW interred at Amherst Detention Center in 1915IMG_5113 IMG_5118



A Mi’kmaq style canoe made out of porcupine quills.

We only stopped two more times today.  First was in a little Nova Scotia town called Springhill.  A coal mine was opened there in 1876 and permanently closed in, I think, 1958 although the plaque commemorates deaths to 1969.  The memorial listed those killed in three major mine accidents, 1891: 125 men, 1956: 39 men, and 1958: 75 men.  Behind the main memorial were five markers listing all of the  those killed in single or multiple accidents from 1876 to 1969.  There were only half a dozen years in all that time that had no deaths.  It was a very sad reminder of the dangers they worked in.  This mine prompted the very first Trade Union in Canada, Sept 1, 1879.

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Our second stop was a fluke.  We were motoring along and in a break in the trees I saw a huge barrel-shaped island sitting off shore out in the bay.  The tide was out so it was pretty eye catching.  John turned around so we could take a photo of it and then we found a road down to the Five Islands Lighthouse Park where you could see all of the five islands in this huge open bay (the fifth is a slim needle right at the end).  Too bad it was an overcast day it would have been an even nicer view in the sun.

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We had to stop briefly just outside to Truro to put Poppy’s top up because the clouds decided to unload some rain the last few miles.  We have pre-planned the next nine days that will take us around the west end of Nova Scotia and over to Halifax.  Lots to see and do.

2014 Aug 4 & 5 – Days 46 & 47 – Summerside, PEI to Charlottetown, PEI

We have been blessed with some fine weather here in PEI.  Even if it is overcast, it is warm and often the haze burns off.   The last two days have been very sunny and warm.  Average summer temperature here is 23-24 Celsius.  The last two days have been 26-28.  They are beginning to need rain for the crops.

PEI is comprised of farmland (acres and acres of it), woodlots, harbours and beaches or shore cliffs.  It is 244 km (139 miles)  from tip to tip and from 6 km (4 miles) to 64 km (40 miles) wide.  The population of the ENTIRE island is 145,866 people.  The two largest centers are Charlottetown (the Capital) at 32,500 and Summerside (55 km to the northwest) at 15,600.  Land costs $10,000 per acre and the average house costs $150,000.  There are 8 paid fire department personnel on the whole island.  Everyone knows about everyone very quickly.  They have hundreds of roads that often turn from pavement to gravel and back to pavement in a couple of kilometers.  Every place that has a collection of 5-8 houses – no grocery, post office or gas station – has a name.  It is like being in Scotland, only they have distinct villages every 2 or 3 miles.

We took a horse-drawn carriage ride in Charlottetown yesterday to pass some time until the power came on again and we could check into our hotel (power outages are common, especially in winter).  Lucas, the carriage driver, pointed out the building that housed the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court and then said, “But it’s pretty quiet there.  We don’t have much crime on the island.”

We  have very much enjoyed our time here.  We spent 8 nights and days touring around. We have put over 1000 km on Poppy and have driven the coast of the entire province, plus quite a few of the inland roads.

Yesterday we left Summerside, drove the remainder of Green Gables Shore and returned to Charlottetown.  We drove up to Rustico, where we had left our drive the day before and toured the Farmer’s Bank Museum.  What a great story that was!  And lucky you…. I am going to tell it!

A priest named Father Belcourt came to Rustico in 1859 and stayed 10 years.  He was very disturbed by the poverty, illiteracy and alchoholism of the Acadian farmers and fishermen of the area.  He was also very concerned that French was slowly being lost in the schools because most of the teachers were English speaking.


In his 10 years in Rustico he started a model school that taught Acadian’s to be teachers and by the time he left 70% of the schools had French-speaking teachers.  He started an “Adult Study Group” which helped adult literacy; but you were not allowed to attend if you had been drinking – a forerunner of an AA meeting.  He began a school band that became sought after for local and further-out community parades and celebrations.  He became a correspondent of a member of Emperor Napoleon III’s court and recieved the emperor’s patronage for community projects; one of which was a library that grew to 1,000 volumes.  And he began the Farmer’s Bank.

There were only two banks on PEI at the time so there was no opposition in the Provincial Legislature to start another bank.  And even though Queen Victoria’s advisors were astonished at the small scale of the to-be-bank in Rustico,  they were impressed with how well the Act was put together and Royal assent was given April 7, 1864.

Local families, at an average of  $10 each, set aside $4,000 to start the bank.  They gave loans to farmers and fishermen as low as $5 with 7-8% interest, due at the end of the term.  This type of loan was of no interest to the banks – they considered the people to be too high a risk, the amount was too small and they charged 18 -20% interest as set out by the bank’s head offices in Montreal or Toronto – but they were immensely valuable to the locals as it helped pay for seed or necessary items between harvests. They printed their own currency (one-sided bills in denominations of $1, $2, or $5.  No coins).  The currency was accepted province-wide. This little bank started in 1864 and operated for 30 years and it was the forerunner of credit unions in North America!

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The priest asked his parishioners who attended church by wagon or ice sled to bring a red island sandstone block with them to services.  In that way, by December, they acquired the blocks needed to build the bank.  The building housed the Catholic Institute and had two waiting rooms, one for men and one for women –  and a room for the bank.

By the time he left after 10 years the Acadians in Rustico had learned to read, learned new techniques for farming, sobered up, had children in school and ran a sucessful a bank  (which never had more than $10,000 on the books).  They were better off in all areas of their lives.  Now… isn’t that a cool story???




Locally made woven  baby bed.


There were two other buildings beside the bank (which I can’t believe that neither of us photographed).  One was Doucet house, probably the oldest building in PEI, built in 1764; home to Mr. & Mrs. Doucet and their nine children. This house was lived in until 1987 when the owners wanted to make a bigger house and the Friends of Farmer’s Bank brought it to the site and spent 5 years restoring it.  All of the darker wood in the floors and walls is original to 1764

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The other was St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church that was built in 1838 and is still used today.

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After that we drove along the coast through PEI National Park, past a 3 km long beach and inland to Charlottetown. We arrived in town at 1:30 just as all the power went out.   We couldn’t check into the hotel so we wandered around town, took a 1/2 hour horse-drawn carriage ride and (when the power was on again) went to Founder’s Hall, an audio-visual presentation of Canada’s Confederation from the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, to the creation of Nunavat in 1999, our third territory.

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We spent until mid-afternoon relaxing in our room and I read my travel books and made notes of the places we may want to see in Nova Scotia.  John then makes our hotel reservations a few days out at a time.

We left our room about 2 and toured the two remaining buildings we wanted to see, Government House (the home of the PEI Lieutenant Governor) and Beaconsfield, a Victorian-era house (1877) that had running hot water, electric lights and central heating.

IMG_5037  BeaconsfieldIMG_5056 (2) IMG_5057 (2)                                                   The double drawing roomIMG_5067 (2).

This is a Victorian lady’s pastime.  At night when they combed their hair they would keep the hairs in the brush (and sometimes cut a lock from a guest as a keepsake) and the hair would be woven and fashioned into wreaths like this.


IMG_5050 (2)  Government HouseIMG_5041 IMG_5044  We wandered around Charlottetown for awhile then headed back to the hotel so I could slave away on my blog.

IMG_5011  Downtown StreetIMG_5023


City Hall which also used to house the police and fire departmentsIMG_5035



This house was built as an engagement present but the woman said no.IMG_5090





St Paul’s Anglican ChurchIMG_5093




Zion Presbyterian Church

And that concludes our visit to Prince Edward Island.


2014 Aug 3 – Day 45 – Summerside, PEI (Driving the Green Gables Shore)

We attended church this morning at the beautiful Summerside Presbyterian Church before venturing out on our travels.


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Since we are in Prince Edward Island I think it is mandatory to go to at least some of the Green Gables attractions.  Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in New London, PEI and wrote the famous novel, Anne of Green Gables in 1908 while living in Cavendish.  It has been translated into over 30 languages and is a beloved story all over the world.


All of the L.M. Montgomery sites are along the east shore around the town of Cavendish.  Entrepreneurs have built a popular attraction called “Avonlea-The Village of Anne of Green Gables”  – the fictitious town where Anne – and you can spend the whole day making sand castles, going to ‘school,’ riding the horse-drawn wagon, having a tea party  and immersing yourself in all things Anne.

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We can still walk on stilts.  See John above  behind the sand castle. IMG_4889 IMG_4898

IMG_4900 This was a Presbyterian Church that L.M. Montgomery attended and was purchased and brought to Avonlea for preservation IMG_4902 IMG_4904IMG_4906

By 1920 her aunt and uncle, on whose house Green Gables was fashioned, were renting out spare bedrooms to overnight guests who wanted to see “where Anne lived.”  In 1937 Parks Canada purchased the land and the house and it was incorporated into the Prince Edward Island National Park.

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My daddy used to keep geraniums on the windowsill too.



After we left all-things-Anne we drove along the coast road in PEI National Park to check out some more of the beaches and shoreline.

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IMG_4947Then it was an easy drive to Kensington where we had dinner at the Island Stone Pub, which used to be the train station, and on to Summerside for our last night.  We return to Charlottetown for two more nights before we leave PEI.  We will finish the drive along the Green Gables Shore on our way to Ch-town and see the things there that we want to see before, hopefully, having a down-day to plan our next province, Nova Scotia.

2014 Aug 2 – Day 44 – Summerside, PEI (Driving the North Cape Coast)

Today was basically a scenic day.  We toured no museums, forts, or houses.  We didn’t take any long walks.  We drove counter-clockwise around the west part of PEI – which, like the east, is connected to the middle with a narrow strip of land.  There is a highway that goes right up the middle from Summerside to North Cape but we rarely take the straight road.  We left our hotel at 11 this morning and returned to town at 6 pm.

The North Cape Coastal Drive was not as interesting as the East Coast.  It was mostly woodlands, farm land, and distant water.  Part of the lack of scenic-ness was probably due to the overcast sky that we experienced all day. We made brief stops all the way around.  First stop was to take a quick photo of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. IMG_4796IMG_4798 Mussel traps, I think. Next stop was at Green Park Provincial Park to see see the shipbuilding museum, but it was closed and they were setting up for some kind of big festival so we didn’t linger.

We stopped at the Jacques Cartier Provincial Park to see the monument erected in 1934 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his discovery of PEI in 1534. IMG_4799 IMG_4805


Fourth stop was to photograph the purple lawns we kept passing.  There was a ditch beside the road filled with whatever invasive plant was taking over the lawns in this area and I hopped out to take a pic and see what it was.  It is thyme! Pretty but I bet the homeowners are not pleased. IMG_4807 IMG_4812

IMG_4810 Fifth stop was our longest: at North Cape.  The Canadian Wind Energy Institute is located here to do research on wind energy.  They provide data from their wind turbines to many companies and countries.  North Cape allows 300 degrees of access to wind and has rapidly changing weather, severe wind gusts, and icy temperatures so it is an excellent place to procure lots of information for study and technological advancement in the field of wind energy.  We did not tour the interpretive center, but did take a short walk around the point. North Cape is also where the Northumberland Strait between Nova Scotia/New Brunswick and PEI and the St. Lawrence River meet.  The longest natural rock reef in North America is located here and at low tide you can walk out on the rocks for a kilometer.  There were so many shipwrecks caused by the reef that the early pioneer community fabricated their own makeshift warning light (no information was provided on what that was) and a permanent lighthouse at the Cape was a major item on PEI’s ‘wish list’ to join Confederation (like the CNR railway line). IMG_4814 IMG_4816 IMG_4817 A blade for a wind turbine is 45 meters long.IMG_4822  North Cape shore.     You can just see a bit of the rock reef in out in the water.IMG_4827  Inukshuks galore.IMG_4829 IMG_4834Sixth stop was at a tiny sheltered harbour that had 21 boats tied up and hundreds of lobster traps. IMG_4835 IMG_4836 IMG_4840 Seventh stop was West Point Provincial Park to be….well, at the furthest west point, of course. IMG_4855 IMG_4859

Eighth and last stop was to take a shot of the spill well at Glenwood Pond, on the West Point Watershed.  I think this would qualify as a waterfall on flat PEI. IMG_4860 And that, ladies and gentlemen sums up our day.

2014 Aug 1 – Day 43 – Charlottetown, PEI to Summerside, PEI

Have you ever had to work on Plan B rather than Plan A?  Or perhaps even Plan C?  That is how today went: a constant change of plan. Fortunately none of our plans are set is stone so they are easy to change.

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The re-scheduling began not long after we left Charlottetown.  We were going to do a 45 mile scenic drive that was highlighted in one of my Daddy’s travel books, but we missed a southward turn, drove too far westward to want to go back for such a short drive, and decided to continue on to see a garden in Burlington that had replicas of English castles and buildings set among English country gardens.

We found the place but it was closed and for sale.  Plan C – follow the current road all the way to the east cast to Parks Corner and see the Anne of Green Gables Museum.  Parks Corner is further down the coast from all the other Green Gables attractions around Cavendish so I thought this would work well for later if we didn’t have to come this far east when we were doing the Anne thing.

We pulled into a viewpoint overlooking the picturesque village of French River.  Totally a typical Maritime image!  And on such a nice sunny day it was a lovely view.


The Anne of Green Gables Museum is located in the farm house of the author’s aunt and uncle.  Lucy Maude Montgomery spent many happy visits there.  She called the place “Silver Birch” and used it as a setting for her “Pat of Silver Birch” story.  The farm is still in the Campbell family.

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This is “The Lake of Shining Waters” in her books.


We continued around the point and headed south to Kensington via a little loop road detour to see the gorgeous black and white St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at Indian River.

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Poppy rested in the shade.


I wanted to check out the Kensington Water Gardens that had flower beds amid ponds, fountains, streams and waterfalls and a Tudor Mansion that had a sound-and-light show and a medieval street you could walk down.  The Tudor Mansion is now a haunted house and the water gardens have been covered with a kiddie amusement park.  We are now on Plan D.


We are spending the next three nights in Summerside, which is only 26 km from Charlottetown if you take the main road straight up. There were three things I had on my list to see here.  Since we had gotten into town so much earlier than expected we decided to start checking them off.

The first one we found was the International Fox Museum.  From the early 1900’s until the mid-1940’s there were many silver fox breeding farms on PEI.  The sale of these rare and valuable pelts helped the Island weather the Depression much better than many other places.

A silver fox is a genetic anomaly in a regular red fox.  Because of the rarity of finding them in the wild they were much sought after by the rich and famous for furs in the early part of the 20th century, especially among European and British royalty.  It was a fascinating story of selective breeding and competition.  By the 1940’s there were over 3900 fox farms on the island with over 99,000 foxes living on the farms.  There were even fox shows, like dog show, where the foxes were beautifully groomed and graded for quality by the judges.  A pair of breeding silver foxes would sell for $5000 each in 1910.  And a top quality pelt would fetch $25,000.  But a change in fashion and a saturation in the market closed the industry in the early 40’s.  I had never heard of this business before.  What an interesting tale.

IMG_4730 IMG_4737  1920’s silver fox peltsIMG_4739

When we were in Charlottetown I saw a card advertising a display for the 150 years of the Summerside Fire Department.  It was located on the upper story of the old Armory Building; which just happened to be upstairs in the Fox Museum!  The Fire Station is next door so after we were done looking at the displays we wandered over and John spent a happy 3/4 of an hour chatting to one of the firemen and checking out their new and antique equipment.

IMG_4746 This was a fire sprinkler.  We had never seen one like it before.IMG_4748  Some of the photos from the 150 years of Summerside Fire Department.IMG_4749 IMG_4760IMG_4759 IMG_4761 IMG_4762

The last thing in on my list was the Wyatt Heritage House.  Built in 1897 it was lived in by J. Edward Wyatt’s family and his two spinster daughters until they died, the eldest was 102 at the time. She gifted the house and it’s contents to the city.  It took two years to get it set up for a museum and they are still cataloging things stored in the attic.  We had a nice Acadian girl guide us through the house and tell us all the stories.  J. Edward Wyatt was a prominent Conservative MLA and was Speaker of the House in PEI in the early 1900’s.  He made his fortune in mortgages and loans.  Some of the treasures in the house were collateral from failed loans.

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It was a good day, albeit one that took a lot of twists and turns.  But…that is what makes our type of travel fun.