Resilience

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September 25, 2022- The image stays in my mind, of the effervescent couple, greeting everyone cheerfully at their lakeside restaurant, in the village of Bras d’Or, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Then, there were the hardworking Miqmaq people, across the lake, in Eskasoni, their workshops and tool sheds, so vital a part of their community life. Across the strait, in the southwest corner of Newfoundland, the people of Channel-Port aux Basques greet hundreds of visitors each day, during the summer months and send off equally as many, who are at the end of their visits. Nearby, in the village of Doyles, are the cabins along the Codroy River, providing quality accommodations, in a supremely rustic setting. At the northwestern tip of the island, the communities around L’Anse aux Meadows hold their own, in a climate that is already severe, nine months of the year. On the Burin Peninsula, in southeast Newfoundland, a well-kept series of gardens form the centerpiece of an exquisite Bed and Breakfast establishment, honouring its late founder.

These communities, as well as Prince Edward Island and much of New Brunswick, mainland Nova Scotia and eastern Quebec, suffered immense damage from Hurricane Fiona, the same storm that blasted Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands, earlier this month. I spoke with the proprietor of a motel, in an area that was spared damage this weekend. She said that much of Cape Breton and the Chignecto/Bay of Fundy region to the west of the island will be in extended recovery mode, for quite some months to come. The area has winter to keep in mind as well.

Many of us are used to thinking of tropical islands and forested lands of the north, in terms of vacations and scenery. Now, we are, more and more, coming to see the entirety of life in those communities. Every location that provides others with rest and relaxation, has its own human communities, whose members have needs, aspirations and dreams of their own. Let us stay in contact with those friends in the affected areas, and encourage their resilience as best we can.

I know that the Caribbean, Alaska and Atlantic Canada, like all places affected by disaster, will rise again.

Ferry to Province # 10

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June 23, 2022, Doyles, Newfoundland- I got up and out the door, at Fair Isle Motel, as quickly as possible-making time for a decent breakfast at The Herring Choker, in the village of Nyanza, about eight kilometers east of Whycocoming. The place specialize in natural fare, so I did nto feel the need to eat again, until dinner.

Arriving at the ferry gate, in North Sydney, I had to wait for another party, whose documents were apparently not in order. When it came my turn, I was through the gate in short order and ended up in the last parking slot on Level 3. My reserved seat, up on Level 9 of the ship, was a window seat on the ocean. The service on this vessel was excellent, with a little treat of soft-serve ice cream, in mid-afternoon, and a fine dinner of cod au gratin, salad and steamed vegetables about two hours later.

So, I watched the departure from Cape Breton Island and the arrival in Newfoundland.

Thus, around 6:30 p.m., Newfoundland Daylight Time. This time zone is 1/2 hour ahead of Atlantic Daylight Time, which is observed in the other three Atlantic provinces, on the eastern North Shore of Quebec and in its own mainland section, Labrador. Atlantic Daylight Time, in turn, is an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. So, when it’s 5 p.m. in Boston and Buffalo, it’s 6 p.m. in Shediac and Sydney, as 6:30 p.m., in Port aux Basques and L’Anse aux Meadows.

Newfoundland & Labrador was the last Canadian province I had not visited-and it’s also the last to have become a part of Canada. In 1949, still beset by economic difficulties, the people of the then-British colony voted, albeit narrowly, to become a part of Canada. The first Provincial Premier was Joseph Roberts Smallwood, who led the province until 1972. It was he who spearheaded the vote to approve confederation with Canada. He was a champion of hydroelectric power and promoted pulp and paper milling as a means to expand the prosperity of the average person in the province. His policies, like most, had mixed results.

I am staying, this evening, in a lovely cottage, part of Codroy Cottage Country, overlooking the Grand Codroy River, which empties into the Atlantic, not far from here. The cottages are as modern, and tech-savvy, as any in either North America or Europe. I am pleased to see the level of comfort that the people of this valley seem to enjoy, though the owner of a store across the street from the cottages pleaded with me to buy something from his grocery. I needed a few things, and so obliged him in that way. The Devine family, who run Cottage Country, present a cordial, if reticent, demeanour. This is fine, as I’m only a guest here for one night. I must say, though, that this would be a fabulous venue for a week’s stay.

Thus has my five day initial visit to Newfoundland begun. So far, it’s lovely! (As for the photos, I found a venue where I could upload them, with no fuss, elsewhere. CC has good WiFi, but motels in Atlantic Canada tend to be limited, in their uploading capabilities.)