Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Brigus, Newfoundland 2

A few more memories of a visit to the small fishing community of Brigus.

St. George's Heritage Church was constructed in the Gothic Revival style in 1876. It was built of wood by the men of Brigus. Significant interior features include the open gable beam and timber ceilings, plastered walls and the fact that it is in nearly original condition with only a few additions. It's a landmark in Brigus, both from the land and sea, and became a Registered Heritage Building in 2004.

Visitors to the church can see the beautifully carved altar, pulpit, choir pews and frontals, communion rail and pews (all made of pine) and the christening font, all of which are original to the building. I have no idea why the gateposts and gates are painted bright red. But I like it!

Hawthorne Cottage was the home of Captain Bob Bartlett, who commanded more than twenty Arctic expeditions. Captain Bartlett accompanied American Commander Robert Edwin Peary to the North Pole in 1909, and again in 1914.  During the Canadian Arctic expedition of 1913-18 under Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Captain Bartlett walked 700 miles across Arctic ice and down the Siberian coast to save 14 people on the ill-fated Karluk from certain death.

The quiet streets of Brigus are lined with charming colourful houses and secret gardens. I love the oil tank in this picture!

More pictures of the picturesque communities of Newfoundland still to come.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Brigus, Newfoundland 1

A sunny day deserves a road trip, so we headed to the small fishing community of Brigus on Conception Bay.

Brigus was fist settled around 1612 when the Spracklin family acquired the harbour. The first settlers came from England, Ireland and Wales. This day was warm and sunny, but the early settlers must have had quite a shock when they encountered their first Newfoundland winter weather!

The people of Brigus traditionally made their living from the sea, but tourism is probably the main business these days, especially during the four day Blueberry Festival every August. Luckily, I missed that.... I think Brigus is a lot prettier without the crowds.

New buildings are springing up beside the old, and the distinctive character and design is being honoured. No two buildings are the same colour.

Some of the fishing boats lined up in the tiny harbour. Since 1992, there has been a moratorium on commercial cod fishing due to declining cod stocks in the North Atlantic, and many fishermen have lost their livelihood. Some personal fishing for cod is still allowed on certain licensed dates, but the main catch now is crab, shrimp and other shellfish.

More about Newfoundland to come - stay tuned.

Friday, 17 October 2014

AIDAbella in St Johns

A couple of days after the Amadea left port, the AIDAbella was due to arrive in St Johns. This cruise ship is a lot bigger, and can carry 2,500 passengers and 646 crew. She flies the Italian flag, but the crew and passengers are mostly German.
I was told that she was due into port, so we went up Signal Hill to see if we could spot her out at sea.

When a large ship is heading into port, the pilot boat goes out to meet her. All large seagoing ships must be guided into the harbour by the pilot.

The pilot has been taken on board and AIDAbella is heading towards The Narrows.

AIDAbella looks happy, doesn't she? I don't think I've ever seen a cruise ship with a happy smile before.

The entrance to the sheltered harbour of St Johns is very narrow, only 91 metres wide, and a depth of only 11.8 metres at low tide, so the guidance of an experienced pilot to get a cruise ship of this size safely to it's berth is vital. AIDAbella has a beam of 32 metres, that leaves approximately 30 metres room either side.... a tight fit!

I spoke to some of the passengers when they were exploring the hilly streets of St Johns. They were mostly German speaking, and even though my German is very limited, they told me that they loved the ship and were having a great time.

AIDAbella was only in port for the day, and left around 6:00pm, next stop is Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Stay tuned for more memories of my trip to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

MS Amadea at St Johns

The MS Amadea was in port when I was in St Johns, Newfoundland, a couple of weeks ago. She's just a small cruise ship compared to some. She carries 624 passengers and 292 crew.

The black steel fencing was installed along the wharf a year ago. I suppose it's necessary for safety and security, but I loved strolling along and looking at the ships. Peering through iron railings isn't quite the same.

The whole ship got some necessary maintenance while tied up at the dock. These crew members are repainting the blue line, others were cleaning up the white part of the hull.
A sailor's work is never done. Washing the salt off the windows with a really long hose!

MS Amadea was only in port from 8:00am to 4:30pm, just enough time for the passengers to wander round the sights of downtown St Johns, take a coach tour up Signal Hill and out to Cape Spear, and spend money on souvenirs of Newfoundland. Next stop: Greenland and Baltic Ports.
More pictures of my trip to Newfoundland and Labrador to come!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Markham Fair 4

Some of the handsome faces at Markham Fair. I should have made a note of the different breeds.

Who do you think you're staring at? 

"People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately."   Oscar Wilde

“If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens.”  ― Grandma Moses

This one was "too chicken" to have her portrait taken so she fluffed up her feathers, turned her back, and gave me the evil chicken eye.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Markham Fair 3

There are not a lot of sheep reared here in Ontario.... you see mostly beef and diary cattle in the country fields. But Markham Fair always has prize sheep on show, and a sheep shearing demonstration. Lots of city people come to the fair, and many have never seen this taking place.

James is an experienced shearer, as he grew up on a sheep station in Australia where his father ran a herd of 2000 sheep.... you can tell he's Australian by his hat!
He can shear a sheep in 1 minute flat, even if the sheep is objecting strenuously, as this one was. 
 The fleece comes off in one piece, and the wool from this one sheep is enough to knit a sweater.
More Markham Fair pictures to come.... or scroll down to previous posts.