YOUR ON-THE-GO GUIDE TO CANADA’S EAST COAST
YOUR ON-THE-GO GUIDE TO CANADA’S EAST COAST
YOUR ON-THE-GO GUIDE TO CANADA’S EAST COAST
Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Island
SO YEAH, BRING YOUR CAMERA.
Visit NovaScotia.com to discover the best places to explore in Nova Scotia—whether you’re looking to enjoy delicious local food, or an unforgettable trip surrounded by breathtaking coastal beauty.
contents Your staycation plans start here! NEW BRUNSWICK 6
The country of the washerwoman A visit to Pays de la Sagouine
A stroll through history Checking out some of the museums in downtown Saint John
The “great equalizer” Ebike opportunities in NB
Barista for a day
Brackley Beach, PEI
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Making the perfect espresso
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR 20
Not just another fishing village Red Bay, Labrador is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The island frozen in time
Well worth a side trip
Of gannets and Basques Historic Placentia on the Avalon Peninsula
Two shores—two UNESCO gems
The missing chapter
Walking barefoot among Keji’s petroglyphs
Cadillacs, cannons, and sea caves
“Here to stay” A visit to Nova Scotia’s Forgotten French Shore
Paddleboats, goats and other delights A cottage stay on PEI— with teens
Milk ‘n’ Make A day at Island Hill Farm
Find new delights on the undiscovered South Shore
Foodie days Checking out the local food scene in PEI
A visit to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre
Victorian gardens, homemade everything You need to visit PEI’s dessert destination
Countless reasons to visit
Exploring Newfoundland’s Granite Coast
Camping the Cabot Trail Three days well spent around Ingonish
A trip to Battle Harbour is a must-do
TOURISM PEI / STEPHEN HARRIS
Touring towns along the mighty Saint John River
From royal fries to championship seafood The Charlottetown Food + Fact Tour
Dinosaur Island PEI’s new fossil hunting tour
Y O U R O N - T H E - G O G U I D E T O C A N A D A’ S E A S T C O A S T
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / JEREMY MCLEAN
Sail between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS in just over two hours
ATLANTIC PROVINCES 66
Beyond the ordinary Treat yourself to a stay at Atlantic Canada’s unique lodges
Don’t stop for winter!
Acadian Molasses Cake Three of the most popular French fry sauce recipes from Potato World
Bridget’s Breakfast Risotto
The best of Amherst, NS and Sackville, NB
Back to Birchtown Chutney
Gaol bird tour
Smoked Haddock Fishcakes from Seawind Landing
Border town twins
Of giant lobsters and drunken lampposts
Island Hill Farm Breakfast Sandwich
ADVERTISING: Maritime Adventures from Ship to Shore
Quark Cheesecake from Ran-Cher Acres
Make more memories on land and sea with Northumberland Ferries
Hot Lobster Sandwich, Clara Harris style
Ecclefechan Tart from Birkinshaw’s Tea Room & Coffee House
East Coast public art amuses and delights
Adding the ferry to your vacation journey is a Maritime Must
Visit the historic lock-ups of Atlantic Canada
ADVERTISING: What Will Your #MaritimeFerry Adventure Look Like?
The delicious world of artisanal cheeses
Find inspiration (and dreamy scenery) at plein air art festivals
Say cheese, Atlantic Canada!
A smorgasbord of off-season fun
ADVERTISING: Join us on a Bay of Fundy adventure
ADVERTISING: The CAT is coming back— and we’re faster than ever
Jail House Biscuits from Sherbrooke Village
Set Sail for a Sea Adventure 4
Y O U R O N - T H E - G O G U I D E T O C A N A D A’ S E A S T C O A S T
YOUR ON-THE-GO GUIDE TO CANADA’S EAST COAST Publisher Fred Fiander • firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief Crystal Murray • email@example.com Contributing Editors Jodi DeLong • firstname.lastname@example.org Trevor Adams • email@example.com Janet Whitman • firstname.lastname@example.org Lori McKay • email@example.com Food Editor Alain Bossé • firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President of Business Development Linda Gourlay • email@example.com Account Executives Susan Giffin • firstname.lastname@example.org Pam Hancock • email@example.com Stephanie Balcom • firstname.lastname@example.org Connie Cogan • email@example.com Senior Director Creative Design and Production Shawn Dalton • firstname.lastname@example.org Production Coordinator Nicole McNeil • email@example.com Production and Design Assistant Kathleen Hoang • firstname.lastname@example.org Designers Roxanna Boers • email@example.com Andrezza Nascimento • firstname.lastname@example.org Rachel Lloyd • email@example.com Saltscapes is published seven times annually by: Metro Guide Publishing, a division of Advocate Printing & Publishing Company Ltd. 2882 Gottingen St., Halifax, NS B3K 3E2 Tel: (902) 464-7258, Sales Toll Free: 1-877-311-5877 Contents copyright: No portion of this publication may be reprinted without the consent of the publisher. Saltscapes can assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or other materials and cannot return same unless accompanied by S.A.S.E. Publisher cannot warranty claims made in advertisements. Saltscapes is committed to Atlantic Canada’s unique people, their culture, their heritage and their values. Subscription Services Enquiries please contact: Toll Free: 1-877-885-6344 firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 190 Pictou, NS B0K 1H0 Subscriptions: Canada, one year (7 issues) $29.95, two years (14 issues) $48.95 (plus applicable tax) U.S. one year $29.95 (Cdn) plus $17.00 shipping Overseas one year $29.95 (Cdn) plus $29.00 shipping EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2021: Subscriptions are non-refundable. If a subscription needs to be cancelled, where applicable, credits can be applied to other Metro Guide Publishing titles (East Coast Living, Unravel Halifax or At Home on the North Shore). Please note that each circumstance is unique and election to make an offer in one instance does not create obligation to do so in another. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.
Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40064799 ISSN 1492-3351 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Saltscapes Subscriptions, PO Box 190 Pictou, NS B0K 1H0 E-mail: email@example.com Printed by: Advocate Printing & Publishing, Pictou, NS, CANADA On our cover Saltscapes: Illustration by Alexander MacAskill Sobeys: Peggy’s Cove by @daveyandsky Bay Ferries & Northumberland Ferries: Aaron McKenzie Fraser Saltscapes is a member of: Canadian Magazine Publishers Association
THE CAT IS BACK Travel between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 3.5 hours.
The country of the
Washerwoman A visit to Pays de la Sagouine STORIES AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
ost authors consider time on a bestseller list the peak of success. Imagine an author with an entire theme park dedicated to just one of her characters. That’s exactly what I find at Pays de la Sagouine or The Country of the Washerwoman in Bouctouche on New Brunswick’s Acadian coast. When I walk into the reception centre,
I find a life size cutout of la Sagouine, the washerwoman with the gift of the gab. La Sagouine kneels beside her only possessions, a pail and a mop. An empty rocking chair beside her beckons visitors. I sit and have my picture taken with the fictional character who became the most important cultural icon for the Acadian people. Almost from the birth of la Sagouine, when author Antonine Maillet published a book of monologues in 1971, Viola Léger took on the role. She played the washerwoman for nearly 50 years here at the park and around the world. She took the stage by storm, musing on subjects as varied as Christmas and lotteries, war and the census, space travel and death—always grounded in the experience of a simple Acadian woman, and always delivered with a cutting wit spoken in the local dialect. In fact, la Sagouine was the first character
ever to speak in the distinctive Acadian tongue. Her voice awakened an entire nation and started a cultural revolution that reverberates half a century later. As Maillet writes of her character in the preface to her book, “She speaks the language of her father and grandfathers .... She’s not aware that she’s her own dictionary, her own race.” Now retired, Viola Léger is the only actor who ever played the role. Park management hasn’t yet had the heart to replace her. Other actors who play dozens of other Maillet characters have stepped up to entertain and delight visitors. Exiting through the back of the reception centre, I emerge onto the grounds to meet some of these characters. There’s an observation tower overlooking the Bouctouche River, buildings where performances take place and an open-air amphitheatre for big, outdoor shows.
Top: A cutout of la Sagouine. Above: Some of the structures and buildings at the Land of the Washerwoman.
Irene Maillet-Belley as Dorine with a photo of author View from the observation tower at Pays de la Sagouine.
After taking in a short performance that finishes with a catchy, traditional Acadian song, I follow a boardwalk that meanders gracefully across the river to a tiny island. There, I wander in and out of colourful, almost cartoonish buildings reminiscent of traditional Acadian homes. Actors and interpreters in period costume tell stories, sing, dance and play music, all in the roles of Maillet characters like Thaddée, Walkalone and Dorine. Irene Maillet-Belley, in the role of the fiery Dorine, offers me a sample of poutine râpée —the traditional Acadian potato dumpling stuffed with pork. She tells me the dish is nicknamed nun’s farts. I have a good laugh, but Dorine goes on to explain the historic roots and importance of Acadian foods. “When we came back after the expulsion, they wanted our fertile land,” she says, referring to le Grand Dérangement or deportation of the Acadians by British forces in the period 1755 to 1763. “They gave us rocky and sandy land along the shoreline. That’s why we became fishermen. Potatoes grow well there. That’s why potatoes are a big part of our traditional food.” From scarcity, generosity is born. “That’s the Acadian way,” she says. “If you come over to my parents’ house, they would say, ‘Make yourself at home. Serve yourself. Go to the fridge. If there’s anything there you like, just take it.’” Samples of other traditional dishes are passed around, such as slices of rappie pie (another potato-based Acadian favourite), served with a puddle of molasses for dipping. I’m reminded of the other rib-sticking comfort foods I’ve seen on menus all along this coast such as crêpes râpée and
tartes aux coques or clam pie. Except for the clams, wild meats such as venison, moose and rabbit have been replaced in traditional dishes by pork and chicken. Slipping out of character just for a moment, Maillet-Belley reflects on the importance of Dorine and all the other characters who come to life in the park. “Just working here for 22 years, representing l’Acadie around the world, is the most important thing to me. I am an Acadian in my heart and in my blood; proud of who I am.” As Dorine, she’s had the opportunity to share that pride with thousands who visit the park every year—more than 1.5 million since it opened in 1992. Some of these encounters have led to moments of fame for Maillet-Belley as Dorine. She’s played spoons with Camilla Bowles when she and Prince Charles visited New Brunswick, and she’s taught members of the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins how to eat lobster the Acadian way. For her work, author Antonine Maillet has won major awards at home and abroad, including two Governor General’s Awards, the Order of Canada, and in 1979 the Prix Goncourt, France’s literary award for “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year.” She was the first non-European recipient. These accolades are all the more astonishing for the types of characters she created and for her subject matter— previously neglected working-class Acadian culture and history. As a fitting end to my Acadian tasting experience, Dorine hands around shots of la flacatoune bagosse. It’s the legal version of traditional Acadian moonshine made
with a blend of lemon rum, apple juice and vanilla syrup, but it goes down easy. The original was a drink flavoured with wild berries and made of—what else— fermented potatoes.
Acadian Molasses Cake by Irene Maillet-Belley, an actor at Pays de la Sagouine, who says “Acadians always drank tea, not coffee, and when there was leftover tea, we could not afford to throw it out, so we used it in recipes like this.” In a bowl, mix together 1 cup white sugar 2 eggs ½ cup butter (or margarine) ½ cup molasses In another bowl, mix together 2 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp allspice 1 cup hot black tea Cream sugar, molasses and butter. Mix in eggs and set aside. Mix dry ingredients. Blend sugar mixture, flour mixture and tea, alternating one third at the time, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Pour in a greased loaf pan and cook in a 350°F degree oven for one hour.
Potato Road Touring towns along the mighty Saint John River BY DARCY RHYNO
exican Fiesta, Dark Chocolate Explosion, Hot Apple Pie, Lobster— these are just a few of more than 30 choices, not for dishes at some eclectic buffet, but as flavourings for my two bags of potato chips fresh from the fryer. I just watched them come off the assembly line at the Albright family-owned Covered Bridge Potato Chips near Hartland, New Brunswick. One bag is filled with sweet potato chips. For them, I go all out with a few shakes of “Too Hot for You.” For the bag of regular chips, I have to try the lobster seasoning. Many of these flavours aren’t available in stores. They’re just for visitors who want to customize a bag or two of fresh chips. Some of the flavours sold in stores are distinctly East Coast—The Weekender, Atlantic Lobster, Donair and perhaps their most popular, Storm Chips, named for the
common practice around here of stocking up on chips before a major winter storm. While flavouring my own chips is great fun, so is watching the assembly line process. The Russet potatoes used in this small factory are grown on the Albright family farm not far from here. A mere 55 pounds of washed, sliced potatoes are cooked at one time. It takes just 35 seconds for a mechanical slicer to do its work and five minutes for the chips to deep fry to perfection. The oil gets spun from the chips before final inspection and flavouring. Covered Bridge in Hartland is my first stop on what I’ve come to think of as Potato Road, the 100-kilometre stretch of Route 105 along the scenic Saint John River in western New Brunswick. The Albrights’ potato chip company is named for the town’s historic landmark, the wooden covered bridge,
by far the longest in the world at nearly 400 metres, and a national historic site. It recently turned 100 years old. Vehicles cross the Saint John River beneath its gabled roof, pedestrians beneath the covered walkway attached to one side. Route 105 meanders further north along the river. Following it, I arrive at another covered bridge in Florenceville-Bristol. This is truly the epicentre of New Brunswick’s potato country. Across the Saint John River is a museum called Potato World. Interactive displays, short films and antique farm machinery such as the International kerosene tractor—its thick metal wheels painted fire engine red—make for a terrific museum experience. A Potato Hall of Fame documents the history of this area as the French fry capital of the world. Florenceville is the hometown
Hartland’s Covered Bridge is the longest in the world and a national historic site—as well as the namesake for the locally
Three of the most popular French fry sauce recipes from Potato World
made potato chips.
1 cup 4 tbs 4 tbs 4 tsp 4 tsp
of the McCain family, which built a worldwide frozen food empire from humble beginnings. The surname features prominently among the inductees. At the on-site Harvest Café, I order— what else—a plate of the world’s finest fries. There’s lots more on the menu such as burgers, sandwiches and soups, but the “Gourmet French Fry” section is long and tempting. I can order regular or curly cut, sprinkled with maple bacon bits or roasted
garlic, smothered in bacon and cheese or as the foundation for a Philly steak or donair poutine, all made with local potatoes. I go for the fat, homemade wedges with bacon and melted cheese accompanied by sides of salsa and sour cream. Back across the river on Route 105, the Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery on McCain Street is another family legacy. As philanthropists, the McCains helped create and support this important regional
mayonnaise ketchup Sriracha sauce garlic powder chili powder
2 cups mayonnaise 4 cloves grated garlic 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp lemon rind 3 tsp sugar pinch of salt and pepper
Maple Bacon ⁄2 cup 2 cups 1 ⁄4 cup
maple bacon seasoning mayonnaise maple syrup
Follow in the Footsteps of Canada’s Oldest Dinosaurs
Visit our Lighthouse, do some birdwatching, shop high quality arts and crafts and get a great cup of coffee to energize your hike on our trails! We have it all! Tours available. Cape Jourimain Nature Centre (506) 538-2220 5039 Route 16, Bayfield, NB, E4M-3Z8www.capejourimain.ca
Open Wednesday - Monday, 10:00am - 5:00pm • • • •
Fossil & Mineral Gallery Guided Beach Tours Visitor Information Centre Year-Round Special Events
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To Book: FundyGeoMuseum.ca or (902)254-3814 NEW BRUNSWICK
Tips for the best French fries from Potato World
Antique tractor at Potato World Museum.
exhibition space for New Brunswick artists. The gallery also serves as a sales outlet for local arts and crafts, and as an activity centre where visitors can dabble in the arts during workshops in techniques such as potato printing. The scenic drive continues riverside through pastoral countryside to Grand Falls where Route 105 ends. It’s easy to see where this town of more than 5,000 got its name. Impressive waterfalls roar past the centre of town and tumble down through a narrow gorge. The best views are from the round
MO NU MEN TAL 10
Malobiannah Tourist Information Centre perched at the edge of the gorge. The humble potato competes with the great falls as the pride of the town. The logo for the busy Saturday farmers market near the falls depicts a family holding up a potato basket filled with produce. The building once housed a potato starch factory. Farmers face off at the annual truck and tractor pull in June. During Canada Day weekend, the Regional Potato Festival animates the town all along eastern Canada’s widest main street.
1. Whatever type of fry you’re making— wedges, curlies, crinkles, or straightcut—soak them in cold water for a couple of hours. Soaking releases the starches and makes crispier fries. Rinse well and pat dry. 2. Alternatively, parboil the fries and cool to room temperature before cooking. 3. Fry in clean oil to allow the true taste of the potato to shine. 4. Season as soon as the fries come out of the oil. 5. For more even cooking, fry in small batches to maintain the high temperature of the oil. 6. While any type of potato can be made into fries, russets are most popular. 7. If you prefer oven roasting, the same tips apply. In addition, place fries on cookie sheets on parchment so they aren’t touching and use the oven’s convection setting.
Potato World serves up some of the best fries on the East Coast. A local farmer supplies all the potatoes they need at the on-site Harvest Café. They serve them with everything from sour cream and salsa to donair meat and sauce. Their most popular menu option is the French fry charcuterie board, consisting of two types of fries with six sauces. Here are their tips for making the perfect fries in all their glorious varieties.
There’s no better place in town than Jack Fries to sample the local spuds that are celebrated here in so many ways. Known for friendly staff, a fun atmosphere, generous portions and tons of ways to enjoy perfectly prepared fries, I check out the menu to satisfy my craving one final time. I’m tempted by the decadent poutine varieties, but I go for the classic burger and fries. In short order, a basket with a fat burger and a stack of piping hot, fresh cut fries is served up, just as I’d expect at the end of Potato Road.
A modern monument with a syscraper’s silhouette. Visit MR21, the digital Cathedral. MR21 - Cathédrale de Moncton 224, St. George, Moncton, NB
open Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 5 pm, ouvert mardi au samedi de 11h à 17h
A stroll through history Checking out some of the museums in downtown Saint John BY DAVID GOSS
ccording to information provided by the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John has had a museum longer than any city in Canada: the current facility can trace its roots back to the Gesner Museum of 1842. This has been the impetus for the establishment of a number of museums that add to the delight visitors find when exploring the city’s Trinity Royal Historic district in the uptown of the seaport city. The following are within walking distance of the heritage zone and could be visited in a day—though two would be better. As times of opening are difficult to predict under COVID-19 conditions, it is best to call museums or check websites before planning a visit.
The Police Museum of Saint John
LANCE TIMMONS PHOTOGRAPHY
This popular site is located at street level on the first block of Prince William
Street. Spokesperson Janet Holt is one of several former police officers and civilian volunteers who keep the museum operational and a delight to visit. They are innovative in their approach to sharing the stock of implements that have been in use in Saint John policing since the first force was organized in 1849. For example, they have access to the 1965 Volkswagen Beetle traffic car to use as an eye catcher out and about the local neighbourhoods. Janet says, “We usually had former police officer George Stackhouse on duty too, dressed up as a London Bobby as another eye catcher.” She adds, “Another popular feature is our ‘Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-cards’ given to those passing by. When they come in, we have a cell door they stand behind, and we use their camera to take their picture. They love it. People tell us they have the most fun in our museum of any of the attractions uptown.” These features, combined with plenty of
photos, old uniforms, typical pole-mounted call box of yesteryear, badges and insignia, and the friendly demeanour of the retirees who love to explain the displays, makes for a great public relations tool for the Saint John Police. saintjohnpolicemuseum.ca
Saint John’s Jewish Historical Museum “What a nice surprise,” is the response curator Katherine Biggs-Craft hears from the thousands of visitors she has guided through the Leinster Street facility, a couple blocks north of King’s Square in Saint John. The museum is busiest on cruise ship days, when many of the passengers who have Jewish backgrounds find their way to the repurposed and palatial home, built in 1897 by Charles Peters for his bride Fanny. The surprise is because of Saint John’s relatively small size. Most visitors do not realize the extent of the Jewish settlement in the city—about 1,500 strong from the 19th century to the 1960s. That has given the museum committee the means to mount annual displays of Jewish community life.
Place Fort la Tour NEW BRUNSWICK
The Volkswagen Beetle of
THE POLICE MUSEUM OF SAINT JOHN
Museum; displays at Black History Society.
There are static displays, like the old-time kitchen stove, and across from it a table set for celebrating Passover that would have been typical in the homes of Jewish residents. “I think people like that room best, as we all eat, and they can relate to that, if nothing else,” Katherine says. She adds, “This is the only Jewish museum east of Montreal. People expect one in the big cities; they don’t expect what we have. They never leave disappointed.” jewishmuseumsj.com
Place Fort La Tour Heather Kamerman is excited to be opening the gates of this site to the public on June 1 of this year. “It’s been a long wait,” she says. “We could not open because of COVID-19 in 2020, and last year, we suffered a fire through vandalism. While we had characters representing personages associated with our site wandering about the site and through uptown Saint John, the recreated fort itself was not open.” Situated on a prominent point of land on the north side of Saint John Harbour that has had human activity for some
SAINT JOHN FIREFIGHTER’S MUSEUM
6,000 years, Heather says their aim is to be an “in-person interpreter of the history of the Acadian and English that have been associated with the site. We are going to have costumed personages doing storytelling. These will include native peoples from way back, the LaTours from 1631, and the first English settlers, Simonds, Hazen and White from 1755.” There is also the reconstruction of the fort itself to admire, and half a dozen interpretative panels to examine, if there isn’t a student presentation ongoing. placefortlatour.com
There’s No Time Like the Present to Discover the Past!
Loyalist House This museum at 120 Union Street is the oldest of the mini-museums in Saint John, and is operated by the New Brunswick Historical Society. It is an 1815 Georgian structure full of furniture and accouterments owned by the Merritt family of merchants. As the Merritts had never thrown anything away, the house is well stocked with treasures of the past that represent the lifestyle of the rich merchant family who built the gracious Georgian style home. The entry fee is $5.00, and the museum is open daily during the summer months, and on cruise ship days during the fall. loyalisthouse.com
Your Home on Campobello Island
Step back in time at this 19th century open air museum just 20 minutes outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick. kingslanding . nb . ca
firstname.lastname@example.org • 506-752-2300
@k ings l anding nb
Saint John Firefighter’s Museum, 24 Sydney Street Visitors to this site are stepping into the original No. 2 Engine House, which dates from 1840 and hosts artifacts related to firefighting in Saint John. It is operated by volunteers of the local firefighters union. Student guides are on duty 10am-4pm Monday to Friday in summer. The highlight events are the days when the flaming red 1956 fire truck is on the street, or taking runs around King’s Square. saintjohnfirefightersmuseum.com
Sackville Street Chalk Festival
NB Black History Society Museum, 39 King Street This is Saint John’s latest historical based mini-museum, located within the Brunswick Square Shopping Centre. It was the culmination of many years of work collecting information and artifacts by Ralph Thomas, who said on opening day, “the collection represents the period of Atlantic slavery until the present.” Hours of operation are Tuesday till Friday 1-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. www.nbblackhistorysociety.org
September 22-25 NEW BRUNSWICK
The “great equalizer” Ebiking opportunities in New Brunswick BY DAVID GOSS LAVALEE
The author on an annual fall ebike ride up to the top of Grove Hill, on the outskirts of Saint John at Barnesville.
teve Williams of VELOelectric of Moncton calls ebikes “the great equalizer.” He adds, “ebikes are fun, empowering, and allow riders of all ages to engage in the sport. They can see and experience more, ride longer and with people of all fitness levels and ages.” As an ebike rider myself, I would have to say I couldn’t have put it any better. As he pointed out in a mid-winter interview, when neither of us were enjoying the 100 km power-assisted rides possible on such machines, “Ebikes give the rider the tools to not stay home. The barriers to a rider’s enjoyment are removed; no more hills, no more headwinds.” As a young rider learning the balancing and co-coordinating tricks necessary to ride successfully, I never once imagined I’d still be enjoying cycling into my 7th decade. Nor did I image the basic coaster brake machine of the 1950s would become super light, have suspensions, hill climbing gearing capability, and quick stop disc brakes. Add to this the battery powered motor of ebikes
and it’s easy to see why Steve refers to them as “the great equalizer.” Looking for some trails to try out? Here are some I can recommend: In Fredericton, travel from UNB’s gates, over the St. John River via the Bill Thorpe Bridge and along the Nashwaak River to Marysville, by mostly paved trail. Trip can be one to two hours of riding depending on how much of the pathway you take. The Van Horne Trail in St. Andrews from Langmaid Park on Water Street to the Bar Road is an easy hour, but if it is low tide, over the bar to Minister’s Island can make it a two hour jaunt. Some hilly portions, but all paved until the island. Perth Andover to Florenceville Rail Trail (or reverse) is sandwiched between highway 105 and the St. John River. In total it is 33 km, about 2.5 hours, but there are options to stop and turn around at Bath, the halfway point in either direction. Pressed for time? Doing a portion of the 120-km Petit Témis in Edmunston, beginning at 116 rue Victoria and ending at
the Quebec border, is about 20 km. It’s a flat ride, weaving past the Biological Gardens and the golf club along the St. John River. Bathurst has 3 in-city trails, all under 10 km, and is the jump off point for an abandoned rail trial to Campbellton— which is doable for ebikers, but is 87km long, so not likely road-bike friendly for those who cycle recreationally. One of my newest discoveries, the Dune to Downtown Bouctouche Trail is 10 km through the woods, with some highway breaks to link the woodsy passage. It can begin in downtown Bouctouche off Irving Boulevard, and run to the Irving Eco- Dunes, or done in reverse. It’s just over an hour one way, but ebikers can do both directions and not notice the loose rock hills. Sussex: A very flat and very bucolic trail follows the Trout Stream from Leonard Avenue to Sullivan Park in Sussex Corner. It is only 5km, but for the hearty, and appropriate for ebikers, at that point, access to what is known as the Sussex Bluff Trail is found. It is truly a challenge with
turns manageable. Visitors love the fact they can camp right in the park, and within 15 minutes, be uptown for fine dining, visit night clubs, and shop.” If these recommendations have intrigued you, the next step is to give ebikes a test run. At Moncton’s VELOelectric, this is possible via rentals. Their experts will fit you to a bike, rent you a helmet, and point out favourite routes for you to experience. You can ride anywhere in the province, or even to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. Rates start as low as $49 per day and prebooking is recommended at email@example.com. In Saint John, Adam Pitre is focusing on servicing the cruise ship passengers, but will also have some capability to pre-booked rentals as supply of machines allows. His on-line connection is bikeworkssnb.com. What are you waiting for? Get in on what Steve Williams calls “the great equalizer” or as Adam Pitre puts, it, “any bike trip is an adventure—ebikes just multiply the Top: Adam Pitre in his Bike Works Shop. experience.”
cliff side edge, narrow pathways, that require considerable skill to negotiate, but the view at the end of the 4-km trail is indescribably beautiful. Adam Pitre of Saint John is convinced that within 10 years, ebikes will be the majority of his sales at his Bike Works shop on Thorne Avenue. “It’s been a slow build up. Europe has had ebikes for more than a decade,” he says. “It’s a cultural thing, there, a way of life. Here, because it is recreational, and considered pricy, there has been a reluctance for dealers to get into it. But slowly, it has caught on. The baby boomers are driving it. They quickly realize they can ride with their wives and children, and all can have a comfortable outing.” Adam feels ebikes are especially good in hilly Saint John. “We have the best mountain bike rail network—equal to any in North America—in Rockwood Park. But like the rest of Saint John, it is hilly, and ebikes flatten those hills, make the twists and
Above: Anyone can enjoy an ebike.
ÎLES DE LA MADELEINE tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com/bookyourtrip
You are almost there The ferry awaits you in Souris, P.E.I.
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Harlan Thompson with his espresso gear.
Barista for a day There’s more skill than you might expect required to make the perfect espresso STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO “They’re Italian, so they’re built like Ferraris,” says Harlan Thompson. “They’re made by Sanremo, the sports cars of the coffee world.” Thompson is the barista here at The Tipsy Muse Café in downtown Fredericton. He’s talking about the espresso machine and the coffee bean grinder he spends his days operating. Thompson talks easily and with authority about a profession that is at times highly technical. Patience seems to come naturally to him, so he’s the perfect instructor for The Barista Experience, one of two workshops offered at The Tipsy Muse. The other is the less technical two-hour tasting experience called The Coffee Seminar. After Thompson
introduces me to the machines, he speaks about the intricacies of coffee—from growing and roasting to preparing and serving—calling upon his knowledge in the fields of engineering, biology, chemistry and mathematics, all brought into the complex equation of what it takes to pull the perfect espresso shot. “An espresso is a small, strong coffee,” Thompson continues. “You can either drink it on its own or use it as a base to make another drink like an Americano or latte. You can even pour it over ice cream.” Laying out the agenda for the workshop, Thompson says we’ll be making and tasting espresso shots to determine their quality,
then making adjustments to the process until we’re ready to steam the milk that will achieve today’s goal, a great cappuccino. Thompson learned his skills on the road and on the job, starting in Montreal. When I ask him where on his travels he found the best coffee, his answer is a stunner. “Oh, definitely Japan.” Tea and sake come to mind when I think of Japan. Not coffee. Thompson worked as a barista in Tokyo for four years. “I fell in love with the coffee culture there. It’s unparalleled to anything else in the world.” As with cocoa, many coffee growing regions of the world once lacked a local coffee culture, Thompson explains. Cocoa
Both science and art go into making the perfect espresso.
A few of the many great cafés across Atlantic Canada
New Brunswick Epoch Chemistry, St. George Street, Moncton Honeybeans Coffee, Tea & Treats, Water St., Saint Andrews Café Lotus Bleu, Canada Road, Edmunston Buddha Bear Coffee Roaster, Main St., Alma Rogue Coffee, Grannan St., Saint John
Newfoundland The Old Store Café, Main St., Norris Point Brewed Awakening, West St., Corner Brook Georgetown Café and Bookshelf, Hayward Ave., St. John’s The Battery Café, Duckworth St., St. John’s Crow’s Nest Café, Crow Head and Twillingate
PEI Receiver Coffee Company, two locations, Charlottetown Samuel’s Coffee House, Summerside and Cavendish The Black & White Café and Bakery, St. Peters Leonhard’s Café and Restaurant, Great George St., Charlottetown. The Kettle Black, Queen Street, Charlottetown
Nova Scotia Doktor Luke’s, Prince St., Sydney Wired Monk, Morris St., Halifax Two If By Sea, Octerloney St., Dartmouth Just Us! Coffee & Tea House, Route 1, Grand-Pré Sissiboo Coffee Roaster Café, George St., Annapolis Royal
and coffee are cash crops, so it’s left to places like Italy, France, Turkey and even Japan to perfect the use of the raw material and develop national coffee cultures. Krista Touesnard, co-owner of the Tipsy Muse, sits at the counter to talk about Fredericton’s coffee culture. She invites me to return this evening for live music. “Tonight is a Grateful Dead tribute,” she says. East Coast musicians also perform here, and The Muse hosts open mic nights and Celtic jam sessions. Touesnard is a Cape Bretoner who plays violin. Music is baked into the business because it’s so important to her and to her husband and partner, a radio DJ here in Fredericton. That explains all the vinyl records and the evenings dedicated to spinning them. Touesnard sees the Tipsy Muse as a cultural centre where conversation, ideas and music go hand in hand with a good coffee. Back to the hands-on experience, Thompson takes me through the steps of pulling an espresso shot, discussing the seemingly endless factors he considers as he’s dialing in the shot. “The rabbit hole runs deep,” he says of the possibility of getting lost in the details. Keeping it simple, he explains, “Dose, yield, time—those are
our three main control factors.” The dose is the amount of coffee the machine grinds into the filter basket to create the puck of coffee grounds. The yield is the amount of espresso that dribbles into the cup as the water is pushed through the dose. A standard ratio of dose to yield is 1 to 2. “Whatever amount of coffee you’re putting in your basket, you want to pull double that weight in liquid yield,” Thompson says. “Typically, that’s about 20 grams of ground coffee to 40 grams of espresso.” The time it takes for the water to pass through the basket also affects the flavour. Italians came up with the terms ristretto or short shot and lungo or long shot to describe the variations in time it takes to pull an espresso. Flavours vary with time, and of course the longer the shot, the weaker the coffee. “Every day when I come in, I need to taste my coffee,” Thompson says. “I have to pull a shot once per hour to make sure the flavour is staying consistent throughout the day. It’s a labour-intensive job, but it becomes second nature. I take a taste and dump the rest. It’s like wine tasting. You’re not downing every glass. But I still drink a lot of coffee, so I stay caffeinated. Sometimes it’s difficult to sleep at night.” We give it a try, Thompson guiding me through the steps—grinding the beans into the filter basket, spreading the grounds evenly with the distribution tool, tamping out the air and forming the puck, fixing the basket onto the group head, and pushing the button to send the water at high pressure through the filter basket full of grounds. Out the bottom of the basket pour two streams of espresso and its foam, called crema, into two shot glasses. We sip and savour, deciding they’re a bit on the acidic side. We adjust the weight of the grounds by tenths of a gram and try again. This time, the balance is just right. Thompson steams some milk and pours it into the shot, magically painting a delicate, white flower of microfoam in the beige crema. It’s delicious, the sweetness of the milk balancing the acidity and roast of the coffee. I’m eager to learn the mysteries of steaming milk and creating latte art like his, but that’s a workshop and a story for another time. I’m happy to sit here and sip perfection.
Welcome to Elsipogtog Miʼkmaq Cultural Center, Artisan Gift Shop & Cultural Tours
Welcome back to the Alluring
the Roosevelts so loved !
Come Explore our Mi’kmaq Culture With Us!
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Not just another fishing village Red Bay, Labrador is a UNESCO World Heritage Site BY DALE DUNLOP
The village of Red Bay, in southern Labrador.
or many years, the small community of Red Bay on Labrador’s southeast coast was simply another of the many picturesque fishing villages in the province. All that changed dramatically in 1977, thanks to the archaeological detective work of one woman. Selma Barkham was a Canadian historian who first heard rumours of 16th century Basque whaling stations in “Terra Nova” on a visit to Spain in the early 1970s. She spent years searching through ancient archival records and by 1977 was confident that the Basque whaling stations had existed and that she knew exactly where to look for one; Red Bay, Labrador. Armed with a grant from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, she was able to find definitive proof that Red Bay and nearby Saddle Island had once been a thriving seasonal whaling community. Barkham’s research also led her to believe that a significant ship had capsized in Red Bay in the 1560s. Underwater archaeologists discovered the wreck of a galleon, probably the San Juan, exactly where Barkham had
directed them to look. Also discovered was a cemetery on Saddle Island, where the remains of 130 whalers who did not make it back to Spain were found. The finds at Red Bay constituted an archaeological sensation and in 1979 it was designated a National Historic Site. Even more notably, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. While Labrador may seem like a difficult destination to reach, recent infrastructure improvements have made getting to Red Bay and other southeastern Labrador locations much easier than before. The ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon, Quebec runs twice daily in the summer and takes just under two hours. From Blanc Sablon it is 80 kilometres to Red Bay on a fully paved highway. There are a number of places to stay and dine on this scenic route. You should plan to spend at least a half day visiting Red Bay, which has much more to see and do than just visiting the Interpretive Centre. The starting point should be the hike up Tracey Hill to get an overall view of
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Red Bay from above. The trailhead is just before you arrive at Red Bay and is 689 steps up to a great panorama of the village and neighbouring Saddle Island. The Red Bay Interpretive Centre is not much to look at from the outside, but inside a fascinating story unfolds. Right up until the invention of kerosene by Nova Scotian Abraham Gesner in 1853, whale oil was the primary fuel used in lighting in Europe and North America. When John Cabot brought back news of the fabulous cod stocks of the Grand Banks in 1497, it did not take the Basques long to start an annual pilgrimage to the waters off Newfoundland. By the time Jacques Cartier sailed through the Strait of Belle Isle in 1534, he encountered many seasonal Basque whaling stations, including what is present day Red Bay. The village operated as a Basque whaling station for about 70 years, hunting primarily the northern right whale—so-called because it was the best or ‘right’ whale to pursue— and the bowhead aka Greenland right whale.
cemetery on Saddle Island. Like the cold water, the peaty soil of the island has left much of the clothing worn by the deceased Basques in remarkable condition. Although it was not operating in 2021 due to COVID-19, the Parks Canada ferry to Saddle Island should be back in service by next year and is an important part of any visit to Red Bay. Visitors can take a guided tour of the whale processing ovens and the cemetery or walk the island path on their own.
Part of the whaling exhibit.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM / DRU KENNEDY PHOTOGRAPHY
Unlike later whaling techniques, which involved large ships from which smaller boats were launched in pursuit once a whale was spotted, the Basques at Red Bay relied upon the whales’ predictable migration routes to help them. They would spot them from land on places like Tracey Hill and relay the information to crews on shore, who would row a boat called a chalupa. The well-preserved remains of a chalupa were found in the waters of Red Bay once extensive underwater archaeology by Parks Canada began here. The waters of the Strait of Belle Isle are very cold, which explains why wood, which rots away in warmer waters, stays reasonably intact here for centuries. Even more amazing than the finding of the wooden chalupa were the discoveries of four Spanish galleons in the Red Bay area, the San Juan in 1977, two more in 1980 and a fourth in 2004. The San Juan is Canada’s oldest known shipwreck, from 1565. There is a replica in the Interpretive Centre. Aside from the artifacts and displays related to the whaling and the shipwrecks the Interpretive Centre delves into the day-to-day life of the Basque whalers, guided with much assistance from examinations of the bodies excavated from the
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM / DRU KENNEDY PHOTOGRAPHY
The Interpretive Centre in Red Bay honours its whaling history.
Rendering pots on display.
France, CLOSER THAN YOU THINK... NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
SUBARU & SALTSCAPES
Join us in the 2022 Subaru Canada Staycation Contest in partnership with CAA Atlantic. Since 2020, Subaru Canada, CAA Atlantic and the region’s leading tourism partners have offered Atlantic Canadians an annual (and very popular) staycation photo and short story sharing contest.
4 great categories
It has helped us all pause and reflect on things we may take for granted in this beautiful region, and how staying and buying local is the greatest gift we can give our east coast neighbours! This year’s Subaru Staycation Contest is officially open from now to October 31, 2022!
Food, glorious food (and drink)
You too could win a brand new Subaru 2 year lease like our 2021 Subaru Staycation winner.
FIRST PLACE WINNER
Splish splash at the beach
Supernatural Christina Magner Halifax, NS Whether it’s a city cultural and culinary getaway with your sweetie, a relaxing and remote cottage rendezvous, rediscovering a great annual festival, a long overdue party with friends and family, or going for a beach hike at a trail you’ve always wanted to visit…
All fore for nature
It’s time to Staycation 2022 and make every adventure well worth the drive! (#eastcoaststaycation) All you need to do to enter this exciting contest is to share a favourite photo and a few short lines about the image in one of four great categories! The sooner you enter the greater your chances of winning a bi-weekly draw of a CAA annual membership! Have a safe and happy 2022, The Saltscapes team
Fabulous festival fun
Visit saltscapes.com for details
2021 SUBARU & SALTSCAPES
STAYCATION CONTEST Winning Photos and Stories
Take a little bit of sunset… by Jerry Black Lower Sackville, NS
Halls Harbour lobster by Julie Sheffield Canning, NS
Bald Eagle getting the kinks out by Lynn Fergusson Dartmouth, NS
The waves by Yong Zhou Hubley, NS
Birds eye view of the Caribou Wharf by Matt Dort New Glasgow, NS
The island frozen in time A trip to Battle Harbour is a must-do STORY AND PHOTOS BY DALE DUNLOP
ne adventure on many Atlantic Canadians’ bucket lists is a visit to a true Newfoundland and Labrador outport, before they all disappear. Fortunately, there is one in Labrador that is being preserved and rapidly becoming one of the province’s top travel destinations. Battle Harbour was once the unofficial capital of Labrador; it’s now a National Historic Site with its own Historic District where visitors are welcome to stay for a night or more and immerse themselves in the outport experience.
Planning your visit Battle Harbour is not the type of place where you just show up and expect to be accommodated. It is located on an island 14.5 kms. from the village of Mary’s Harbour, on the southeast coast of Labrador, and is only accessible by boat. Mary’s Harbour is more than a two-hour drive from Blanc Sablon, Quebec, where the
ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland lands. St. Barbe in turn is a six-hour drive from Port aux Basques, or over three hours from Deer Lake airport. There is only one boat departure a day to Battle Harbour. The Trinity Pride departs at 11am and it is impossible to connect with it on the same day as you arrive in Labrador, so you must stay at least one night in Labrador before arriving at Mary’s Harbour. The upside is that there are a lot of things to see and do in this part of Labrador, so plan on making this at least a four-day trip. Before leaving home, you must visit the website listed below and make reservations for your accommodations, select the activities you wish to participate in and save your spot on the Trinity Pride. There are a wide variety of places to stay, from the semi-luxurious Earle Suite to an old-fashioned bunkhouse. It’s not easy getting to Battle Harbour—but trust me, it’s absolutely worth the effort.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
The Battle Harbour experience The trip from Mary’s Harbour takes over an hour and is the start of a great adventure as you look for whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of sea birds. The arrival in Battle
Clockwise from left: Merchant House with wood teepees; the main street of the community; the Trinity Pride is the ferry from the mainland to the islands.
Harbour is something you will never forget. The boat passes alongside Great Caribou Island where there are both seasonal homes in a few spots and abandoned ones in others. It then rounds a cape and enters the tickle between Great Caribou and Battle Island. Suddenly almost out of nowhere an entire community comes into view. You disembark at the wharf, and your luggage will be transported to whatever type of accommodation you have selected. Check-in is done at the General Store, which is just up from the wharf. This is also where you will find the only telephone on the island. There is a lounge on the top floor that does have WIFI—but it’s very spotty. You come to Battle Harbour to get away from the nagging necessities of everyday life like email and Netflix. After 20 minutes to stow your gear, lunch is served at 12:30pm in the communal dining hall. Three meals a day are served, and you
are assigned a table for the duration of your stay. The first thing you see on entering the dining hall is perhaps the most iconic photo ever taken at Battle Harbour. This is three-year-old Victor Crowley standing beside two of the biggest codfish you can imagine. The meals at Battle Harbour are unpretentious, delicious and hearty, using local seafood and interesting berries like bakeapples, aka cloudberries. After lunch there is a guided tour of the historic district, led by one of the few remaining people who grew up here until the resettlement program moved their families to Mary’s Harbour. This is one of the highlights of Battle Harbour, as you visit buildings dating as far back as 1775 and really get a sense of what it was like living in coastal Labrador in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The merchant’s credit system in place made sure that despite back-breaking work, either on the fishing
boats or in the processing plants, almost everyone was desperately poor. However, our guide makes it clear that people were happy and now there is sense of nostalgia that pervades Battle Harbour. After the guided tour you will be on your own to explore Battle Harbour, which has a footpath that circles it. Walking this is a must as there are some amazing scenic vistas of the Labrador coast from the highest parts of the island. There are two old cemeteries, remains of a Marconi tower and the site of a tragic plane crash to explore. There are also addictive bakeapples to pick. There are a great variety of other experiences available during your visit including hiking on Great Caribou Island, jigging for cod or learning traditional Labrador arts and crafts. As the website states, “There’s off the beaten path. Then there’s this place.” www.battleharbour.com
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Well worth a (side) trip Exploring Newfoundland’s Granite Coast STORY AND PHOTOS BY DALE DUNLOP
Barachois Falls trail.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
ost tourists who come to Newfoundland and Labrador by motor vehicle land at Port aux Basques and most of those head straight for Gros Morne and other well-known sites on the Viking Trail. That’s too bad, because they are overlooking one of Newfoundland’s hidden gems, the Granite Coast, which is a 45-kilometre short stretch that runs from Channel-Port aux Basques to Rose Blanche and Harbour Le Cou. Here’s why your next trip to Newfoundland should start with a side trip to see a famous lighthouse and much more. Route 470 heads due east from Port aux Basques while the Trans-Canada Highway goes in the opposite direction, and all signs out of the ferry terminal aim to put drivers on that route. However, by paying close attention and some apparent backtracking, you can get on Route 470 and within minutes find yourself in the open countryside. The Granite Coast features small communities that are reached by short side roads, and most of these are worth exploring. The first stop is the village of Margaree, which is a name I always associated with Cape Breton. However, I did learn during this trip that a lot of Cape Bretoners migrated to Newfoundland in the 1800s, particularly to the southwest coast. Along the Granite Coast, you reach the intriguingly named Isle aux Morts, which got its portentous name from the many shipwrecks in the area—that took so many lives, that the place was literally an Island of the Dead. Almost paradoxically, it gained a reputation for saving lives, through the exploits of the Harvey family and their Newfoundland dog Hairyman, who on two occasions rescued some 200 shipwrecked people from almost certain death. Thus was
The lighthouse was occupied for more than 70 years by various families and looks quite comfortable inside, with a cozy kitchen and bedroom. While you cannot climb up into the light, you can climb the spiral staircase as far as the base of the ladder that leads to the top. Sherman Hines has published more than 70 books on photography of which by far the most famous is Outhouses of the East. I don’t know if Sherman made it to Rose Blanche or not, but if he had, he surely would have included the lighthouse’s outhouse in his collection. Retracing your route back to Port aux Basques reveals vistas completely different from those on the way out and many more photo opportunities on Newfoundland’s Granite Coast. born the legend of the Newfoundland dog. Today you can walk the Harvey Trail close to where these rescues took place and visit the Harvey gravesite on the way. The Granite Coast from Isle aux Morts to Rose Blanche is narrow, twisty and oh so beautiful. This is a chance to appreciate the stark beauty of coastal Newfoundland. The highlight is almost certainly Barachois Falls, which you can reach in an easy 20-minute walk along a wide path that is mostly on wooden steps or boardwalk. This was also the first place on the Granite Coast that we really started to notice the many amazing flowers and berries that are typically found in what at first appear to be nothing but barrens or scrub brush. It took my wife Alison twice as long as me to reach the falls because she stopped to take dozens of photos. Not far past Barachois Falls, you come to the bumpy but short road to the La Poile passenger ferry, which services the tiny outport with fewer than 90 permanent residents. While we didn’t take the ferry on this trip, we did spend some time exploring the old cemetery nearby. Just as the outports are slowly dying, so too is this
cemetery, which was becoming overgrown and eventually will all but disappear. Contrary to what one would think, Rose Blanche is not a French version of white rose, but rather a corruption of the term roche blanche or white rock. That becomes evident at Diamond Cove, where you can see quartz veins wide enough to be noticeable from miles around. There are fewer people here now than in 1869, but the community does have one great thing going for it, the Rose Blanche lighthouse which is unique in Newfoundland—and most of North America, for that matter. The lighthouse was built in 1871, but it’s no ordinary structure. While the building itself was designed by the local lighthouse inspector, the lighting apparatus was designed by the legendary Stevenson family of Scotland, of whom the writer Robert Louis Stevenson was also a member and an occasional lighthouse builder’s apprentice. After arriving at the small parking lot, you pay a modest fee and take a circular path to the lighthouse.
Clockwise from top: Rose Blanche Lighthouse; bedroom at the lighthouse; view of Port aux Basques from Margaree; abandoned cemetery.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Of gannets and Basques Visiting Placentia on the Avalon peninsula BY DENISE FLINT
and soldiers relocated to Nova Scotia, their presence is still palpable in the community, and traces of them can be seen today. Nowhere is this more the case than at Castle Hill National Historic Site. Several fortifications, both French and English, were built on the hill and the remains of Fort Royal with its earthworks, stone walls and artillery batteries, as well as a few cannons, are easy to explore. There are hiking trails, plenty of picnic spots and an interpretation/visitors’ centre to put everything into perspective. Of course the history of Placentia doesn’t begin with the French. The Beothuk and Mi’kmaq were familiar with the area even if there is no current archaeological record of their presence. The Basque were using it as a fishing base as far back as the early 1500s. Not only is the bay deep and ice-free year-round, the large, pebbled beach was perfect for drying fish. In fact, the original name, Plazencia, is Basque and the earliest civil document written in what is now Canada was the will of a Basque fisherman who decreed that his body be buried in the port of Plazencia. Nor did Placentia’s history come to a halt with the fall of the French. Because of its
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
hen you stand at the top of Castle Hill overlooking Placentia on the west coast of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, it seems like you have the world at your feet. Distance becomes a concept limited only by your imagination. From one viewpoint, the ocean stretches away from you forever. Look in the other direction, and you see the coves and hills surrounding the town, somehow managing to appear both verdant and stark. Nowadays two red Muskoka chairs, seemingly endemic to any spot with a claim to a vista, allow you to keep watch across the waters and the land in relative comfort. But that wasn’t always the case. This small corner of Newfoundland was once the focus of two raging empires, implacable enemies fighting over control of North America and its riches. In 1655, the French made Placentia the capital of Newfoundland (of which they controlled about half) and all their Atlantic holdings (most of the Maritimes at that point). That didn’t sit well with the British, who were busy laying claim to as big a portion of North America as they could manage. The French fortified the area not just with soldiers but with the first of many forts built to protect and keep watch against their traditional rival. The area around Placentia saw more than one battle rage and more than one garrison built and destroyed before the British finally took command following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Though many of the French settlers
proximity to the fishing grounds it was once a rival to St. John’s in importance. One tenth of the entire population of Newfoundland lived in Placentia at one time. The O’Reilly House Museum is a fully restored house from the turn of the 20th century, with exhibits and artefacts detailing the town’s history from that period and earlier. It even holds a tea set that was used by a local family to serve Prince William Henry, son of King George III, when he was stationed in the community in the summer of 1786. In more recent times, it was down the road in Argentia that the Americans built their huge naval/air force base. At a secret meeting off the coast in August of 1941, Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt hammered out the terms of the Atlantic Charter to discuss the United States joining the war effort. Placentia marks the beginning of the Cape Shore Loop and is an easy driving distance from St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. Anyone with the slightest interest in birds— and anyone without any interest in birds whatsoever—needs to visit this strictly-protected area. When you make your way out the back door of the interpretation centre and start heading for the cliffs two senses are immediately assailed: sound and smell. That’s to be expected when you’re approaching the realm of more than 100,000 sea birds. Cape St. Mary’s is home to the largest accessible colony of northern gannets in Newfoundland. Around 22,000 nesting pairs gather on Bird Rock, hard up
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM/BARRETT & MACKAY
This page: Gannets at Cape St. Marys; O’Reilly House Museum; Casthe Hill Historic Site. Below: Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, Avalon.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM/BARRETT & MACKAY
CHELSEY LAWRENCE / PARKS CANADA / CASTLE HILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
against the cliff edge, where they raise their young in full view of anyone who walks out to see them. The gannets painstakingly build their nests from whatever small pieces of dried grass and discarded fishing line they can scavenge. They sit on their eggs, hundreds of metres above the crashing waves, and tend to new hatchlings right next to the next pair’s brood. It is not a sight to be missed If you can tear your eyes away from that sight, you find a cliff wall rising out of the sea where every small cranny and extrusion bears at least one murre, guillemot, kittiwake or razorbill. Placentia lies just a couple of kilometres from Argentia, the site of the summer ferry from Nova Scotia. People who whiz straight past, heading for St. John’s or somewhere else on the island, don’t know what they’re missing. Placentia is definitely worth “swiping right.”
Opposite page, top: a bailiff’s tipstaff given by King George III to Placentia; inset, antique tea set.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Camping the Cabot Trail Three days well spent around Ingonish BY SHELLEY CAMERON-MCCARRON
halfway point viewing stop along the 3.8 km meander through the Middle Head Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. “I’ll catch up with you.” I need more time—another moment for this moody, broody interface of mountain and ocean, looking out over Cape Smokey and Ingonish Island. We’re here in the highlands for three
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / DEAN CASAVECHIA
ulled by roaring sea waves and the whistling of seabirds nesting in the rocks below, I lean back in the Parks Canada iconic red chair, lingering for a blissful moment high above the Atlantic Ocean at the tip of Middle Head Peninsula in northern Cape Breton. “Go,” I tell my family, as I breathe in the salty air, savouring the scenery at the
Top: Freshwater lookoff, Ingonish. Above: Lantern Walk through Time.
days camping in the park’s Broad Cove Campground, just past Ingonish. And it couldn’t be better. One night, as darkness creeps in, we uncover the ghosts of Ingonish past by stepping into the night air with the dandy, thrilling Parks Canada “Lantern Walk Through Time”, a guided, after-dark offering winding its way along the Freshwater Lake Trail, providing dramatic natural theatre at its best. By day, we devour key lime pie and good coffee at the nearby Bean Barn Café, hike endless trails, all nearly at our doorstep, and drive the striking Neils Harbour coastal route, where diners can stop to order fare from the Chowder House and eat at the breezy, cliffside picnic, or enjoy an ice cream cone sold from the next door lighthouse. We hike down to see Mary Ann Falls, splash around in the park’s freshwater lakes and ocean waves, visit the Salty Rose and Periwinkle Café in Ingonish, and take in the expansive beauty of Ingonish beach at twilight, where, staring into seemingly never-ending sea and sky, one feels all could be possible. “Canada’s national parks are gateways
DESTINATION CAPE BRETON / PHOTOGRAPHER: COREY KATZ
DESTINATION CAPE BRETON
to discovering and connecting with nature, and Cape Breton Highlands National Park is no exception,” says Bonnie MacLeod, Parks Canada Promotions Officer, Cape Breton Field Unit. “Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers spectacular coastal scenery, an incredible launch pad for an array of activities and adventures, and a diverse ecological environment that many wildlife species call home. We believe that everyone will find something special to connect with at Cape Breton Highlands National Park.” MacLeod says when you enter the park on the eastern side, near the community of Ingonish, you’ll find a range of activities to kick off your adventure—from family-friendly beaches to epic hiking trails. “Broad Cove Mountain Trail offers a short, steep hike with rewarding panoramic views at the top looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, a spectacular place to watch the sunrise! Folks seeking a family-friendly trail, or a place for a relaxing bike ride, should check out the Clyburn Valley Trail. It gently weaves its way along the river through hardwood trees, meadows, and
Camping in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
even the remains of an old gold mine. “Cool off with a saltwater swim in the Atlantic Ocean at North Bay Beach, then relax on the shore with white sand stretching in either direction and Ingonish Island off in the distance.” Cape Breton Highlands National Park, she says, continues to work with partners to make the park more welcoming to everyone.
In 2021, the Municipality of Victoria County donated two specially designed mats and two floating chairs to improve accessibility to the sand and water at Freshwater Lake and Warren Lake beaches. You can reserve a chair free of charge by phoning (902) 224-2306. Wheelchair accessible campsites and oTENTik units are also available at nearby campgrounds within the park.
800-561-8090 Wolfville, NS
Spa Retreats Private Guided Tours Tasting Experiences Culinary Packages & Overnight Winery Tours NOVA SCOTIA
DESTINATION CAPE BRETON / DALE WILSON
Come evening, MacLeod suggests catching a golden sunset reflecting off the calm waters at Warren Lake. And if you’re not quite ready for your day to end, Parks Canada offers guided experiences to enhance your visit. Check out the Seeing in the Dark night hike to connect with the natural world around you or, like us, the Lantern Walk Through Time for authentic storytelling connected to this special place. Of course, there’s always the everappealing option to cozy up around the campfire with friends and family to watch the moonrise—from your charming campsite at either Broad Cove Campground or Ingonish Beach Campground. “And there’s no need to settle for s’mores for supper, although we wouldn’t blame you! Parks Canada offers some easy campfire recipes that anyone can manage, from fire roasted potatoes to Tandoori chicken” she says. (See pc.gc.ca/ en/serapprocher-connect/ltc-dlc/bases-basics/recettes-recipes). MacLeod says visitors can expect Cape Breton hospitality as they explore nearby
Mary Ann Falls, Ingonish.
coastal communities, where the Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Gaelic cultures all continue to thrive. During their time in the area, she recommends visitors enjoy seafood fresh from the ocean surrounding, local craft brews, and lively music on tap. “Catch a glimpse of some spectacular wildlife with a whale-watching tour and keep your eyes peeled for moose and bald eagles as you
make your way along the Cabot Trail when you’re back on dry land.” Insider tip? “If you start your trip around the Cabot Trail in the Ingonish area and head counter-clockwise across the island, you’ll have an easy time pulling off at all the coastal look-offs along the way,” she says. “A great way to get that picture-perfect moment, where the mountains meet the sea.”
Two shores—two UNESCO gems Countless reasons to visit BY SANDRA PHINNEY
interest, I planned a three-day visit last year to explore the Geopark and its 30 Geosites located between Debert and Eatonville. This year, I’ll return for a week. Why? For starters, last time I had the good fortune to meet Gerald Gloade, a Mi’kmaw educator and artist. Gerald introduced me to the Indigenous storyline of the Mi’kmaq who’ve lived along these shores for more than 11,000 years. Gerald told me stories about the legendary hero-figure Glooscap, who was created from three bolts of lightning. “The
first strike gave him the shape of a man. The second strike brought him to life, but he was still connected to the land and could not move. The final bolt of lightning set him free.” The storyteller then added that the Mi’kmaw were created from the soil of the Bay of Fundy, “And that’s why our skin is the colour of the Bay of Fundy mud.” After a short pause, he asked, “Have you heard about Glooscap’s grandmother who lives at Partridge Island, and her magic pot?” I had not, so he explained how twice a day before high tide, the shoreline along
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / ACORN ART & PHOTOGRAPHY
hen I heard that Nova Scotia’s “Cliffs of Fundy” located along the shores connecting the counties of Colchester and Cumberland had been designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark, I thought, “That’s nice”—not knowing what this actually meant. A Google search provided lots of information, including this: “UNESCO Geoparks reconnect humanity with the Earth in a time when understanding the importance of this connection has never been more pressing.” As this piqued my
“Do You Know?” Globally, there are 169 Geoparks in 44 countries. China has the most with 41; Canada has five. And here’s something to crow about—four of Canada’s five are here in the Maritimes: Percé, PQ; Discovery, NL; Stonehammer, NB; and Cliffs of Fundy, NS. Walk on the ocean floor at Five Islands.
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the spit of land that connects Parrsboro shore to Partridge Island comes alive with bubbles. “This is Grandmother stirring her pot of moose stew. She always fed people and when she cut off a piece of moose, it would just grow back.” Lucky for me, there was a high tide the following day at 8 pm so I showed up at 6 pm and sure enough, the shoreline bubbled and boiled. It was both mystical and mesmerizing. Other highlights of my trip included hiking down a slot canyon with Laurie and Cindy Currie (Local Guy Adventures), finding the old “beehive” coke ovens that were part of the Londonderry Iron Mines (thanks to the help of a local); spending time at the Age of Sail Museum at Wards Brook, and getting hopelessly lost trying to find Economy Falls. Spare yourself some trouble and turn right when you see a sign that says Kenomee. The falls are located in the Kenomee Wilderness Area and trail system. There are photo ops around every bend in the Geopark, including the majestic diamond-shaped red sandstone designs
Fishing weirs at Partridge Island.
moose stew. Art by Gerald Gloade.
Grandmother stirring her pot of
Age of Sail Museum
Small village—big story
in the cliffs at Five Islands Park, and the famous “flowerpot” seastacks and caves at Soley Cove. Looking for great food? Check. Amazing museums and theatre productions? Check. Hiking, paddling and cycling adventures? Check. Be sure to allow time for chance meetings with the locals; they love to share stories about their communities. It’s quite possible that you’ll likely end up at their kitchen table having tea and cookies.
What does Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia have in common with places such as the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, and the Galápagos Islands? They are all designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It still amazes me how such a small place can have such a colossal story. Although I’ve visited Joggins four times over several years, the wow factor continues to increase each time. It’s hard to believe that more than
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Bridget’s Breakfast Risotto Ingredients 2 tbsp 4
butter, divided hot Italian sausages, casings removed 1 small onion, chopped 2 bay leaves 1 cup white rice (arborio preferred) ½ cup dry white wine 3 cups low salt chicken broth pinch of saffron threads 1 ⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 ⁄3 cup Italian parsley, chopped salt and pepper
Method Melt butter in large saucepan. Add sausage meat, onion, bay leaves and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in rice and wine and boil 1 min. until wine evaporates. Add broth and saffron; simmer and stir until rice is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 min. Mix in cheese and parsley. Season to taste.
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / PATRICK ROJO
300 million years ago, ferns grew as tall as trees, dragonflies had three-foot wingspans, and fish were the size of crocodiles. All this was discovered in Joggins, including the fossilized bones of Hylonomus lyelli—a reptile that lived there 100 million years before dinosaurs! The numerous displays inside the centre are educational, and also fun. Be sure to watch the short, animated video featuring Hylonomus in the cozy theatre. If you have a chance to sign up for a tour along the seafloor close to the cliffs—especially a two-hour (or longer) walk-about with Dana Brown—do so. He has stories galore and loves to share his knowledge. Should you be there after hours or off-season, get in touch with Brian Hebert, another fount of information. Brian owns Fundy Treasures Gifts & Tours in Joggins, and also gives tours in the Parrsboro area. Mercifully, you won’t find any big box stores or fast-food joints in the region. Nor will you get tied up in traffic jams— unless you encounter a flock of ducks in the middle of the road close to the Maccan Tidal Wetlands Trail, on the outskirts of town. For a short scenic drive, make the loop from Joggins along the Hard Scrabble Road into Lower Cove, up to Mill Creek and into Minudie—a tiny Acadian village with a whopping big celebration every summer, and one of the most interesting cemeteries I’ve ever seen. Looking for a place to stay? My first choice is Joggins Mud Inn. Mind you, it’s the only choice in the village, but believe me, you can’t go wrong booking a room with Bridget Michels. Besides knowing everyone and everything there is to know in Joggins, Bridget whips up some extraordinary breakfasts. Bonus: she loves to share her recipes.
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / PATRICK ROJO
The Joggins Museum and Joggins Beach are ideal destinations for fossil enthusiasts.
A coastline shaped by music Come for the great music and food, stay for the fun! It’s time for a visit to Western Cape Breton Island.
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The glass floor and room at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, near Shelburne. Inset: the original Book of Negroes.
The missing chapter A visit to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre DARCY RHYNO
BY DARCY RHYNO
’m looking at what first appears to be logs neatly stacked in the shape of an “A”. The gaps between the logs are tightly packed with moss. In the front, a doorway gapes. It’s a beautiful autumn day, the sunlight shining through the remaining leaves to dapple the ground and granite boulders with warm light. This peaceful current scene belies a troubling history. “This is a replica of a pit house,” says my guide. “With limited time, supplies and provisions, they had to come up with some way to get through Nova Scotia’s winter.” Jason Farmer is the Senior Interpretive Guide at Birchtown’s Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, and a ninth-generation Black Loyalist descendent. “With influence from the Mi’kmaq and skills learned during
the American Revolution, they would come up with this type of subterranean shelter. Working with what little they had—trees, leaves, rocks and moss—they would start by digging a hole, then place a makeshift roof over the top. The door would be a piece of canvas or animal fur.” I climb in through the doorway. The air
is dank, earthy. Chinks of light through the cracks between the logs offer enough light to make out the few features inside. The logs are a roof over a shallow impression in the ground dug to create benches that must have served as beds. A pile of stones suggests a crude fireplace. Various mushrooms grow from the ceiling festooned with spider webs. “Many Black Loyalist families lived in a pit house like this for the first few years.” Some, adds my guide, lived in such shelters from 1783 to 1791. “Eight years is a long time to be living in a hole in the ground. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be able to survive one night in one of these things.” Black Loyalists had no choice but to build such structures. After the end of the American Revolution, many Africans and
DARCY RHYNO DARCY RHYNO
Clockwise from top: Closeup of the museum’s glass floor; plaques at the burial grounds; guide Jason
a view you will always remember… a taste you will never forget!
Farmer at the Pithouse.
those of African descent either escaped or were freed from slavery. British forces helped about 3,500 flee to what they were told was freedom in the northern British colonies, the territory that would become Canada. But when thousands of these Black Loyalists arrived in the newly-established Port Roseway (today, it’s known as Shelburne) on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, they were met with extreme prejudice and violence. Prevented from settling in town, they were forced to this rocky location at the end of the harbour, that came to be called Birchtown. It wasn’t named for the trees that grow here, but for British General Samuel Birch, who protected Africans in New York City from recapture by their former owners. Later, he signed most of their Certificates of Freedom and supervised the creation of the Book of Negroes, the document that recorded the names of the people his forces helped escape to Shelburne and other ports in the Maritimes. The pit house sits on a small rise on a short trail called “Aminata’s Walk.” It’s named for the fictional main character in The Book of Negroes, by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill. Through the journey of his character, Hill tells the story of slavery, a story set partly
in this very place because Birchtown is the missing chapter. The story of slavery begins in Africa where millions were kidnapped and shipped mostly to the Caribbean and to South and North America, where they were forced to work. Many either escaped or were released, eventually finding their way back to Africa where the British assisted in the creation of the country Sierra Leone and its capital, Freetown. Inside the new Black Loyalist Heritage Centre next to the trail, the main exhibition room is flooded with light from the wall of windows, illuminating exhibits beneath the glass floor. The experience of walking onto the floor is in striking contrast to ducking into the dim, damp pit house. Beneath the floor, the names of all those former slaves in General Birch’s Book of Negroes are engraved on metal. A few of some 16,000 artefacts uncovered on these grounds are displayed beneath the floor and in glass cases around the room. On the back wall you’ll see several touch-screen monitors for viewing chapters in the history of slavery, including the kidnapping of Africans, their life in the Americas, the road to freedom, and modern-day Birchtown where more than 200 years of Black Loyalist history
Three cannons on a button from the British
Back to Birchtown Chutney from Boxing Rock Taproom, Shelburne
1790s, discovered during a Birchtown excavation. DARCY RHYNO
eventually led to the construction of this grand interpretation centre. The tour of the grounds continues outside to a one-room schoolhouse and a church. It ends at the former burial grounds. There are no grave markers. Instead, a pair of plaques beneath some apple trees marks this small plot of land as a National Historic Site. An inviting bench with a view of Shelburne Harbour sits at the water’s edge. When we reach the scene, a small deer is feeding beneath the trees. When it spots us, it flees. If I believed in spirits, I would think it a sign, a reminder of so many who settled here so briefly before continuing their flight back to Africa and freedom, in the process writing a little known chapter in the story of slavery.
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Treading lightly Walking barefoot among Keji’s petroglyphs STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
ick Whynot stands barefoot and proud—his tattooed arms crossed— on rocks covered in messages from the past. All around him are dozens of images scratched into the exposed bedrock here on the shores of Kejimkujik National Park. This is the second largest collection of petroglyphs in Canada and a direct link between the man standing before me and his Mi’kmaw ancestors who left their marks here over the past hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Whynot begins his tour of the Keji petroglyphs by pointing out tiny but detailed images of tall ships under sail. “I particularly love these two,” he says. “They actually took the time to put in the cannons. It’s like a Spanish galleon.” The Parks Canada tour guide is a resident of the nearby Wildcat Reserve—a member community of the Acadia First Nations band—so he feels in his bones the importance of these images. “That would have been something to behold when you’re paddling to PEI or Newfoundland in a birchbark craft, and you see a big ship like that.” As he speaks, I think of stories we tell ourselves today of UFOs and visiting aliens. Pondering the impact of strange, unidentified sailing objects by his ancestors, Whynot continues. “Those are stories you’re going to bring back and draw for people, seeing these massive ships with people on them.” He’s been living and learning the ways of his people for most of his life. He grew up hunting and trapping around the national park with his father and uncles. Another Wildcat resident, Todd Labrador, offers birchbark canoe building workshops every summer at Keji, and Whynot has participated. “I also took up knife making with my uncle,” he tells me. “Now, I do knapping. That’s taking stone and turning it into projectile points and tools.”
Top: French missionary petroglyph at Kejimkujik; Nick Whynot; Spanish galleon petroglyphs. NOVA SCOTIA
Monument at the entrance to the petroglyph trail in Kejimkujik National Park. Opposite page: wetting a petroglyph for better viewing.
Hunting tools, endemic animals and ceremonial feathers function as portals to Whynot’s cultural past. Kneeling beside the lake, he splashes water on a badly worn petroglyph and points out the shape of a woman in traditional dress. “As it dries, you will be able to make out a single feather,” he says. “What she would put on her hat, that was hers, so this is essentially a portrait.” Because the area got more rain than usual this summer, the water level in the lake is high. “There’s a nice one out on the tip there,” Whynot tells me, pointing past the end of the rock. “It’s a caribou. It’s in relatively good shape, but it does spend a lot of time underwater. It usually doesn’t come out until July or August. This year it was only out for a week.” This is one of five sites where a total of 500 petroglyphs have been found in the park, all on the shores of Kejimkujik Lake, a stopping place for Mi’kmaw paddlers on
their way between the coast and the Lake Rossignol area, now flooded behind dams. Whynot refers to this part of Keji as a transportation hub. “You can gather resources here,” he says. “There was fishing. There was hunting. Back at Eel Weir Bridge, there were several eel weirs. We know they had a large production. People speared the eels. Someone on shore was skinning them and putting them on racks to smoke. Dried fish and the smoked eels would have been important because that’s going to be food stores through the fall and winter until they can get a moose or caribou.” While animal petroglyphs are easy to distinguish, other etchings harbour unsolvable mysteries. I place my bare feet on either side of one of them, the profile of a man wearing a hat and holding what looks like a shield. Whynot tells me the Mi’kmaw call him the French soldier or sometimes the French missionary, but no one really knows for sure who he is. Parts of the figure are faded, but it remains a significant individual petroglyph for the possibilities. “We know the first written form of our language was actually brought here by a French missionary,” Whynot explains. “It was a series of symbols. There were actually Bibles printed entirely in the symbol form. I think there’s still a couple of them around.” I take a photo of the figure between my bare feet. Removing our shoes, Whynot tells me, is both a sign of respect and a practical measure because pebbles stuck in treads can scratch the soft slate. Parts of the site are heavily damaged from erosion and vandalism. Some of the marks gouged into the rock over the petroglyphs are more than a century old. Some are much more recent. Whynot has seen the desecration in action. He’s watched paddlers read the warning signs on the line of buoys meant to keep people away, then land on the rocks anyway.
These petroglyphs make Kejimkujik a National Historic Site, the only National Park in Canada with the double designation. But the cultural value of these images doesn’t seem to protect them as well as they should. So-and-so loves so-and-so is scratched over engravings of the first tall ships ever seen through Indigenous eyes on this continent, chillingly accurate for those gunports. And yet, as if echoing 500 years of post-contact history and the resilience of Indigenous peoples across North America, these petroglyphs persist.
Other Mi’kmaq experiences at Keji • Take part in the birchbark building workshop with Todd Labrador. In 2022, Labrador will build an ocean-going canoe for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. • Visit the birchbark canoe built by Todd Labrador at the Visitor Centre. • Check out the Mi’kmaq encampment site and wigwam at Merrymakedge Beach. • Watch for scheduled programs like guided walks and slide presentations on Mi’kmaq history and culture. • Take a tour with interpreters in the voyageur canoe and paddle with a traditional hand carved wooden Mi’kmaq paddle. • Hike or bike to Eel Weir bridge at the foot of Kejimkujik Lake and imagine the busy fishing and preserving operation Nick Whynot describes. • Bike the new Ukme’k cycling trail. Ukme’k means “twisted” in Mi’kmaq. The name was inspired by the winding path this trail takes along the Mersey River.
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Cadillacs, cannons, and sea caves Find new delights on the undiscovered South Shore STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
awake to the sound of the cannon and the sun piercing my tent as it rises over the campground. Here at the Ovens Natural Park on the shores of Lunenburg County, the cannon fires several times a minute. The source of the boom, caused by the waves breaking inside the sea caves, is just a short walk from here. For an early morning stretch, I follow the cliff edge trail to the stairs that leads down to the viewing platform at the mouth of Cannon Cave. Standing at the railing, I peer into the cave that’s well lit now by the rising sun and watch as a gentle swell makes its way past
Fort Point Lighthouse
me to break at the back of the cave, the sound echoing off the stone walls to create a resounding “boom.” Cannon Cave at the Ovens is well known among local campers and even further afield in Nova Scotia, as is its history as the site of a 19th century gold rush. But like so many other unique attractions along Nova Scotia’s South Shore, it’s overshadowed by some of the country’s best-known attractions like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of old town Lunenburg, the Bluenose, Peggy’s Cove, and the streetscape in Mahone Bay of the three churches. There is no scene more evocative of the East Coast than tiny Peggy’s Cove, a stone’s throw from the open North Atlantic. Its
wharves, boats, and shacks seem to recall a simpler time of hard work, safe haven, and close-knit communities. And yet, it’s just one of many similar scenes up and down this rugged coastline. At Port Medway, the wharf and fishing boats at the mouth
Above: Hank Snow sculpture in front of his museum, Liverpool; Crosscut sawing at Wild Axe Park, Barrington.
WE’LL TURN YOU INTO A LOBSTER CRAWLER,YET.
Art studio in LaHave.
the south shore is crawlin’ with lobster love!
Lobster pizza. Lobster chowder. and a melee of lobster and mayo tucked between two pieces of bread softer than the pillows at a local B&B. (We won’t get into the celery debate.) February is the offical month to lobster crawl, but we train religiously year-round, and invite you to lift a few pounds with us, real soon.
abreast, they’re so abundant. Visitors are welcome to walk onto these wharves to talk with fishermen and check out the boats. Around the county, lots of surprises are hidden in plain sight. On Cape Sable Island, there’s the strange phenomenon of the sunken forest. At low tide on the beach called The Hawk, the remnants of a wooded area emerges from the waves. On the mainland in Barrington, Wild Axe Park is home to a thrilling lumberjack experience— log rolling, pole climbing, sawing, and axe throwing—that makes for a fun afternoon. In Shelburne, the axe throwing fun continues at the Boxing Rock craft beer taproom where there are scheduled axe throwing events and even a beer named for the experience—Wild Axe Ale. At the mouth of Shelburne harbour in Sandy Point, the sun sets behind what must be Nova Scotia’s second most photographed lighthouse. Like the famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, which almost defines the province’s seaside scenery, this one stands tall and alone against the sky. However, in contrast, the Sandy Point Lighthouse does not stand on bold, bald rock formations as in Peggy’s Cove. Instead, it sits on a sandbar and seems to shift with the tides. At low tide, visitors walk across the sandbar that links it to solid ground. At high tide, the ocean covers the sandbar so it becomes surrounded by water. Its ever-changing profile is one of the things that makes it so photogenic. The other is its orientation. Through the lens of my camera, I capture yet another South Shore sight that deserves to be better known, the sun setting behind the Sandy Point Lighthouse and reflecting orange off the sandbar.
of the Medway River next to a small park with a stout lighthouse and a new gazebo are all lovingly maintained by the folks of the village. Port Medway sits on the northeastern edge of Queens County not far from the town of Liverpool, one of the best kept secrets in Nova Scotia. Just as in Port Medway, at the mouth of the harbour stands a little-known lighthouse in an immaculately kept grassy park with tidy walkways, interpretive panels and a couple of 19th-century cannons. The Fort Point light looks like no other along this coast. It resembles a stack of shiny white boxes trimmed in red and doubles as a museum. Inside, I learn the history of this storied 1855 light and get to work the hand-cranked foghorn. My favourite museum of the many in town is located at the old train station. Inside, a Cadillac, gold records, wardrobes, and a whole lot of other memorabilia tell the life story of the local crooner who became a legendary country singer—none other than Hank Snow. While it doubles as the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame, the man known as the Yodeling Ranger is the star of the show. He was born in 1914 just five kilometres from here in Brooklyn. Most people recognize the most famous of his 85 chart-topping singles, “I’m Movin’ On” and of course “I’ve Been Everywhere” in which he rattles off the names of dozens of towns and cities across North America. The song is a true reflection of Snow’s life on the road. Heading further south into Shelburne County, nicknamed the lobster capital of the world, at busy wharves in ports like Lockeport, Clarks Harbour, and Daniels Head, fishing boats are docked several
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“Here to stay” A visit to Nova Scotia’s forgotten French Shore STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCY RHYNO
his is Parc de nos Ancêtres (Ancestors’ Park) in Larry’s River. “We’re trying to marry our geography with our history,” Jude Avery says of the site design. Avery is a passionate local historian and retired teacher who chronicles the history of French settlers to Tor Bay in his book The Forgotten Acadians. An interpretive panel stands beside each boulder. The first reads, “This development is a direct result of a cultural awakening.” Avery tells me the seeds of Parc de nos Ancêtres were planted in 2004 when the World Congress of Acadians came to this region for the first time. The Congress is an occasional, massive event that encourages
descendents of Acadians—exiled from the Maritimes by British forces during the Great Expulsion of 1755-63—to rediscover their roots. The 2004 Congress inspired Avery and other community leaders to celebrate what they came to call the forgotten French shore. They did so through three initiatives: the Savalette Festival, Place Savalette and Parc de nos Ancêtres. “It’s a marine cul de sac,” Avery says of Tor Bay, adding that its most prominent feature is the rockiness of the landscape. These boulders in the shape of an anchor tie that landscape to a creation story for the local Acadian population. As Avery tells it, Bishop Plessis of Quebec, who visited Tor Bay in 1815, was shocked by the desperate lives of his parishioners. He pleaded with them to move to another, more prosperous French community on Cape Breton Island. “He said, ‘You’re going to die here. You’ll starve to death.’ One elder answered by saying, ‘We have thrown our anchor. We are here to stay.’”
Ancestor’s Park, Larry’s River; View of Berry Head Lighthouse on the lobster boat tour.
A scene painted on one of the boulders depicts two men shaking hands. One is Captain Savalette, a fisherman from the Basque region of southern France who summered on the Sugar Islands in the bay. “Captain Savalette made 42 voyages here between 1565 and 1607,” Avery says. “In 1607, right here on this shore, he met what we could refer to as the Canadian founder, Samuel de Champlain.” That was just two years after Champlain built a small, wooden fort at Port Royal, NS and a year before he founded Quebec City, two of the first European settlements in what is now Canada. If Champlain expected to find the shores of Tor Bay and the Sugar Islands empty, he must have been surprised. The Mi’kmaq people were here for untold thousands of years, hunting and gathering each summer. They befriended and traded with Savalette for nearly half a century before Champlain arrived to discover Savalette’s 80-ton galleon at anchor, surrounded by chalupas. These were small sailboats converted from their
Place Savalette at Port Felix.
service as whaling boats by squaring the stern. To fish for cod in these rocky waters, they needed a manoeuvrable craft, creating a design that’s still in use by Acadians today. Savalette salted his catch on the Sugar Islands before loading it on the mother ship and returning to Europe for the winter. Later, on a promontory in Port Felix, I stand on a viewing platform in the shape of a 21-metre ship that looks out over the bay. This is Place Savalette, a National Historic Site that marks the meeting between Champlain and Savalette. It’s easy to imagine those two ships anchored in the bay. Back at Seawind Landing Country Inn, perched on a short peninsula in Charlos Cove, I chat with owners Ann Marie and Dave de Jongh. It’s one of the few accommodations and restaurants on the bay. Because so few visitors find Tor Bay, de Jongh treats guests like me with exceptional hospitality. He offers me a tour of the area. The first stop is Tor Bay Provincial Park. Here, we enjoy a walk on the beach before exploring the meandering boardwalk behind it where I stop to pick a few tart cranberries. Most of de Jongh’s visitors are European. “We get more adventurous travellers. This amount of space to be here by yourself is pretty rare. The most frequent question we get is, ‘Where were we supposed to pay?’” I’ve booked a sunset lobster boat tour through Seawind, so de Jongh joins me. Out on the bay, we pass a lighthouse and explore islands and coves. As we cruise, de Jongh cooks and serves fishcakes and scallops. I tuck in, enjoying the fresh ocean air and the sunset colours in the clouds. In the fading light, we look out over the rugged scenery of rocky headlands and islands. De Jongh says, “A lot of people say, ‘Oh wow, this really is the end of the
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Brewery– Restaurant – Beer Market Wolfville, Nova Scotia NOVA SCOTIA
Smoked Haddock Fishcakes from Seawind Landing
world.’ And I say, ‘Well, it might also be the beginning.’ ” It was the beginning for some, certainly. This is where a handful of Acadian families found a new start. “They have roots that go far back,” de Jongh says, “so I always say they’re not from here, but they’re of here. They’re made of the same stuff—the beach, the rocks, the sand. That’s their being. No wonder they feel so attached to it.” His words remind me of something Jude Avery said. “Our people were determined and adaptable. We are survivors.” In my mind, I return to that first interpretive panel at Ancestor’s Park, recalling its concluding words, “Vive nos Ancêtres! CI-Saltscape FT Vive Guidel’Acadie!” 2022 Out.pdf
Ingredients 1 lb smoked haddock 2 /3 lb cooked potato, roughly mashed 1 /3 lb cooked sweet potato, mashed 1 tsp coriander 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp fresh ground pepper A small bunch of fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped 2 egg whites 1 cup panko bread crumbs ½ cup coarse corn meal dash of salt and pepper Method Simmer smoked haddock for a few minutes in lightly salted water. Cool and flake into small pieces. Mix in potatoes and seasoning. For appetizers, use a small ice cream scoop to measure out fishcakes and shape. For best results, 3/4/2022 7:21:31 chill for an hourAM before cooking.
To coat, whip egg whites in a bowl. Immerse fishcakes in egg white, shaking off any excess. In a separate bowl, toss fishcakes one at a time in bread crumb mix to cover evenly. Heat oil to a low-medium temperature and brown fishcakes on each side until golden. These are great on their own or served with curry mayo. Combine 1 tsp curry powder with 1 tsp oil and 2 tbs honey. Heat gently in a saucepan until fragrant. Stir mixture into a cup of real mayonnaise with a dash of lemon juice. Makes about 30 small fishcakes.
Victorian gardens, inventive flavours,
homemade everything You need to visit PEI’s dessert destination BY SHELLEY CAMERON-MCCARRON
efore we go further, you should know that I stopped caring—about everything—with my first taste of key lime pie ice cream from Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour. I forgot all about minor family squabbles, our next destination, even this dreamy summer day, and focused in on the only thing that mattered: the otherworldly perfection of this moment. Sinking into a red Adirondack chair in enchanting Victorian gardens, even the charms of this intoxicating setting momentarily disappeared for me as I focused all my attention and awareness on savouring this experience. And my new addiction. Holman’s, on Fitzroy Street in seaside Summerside, PEI’s second largest city, came as a revelation, a next-level dream. Located inside a trim, green, stately two-storey Georgian-influenced heritage home known as the Holman Homestead, the building once served as a parsonage and later as the residence of R.T. Holman, one of PEI’s most prominent merchants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, visitors are greeted by the warm scent of waffle cones, a roughly 80-year-old soda fountain, and 16 inventive ice cream flavours from Holman’s rotating roster of more than 100 decadent choices. Along with scoops and scoops of ice cream, they serve milkshakes and floats and homemade waffles and desserts— even a wonderfully oddball “spaghetti” sundae comprised of vanilla ice cream, shaped as spaghetti, with strawberry sauce,
Two scoops of Holman’s ice cream in a homemade waffle cone. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
MILLICENT LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
MILLICENT LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
MILLICENT LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
Top: classic banana split; right, above: Brye Caissie making a Brownie Explosion Waffle.
and shaved white chocolate topped with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate as “meatball.” In season, Holman’s has a travelling cart that hits the road for destinations and festivals around the island. (Yes, I followed them on social media during my vacation on the Island. Yes, I had a heads-up on their planned route each day. Yes, I did a happy dance whenever their route happened to combine with mine. And, yes, I wondered how I’d cope when I had to go home.) “We tell people we make it the way their grandmother used to make ice cream,” says Ken Meister, who with wife Jenny opened Holman’s in 2016, saving the historic home from demolition, and offering visitors a dessert destination where everything is made from scratch. “It’s small-batch, handcrafted ice cream made with PEI ingredients,” says Meister. Everything, he says, from their brownie bits to the cheesecake is homemade. In fact, the only prepacked item they buy is Oreo cookies. Customers will have serious decisions to make—will it be a scoop of lemon curd blueberry ice cream or peppermint patty? Maybe it’ll be raspberry white chocolate swirl or the super popular honeycomb, a vanilla ice cream infused with bite-sized pieces of homemade sponge toffee, oh my! Visitors can take their ice cream outside
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
to enjoy in red Adirondack chairs positioned throughout one of the oldest, continually maintained Victorian style gardens in North America. Holman’s even stays open well into the evening with an outdoor fire pit to enjoy in the gardens. The building itself dates to 1855, and along with the ice cream parlour, the Meister family operates Holman’s Heritage Suites in the historic home. The setting is all part of the story of how they got into the ice cream business. After Meister retired from the air force in 2012 (his background is in operations), the family moved to Summerside to open a B&B. Often, they’d walk by the site of the Holman’s building, then an antiques store, and it always reminded them of when they lived in Germany and their favorite local ice cream parlour, Eisparadies Penners, also located in a home with gardens. “We’d take all our visitors there, and ourselves too on a daily basis,” remembers Meister. They often remarked on how the Holman Homestead would make a great ice cream parlour. As time went on, the antique store closed, the building remained empty for a few years and eventually was slated for demolition. In
summer 2015, a local historian called the Meisters, recipients of a heritage award for their B&B, to see if there was something they could do to save the place. “Within days of that conversation, before we had a business plan…before we figured out how to make ice cream, we had signed an offer to purchase.” Meister shakes his head now remembering how they’d jumped in blind. “I don’t know what we were thinking,” he says, noting there were already a lot of ice cream places in PEI, they didn’t have experience in the ice cream business, and the house and gardens both needed a lot of work. He says much blood, sweat and tears went into turning Holman’s, which is heading toward year-round operations (currently they close in January and February), into a thriving business. “It’s more than just the ice cream, it’s the experience, to be able to step back in time,” he says. As for him? What does he like about running an ice cream parlour? “The number one thing I like about it is everybody’s happy. They’re excited and happy to see you.”
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See your Atlantic Subaru Dealer for great rates and value EyeSight® is a driver-assist system, which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, and weather and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. †Ratings are awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Please visit www.iihs.org for testing methods. Vehicle(s) shown solely for purposes of illustration, and may not be equipped exactly as shown. Crosstrek, Impreza, Outback, Legacy, Ascent and Subaru are registered trademarks.
BY SHELLEY CAMERON-MCCARRON
Elegant retreat and a beach treat I still dream of the irresistible Pistol Pete lobster burger and strawberry-infused mojito enjoyed at elegant Slaymaker & Nichols Gastro House in Charlottetown, as well as the lunchtime lobster roll and potato salad feast tossed down with a “dark ‘n stormy” at popular Blue Mussel Café, sister eatery in seaside North Rustico. Not only was the food fab, both restaurants appealingly lean into their location’s history while providing a fine dining, yet casual experience. At Blue Mussel, the exterior resembles a generations-old fishing shack. Inside, the décor is modern and beachy with water views. “You truly feel like you are on vacation when dining with us,” says Steve Murphy, co-owner with wife Christine. Blue Mussel’s go-to dish? Pan-seared halibut. “When in season on PEI, you can sit on our deck and watch the halibut boats coming back into the harbour. Most of the time, the fish dinner you are eating was caught that same day!” In capital Charlottetown, Slaymaker & Nichols (known for its cocktails) combines the vibe of a beautiful old home with the history of the Slaymaker & Nichols Olympic Circus, on their lot for a short period in 1864 before the building was built. A signature item? Murphy recommends the Chicken Aji Verde—they grill a chicken supreme, then baste it in house piri piri butter then bake it in the oven. For the sauce, they blend mint, cilantro, and jalapeño with Greek yogurt. Along with good food and atmosphere, Murphy says they believe in old-fashioned,
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
detailed service—it’s what makes people feel so special when dining with them.
Dough is made in-house (it includes beer and is hand-stretched) and each pizza has a different sauce base. The top-selling Hawaiian pizza, for instance, is spicier and more cream-based, while the meat pizza features a house-made marinara sauce with Italian seasonings, a simplicity and richness that Clark strives for throughout the menu, down to the made-in-house coleslaw and tartar sauce (a fan favourite). Since they don’t rely on freezers or fryers, Clark says they are known to be accommodating so diners get the dish perfect for them. As a full-sized brew house, they keep about eight beers on tap. Cast Away, an earthly, light IPA has recently been outselling traditional favourites Summerside Light and Beach’d Blonde. As for the vibe of the building, built as a train station in 1927, and later serving as a library? Clark likens it to the homey warmth of “grandma’s basement” with walls filled with knickknacks and photos—many from his grandparents—and each with its own story to tell. The name Evermoore was even the name of his grandfather’s boat, back when Clark was a kid.
Bakery bliss Word is, folks make the 40-minute drive from Charlottetown to Kensington just for the cinnamon rolls at the Willow Bakery and Café; and, if we’re being honest, a selection of cinny buns and raspberry scones were tucked in our car for the drive home! Located beside the former Kensington train station, the Willow Bakery is a fan favourite for folks looking for a cup of joe, home-baked lunch specials and a showcase brimming with breads and sweet treats.
Good things brewing Following a friend’s lunchtime lead, I ordered the Fish & Boxty at Evermoore Brewing Co., then happily devoured all the PEI potatoes and corn-crusted haddock loins served at the restaurant and brewery in Summerside’s former train station on Water Street. As they don’t use a deep fryer, it’s a fun play on fish and chips, says owner Alex Clark. Made-from-scratch pizzas, a stalwart since Evermoore started serving food in 2018, are also hugely popular.
didn’t come to PEI to eat, but buoyed by bakeries, bistros and big bites of lobster rolls, I started my culinary love-in shortly after driving off the Wood Island ferry and didn’t stop until a week hence, when we sailed home. Here are a few of the highlights.
Point Prim Chowder House.
Point Prim Chowder House.
Checking out PEI’s local food scene
ALEX BRUCE PHOTOGRAPHY
Blue Mussel Café.
Parked on prime oceanfront, in a restored 80-year-old Irish moss drying shack on the rocks along the Northumberland Shore, it’s a pleasant outing just to get to Point Prim Chowder House, maybe 25 minutes from the Wood Island ferry. The rustic seafood eatery comes into view at the end of a more than 10-km secondary road, bordering the beach near Point Prim Lighthouse, the island’s oldest (1845) light tower. Diners are drawn here (reservations recommended) for the fresh local seafood—halibut to haddock, oysters to quahogs—all sourced locally. They have inside seating as well as a beachside deck overlooking the tidal flats and lighthouse. Chef/owner Paul Lavender says they treat their seafood with respect and cook it by simple methods that let natural flavours
shine through. “The seafood chowder and the clam chowder can both be enjoyed as an appetizer,” he says. “We also have meal-size chowders that are more complex and contain whole clams or mussels in the shell. The most popular is the ultimate clam chowder, a creamy base of clams, potatoes, and double smoked bacon, with smoked haddock and whole quahogs.”
Seaside shacks and oyster love On our last night in PEI, we take a table at Malpeque Oyster Barn, a small seafood shack on the upper floor of a converted bait shed located at the edge of Darnley Basin, which feeds into Malpeque Bay. From the window, you can see fishing boats bobbing at the wharf. It’s a picture-perfect setting to try PEI’s most revered oyster, the aptly-named Malpeque.
“When people come to town, they expect to get a Malpeque oyster. We grow our own, so ours are a true Malpeque oyster,” says owner Terry Oatway, who runs the 25-seat family-friendly restaurant with her son, the chef Daniel Oatway, who is also a champion oyster shucker. Staff at the Barn know the menu well and can guide you through the choices, which include the famed house mussels, a tried and true favourite done in the same (closely guarded) house recipe for more than 20 years, as well as the popular pan-fried oysters, done in a secret spice, lightly breaded and sauteed in butter. Nothing on the menu is deep-fried, and they’re committed to local, including growing their own vegetables. “We grow everything we can possibly grow for the restaurant,” says Oatway.
Photo Courtesy of JoAnne Dunphy
Beachfront chowder house
A historic ﬁshing town with stunning sandy beaches and scenic views abound We guarantee you will want to stay, Souris PEI • sourispei.com PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
TOURISM PEI / YVONNE DUIVENVOORDEN
Paddleboats, goats and other delights
A cottage stay on PEI—with teens Under the Spire music festival, formerly Indian River Festival.
BY SHELLEY CAMERON-MCCARRON
’ve always loved the ease of the PEI cottage vacation. Book the ferry, gas the car, pack the cooler and settle in for a week of fun and sun. But how would it play travelling with older teens, you ask? Two words: a joy. Yes, unique challenges exist with travelling with teens, who need more downtime (hello, lazy cottage mornings) and can sometimes skew moody, but they surprise you too by being witty, fun dinner companions, soulfully intelligent fellow traveller. They were up for the unexpected, such as stumbling onto events like the annual open house of local talent at the Under the Spire Festival (where sitting on a church pew, listening to eclectic performances from a capella to rap, piano virtuouos to a former Amazing Race competitor, was a huge hit). Cottage vacations have long appealed as they balance relaxing downtown with a home base springboard for fun, and on PEI, that relaxation comes just by being
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
immersed in the province’s natural beauty. It certainly felt that way during last year’s escape to Darnley Farmhouse Retreat. The North Shore rental is found down a red dirt lane where wild roses and daisies grow. The lane opens to a spacious private yard overlooking the mussel-filled waters of Darnley Basin where birdsong swells the air. In settings like this, it’s easy to unwind, spending pleasant hours reading books and snoozing in Adirondack chairs on the wraparound verandah, playing cutthroat croquet games, spacing out for alone time (read wifi and connecting with friends fix), preparing sumptuous seafood and bbq feasts, even watching the sun rise over neighbouring potato fields (okay, okay, just me, but still, enjoyable!) Here are some teen-approved highlights.
Seaside and sunsets Beaches ring the Island, and whether you’re seeking sea glass or an afternoon playing in
the waves, the seashore always brings the bliss. For me, a favourite day started with running in the surf on a spotless morn at nearby Thunder Cove beach—Thunder as locals call it—chasing sun and seagulls. One teen, moody just moments before, is now cartwheeling along the shore, and I know magic exists. Come evening, the sunset over red cliffs is close to perfect.
Later-ish mornings Let’s face it. Teenagers typically aren’t morning people. Factor that into your trip with days for both early and late starts so that everyone gets time they can enjoy. A later-ish morning is always good for lazy beach vacations, but teens don’t mind early if plans are happening. Setting some specific expectations (and times) can help things run smoother. That way you’re not on your second cup of coffee, tapping your toes, waiting for family members to rise for “an early start” they think is still hours away.
TOURISM PEI / EMILY O‘BRIEN
The Bottle Houses in Cap-Egmont.
Paddleboats with goats.
Orwell Corner Historical Village.
Outdoor fun (and beach goats) Be it hiking, biking, deep sea fishing, kayaking or golf, the Island is well blessed when it comes to natural beauty and outdoor adventure. For something sure to get the teens smiling, book a stand-up paddle board session with Beach Goats in Saint Chrysostome. Yep, that’s right. Paddle boarding. With goats.
Good eats If you drive to the small fishing village of North Rustico, flanking the spectacular PEI National Park (well worth a stop), plan to dine at Blue Mussel Café, a popular seafood eatery where diners watch herons at harbour’s edge and overlook waters from where the day’s catch is plucked.
Continue the adventure to Gallant’s Clover Market in Rustico, one of PEI’s old general stores (with the most helpful staff), to grab thick pork chops from their butcher shop and a just-baked apple pie (worth driving for) to end the day barbecuing back at your cottage.
Road trip stops Who loves a trip back in time? My teens do, at Orwell Corner Historical Village! Located about halfway between Charlottetown and the Wood Island ferry, learning about life in the small 1895 crossroads community proved a sleeper hit. Here, you can hear roosters crow, gaze at baby goats, talk to a working blacksmith and visit the general store and one-room schoolhouse. Exuberant, toe-tapping musical shows are sure to put a smile on most anyone’s face and they’re definitely a highlight at Village musical acadien in Abram-Village in western PEI. There’s also a restaurant, art gallery and gift shop on site at the Acadian cultural centre. People who visit glass houses are happy people and the teens were jazzed to visit
The Bottle Houses, also in western PEI in nearby Cap-Egmont, to see one man’s dream realized in three fantastical houses made from recycled bottles. Dare I say there was even talk of “an intense, all-encompassing love for this perfect attraction.” Says one: “It’s built out of a genuine love, something big made out of something as simple as bottles. Instead of throwing things away, they got transformed into something beautiful. A community came together to help one of their own achieve his dreams, and the family continues to keep his memory and dream alive because of their love for someone who is gone. It’s simple, but holds incredible meaning.” Plus, the onsite gardens are on point.
Lighthouse lore Lighthouse chasing on PEI often leads to rewarding, off-the-beaten path coastal views. Sure, you may get lost, the kids may roll their eyes (hey, they were going to do that anyway), but they’ll agree in the end that it’s worth it to find the red dirt lane through the field to cliffside Cape Tyron Lighthouse.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Farmer Flory Sanderson in her shoppe at Island Hill Farm.
Milk ‘n’ Make A day at Island Hill Farm
STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
utest place on Earth,” reads a sign hung beside the barn door. Beneath the sign sits a salvaged church pew painted baby blue. I park beneath a tree next to four vintage one-speed bicycles— burgundy, orange, purple and blue—resting on their kickstands. Two pink Adirondack chairs sit on the veranda where another sign in the same cheerful font reads “Farmhouse.” Island Hill Farm in central PEI might indeed be the cutest place on Earth. “Hi, I’m Farmer Flory,” says a woman emerging from the goat barn wearing denim overalls and a big smile. For the next few hours, I’ll be participating in the farm’s Milk and Make experience. With a warm handshake, Flory Sanderson says, “Today, you’ll get a tour of the milking parlour, then we’ll make a little soap.” The goats are overdue for their milking so there’s no time
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
to lose. Inside an air-conditioned room, I find a tidy, automated, one-person operation that efficiently milks about 20 goats. When Farmer Flory opens the door, the goats peer inside, hesitant because of the stranger in their midst. I’m instantly taken by their bemused, inquisitive faces with those furry, upturned mouths and the floppy ears. As she passes, each goat gives me a look that seems to doubt I’m up to the job. On the raised platform, the goats turn to feed from their trough and Sanderson clips them into position. I’m now facing a long line of goat tails. She hands me latex gloves and grips me by the thumb to show me how to milk a goat by hand. It’s an awkward, amusing moment. She sets a small container beneath a goat and with quick movements, squirts two streams of milk. Then it’s my turn. I grip and pull like Sanderson showed
me, but only a dribble of milk drops into the container. I suddenly have a new respect for the skill and dedication of farmers and the animals they care for. Sanderson adjusts my technique and I finally get the milk to flow. “I used to milk 15 goats twice a day by hand,” Sanderson says. “I love hand milking.” She still bottle feeds up to 30 baby goats every year. “It’s a big task, but lots of fun.” To speed things up, we use the milking machine to complete the job. It doesn’t take long and we’ve got several gallons of frothy goat milk. We pour it off into containers that go into the freezer, either for transport to a cheese making facility or to the basement in the farmhouse where Sanderson makes soap. That’s where we’re headed next. Shelves and shelves of goat milk soap bars are stacked against the walls. Essential oils and other ingredients like the lavender
and roses grown here on the farm give each a distinctive scent. A single litre of goat milk makes 40 bars. Each is cured for a month, then hand wrapped for sale in Flory’s Shoppe here on the farm and elsewhere on the island. “My product is so good, you can use it as a head-to-toe body wash or a shampoo,” Sanderson says, beaming. “You can shave with it, clean your dishes or do the laundry.” Sanderson helps me make a small bag of laundry detergent, mixing ingredients like borax with flakes of her soap. “It takes a teaspoon for a load of clothes.” We head out to the big barn where Sanderson introduces me to her well cared for animals—fat rabbits, dozing pigs, curious llamas, alpacas and goats. She calls every one of them by name. Humourous signs are posted here and there around the pens. “Bunnies will sneeze when they’re happy,” and “Don’t let the goats out, no matter what they tell you.” Outside, we watch some of today’s 300 visitors petting animals in the barnyard. A sign on the fence reads “Dairy Girls” and
lists the goats by name—Mable, Elderberry, Loretta Lynn. “They love you unconditionally,” Sanderson says. “They’ve got to be fed, so they rely on me.” She points to a specific goat. “That one follows me everywhere and lies down beside me. They trust me.” After raising three daughters, Sanderson now runs the farm on her own. The survivor of several family tragedies, Sanderson says, “The goats saved me.” She openly offers her personal story to visitors as a way to explain the importance of her relationship with the animals. Further along, we find a couple of lazy kunekune mini pigs flopped in front of the gate where Gavin the donkey hangs out. With a lot of coaxing, the pigs push aside just enough for Gavin to squeeze through. It’s time for his big performance, an event that gathers a crowd. Sanderson has taught him to roll over like a dog. Following his trick, he’s rewarded with a slice of watermelon and a lot of petting by umpteen kids. My day ends at Flory’s Cafe where I order a latté and a breakfast sandwich made from
Visitors are encouraged to pet the animals.
Making laundry soap.
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a giant buttermilk biscuit, an egg from the farm, sriracha, island-made cheddar cheese and seasoned goat meat. As he prepares it, Joe Doucette, aka Baker Joe, says, “A kid told me one day, this is even better than Tim Hortons.” High praise indeed! Over lunch, Sanderson says she started out as a meat goat farmer, but quickly realized she had to diversify. Because she’s such a people person, she created a welcoming, open farm where hundreds could benefit as she does from close contact with animals. Biting into this delicious breakfast sandwich, I now realize how completely Farmer Flory loves her goats.
Island Hill Farm Breakfast Sandwich This hearty breakfast sandwich features house-made goat donair from Island Hill Farm, but you can substitute bacon for this new twist on a classic. Makes 4 Ingredients 4 large buttermilk biscuits 4 whole eggs 1 tsp butter 1 package of IHF donair meat 1 large tomato 4 tbs mayo ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese Sriracha sauce to taste Method Cut four buttermilk biscuits in half
and lightly toast or warm them. Shred the cheddar cheese. Thinly slice the tomato. Set aside. In a medium pan, fry eggs in butter over medium heat. Try for a medium hard yolk. Melt the shredded cheese on the eggs before they’re done. As the eggs are frying, heat a second pan over high heat. Quickly warm the sliced donair meat, flipping once, until the edges start to brown. Assemble the sandwiches. Spread mayo on each half of the buttermilk biscuits. Add Sriracha sauce to taste. Stack the egg, donair meat and tomato slice. Serve immediately.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Caron Prins in her chip shack.
From royal fries to championship seafood The Charlottetown Food + Fact Tour STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
t’s the breakfast of champions,” quips Heather Carver, our guide on the Taste the Town Food + Facts Tour in Charlottetown, PEI. She’s holding out a tray of oysters, ready for slurping from the half shell. It’s only mid morning, and we’re at MacKinnon’s Seafood Market, the first stop on the 3.5-hour walking tour around the historic downtown, so yes, raw oysters dressed with a dash of hot sauce and a squeeze of lemon are breakfast. Whatever the time of day, PEI oysters PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
are champions in their own right. In 1900, oysters from Malpeque Bay on the north coast travelled to Paris for the World’s Fair, Carver tells us, where they were named the best on the planet. Ever since, “Malpeque” has been synonymous with the world’s finest oysters. In many an inlet around the island, countless shellfish farmers string their oyster cages in straight rows marked by black buoys. Raspberry Point Oysters (started by the creator of Cow’s Ice Cream, another
famous and favourite PEI food) ships half a dozen varieties such as Lucky Lime, Pickle Point, and Shiny Sea across the country and around the world. Known equally for their sense of humour reflected in their cheeky slogan—eat oysters, get Lucky—and the quality of their shellfish, Raspberry Point and other PEI growers operate some of the most northerly farms in North America. Their oysters take from four to six years to mature, allowing those briny flavours to fully develop.
Cradle of Confederation Out on the streets of Charlottetown, we pass historic sites like the soaring twin spires of St. Dunstan’s Basilica built in 1913 and named for the patron saint of blacksmiths. It rises above Great George Street across from the hotel of the same name. The Great George is known for its eclectic collection of luxurious rooms in a row of historic buildings and for its links to the birth of Canada. Some of the 23 political leaders who met here in 1864 during the Charlottetown Conference slept in these buildings. That meeting led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada just three years later. A block away, we come upon Province House, one of only three provincial legislatures in the country that’s also a National Historic Site. We stop for a pick-me-up at The Gallery Coffee House & Bistro. As our tour continues, we window shop and make mental notes to return later for Iisland treats like wild blueberry juice, creamed honey, and PEI rum cake. Intriguing restaurants entice us—the Sugar Skull Cantina serves Mexican style tacos on their outdoor patio. At Gahan House, we learn about the brewing process, then settle in for a flight of beers. It’s tempting to spend the rest of the day here, but we’ve got another couple of stops I don’t want to miss. Down near the boutique shopping district at Peake’s Quay on the waterfront, we meet the island’s most enthusiastic and amiable food truck personality, Caron Prins of The Chip Shack. The pride she takes in her food is tattooed right on her arm—beneath an inky likeness of herself are printed the words “Queen of Fries.” “The red soil is full of iron and minerals,” she says, cradling a PEI potato as if it has healing powers. “That’s what makes the fries so good—that and the love.” Opposite the giant menu posted beside her window are greetings written in chalk. “Smile. Life is delicious,” and “Free hugs.” I accept a heaping serving of her homemade chips like it’s a gift and sit with a view of the harbour to devour them.
Oysters, breakfast of champions.
sizes, and prices that change daily, including live and cooked lobster options. From one of the many crates of lobster immersed in a giant saltwater tank, our guide selects a market size lobster, weighing in at just over a pound. We admire its mottled markings of red, orange, green, and black on its shell. Turning the creature over, Carver shows us the subtle differences in the sexes of lobsters. This one is female, Carver confirms, showing us how its tail is slightly wider than a male’s. That’s for carrying her eggs. With a lobster caliper gauge, she shows us how fishers determine if a lobster
meets the minimum size requirement. The length of its carapace from its eye to the start of its tail must be at least 74 to 77 mm, depending on the fishing zone. With our lobster 101 class at an end, we head over to Lobster on the Wharf, the restaurant next to MacKinnon’s, to sample the goods. We’re presented with a platter of lobster rolls—a blend of lobster meat, mayonnaise, baby spinach, and seasoning tucked into toasted buns. When it comes to enjoying the delicate flavour of lobster, simple is best. We’re at the end of the Taste the Town Tour. It’s noon. I grab my lobster roll and have at it, the lunch of champions.
Back to the beginning Our tour comes full circle back to MacKinnon’s Seafood Market. Everything from the floors to the display cases are kept sparkling clean. Behind the counter is a blackboard with a complex grid of species,
Talking lobster biology with Heather Carver, guide on the tour. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Dinosaur Island PEI’s new fossil hunting tour STORY AND PHOTOS BY DARCY RHYNO
’m standing on a 10-metre-long tree trunk that fell 300 million years ago. It’s wide at the base and stretches out as straight as it was tall. The top is nowhere to be seen among the ordinary rocks on this rough red beach, but it must have been a giant in a forest of giants. “Pretty crazy,” says geologist Laura MacNeil. “Here we have PEI’s largest fossil. It starts right here and goes all the way to...” She takes a dozen steps from the base of the tree to where I’m standing. “To here. It’s a very cool site. I never get sick of seeing these fossils.” MacNeil has worked as an interpreter at Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. After returning home to the island, she started Prehistoric Island Tours. Today’s group tour is at a location she prefers not to disclose. Unlike those other famous Canadian locations, PEI has no natural history museum. The most significant of the recent discoveries on the island are in storage at PEI
National Park, but with no other resources, she fears sites like this could suffer from too much public attention. This 75-minute tour is the only way to see them. The tree I’m standing on, she tells us, is Walchia. “It’s literally the earliest known conifer tree in the rock record. Handing around an artist’s rendition of the living tree, she adds, “If you’ve ever heard of a Norfolk Island Pine, they look very similar.
We’ve found some fronds from the tree on PEI, but they’re softer and you need special conditions to preserve them.” A boy on the tour runs up to MacNeil with a handful of fossilized wood. Two species are quite common on this beach— Walchia and a type of tree fern. Everyone on today’s tour has found at least a few pieces of both. Fossils of the two species look completely different from each other. Tree fern fossils often have sets of tightly packed circles, which hint at the ancient growth patterns. Rather than trunks, tree ferns stand upright on small roots bound together. When these trees fell, PEI was a steaming swamp in the middle of the supercontinent, Pangea. “Imagine you’re standing right here 300 million years ago,” MacNeil says. “The temperature is 40°C. The closest
Scouring the beach for fossils on Prehistoric Island Tours. Top: cast of a pre-dinosaur creature that lived on what is now PEI.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Part of the giant tree fossil.
Petrified wood picked up off the beach.
Tree fern fossil.
Cast of a pre-dinosaur creature.
ocean is 500 kilometres away. You can see mountains in the distance. You don’t see any grass or flowers because they literally didn’t exist yet, but the ground is covered in big, fluffy ferns.” MacNeil digs into her pack. “You turn around and you see this.” She holds up a picture of a prehistoric animal that looks like a dinosaur on all fours with a huge, spiny sail on its back. “This is Dimetrodon borealis, the largest predator that lived on PEI in the Permian period. He’s like nothing alive today. He’s not a dinosaur. He actually lived before the dinosaurs.” The boy returns, excided to show MacNeil yet another handful of fossilized wood. After we all marvel at his find, he runs off in search of more. MacNeil returns to her pack, pulling out a rock the size of a dinner plate with a footprint in it. “The most important rock on PEI is clay stone. Clay is the tiniest sediment on Earth. To turn into stone, it needs to be in extremely still bodies of water. We think these layers formed in ancient watering holes like an African savannah.” From those distant mountains, fine sediment drifted in
rivers to settle in shallow waters here, slowly filling in footprints like this one. Footprints are rare, but fossilized bone is all but unheard of on PEI. Still, there are a few. MacNeil spins the unlikely tale of one of them, the world’s first discovery of a dimetrodon bone. “In 1845, a farmer named Don McLeod was digging a well. When he got to about 22 feet, he pulled up a block of sandstone. In it was a dimetrodon skull.” She pulls yet another artefact from her backpack, a copy of the original fossil. “What are the chances that exactly where he dug, he found the only dimetrodon bone that has ever been found on PEI, the first in the world.” An American bought the fossil from the farmer for $30, the equivalent of $1,000 today. It’s been in a Philadelphia museum ever since. “Today, it’s forbidden to remove and sell fossils from sites like this in Canada.” Two other bizarre animals lived in those steamy forests, MacNeil tells us. One was a lizard-like creature almost a metre long. Another was a big, lumbering turtle-like creature. “See?” she says, pointing to yet another fossil from her pack. “The toes
Standing on both ends of the giant tree fossil.
are round. That’s a herbivore. The only candidate for this footprint is my favourite prehistoric PEI creature. You’re gonna love him. Diadectes!” Suddenly, a cry from one of the participants upstages the introduction of Diadectes. When the woman holds up a disc the size of a quarter, MacNeil becomes very excited. She tells us it’s the second such find on one of these tours and declares with some urgency, “We need to record the GPS of this item. It’s definitely copper because it’s the only thing that oxidizes green.” It could be a coin or a button dating back as far as the 1790s. It’s not a fossil, but the find is a great addition to a tour already rich in discoveries and gives us a sense of the unfathomable breadth of history in this single kilometre of shoreline. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / ACORN ART & PHOTOGRAPHY
Beyond the ordinary Treat yourself to a stay at Atlantic Canada’s unique lodges BY JOHN AND SANDRA NOWLAN
Take a harbour tour at Liscombe Lodge.
NEW BRUNSWICK Adair’s Wilderness Lodge “Joy, laughter and fun in the wilderness is what this world needs now.” That’s a comment from Ida Adair who, along with her husband Lou, owns a popular rural getaway in southern New Brunswick. Located close to the Fundy Trail Parkway, Adair’s Wilderness Lodge features five cottages, 10 motel rooms and four bunk house rooms. Guests at Adair’s love the outdoors. The
NEW BRUNSWICK TOURISM
he four Atlantic Provinces can rightfully boast of a wide variety of excellent accommodations. From quaint B&Bs to luxurious hotels and resorts, this region is known for its unmatched friendliness and hospitality. Many visitors to the East Coast are keen to include something exciting, new or unique. We discovered a number of such places throughout the region that provide special experiences for their guests: Lodge features a private lake for speckled trout fishing, and several kilometres of trails through the Acadian forest and adjacent waterfalls. Tour guides are provided for visits to nearby Fundy National Park and to Glen Gorge, often called “the Grand Canyon of New Brunswick”. Ida Adair told us two nesting loons fly over the lodge and cabins each morning, yodeling a brief greeting to guests. Evenings are often spent around the campfire listening to the sounds of nature and perhaps, the distant howls of coyotes.
September. A moose hunting license is required but the package includes transportation from Edmundston, cottage accommodation, all meals and one guide for each hunter. As expected, the restaurant serves hearty meals including its famous moose burger (two beef patties), chicken stew, BBQ ribs and—a favourite of Quebec visitors— steak poutine.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR Indian Falls Chalets Next to the town of Springdale in central Newfoundland, Michelle and Shawn Rowsell own Indian Falls Chalets. This 4.5-star property, along the banks of the Indian River, includes three modern, full-housekeeping cabins with floor-to-ceiling windows, wifi, locally made soap and shampoo, and a front porch BBQ.
At the opposite end of New Brunswick, about 50 kilometres north of Edmundston, Moose Valley Sporting Lodge attracts visitors year round with an even bigger appetite for outdoor adventure. Owner Lee Blanchette has groomed snowmobile, snowshoe and ATV trails, all available with guides. The most exclusive activity is his five-day Moose Hunting Package, available in late
ADAIRS WILDERNESS LODGE
Moose Valley Sporting Lodge
CHRIS SNELGROVE KAREN SMITH
Seaglass B&B and Studio.
offers her guests photo sessions in and around the town. Breakfast at Seaglass includes traditional toutons (fried bread dough) and Karen’s own version of Pain Matin (morning bread)— pumpernickel fried lightly in butter with sharp cheddar and Quebec maple syrup.
herb and vegetable garden and has now started a unique mushroom garden. A bonus for guests at the lodge is Chester and his harbour tour. This old timer, full of stories, steers his pontoon boat along the shores of Liscombe Harbour while regaling visitors with local history, geography and gossip.
Trout Point Lodge
Seaglass B&B and Studio In the delightful Trinity Bay community of New Perlican, the old general store and adjacent traditional Newfoundland house have been turned into a cozy, seaside two-bedroom B&B with its own fitness instructor for optional gentle workouts on the deck. The owners, Karen Smith and Michael Laduke, are both talented artists and offer unique classes in their specialties. Michael is a stained-glass maker and in his workshop (the old store) he shows visitors how to create their own complex, colourful glass treasures. Karen is a photographer and
A welcome refuge along Nova Scotia’s rugged Eastern Shore, Liscome Lodge has a tradition of hospitality dating back more than 60 years. Formerly a government resort, it’s now privately owned with 30 comfortable guestrooms in the Riverside Lodge, 17 private chalets spaced along the Liscombe River and five large, shared cottages. Because the lodge is located where river meets harbour, it’s also a popular stopping place for hungry yachters, eager to enjoy the lodge specialty, planked salmon. The talented, British-trained chef has his own
Shawn Rowsell takes special pride in his smoked salmon workshops. Guests learn the technique of properly preparing and smoking local salmon then, of course, enjoying the final product. Shawn also delights in taking guests to the best fishing pools along the Indian River and teaching the basics of effective fly fishing.
Located in the most remote part of southwest Nova Scotia, adjacent to the Tobiatic Wilderness Area, this five-star luxury lodge has eight suites in the main building, three suites in an adjacent structure and one fully equipped two-bedroom cottage. With gourmet cuisine and an award from Wine Spectator Magazine, it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax, surrounded by nature with no cell phone or TV. “Forest Bathing” is a Japanese concept (“Shinrin-yoku”) that is now fully embraced by Trout Point. Guests are guided on a slow walk along the river and through the forest with all senses fully attuned to the sights, smells, colours and atmosphere of the surroundings. A stop is made as the guide brews tea from fir tips and wintergreen leaves. Science has shown that “bathing” your entire psyche in the forest’s essence lowers blood pressure, heart rate, stress and depression. The remote lodge also has a resident astronomer with an excellent telescope who invites gusts to view and discuss the night sky in all its splendour. ATLANTIC PROVINCES
Mongolian yurts, each with a queen size bed, a day bed, a woodstove and private deck with personal hot tub. The owners like to call it “glamping” (glamorous camping).
The Inn at Bay Fortune
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Nature Space Resort
Yurt lodging at Nature Space Resort.
Near St. Peter’s Bay in eastern PEI, Heather and Jarrod Gunn McQuillan have built a unique Resort and Retreat Centre. They want visitors to enjoy the natural world of PEI while offering wellness experiences like yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Heather, a certified yoga teacher, designs her classes for all levels. Accommodation at Nature Space is also special. The resort includes four authentic
This five-star property near Souris—a working farm set among 48 acres of seaside serenity—offers some of the finest accommodation and cuisine in the region. The main Inn has 16 luxurious rooms while its sister property, The Inn at Fortune Bridge, offers six uniquely decorated suites. A major draw at the Inn at Bay Fortune is its celebrity chef, Michael Smith, and his elaborate Fireworks Feast. Chef Michael told us his goal is “to immerse his guests in an interactive farm to fork experience.” The Feast starts with a culinary farm tour at 4pm followed by a special Oyster Hour at 5pm and then the grand finale at 6pm. The seven-course meal, much of which is cooked over local hardwood, is a showcase of Chef Michael’s talent, featuring the best from land and sea that PEI has to offer.
Say , Atlantic Canada! The delicious world of artisanal cheeses
ARMADALE FARM DAIRY PRODUCTS
BY ANNE CALDER
Armdale Artisan Cheeses.
rtisanal cheesemaking is a marvel. Handmade in small batches, using traditional craftsmanship, these locally created products add wonderful variety and complexity to an already beloved food. Cheesemaking is a labour of love for the producers, who often begin their days at 4 am and work well into the night. The Atlantic provinces boast some of the finest artisanal cheeses in Canada. Here’s a sampling of what to look for in your travels.
Armadale Artisan Cheeses, Sussex, NB Established by Dutch immigrants Jozef and Regina Duivenvoorden and now run by their granddaughter Hetty and her husband Ian, Armadale Artisan Cheeses is renowned for its goudas, fetas and quark. Gouda flavours range from cumin, onion, smoked, garlic, paprika, herb, cracked black petter, to peppercorn hoop, Acadian, Cajun and caraway.
Their feta is made with cow’s milk, which gives it a milder but traditional salty taste. Armadale also produces Italian-style cheese, cheddar, Havarti and parmesan.
Fromagerie au Fond des Bois, Rexton, NB In 2012, Belgium immigrant Didier Laurent purchased Fromagerie au Fond des Bois from its original owners in 2012. He was briefly trained, then left to his own devices to care
and Les Fils d’Arcadie, made with beer from local distillery Fils du Roy. The fromagerie also produces cheese curds, cream cheese and salted twists called Tortillon.
Glasgow Glen Artisan Cheese, New Glasgow, PEI Jeff McCourt developed an interest in artisanal cheesemaking when PEI’s gouda “cheeselady,” Marina ter Beek, contemplated retirement after 25 years in the business. McCourt apprenticed with ter Beek before opening Glasgow Glen Farm in 2014. Glasgow Glen produces popular artisanal gouda cheeses in flavours such as caraway, smoked, peppercorn, beer, pizza and “bluda”—a blue gouda.
for a newly inherited goat herd of Nubians, Alpines and Saanens. Laurent produces 40 goat milk products including Acadiac, a ripened cheese; Tomme, a small, round cheese; and Pelerin, the creamery’s artisanal blue goat cheese. Laurent has plans to produce several cow’s milk cheeses in 2022 and become federally licensed to sell across Canada.
Granville Green Resurgence Sundays July 3-August 7, 7pm FREE Granville Green Bandshell, Port Hawkesbury NS
902-625-2591 granvillegreen.ca @granvillegreenph and @townofph
Fromagerie PEI, Mont-Carmel, PEI Mathieu Gallant founded Fromagerie PEI in 2016 after studying cheesemaking in Paris, and sources milk from local dairy farms in the Evangeline region of the island. The fromagerie is famous for its “Squeak-ies Cheese Curds.” An avid environmentalist, Gallant utilizes a biomass heat source for cheesemaking, allowing him to work toward his goal of carbon neutrality.
Fromagerie les Blancs d’Arcadie, Caraquet, NB
Roma Cheese Ltd, Hants County, NS
Alberte Doiron took over Fromagerie les Blancs d’Arcadie—famous for its cheddars— in 2004. Her sons Bertin and Jean-Yves now run the dairy and source cows’ milk from local producers. Popular cheddar flavours include Emerillon, fine herbs, pesto, marble, orange
Roma Cheese Ltd. produces authentic artisanal Italian cheese. Owner Ciro Comencini began making cheese in Italy at the age of six and now lives on his Woodland, Hants County farm with his wife and six children. Comencini produces artisanal asiago,
Granville Green 2022 - Resurgence
Following a challenging past two years, Granville Green is back! Each Sunday from July 3 through August 7, we will gather on the Green to enjoy premier musical talents from local and national artists, performing on our outdoor stage. The 2022 lineup of artists promises to bring a dynamic and exciting spin on the classic series while wowing the crowd with jaw dropping hits and a few surprises. With a focus on community emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will share stories of strength, resilience and camaraderie while finally coming together to enjoy this incredible series once again.
Holmestead also produces Myzethera—a fresh low fat, unsalted whey cheese—ricotta, parmesan and pressed greek yogurt.
Blue Harbour Cheese, Halifax, NS
taleggio, mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, scamorza, and stracchino, which are in high demand at fine restaurants and local retailers.
Ran-Cher Acres, Aylesford, NS Famous for its feta, Ran-Cher Acres was founded by Randy and Cheryl Hiltz in 1987. The Hiltzs source milk from more than 100 Saanen goats to make their cheese, yogurt, kefir and milk. Ran-Cher Acres goat cheese varieties include cayenne and garlic, Italian blend, herb Provence, chives, dill and peppercorn.
Holmestead Cheese Sales, Aylesford, NS Established in 1985 by Nick and Susan Tziolas, Holmestead Cheese Sales is one of the largest feta cheese producers in Canada. Using recipes common to northern Greece and Bulgaria, Holmestead feta maintains an authentic flavour distinct from other varieties.
Founded by Lyndell Findlay in 2013, Blue Harbour Cheese produces European-style cheeses in a federally licensed plant. The fromagerie is popular for its Urban Blue—a semi-soft blue veined cheese— Hip Hop, a semi-soft washed rind cheese made with local organic ale; Electric Blue, a semi-soft blue veined cheese; and Storm Cheese, a firm alpine cheese inspired by Swiss gruyere.
Quark Cheesecake from Ran-Cher Acres
Fox Hill Farm, Port Williams, NS
Ingredients for filling: 4 cups Ran-Cher Acres quark cheese 1 cup granulated sugar ½ cup butter, softened 4 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp baking powder 1 package vanilla pudding mix powder
Fox Hill Cheese House is situated on a sixth generation farm in the Annapolis Valley and owner Richard Rand sources milk from his own Holstein and Jersey cows. Fox Hill is known for its quark, cheese curds, smoke-flavoured gouda, dill and chives Havarti, and cranberry cheddar. Rand also produces whole milk and chocolate milk—sold in bottles—yogurt, and Italian-style gelato.
Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 9-inch springform cake pan.
Five Brothers Artisan Cheese, Goulds, NL
Form cake bottom by combining: 1 cup graham cracker crumbs ½ cup flour 2 tbsp granulated sugar ¼ to ½ cup butter, melted
The only artisanal cheese producer in Newfoundland, Five Brothers Artisan Cheese is operated by partners Julia Bannister and Adam Blanchard, strong advocates for food self-sufficiency in their province. Their popular products include “Bergy Bits” curds, Avalon Smoked Cheddar, White Fleet—their queso fresco—and mozzarella.
Begin with ¼ cup melted butter and add up to 4 tablespoons until crumb is desired consistency. Press into springform pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cream together quark cheese, butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add vanilla, baking powder and pudding mix and mix until combined. Pour cheese filling into par-baked crumb and return to oven for 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to 300ºF and bake one hour, or until the cake has set.
Cranberry Cheddar, Dill and Chives Havarti and Smoked Gouda from Foxhill Farms.
Let cake cool on counter, then place in the fridge. Cake is best served the following day. Top with chocolate ganache or other topping of your choice. ATLANTIC PROVINCES
Don’t stop for winter! A smorgasbord of off-season fun in Atlantic Canada BY SANDRA PHINNEY The International Pond Hockey Tournament in Plaster Rock.
NEW BRUNSWICK TOURISM
t’s 15 degrees below zero and I’m milling through a sea of smiling faces on the edge of Roulston Lake in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. In front of us is a sight to behold—24 outdoor rinks. Twenty are occupied by 40 teams skating their hearts out, competing in the International Pond Hockey Tournament. Members of 80 other teams are nursing sore muscles, eating poutine, or kibitzing with others while hundreds of spectators join in the fun. Close by, toddlers to grandparents are skating on rinks earmarked for guests. Flags from across Canada, the US, Europe and further afield flap in the wind. This is day three, leading up to the finals; the camaraderie on and off the ice is palpable. Later, there will be campfires and tailgate parties. Everyone seems to be ignoring forecasts that a major blizzard is on its way. I ask someone next to me if they are worried. “Worried? Heck, it’s only a blizzard.” How did this international tournament begin? Twenty years ago, the community of Plaster Rock (pop. 1,135) needed to replace the dilapidated skating rink. Knowing that raffles and bake sales wouldn’t cut it, the volunteer committee aimed for something big. Why not set up a pond-hockey tournament, and invite the world?
Five years later, voilà! Tobique-Plex opened its doors, home to a huge rink, fitness centre, walking track and municipal offices. Bobby Hull, ex-NHL great who was on hand one year, referred to this International Pond Hockey Tournament as the 8th Wonder of the World. The event now draws upwards of 8,000 people. Turning to other winter draws in New Brunswick, consider dog sledding in Allardville or North Tetagouche, hiking into the ice caves at Midland, or trekking into the spectacular 100-ft. iced up Fall Brook Falls. Next year, Winter Frolic—a family winter festival—makes its debut in Fredericton during the ever-popular FROSTival. This new festival will offer snow slides, a snow maze, sleigh rides, and even a lit-up Ferris wheel and merry-go-round.
Love to skate? For a unique experience, try the Mactaquac Forest Skate on a 940-metre trail through the forest of Mactaquac Provincial Park. It also features night lights for evening skating. Every province in Atlantic Canada has special winter events; consider yourself spoiled for choice. Here are a few more winter pleasures to add to your bucket list.
Prince Edward Island Tonging for oysters anyone? This is likely the only place on the planet where you can fetch oysters through the ice on a private oyster lease and learn how to clean and shuck ‘em. Of course, eating them straight up is all part of the fun. Bonus: Captain Perry Gotell (Tranquility Cove Adventures) also provides a pot of steaming PEI mussels next to a bonfire he makes on the ice to keep you warm. After you’ve had your fill of seafood, you can work it off at the Mark Arendz Provincial Park at Brookvale, a Nordic/X-Country site featuring 24.5 km of groomed recreational trails, 7.5 km of competitive and biathlon trails, a complete rental shop, lodge, waxing huts, biathlon range, and toboggan hill. More energy to burn? Check out the new winter activity hub at Cavendish, where
If you are a snowmobile enthusiast, consider testing your skill in a 3,100-km, gruelling race titled Cain’s Quest. If you’d rather go as an arm-chair traveller, hunker down in Labrador City where you’ll be privy to lots of activities and can track the race via satellite. In Western Newfoundland, Marble Mountain is arguably the best place to ski in Atlantic Canada. It boasts a 1,700-foot vertical drop, 39 runs ranging from novice to expert, five lifts, and an average annual snowfall of 16 ft. Bonus: close by, you’ll find Marble Zip Tours with nine zip lines! Imagine zooming along 285 feet in the sky through a winter wonderland. Central Newfoundland goes all out in the winter with offerings such as Mid Winter Biver in Exploits Valley and SnowFari in Gander. Several adventure companies arrange special activities in the winter— everything from a “Survival 101 course” to ice fishing and traditional boil-ups. And you can’t go wrong visiting the capital, St. John’s. Aside from enjoying the dining options and night life, consider signing up for a sleigh ride at Lester’s Farm Chalet, or head out for a good old-fashioned slide at Bowring, Victoria, and Pippy Parks.
Nova Scotia What does one do when one can’t compete with the mounds of snow found in other
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TOURISM / DRU KENNEDY
Marble Mountain, western Newfoundland.
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA / SEHMAT SURI
Newfoundland and Labrador
Atlantic Provinces? Create a whopping event that doesn’t depend on the white stuff and call it the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl. During the month of February, communities between Barrington and Peggy’s Cove go all out celebrating Homarus americanus and the importance of the lobster industry. Along with eating lobster dishes galore, you’ll meet Lucy the Lobster and discover plenty of lobster lore—art, music, stories and traditions shaped by the lobster industry. Foodies love Halifax’s “Dine Around,” also during the month of February. For 28 days, numerous cafes, bistros and restaurants offer special menu items ranging from $10-$50. Across the harbour, Dartmouth hosts an Ice Festival, which gets a lot of attention the first week of March. If you really want to shake things up, head to Mavillette Beach in early February for the Second Annual Polar Surf & Swim. The brave souls who took part this past winter raised $4,600 for the Clare Food Bank. You, too, could be part of the next endeavour. And as long as there’s wind, surfing’s great at Mavillette—any time of year. Hot Lobster Sandwich, Clara Harris style Ingredients 2 cups lobster ¼ cup butter 2 tsp vinegar 2 cups 18% cream Method Sauté lobster in butter for one minute, stir in vinegar for one minute, stir in cream until it thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on toast.
Tonging for oysters in PEI.
Truly Spectacular! A nature-lovers can’t miss coastal experience on the world-famous Bay of Fundy
you’ll find fat biking, snowshoeing, and some interesting walking options. For a slower pace, take in Charlottetown’s Ice City Festival where you’ll find everything from an International Ice Carving Championship to horse and wagon rides, sugar-shack weekends, snowshoeing after dark at Victoria Park—and more.
Canvas crush Find inspiration (and dreamy scenery) at plein air and participatory art festivals across Atlantic Canada BY SHELLEY CAMERON-MCCARRON
ou may find them—brush and easel in hand—artists working to capture the ethereal beauty of a weathered fishing shanty or the elegant grace of an historic home. Perhaps you’ll see them painting golden light glowing over a solitary lighthouse or illuminating roaring tides. Atlantic Canada, synonymous with natural beauty, provides a dreamy, dramatic backdrop for plein air and participatory art festivals. Here are a few to check out:
Paint Peggy’s Cove
Some 40 artists will converge on Nova Scotia’s most iconic fishing village, July 8-10 for Paint Peggy’s Cove, one of three marquee experiences during the Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts. During this three-day plein air festival, visitors can stroll the small village just south of Halifax to see artists at work, on the wave-worn oceanside granite rocks, on streets, painting houses, trees, fishing boats, and,
of course, the lighthouse—arguably the province’s most famous. Patricia Lindley, festival board member and plein air lead, says the event offers artists a terrific variety of scenery,from traditional coastal views to rugged landscape, beautiful in all weather. “All those scenes are there and very accessible,” she says. “The artists are also very much available to watch. A special feature is you really do get up close and personal with the artists.” Lindley says artists are encouraged to interact, to meet and talk to people as they paint. Local volunteers provide on-site support for the artists, including taking their finished pieces (plein air paintings are finished outdoors and can be done in a few hours) back to a large, festive Mongolian yurt positioned by the lighthouse, where the work is available for sale. A nearby children’s tent offers free activities and local artisans are on hand with demonstrations. Lindley says Paint Peggy’s Cove is open to all artists who wish to apply, and artists can paint wherever in the village they like. Peggy’s Cove Festival of the Arts also includes an opening night, this year
on July 6th, and a popular open studio tour held the weekend following Paint Peggy’s Cove. Visitors on this self-guided tour follow a map to over 40 locations around the St. Margaret’s Bay area, spanning from around East River to Prospect Village, and mostly along coastal Highway 333. peggyscoveareafestivalofthearts.com/ festival-events/paint-peggys-cove/
Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival The opportunity to collect a beautiful piece of art, to watch top artists at work, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Parrsboro Shore and world-renowned Bay of Fundy are all part of the appeal of the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival, happening June 22-26, says festival chair Michael Fuller. “It’s five days of painting with artists from across North America,” says Fuller. “They are heavy hitters. The work is excellent.” The event, Canada’s largest plein air festival, accepts 30 juried applicants (including a small percentage filled by Atlantic Canada artists) from around 100 applications. This year, the Nova Scotia festival is hoping to embrace the return of international artists. During the event, visitors can find a favourite artist in a field, along the shore, or stationed wherever inspiration
LAWRENCE R. NICOLL
Painting at Advocate wharf.
strikes and are able to ask questions or get tips as they watch them paint the area’s natural beauty. The first three days, the artists spread out around the region, within a 45-minute radius of Parrsboro. They go as far as Five Islands and Advocate Harbour. “It’s a big area, and people will find the inspiration point for them, perhaps fishing boats in Advocate Harbour, the lighthouse in Cape d’Or, the beach on Spencer Island, or waterfalls.” The festival, started by Parrsboro Creative in 2017 and offering the largest award purse in Canada, then tightens the geographic area so artists can get three chosen works done and submitted (of the three submitted works, one must include a nocturne
entry done after sunset) for the Saturday evening gala, where works are graded by an internationally-recognized judge. Works are on display and for sale during the main exhibition Sunday. Sunday also sees a “quick draw” event where festival artists and any artist who wants to paint around the town of Parrsboro during a two-hour time limit. These paintings are judged and available for sale. parrsborocreative.com/pipaf-2022
Art Across the Marsh Entering its 23rd year, the Art Across the Marsh Studio Tour is a popular cross-border initiative that takes place in the Tantramar Marsh area around Sackville, New Brunswick
and Amherst, Nova Scotia. The art tour had its origins when Rob Lyon, Ghita Levin and Donna Sharpe decided to open their studios to exhibit their work and cross-promote each other. It was very successful, and they asked other artist friends to join them the next year. Since then, the studio tour has grown and averages 20-30 studios exhibiting up to 50 artists. The tour stretches the border region of New Brunswick-Nova Scotia and includes Dorchester, Sackville, Jolicure, Baie Verte and Port Elgin on the New Brunswick side and the town of Amherst plus the Amherst Shore area on the Nova Scotia side. The studio tour hosts a range of professional artists featuring painting, pottery, jewellery,
Bendi’s Art Emporium, Amherst.
healthy eating active living self care
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textiles, weaving, stained glass, photography and more. “The Tantramar Marsh area has a long history of inspiring artists. Sackville and the border region are home to a very vibrant arts community,” says Lyon. Art Across the Marsh typically runs the third weekend in October with 2022 dates set for Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, 10am to 5pm both days. artacrossthemarsh.ca
COURTESY BENDI’S ART EMPORIUM
projects after dark and 21 “campfires”— portable fireplaces lit at 8 pm where people can hang out.
Art in the Open From the “March of the Crows”—a raucous, dusk-time parade of people clad as crows, cawing their way as they walk from Charlottetown, PEI’s Confederation Centre of the Arts to Victoria Park (where real-life crows do gather)—to installations like last year’s giant spider web strung between trees, Charlottetown’s annual Art in the Open, this year August 27th from 4pm to midnight, showcases fun, innovative and inspiring visual arts. Since 2011, the festival has been a summer highlight, featuring temporary sculptures, installations, and performance. It focuses on visual arts in three streams: professional artists of national standing, local artists including emerging artists, and community organizations. The event’s a partnership between the City of Charlottetown, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and This Town is Small. Art in the Open is almost exclusively outdoors in public parks and outdoor spaces, and people are encouraged to wander the city, often with a chance to speak with artists. “You’re experiencing the city from a different angle, an artistic angle,” says Pan Wendt, one of the festival’s outgoing curators. Wendt says they try to keep the event to between 30-40 projects so it’s possible for visitors to see everything. Popular aspects include Victoria Park’s woods paths lit up to explore artistic
The Lunenburg Arts Fest (formerly Paint Sea on Site), July 16-17, is an annual plein air event entering its 21st year. Hosted by Lunenburg Art Gallery Society, visitors can watch around 50 artists painting around Lunenburg, NS, with work showcased and for sale in an outdoor tent on the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic wharf. The festival also involves other artists working live in different mediums. Paint the Town, Annapolis Royal, NS, August 13-14. arcac.ca/paint-the-town-festival.html TataAir, a plein air weekend in Tatamagouche, NS, based out of the Grace Arts Centre, home of the Ice House Gallery, takes place in late August (updates/dates at theicehousegallery.com). Artists receive maps of the surrounding area, reaching from the Malagash coast to Brule to Warwick Mountain, with work sold in the evenings. On June 4th, in New Brunswick, the Fredericton Trails Coalition hosts the 2nd annual “Art on the Bridge” along the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge with local artists live painting. tourismfredericton. ca/en/events/art-on-the-bridge-0 Throughout the summer, rotating artists make the great outdoors their studio during the Summer Artist in Residence Program in the Fredericton Botanic Garden and at Killarney Lake Park. fredericton.ca/en/news/city-hall/2022-summer-artist-in-residence-program Take a self-guided walking or driving tour to over 50 art murals on buildings through Moncton region. experiencemoncton.ca/article/art-murals-tour In Sackville, NB, marvel at the Street Chalk Art Festival August 26-27th. sackville.com/sackvillechalk The Bonavista Biennale is a large, month-long, rural-based public art event that takes place every two years on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula (next in 2023) with works by Newfoundland and Labrador, Indigenous, and other Canadian and international artists at sites across the peninsula, plus workshops, talks and more. bonavistabiennale.com/
Border town twins The best of Amherst, NS and Sackville, NB STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCY RHYNO
hat sounds like the gulps of a thirsty giant are coming from somewhere nearby. Or is it more like dripping water echoing off the walls of a cave? Whatever sound it resembles, I know what’s making it. The watery noises are the call of an unusual avian visitor to the Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary. There in the morning light, standing stock still among the reeds is an American bittern, its beak pointed straight up. It’s this
shy bird’s unique camouflaging technique that makes it so difficult to spot. Its long neck covered in striped plumage blends in with the tall grasses and reeds all around it. I stand equally still, watching through binoculars until the small heron senses it’s safe again and continues its slow call. “Onk-er-loink. Onk-er-loink.” The sanctuary sits at the edge of the Tantramar Marsh that attracts many bird species and separates Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick. I’m here to do some bird watching and to visit the towns on either side of the border—Amherst and Sackville. My plan is to end the day with a stroll along the boardwalk at the Sackville Waterfowl Park before dusk, when the birds will be settling in for the night. Between now and then, I’ve got a couple of border town twins to explore. With the bittern added to my life list, I hurry into Amherst for my appointment at
Colourful fabric at Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio; a rug hooking project in progress; Karen McKinnon, owner of Maritime Mosaic.
the Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio. I’ve booked a day-package through the shop, starting with a one-hour introductory rug hooking session. Fitzpatrick meets me at the door for a tour of her shop. Shelves are loaded with the softest fabrics and yarns in shades across the rainbow. The studio’s own hand dyed wool blazes in palettes inspired by famous painters like Rousseau, Lichtenstein and Seurat. For my lesson, I select a starter kit designed and assembled by Fitzpatrick and her staff. The pattern is of a red house set against a seaside landscape. She shows me how to hold the small, hooked needle to pull fabric through tiny holes in the mesh, following the lines of the design. “Making art lets you take time for yourself,” Fitzpatrick says. “It makes you more mindful.” She leaves me to it. Strand by strand, I build a scene familiar across the Atlantic Provinces. Time and place in this cozy shop seem to slip away. I work away contentedly until someone says it’s lunchtime. I head around the corner to Duncan’s Pub for fish and chips, then stop in at Damaris Spa and Wellness Centre across the street
“My plan is to end the day with a stroll along the boardwalk at the Sackville Waterfowl Park before dusk, when the birds will be settling in for the night” from Fitzpatrick’s studio for my manicure appointment, part of my day package. It’s another first for me, so I enter with some hesitation. I needn’t worry. Owner Gillian Vansnick greets me with a cheery welcome and shows me to an aesthetician’s station where I enjoy a relaxing treatment and good conversation. Before heading out of town, I do a little shopping at Maritime Mosaic, a business incubator inside a local landmark, Dayle’s Grand Market. This was the largest department store east of Montreal when it was constructed in 1906. I meet Karen McKinnon, the shopkeeper behind the building’s resurrection as a kind of
cooperative department store. “I started with 20 vendors,” McKinnon says, “But 20 went to 65 overnight.” I shop for gifts in her corner of the building where I find vintage jewelry, local artwork, and clever crafts like cozy mittens made from recycled sweaters. It’s time to cross the Tantramar. About halfway to Sackville, I take a detour to the national historic site nicknamed the green star. At Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland—a five-bastioned star fort on the Isthmus of Chignecto—I explore the remains of the 18th-century fortifications and visit the museum. Caught in conflicts between Britain, France and the emerging United States, the fort is an historical crossroads. Outside, I pause to marvel at the green terraced grounds and the sweeping views of the surrounding marshlands. Feeling peckish, my first stop in Sackville is the Cranewood Bakery for a pastry and a look inside the restored historic building. The English sandstone country house with the tall chimneys dates back to 1836. It once served as the residence for the president of Mount Allison University, the modern lifeblood of the town.
BIRKINSHAW’S TEA ROOM & RESTAURANT
Cranewood is just one of many cafés, pubs and restaurants in a town that caters to students and faculty. All are within easy walking distance of any downtown parking spot. The Black Duck Café and Restaurant is among the best, and I always have to stop at the Crackling Goose Market for some of their gluten free breads and baked goods for a friend back home. To treat myself, I duck into Knuckles Truffles Chocolates where they customize a box of handmade chocolates to take home. From there, it’s an easy walk to the Sackville Waterfowl Park. Birds of all kinds that need a watery home flock here. Ducks, geese, waders, songbirds and others visit—160 species in all, including 26 that breed right here. But it’s not just the birds that attract so many visitors. Some 200 plant species grow in the park. Just before the sun sets, I catch a glimpse of a redwing blackbird, the oranges in its wing bars matching those in the clouds, twin colours evoking the cheerfulness of these twin border towns.
Ecclefechan Tart from Birkinshaw’s Tea Room & Coffee House The Scottish village of Ecclefechan, a few kilometres north of the English border, gives its name to the Ecclefechan tart, sometimes called Border Tart. With its mix of dried fruits in a buttery coating, it could be a precursor of the Canadian butter tart, especially given the number of Scots who crossed the seas to settle here. Ecclefechan Tart is on the menu at Birkinshaw’s around Robbie Burns Day in January. Eleanor remembers her Lancashire grandmother making a similar tart and says northern English border counties have some interesting variations. Sweet tart case 1 egg yolk 1 tsp icing sugar 3 1⁄2 oz all-purpose flour Pinch of salt 1 ⁄5 tsp butter 1-1 1⁄2 tsp cold water
Fort Beauséjour, Fort Cumberland.
Mix egg yolk and icing sugar together. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and add butter using the rubbed-in method (or pulse in a food processor to crumb stage.) Mix to a stiff paste with yolk, sugar and water.
Knead briefly until smooth. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. When chilled, roll out to thickness of 1/6 inch and line loose-based 10” tart tin. Blind bake for 12-15 minutes at 375°F. Lower temperature to 315°F to bake tart. Filling 8 1⁄2 oz butter, softened 8 1⁄2 oz soft, dark brown sugar 4 eggs, beaten 1 tsp cinnamon Zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 lb sultana raisins 35 oz walnuts, roughly chopped While base is cooking, beat butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Add eggs a little at a time. Add cinnamon and lemon zest and juice. Mix well. Fold in dried fruit and nuts and mix until well combined. Spoon mixture into pastry case, level with a wet knife and bake for 35-45 minutes. Serve lukewarm or cold with cream, clotted cream or ice cream.
Gaol bird tour Historic lock-ups of Atlantic Canada STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCY RHYNO
fella down the hall is behind bars for nothing more than running his horses through town. The only crime of the women in the cells upstairs is being poor after their indebted husbands abandoned them. In a temperance town like Sherbrooke Village, ending up behind bars is as easy as pie. That’s because there ain’t no real crimes, so they gotta dream stuff up. Heck, nothin’ more than cussin’ got me locked up in this gaol cell. But I would be lying if I said being a gaolbird didn’t have its rewards. Take the
smell of fresh biscuits drifting from Mrs. Scott’s kitchen. She’s the gaoler’s wife and lives with her kids in the other half of this gaolhouse. Some are so fond of Mrs. Scott’s grub, they run around town cussing their heads off every December just for a serving of her famous Christmas turkey dinner. Catching a whiff of biscuits, I just know there’s freshly churned butter to be slathered on a couple and delivered through these bars. I’m playing the role of an 1867 prisoner dressed in period clothing including britches, bowler hat and coat; but those aromas are real. Phyllis Jack brings me some biscuits and springs me from gaol. She’s the Supervisor of Hands on History at this living history museum of 25 buildings, including shops, houses, and churches. Along with the biscuits, Jack presents me with a pound of that fresh butter. The gift is a sure sign that my sentence for criminally cussing has been commuted to time served.
“Science centre exhibits are often massive things,” Salonius says. Because the rooms at Science East were once offices and cells, exhibits here are smaller than what is typical. “As far as we know, we’re the only science centre located in a former prison. It’s just an incidental innovation, but we’ve taken a lot of the classic science centre ideas and we’ve downsized and redesigned them. Children frequent the smaller exhibits because they’re not overwhelming.” After exploring exhibits on the top two floors, we head to the basement, ducking along narrow passageways to a series of rooms where prisoners once lived out their sentences. To keep things kid-friendly, the exhibits here are about the forensic science of catching criminals rather than the criminals and their crimes. But when asked, Salonius and other guides are happy to entertain adults with stories of billion-dollar capers, bizarre escapes, and the door nicknamed “the point of no return.”
The science gaol
Georges Island and the Citadel
Sherbrooke’s is just one of many historic East Coast gaols where visitors can peek into penitentiaries of the past. In Fredericton, the former gaol serves as a family-friendly science centre. Lieff Salonius, director of development and communications at Science East, shows me around. We dodge kids running from one ingenious exhibit to another, their parents barely keeping up. It’s a tight squeeze, but I fit myself into the infinity room where my reflection repeats itself forever.
Two national historic sites in Halifax have historic gaols. Georges Island in the middle of Halifax Harbour has a military lockup, but at one point, the entire island served as an open air prison. About 1,000 Acadians were held here before their expulsion from the Maritimes by British forces in the mid-1700s. Many died before they could be exiled. Today, their descendents consider Georges Island a sacred site for its connection to that famous tragedy. The Halifax Citadel fortress stands guard
Jail House Biscuits from Sherbrooke Village over the harbour. Here, spirits come in two forms. On the Raise Your Spirits tour, I drink a drop or two of courage before heading outside for the Ghost Tour. The drinkable spirits are four samples from Compass Distillery, barrel-aged here in the fortress. My favourite is Noon Gun Gin, named for the cannon blast from the Citadel that has marked the noon hour since 1857. Fortified, our tour group meets on the cobblestone Parade Square with a shady character known only as Mr. Adams who spins tales by lamplight. He points out cells off the guardroom for troublesome soldiers. Elsewhere, defence casemates and garrison cells housed military prisoners. His most chilling story—The Grey Lady of the Cavalier Building—is of a specter so famous, she appeared on a Canadian postage stamp. “That’s where the night watchman saw her,” he says, pointing to the middle of the square. “She was dressed in grey and would not answer him.” As the pale light and shadows from his lantern play across his face, Mr. Adams fills in the back story. She may have been a bride left at the altar when her groom—a soldier stationed at the Citadel—died on his wedding day. Mr. Adams tells us her spirit has walked these grounds in search of him for over a century.
restaurant. It’s the oldest public building in the province, a unique stone monolith with a tall, central window flanked by a pair of entries at the top of a split stairway. The gaoler’s residence is still attached. Renovated cells—barred windows and doors still intact—are furnished with tables and chairs. Plush sofas have replaced the courtroom’s wooden pews. The gaolyard is now a beer garden. Lockups like these harken back to my experience as a well-fed prisoner at Sherbrooke Village. But unlike Sherbrooke, Harbour Grace and Charlottetown aren’t temperance towns, so drinks are as plentiful and tempting as the food.
Ingredients 4 cups flour ¾ cup shortening ¾ cup white sugar 1 tsp salt 7 tsp baking powder 2 eggs and enough milk to make 1 2⁄3 cups Method Mix first five ingredients together. Put eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Mix well. Add milk and eggs to mixture and blend. Roll and cut. Bake in 425°- 450°F oven for 15 minutes.
Prison food A couple of East Coast gaolhouses were given second lives as bars and restaurants. In 1979, the retired Queens County Gaol in Charlottetown became a Pizza Delight outlet. Today, Bar 1911—named for the year the old gaol was built—serves up specialty coffees, brews, pizzas and salads. Locals refer to the three-storey brick structure simply as the 1911 gaol. In Newfoundland, the 1830 Harbour Grace Courthouse—a national historic site— recently found new life as a speakeasy and events venue that will include a brewery and ATLANTIC PROVINCES
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Of giant lobsters and drunken lampposts East Coast public art amuses and delights STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCY RHYNO
’m on my back, clenched in the crusher claw of a lobster the size of a small airplane. I’m not the first to fall victim to the behemoth and I won’t be the last. In fact, several people are waiting for me to tumble out so they can take my place. I could be playing Victim One in a 1950s B-movie, but this is no film set. It’s the giant lobster sculpture that welcomes visitors to Shediac, New Brunswick. The 90-ton beast stands with Sudbury’s supersized nickel, Alberta’s giant beaver and Moose Jaw’s massive moose as one of the most recognizable works of public art in Canada, all of them much larger than life. A community’s sense of humour is on full display at these mammoth monuments, but there’s much more to public art than a few laughs. Communities all over the East Coast are enriching street life, animating buildings, and adding interest to parks with imaginative art that links people to natural and human history. As with the Shediac lobster, many pieces honour a local iconic animal. In Barrington, Nova Scotia, it’s also the lobster that the community has chosen to celebrate. A dozen human-scale crustaceans painted by local artists stand on their tails here and there in a community where the lobster fishery is king. About two hours drive north along the coast in Lunenburg, metal fish hang from posts all over town. Sculptures of Newfoundland dogs and Labrador retrievers in St. John’s bring provincial geography to life. One pair gazes across the harbour to Signal Hill. A second pair looks back from the hill to the first. In Montague, PEI, a trio of larger-than-life cormorants called “Friends of a Feather”
Murals, giant lobsters and other public art adorns communities around the region. ATLANTIC PROVINCES
A tuna sculpture in Charlottetown, PEI.
stand preening and drying their wings on posts beside the bridge over Vesseys Creek, where the real birds are a common sight. In the past, public art often honoured historic figures, nearly always white male politicians, royalty or military figures. No more. While many of these figures remain where they’ve stood for many decades, public art has moved on. Statues and fountains in the Halifax Public Gardens are a perfect fit with the Victorian era green space, but elsewhere in the city, a modern outdoor art gallery is developing, especially along the waterfront. Three drunken lamp posts lean and seem to stagger on a pier. One of them is slumped flat on the wooden deck. Mackerel benches and a life size metal whale’s tail reference the city’s seaside location, as does The Wave, a popular work that has sparked more conversation and controversy than any other single piece among the dozens waiting to be discovered. At Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, an annual sculpture competition fills its 27 acres with original works. Some become permanent garden fixtures. At another park in town, two sculptures are among the dozens of large stone pieces on the International Sculpture Trail that links communities across northern Maine and southern New Brunswick. Most outdoor galleries feature works by several artists. The three cormorants in Montague, PEI are part of a gallery with several murals, including one made of wooden
Detail from a work in St. Andrews, NB.
puzzle pieces. In Botwood, Newfoundland, the entire collection is of murals by several artists depicting the history of the community. The collection in Shediac starts with the giant lobster, but includes murals, wrought iron profiles of local figures and a totem pole. There’s even a Scrabble-like work that spells “Shediac” in recognition of the town’s claim as the place where a pre-cursor of the game was invented. Other collections are by individual artists like Hooper’s People in Saint John, New Brunswick. Stocky wooden figures doing ordinary things mingle with visitors who can’t resist posing for photos with them. One piece called “People Apart, Moving Together” combines a mural of people walking through an arched entrance into the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre with life size sculptures of people who seem to be emerging from the same entry. The Shediac lobster isn’t the only oversized public art on the East Coast. Nova
One of three cormorant sculptures in Montague, PEI.
Sydney, Cape Breton’s giant fiddle.
Scotians know well the 12-metre tall statue of Glooscap, the Mi’kmaq god, who rises over the highway near Truro. The world’s largest axe stretches to 15 metres in Nackawic, New Brunswick, a town where most people work in forestry. The double-headed blade with the yellow handle looks like it was sunk into a tree stump by Paul Bunyan. Visitors love taking selfies here, dramatically dwarfed by the 55-ton artwork. In Sydney, Cape Breton, a giant fiddle welcomes visitors to the port and the city. It’s one of my favourite public art works on the East Coast. I have fond memories of it after seeing a live performance here by Canada’s pre-eminent fiddler and Cape Breton’s pride and joy, Natalie MacMaster. Then again, whether it’s in the audience beneath a 20-metre fiddle or in the clutches of a giant lobster, visiting pretty well any public art makes for lifelong memories.
Set Sail on a Maritime Adventure
Travel by Ferry
Prince Edward Island — Nova Scotia
New Brunswick — Nova Scotia
Maritime Adventures from Ship to Shore Make more memories on land and sea with Northumberland Ferries
More to See at Sea 2022 sees the return of three onboard offerings for Northumberland Ferries. A highlight to previous seasons, Seaside Experiences is back this July to September with some of the finest food, and beverage samplings in the Maritimes. Past local companies have showcased everything from honey to hot sauce, so expect a deliciously eclectic mix for this summer—and if you’re looking for inspiration on how to use these local products at home, on select days Maritime chefs will demonstrate their top tips and tricks. The ever-popular Music on Deck program returns on select crossings from July until the end of Labour Day weekend. Sit back and relax to the sounds of talented local performers, five days a week, Thursdays through Mondays. Plus, PEI-based COWS Ice Cream is back on board MV Confederation with a sweet selection of treats and souvenirs. This is in addition to the unique picturesque voyage with panoramic views, and memory-making opportunities you can look forward to with Northumberland Ferries.
More to Explore Onshore Have a Maritime daycation in picturesque Pictou. Go on an island getaway to PEI. No matter your interest, there’s always an adventure waiting for you following your journey with Northumberland Ferries. In “Canada’s Ocean Playground”, you have your choice of 13,300 kilometres of spectacular Nova Scotia coastline to explore. If you’re in a laid-back, beachy kind of mood, the Northumberland Shore is a great option for your NS road trip, since it has more warm-water ocean beaches than anywhere else in Atlantic Canada. Plus, it’s home to award-winning wines, artisan shops, and the freshest of lobster, seemingly available around every turn. From here, you have your choice of adventures, including
LEN CURRIE PHOTOGRAPHY
For more than 80 years, Northumberland Ferries has been a true memory-making engine for Maritime vacations. (You could say the company has been an essential ingredient for unforgettable local road trips since 1941, when it first started its ferry service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.) This year, “the PEI ferry” puts the focus on creating new fun-filled memories— and reliving treasured family traditions—with its 75-minute journeys aboard MV Holiday Island and MV Confederation.
HEATHER OGG PHOTOGRAPHY CALEY JOY PHOTOGRAPHY
UNESCO sites like Old Town Lunenburg, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, and the Landscape of Grand Pré. On PEI, your island getaway begins right after you disembark in Wood Islands. From here, head east on the Points East Coastal Drive. Marked by a starfish symbol against an orange and blue background, the route takes you along the east coast through charming towns that are home to lovely beaches, provincial parks, golf courses, and local shops, restaurants, and resorts. Or head west towards the capital city of Charlottetown for more urban pursuits such as renowned theatre productions, contemporary art installations, and quirky festivals. Wherever you’re headed, a Northumberland Ferries voyage is a must-have experience for ocean-loving adventurers. It’s more than just incredible views (even though they are incredible). It’s the chance to kick off your Maritime getaway with a very special journey shared with family and friends.
The CAT is coming back —and we’re faster than ever Set Sail for a Sea Adventure After a few years away, we’re thrilled to announce that The CAT is back! That’s right, the high-speed CAT car ferry returns to service in May 2022. At just 3.5 hours, it’s the fastest and most entertaining way to travel between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Spend less time driving and more time taking in the sights of the Canadian Maritimes and the Northeastern United States from the decks and onboard venues of The CAT high-speed car ferry. From ship to shore, get a taste of East Coast life before you arrive in port, with great locally inspired dishes and refreshments,
live entertainment, and other onboard delights through our Seaside Experiences program, from Thursday through Sunday. Lovers of the arts will enjoy daily movie viewings and those looking for a souvenir will find options at the Scotia Market Gift Shop. More of a foodie? We have three unique dining venues to savor. Grab a cup of joe and a variety of snacks to go at our Sip at Sea Café, take a break from the scenery with breakfast, lunch or dinner at Scotia Market, and dive into the regional surf and turf at Forchu Lounge, with a selection of local wines and beers paired with fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Life can’t always be fun and games? Of course, it can! With our variety of board games, a children’s play area, and daily tours, The CAT is the easiest—and fastest—way to navigate a road trip for all ages that doesn’t include the words: “are we there yet?” Departing Bar Harbor at 3:00 pm Eastern Time, you will arrive in Yarmouth just in time to enjoy dinner before settling into your accommodations. The CAT now departs Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at a comfortable 9:30 am Atlantic Time so travellers can check in an hour before sailing and be well rested and fueled before boarding. It’s the best of both worlds—experience land and sea with The CAT. * *Launch date subject to change. Please check the schedule at ferries.ca for updates.
TOURISM NEW BRUNSWICK/MATT HEWITSON
Join us on a Bay of Fundy adventure Sail between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS in just over two hours One of the best parts of any summer road trip through the Maritimes is the journey itself. It’s a great excuse to throw on your favourite tunes, eat tasty snacks, and enjoy the beauty of the region. This summer, take your road trip on the sea with a voyage across the Bay of Fundy with Bay Ferries. It’s a chance to get out of the car, stretch your legs, relax, listen to live music, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Not only that, you save hours of driving time as it only takes MV Fundy Rose 2 hours and 15 minutes to cross between Saint John, New Brunswick and Digby, Nova Scotia. Set sail on the highest tides in the world between two remarkable destinations. Saint John, the oldest incorporated city in Canada, features a historic downtown core, Uptown, lined with vibrant boutiques, stores, City Market and a fantastic culinary scene. The seaside community of Digby is one of Nova Scotia’s best-kept secrets, famous for mouth-watering scallops harvested off its shores. From here, explore nearby golf courses, parks, and trails. We’re excited for the return of on board summer activities featuring local talent. Music on the Bay is back showcasing local artists four days per week. Little Mates Quarters offers young
passengers a chance to play while sailing the high seas. Relax on the exterior passenger decks while being on the lookout for birds and whales, or enjoy family-friendly entertainment in the movie lounge. The New Brunswick Museum is once again bringing its award-winning programs on board, with immersive demonstrations about sea life in and around the Bay of Fundy. On board Fundy Rose, we have several options for dining and drinks for every craving and appetite. Tides and Valleys offers fresh and healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our Mid Ship Sip Café serves brewed coffees, specialty teas, cappuccinos, and lattés along with a variety of snacks, baked goods, and desserts. The Maritimes are the home of a wide range of great spirits, beer, and wine producers and we give you the chance to taste the best of the region while you sail. Weather permitting, join us on the outside deck at our licensed, Crow’s Nest venue, to enjoy appetizers, adult beverages, play board games, and spend a relaxing time with family and friends accentuated with warm Fundy breezes. This summer, make unforgettable memories with an immersive Maritime experience with Bay Ferries on Fundy Rose.
What Will Your #MaritimeFerryAdventure Look Like? Adding the ferry to your vacation journey is a Maritime Must
community. Visit the lighthouse, standing since 1876 and now serving as an Interpretive Museum. And save some time for the stunning provincial park with its ocean beach, clam digging in red sand, and peaceful forest trail. On the other side of the journey, you can enjoy a peaceful hike or delightful ocean dip at Caribou and Munroe’s Island Provincial Park. Its beautiful sandy shores feature Northumberland Strait water that’s a few degrees warmer than what you’ll find on Atlantic Ocean beaches. It’s the perfect place to spend the day basking in the summer sunshine. Looking for a fun and speedy ferry adventure? Hop on The CAT, which travels between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in just 3.5 hours! Immerse yourself in the rich seafaring history of Yarmouth, the gateway to the Acadian Shores. Visit the iconic Cape Forchu Lighthouse, which has been guiding vessels in the harbour since 1840. Yarmouth also offers spectacular golf, fishing, and local art. And don’t miss delicious delicacies like creamed lobster and rappie pie. With so much to see and do in Atlantic Canada, travel in a way that allows you to relax and take it all in. Add a ferry voyage to your Maritime must-do list and join us for an unforgettable experience at sea. Share your journey with us using the hashtag #MaritimeFerryAdventure for a chance to be featured on our social media channels. Happy travels! DIGBY PINES GOLF RESORT & SPA
Nothing says summer in the Maritimes quite like the sights, sounds, and scents of the sea. Add some sea time to your vacation with a Maritime Ferry Adventure! It’s the perfect way to put a pause on driving and relax with your friends and family as you travel to the best of the Maritimes. Take the comfortable 2.5-hour trip between Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick on Fundy Rose. In Digby, you can taste famous scallops fresh from the source and enjoy awe-inspiring parks, nature trails, and the world-class Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa. Have your breath taken away by Bay of Fundy tides and stroll along Digby’s vibrant waterfront, featuring the world’s largest scallop-fishing fleet. If you love history, you’ll be fascinated by the striking mix of old and new in Saint John, Canada’s oldest incorporated city. Shop for unique treasures at vibrant boutiques and sample the best of its delightful restaurants. Or pop into Saint John City Market, which has been offering food from the finest local farmers, butchers, and chefs since 1785. Stroll along beautiful paths in Irving Nature Park, where you can spot local wildlife, or the Reversing Rapids, where you’ll witness spectacular natural whirlpools. Love nature? Try the 75-minute ferry journey between Wood Islands, PEI and Caribou, Nova Scotia. Set on the stunning East Coast of PEI, Wood Islands is a quaint fishing and farming
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Welcome to entrées with a side of experience. Welcome to New Brunswick. To open waters and East Coast flavours. To getting lost, and staying on track—all while letting your worries drift away.
You’re invited to find what’s waiting for you.
St. Martins Sea Caves