On This Island

Last Thursday wasn’t the most pleasant of days. Rain and gale force winds had cut the mainland off from the Island but we headed Up West into the Evangeline Region to meet friends at Tyne Valley. The four ladies had been been on a hiking trip of the trails along the north most tip of the Island and were on the last leg heading back home to Charlottetown. They had plenty to tell us about the food, friendly people, and glorious fall colours of a region that is often neglected – including by ourselves.

Tyne Valley is a beautiful small community a ninety minutes drive from Charlottetown. For such a small place they have a remarkable choice of restaurants including an oyster house, a pizzeria, a tea shop, and a burger joint. Though I wouldn’t really call Backwoods Burger a “joint”. Dating to the late 1800s it has served the neighbour variously as a bank, general store, post office, pharmacy, flower shop, and restaurant. As the name implies Burgers are the specialty and they have teamed with Moth Lane a local brewery. Food is great, service friendly and accommodating, and the beer exceptional. We plan to go back to the Backwoods and to further explore the area.

St John the Evangelist in Miscouche; it is one of the oldest wooden churches on the Island.
Photo courtesy of Verne Equinox at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA.

Miscouche is the gateway to the Evangeline Region. In 1884 it was the location of the Second Acadian National Convention where the Acadian Flag was adopted along with many other national symbols. Since 1964 there has been the small but well curated Acadian Museum next to the beautiful Church of St John the Baptist. One of the reasons for our trip was to stop in as none of our party had ever seen it.

As well as the permanent exhibition there was a temporary display highlighting Acadian Children on the Island. It’s an interesting mix of photographs, commentary and artifacts and as always my attention fell on one or two items that I had to investigate further.

According to the description this wooden high chair was available by mail order from the T. Eaton Company in 1901. It was $2.25 – plus one would assume a delivery charge – which would be about $69.00 today.

A nice high chair to be sure but I found the leg structure rather puzzling. Why were they such and odd shape, what was that strange mechanism at the joint, and what did that lever at the back do?

An early version of a “transformer” – it would have been interesting to see it demonstrated but I had to make do with a similar chair in its rocker mode.

Thinking of how much is spent on hockey equipment today it would be interesting to know how much a pair of skates like this cost. Or were they homemade?

The word for October 13th is:
Acadian /əˈkādēən/: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1. A native or inhabitant of Acadia.
Canada: A French-speaking descendant of the early French settlers in Acadia.
US: A descendant of the Acadians deported to Louisiana in the 18th century; a Cajun.
2. Relating to Acadia or its people.
There is some discussion on the etymology. It is suggested that the name is derived from Miꞌkmaq, in which Cadie means “fertile land”. Another theory credits the explorer Verrazzano who named the Eastern coast after the Greek Arcadia and at a later date Champlain fixed its location but omitted the “r”.

Mercoledi Musicale

We here on Prince Edward Island have been fortunate in that currently there have only been 26 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with only 3 active at the moment. There have been no deaths and no hospitalizations. We have also been fortunate to have Dr Heather Morrison as our Health Officer and Dennis King as a premier who takes advise and acts on it in a fair but firm way. Two weeks ago Mr King read the riot act like a angry father confront by a rebellious teenager; and I’ve often said that Dr Morrison is very motherly but you better listen to mom or you’ll get a slap up against the side of your head. Looks like most of us are listening to Mom and Dad.

As you may know I’m on the periphery of the very active arts community here and I’m proud to say that, as in most places, the musicians, artists and performers that I know have been finding ways to still reach out to people and provide the music and entertainment we love so much.

Tara MacLean and Catherine MacLellan, two legends on the Canadian music scene, wrote this song. Along with the exceptional cellist and teacher Natalie Williams-Calhoun they recorded it in isolation at their own homes. The final mix was done by Mark Westberg.

There is nothing harder than being separated from the people you love. Whether by distance or death, the human heart is no stranger to grief. Grief has been described as “Love with nowhere to go”. THIS STORM is an antidote to grief, releasing of love and expressing a trust in the deep wisdom that this too shall pass. All we need to do is hold on.

Catherine MacLellan

We know many of the people in this video. They are our neighbours and in some cases friends. With a particular shout out to Bill MacFadden, actor, raconteur, political candidate, and character-about-town. His story is told in the link I provided on his name.

I’ll quote from the introduction on Catherine’s You Tube channel:

This video is a big, warm hug from Tara, Catherine and all of PEI to the rest of the world. Thanks to all of our friends and community members who joined in the making of this video. And biggest of all thank yous to the front-line and essential workers who risk their health everyday to protect ours.

Please consider making a donation to an artist support group, a mental health organization or your local food bank. In Canada we recommend:

Unison Benevolent Fund
Unison is a non-profit organization that provides counselling, emergency relief, and benefit programs for those in the Canadian music community who face personal or professional challenges due to hardship, illness, unemployment or economic difficulties.

Canadian Mental Health Association
CMHA is a nationwide organization that promotes mental health and supports people recovering from mental illness.

Food Banks Canada
In our society so many more people will be relying on our already stressed Food Banks. Please find and support your local Food Bank at www.foodbankscanada.ca

The word for April 15th is:
Storm /stôrm//stɔrm/ : [1. noun] [2. verb]
1a. A violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
1b. A violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
2a. To move angrily or forcefully in a specified direction.
2b. To suddenly attack and capture by means of force.
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch storm and German Sturm, probably also to the verb stir. The verb dates from late Middle English in its second form.

20 years

As Laurent mentions in today’s post, twenty years ago today the fixed link that joined the mainland to the Island opened. I recall the first time we crossed it in February 2016 on our way to find a place to live in our new home.

Larry Muffin At Home

Today 31 May 2017 marks the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Confederation Bridge linking the mainland  of Canada to PEI. The construction of the bridge required a special amendment to the Canadian Constitution because it involved the clauses which allowed PEI at the time a colony to join Confederation. The Island Government had a special condition that in joining in 1873 they would get financing for the railway on the Island and also a ferry service paid for, operation and maintenance, by the Federal Government. A special referendum was held and 60% of the Islanders voted in favour of the construction of the bridge and the end of train service on the Island.

Construction of the 12.3 Km sea bridge over the Abegweit channel of the Strait of Northumberland took place between 1993-1997 at a cost of $1.3 Billion dollars. The architect was Frenchman Jean Mueller who developed…

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Island Vacations

As has become apparent to anyone reading Larry Muffin‘s recent posts or my entries on Facebook we are heading to an island for our winter vacation.  Ah yes an island you say! Which one?  St Kitts?  Barbados? Grand Bahama?  In which tropical paradise will we be swanning by the pool slathered in SP72 while sipping exotic rum concoctions garnished with sprigs of fresh mint and skewers of pineapple and mango?

Oh come now! Do you really think we would do anything as predictable as that?



No we’ll be proving ourselves real sons of the True North, strong and free(zing) by braving the winds and waves (frozen no doubt) of February on Prince Edward Island.

And as the song says:

If we can make it there,
we’ll make it anywhere!
It’s up to you PEI!
It’s up to you!

And in the meantime we’ve been studying up on Island history with the often amusing and always interesting PEI History Guy. Give him a read – there’s much to learn about the place we may shortly be calling home.

On this day in 1739: Battle of Karnal: The army of Iranian ruler Nader Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad Shah.

Tropical Island Photo copyright: sellingpix / 123RF Stock Photo