Two of the blogs I follow are the work of a self-described “archivist, historian and small boat sailor” here on Prince Edward Island. A phrase that, to my mind, inadequately describes his encyclopedic knowledge and research into the history of our Island home. His recently created Sailpost traces the history of the Island through the humble postcard – those once ubiquitous picture cards that assured our family and friends that we wished they were here. And his Sailstrait, now in it’s 6th year, is a fascinating history of Charlottetown Harbour, as well as yachting and boating on the Island.
We tend to forget that there was a time when the towns and villages around the Island were not as connected as we are now. There were no railway lines (they are now long gone and have become Confederation Trail, a wonderful 470 km hiking and biking trail that crisscrosses the island) and the road system could be charitably described as primitive. Water was often the only way to get from place to place but even then it was easier to get to Halifax, Montreal or Boston than it was to Souris. However there was the occasional excursion to far away places with strange sounding names like Murray Harbour. This week on Sailstrait there is a delightful newspaper report on such an excursion on the in August, 1865.
A left click on the photograph of the Princess of Wales in Charlottetown Harbour will take you to this peek back into a different time and travel – and how could you resist any article that begins: As the bottles were emptied and the hearts and hearts and minds of gentlemen expanded……
Would that journalists today had the flair and command of language of this anonymous reporter (possibly publisher John Ross himself?) from Ross’s Weekly.
On this day in 1783: Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.