Backroads Nova Scotia: Old Chevy Truck

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Vintage Chevrolet Truck, Backroads of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

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I’m always thrilled when I come across a rusty old truck or auto from the early era of transportation and I have my camera handy.  This vintage Chevrolet truck, from about the late 1930s (my guess), was perfectly situated near a weathered garage down a meandering country road.  The distinctive front-end of this truck features an oversized grill, exaggerated fenders with standout headlights, and an iconic sleek hood ornament.  I spoke with the owner, who explained that he restored old vehicles.  So this vintage beauty may yet roll along the road again and turn a few heads as it does.

Vintage Chevrolet Truck, Backroads of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

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Vintage Chevrolet Truck, Backroads of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

 

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~ Cool Vintage Junkyard for Sale

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Building the Toronto Subway: John DeRinzy’s Art

John DeRinzy, Three Men With Jack Hammers (1950)

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Unless you were around when it was built (I wasn’t, by the way!), it’s difficult to imagine how massive an undertaking it was to build Toronto’s subway system.  Shortly before it’s opening in 1954, local artist John DeRinzy, who worked as a graphics designer for Simpson’s department store (later part of the Hudson’s Bay chain), documented the progress of this major public works project in a series of watercolor and charcoal landscapes.  His inclusion of workers in these images helps the viewer to connect emotionally to the scenes depicted.  They are reminiscent of the style displayed by public art of the New Deal era a couple of decades earlier in the U.S.   (DeRinzy’s work also brings to mind Caven Atkins’ painting “Arc Welder Working on Bulkhead” (1943), which can be seen in this 2013 O’Canada post.)

More background on these images can be found in the City of Toronto Archives here.

John DeRinzy, Underground Utilities, Yonge Street (1949)

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John DeRinzy, Welder (1950)

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John DeRinzy, Men Excavating in Timber Lined Trench (1950)

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John DeRinzy, Man With Jack Hammer (1950)

 

Image Credits: John DeRinzy; City of Toronto Archives

Vintage Magic in PEI: Ice Boat Rarities and Island Uniquities

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Not far from the Confederation Bridge on the Prince Edward Island side of that engineering marvel a scenic backroad leads to the cozy town of Cape Traverse and two of the best antique shops in all of Canada’s Maritime Provinces: Ice Boat Rarities and Antiques and, its sister shop, Island Uniquities and Antiques, which is just a few hundred yards away down PEI Route 10.   Both shops are housed in 19th century buildings — one an old church  and another a former masonic lodge — that have been masterfully restored and updated by owners Larry and Jane Dugdale.

The exceptional assortment of antiques, curios, artwork and furniture on offer started as a personal collection of the owners that eventually morphed into the well-organized groupings that seem intentionally curated for visual delight.  The Ice Boat building features the former church’s simply designed but stunning original red, blue, green and yellow stained glass windows, which cast a warm, luminous glow throughout the place.  These shops deserve to be called galleries as much as anything else.

If you’re into stylish old or reclaimed furniture, these shops have you covered; automotive and industrial neon, check; vintage toys, thermometers, oil cans, model boats, duck decoys, postcards and ephemera, tools or farm implements, check to all that too — and a great deal more!  Of particular note is the collection of whimsical painted wood sculptures and other artworks by noted PEI folk artist, Kerras Jeffery, who sadly passed away last year at way too young of an age after battling a long illness.  The Ice Boat Rarities shop serves as almost a museum of some of his brightly colored pieces and the shop also features a marvelous cloud-painting by Jeffery on the ceiling of its largest room.

In addition, the staff in both places are super friendly and helpful and the prices are about the fairest I’ve seen for antique shops anywhere.  These places are definitely worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

More information about these terrific shops can be found at their respective Facebook pages here: Iceboat Rarities and Island Uniquities.  More about Kerras Jeffery and his art is available on the Backroad Folkart blog here, which was formerly written by him and is now maintained by one of his relatives.

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

  Cool Vintage Junkyard for Sale

♥  An A++ for Toronto’s Gadabout Vintage

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Cameron Stevens’ Vintage-Style Canada Parks Posters

Cameron Stevens is a hugely talented graphics designer working in Ontario.  Several years ago he embarked on a project to design vintage screen-printed-style posters for a number of Canada’s national and provincial parks.  A few years later he’s now up to 58 gorgeous posters, each of which is characterized by a spare, consistent layout and muted pastel tints as evidenced by the sampling shown here.  Whether intentional or not, most also include a body of water, which is certainly reflective of the vast number of lakes, rivers and sea coasts throughout the country.

On his official Canada’s Parks poster art site, Stevens notes that he was inspired by the artwork produced by the U.S. Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s and 1940s to promote America’s National Parks.  His Canada Parks posters clearly harken back to that earlier era, as well as the time when the Canadian Pacific Railway blanketed the country with its highly stylized travel posters.  These contemporary posters with a vintage feel are beautiful to behold while bringing well-deserved attention to many of Canada’s spectacular outdoor treasures across its provinces and territories.  Stevens sells these as posters and prints, which can be accessed through the above official poster site and his graphics site.

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(Images credit: Cameron Stevens)

Similar Posts on O’Canada:

~ Retro Winter Recreation and Travel Ads

~ Magnificent Travel Art of the Canadian Pacific Railway

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Seen Its Better Days

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Antique Farm Combine, Near Clarence, Nova Scotia

 

In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley wintery weather maintains its grip late into March as the province bounces back from the fierce winds and driving snow of this past week’s Noreaster.  Although this old relic of a farm combine sits in a forlorn state shortly after the storm, it’s a beautiful piece of machinery with its pops of orange-red on the wheels and threshers contrasting nicely with the muted colors of the rest of the combine and the bleak surroundings.

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The Daring Canadian Pulps: Oh, My!

Spurred on by a wartime ban on the importation of non-essential foreign goods, including the lurid magazines from below the 49th parallel commonly referred to as “pulps”, the Canadian pulp magazine industry flourished during World War II and the decade after.  Like all good pulp publications, the featured stories often blurred the lines between fiction and reality and routinely served up tales that were risque, grisly, shocking and as often true as not.  Avid readers ate up this stuff!

Adding to its diverse holdings, Library and Archives Canada acquired in the late 1990s a core collection of pulp magazines dating back to the golden post-War era of such publications.  These cover images are from the Archives’s fascinating “Tales From the Vault” exhibition.  Of these covers, I think my favorite might be the fairly simple red-and-black layout above that promises dirt on a Vancouver cult and Winnipeg’s pock-marked Frankenstein. I’ll bite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Old Days: Rural Life in Vintage Postcards

Hay Making, Nova Scotia (about 1960)

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Out in the country people work hard, and back in the proverbial good old days they worked even harder.  Whether on a farm, a fishing village or in the forest, rural folk have always had to put their bodies and souls into their labors to eke out a living.

As these vintage postcards from the eastern parts of Canada attest they at least did so amidst beautiful settings.

River Saguenay at Chicoutimi, Quebec (about 1940)

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Ox Cart, Rural Quebec (about 1940)

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Spinning in Rural Quebec (1950)

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Back of Spinning in Rural Quebec (1950):   “Dear Ma – That’s you and me working. Lots of little farms and little houses here. Horses do most of the work. Farms are very small. In winter the men work in the lumber business, in summer farming. Women do fancy work in winter to sell it in the summer. Love Helen”

 

 

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⊕  Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

Fred Herzog’s Vintage Vancouver

Fred Herzog, Bogner’s Grocery (1960)

I’ve seen the street photography of Fred Herzog previously but a brief essay by Geoff Dyer in today’s New York Times Magazine prompted me to look anew at Herzog’s work.  Herzog came to Canada in the early 1950s from Germany and from the late 1950s through the 1960s pioneered color street photography in his adopted city of Vancouver.  His candid shots provide a splendid if unvarnished documentary of the city and its people during that period.  The vintage images also subtly illustrate many things that have changed in Vancouver and other urban areas throughout Canada (and America) in the past several decades.

More of Herzog’s work can be seen at Vancouver’s Equinox Gallery and on its website.

Fred Herzog, 2nd Hand Store Boy (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, Alexander Street (1967)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville Street from Granville Bridge (1966)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville/Robson (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, White Lunch Granville (1959)

 

Photo Credits:  Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery

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Weathered Blue Barn

Rustic Old Barn, Phinney’s Cove, N.S.

Aside from its overall weathered appearance and striking shades of blue, this barn stands out for its second-story house-style doors and its slightly asymmetrical design with an upper window thrown in for good measure.

Vintage Cover Art: The Goblin

Prior to the great stock market crash at the end of the decade and the ensuing economic chaos, the prevalent mood of the 1920s in many places was upbeat and carefree. Magazine covers from the era typify this, including these fabulous illustrations from Canada’s Goblin, a monthly humor magazine.  Launched in 1921, it was in print for about ten years during which time its highly stylized, and at times witty, covers helped it to become Canada’s then most widely circulated magazine.

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(Image Source:  University of Toronto Archives)

“Maudie”

Before seeing the acclaimed “Maudie,” I knew a little about Maud Lewis and her folk art but I was unaware of her life story and the everyday struggles that she faced from a very early age.  Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke each give deft performances in this emotionally touching movie about persevering and finding happiness in the face of difficult circumstances.  There are notes of grace here, along with a number of tear-jerker moments.

Lewis received some early art instruction as a child from her mother, with whom Lewis would make homemade Christmas cards to sell.  From this basic foundation, Lewis’s many, mostly smallish paintings of bright-colored animals, plants and farm and shore scenes provided her solace in the face of a hardscrabble life in rural Nova Scotia.  The occasional sale of her artworks eventually provided a modest income for her and her husband, Everett, in the later years of their lives.  The movie does a nice job exploring the initially reticent relationship that the two shared and the deep interdependent love that they came to nurture.  A more thorough overview of Lewis’s life can be found in the online Canadian Encyclopedia.

(On a side note, for those familiar with the Maritime Provinces, the rocky shoreline and cozy coastal villages featured in the film will be recognized as distinctively those of Newfoundland, which is where much of the movie was filmed.  Quite ironic given the subject matter and that there are, of course, many beautiful vistas in Nova Scotia.  The explanation for the filming in a different province appears to be the greater availability of film production tax credits in the more northern province.)

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Denny Lunn’s Buoyant Folk Art

Vintage Tools From 1912 Hardware Catalogue

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Because I love doing projects that involve hand tools I probably have way more than any reasonable person should have.  But if you work enough with your hands you know that the right tool makes all the difference.  Traditional hardware stores are now a dying breed of retail but back in the day they were the one-stop shop for most tool needs. The McLennan, McFeely & Co. Hardware Store opened in Vancouver in 1885 and for many years was a substantial business enterprise.

These pages are from that merchant’s 1912 catalogue.  Among the wrenches above, the crescent adjustable wrench must have made quite a splash because it was only first introduced around 1907 and to this day is a standard in any well-equipped tool box. Though less common nowadays, variations of the hand drills pictured below can still be found today and are quite useful.

The City of Vancouver Archives has digitized some of the old McLennan, McFeely catalogues, and flipping through the pages makes for an interesting diversion as you ponder how much more laborious it was to do various chores over a century ago.

Hand Drills

“Now! All Together”: Songs From Long Ago

Songbooks fascinate me, particularly when they highlight song variations from earlier times.  So while browsing through a dusty stack of materials in a used bookstore a few months ago I was drawn in by this 8-page vintage booklet of songs, which was printed as a promotion around 1930 by the Dominion Life Assurance Company of Waterloo, Ontario.

This bit of ephemera is spare of graphics and contains a wide variety of songs, including songs specific to Canada (such as “O Canada!” and “Alouette”), American standards (“Home on  the Range” and “She’ll Be Coming’ Round the Mountain”), and songs indicating the then closer historical connection to Great Britain (“God Save the King” and “Loch Lomond”).  A few of these have lyrics that would not be considered racially sensitive but presumably reflected the time back then.   It’s an interesting mix of tunes, many that I’ve not heard in ages and others for which I only knew a line or two of the lyrics.

(Click image to enlarge)

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Regent Gas Station and Sleek Modern Design

Regent Gas Station (Left View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

Although these vintage images only showcase a humble gas station they’re amazingly good! That’s because they combine the modernist industrial design of distinguished Toronto architect John Parkin and the often-dramatic photography of Hugh Robertson and his team at Toronto’s former Panda Associates firm, both of whom helped popularize modern design in Canada during the 1950s and 60s.

Regent Gas Station (Right View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

A trove of other vintage architectural photos can be seen at the Panda Associates Digital Image Collection, Canadian Architectural Archives, which is maintained by the University of Calgary, and in the book John C. Parkin, Archives and Photography: Reflections on the Practice and Presentation of Modern Architecture (University of Calgary Press 2013).

(Image Credits:  Hugh Robertson/Panda Associates, Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary)

Happy Canada Day 150!

Quiet Morning Along the Rocky Shore, Kejimkujik Seaside, N.S.

Happy Canada Day!  

As many know, throughout 2017 Canada has been marking its 150th anniversary as a confederation.   Of course, the history of the country is much richer and extends more than twice as far into the past. More notably, in recent years Canada has truly shined as a stellar example on the world stage.  Like any country, it has its issues but it generally gets a lot of things right and that resilient effort, its vibrant culture and its wonderful people deserve immense appreciation.

Best wishes on this day and in this year and for 150 more! 

The Calgary Stampede: “A Romping Rangeland Rumpus”

Calgary Stampede 1912Poster from First Calgary Stampede in 1912

Many people associate Calgary, affectionately nicknamed “Cowtown”, with its annual summer Stampede in the same way that a place like New Orleans is tied to Mardi Gras. The character of those places seems inextricably linked to these major civic festivals. Prior to the area’s post-WWII oil boom, Calgary was predominantly an agricultural area and held a traditional yearly agricultural fair called the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.

The Stampede was conceived in 1912 by an American rodeo promoter, Guy Weadick, as a way to add a cowboy-themed element to the fairly staid farm-focused Exhibition.   After some fits and starts the two events combined in 1923, with the Stampede under Weadick’s longtime guidance eventually overshadowing the Exhibition.   Ever since, the cowboy theme has stuck with Calgary even though agriculture, farming and ranching are now only a very small part of its economy.   This year’s Stampede will take place July 7-16 and, as can be seen on the official Stampede site, will be quite a spectacle with something to offer just about everyone.

 

 

 

Image Credits:  Calgary Stampede Archive, University of Calgary

Community and the Restoration of 174-Year Old St. Croix Cove Church

Personal confession:  I fit most comfortably in the “spiritual but not religious” persuasion, and especially value the sense of human connectedness and community that touches all of us, which spiritual and religious traditions tend to foster.  With that in mind, I thought this post would be fitting for a Sunday.

About a year ago I posted some photos I snapped one late-Spring afternoon of a well-weathered but cozy church picturesquely situated on the Bay of Fundy in the rural community of St. Croix Cove, N.S.   As a modest amateur photographer I was happy to see the photos used a few months later to promote a chapel choir concert by Acadia University.  Now these images have been put to an even more appropriate use to assist with a just-launched GoFundMe campaign to restore this almost 175-year old structure.

Darla Mitchell, who grew up in the St. Croix Cove area and is one of the organizers of the restoration effort, notes on the GoFundMe site:

“Many people have come to love this little church and the surrounding communities. Countless photographers have admired its simple sturdy lines, people share memories of first communions and every Christmas multiple generations return to fill the church to sing carols, hear the Christmas story and continue the traditions of our grandparents and great grandparents. Most importantly, gathering in fellowship with each other. “
I love how this project and this enduring church represent so much about the best aspects of community connections.  Other interesting historical and architectural details about this lovely church and the restoration campaign can be found on the GoFundMe site here.

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The historic St. Croix Cove Church

 

Come From Away (and Stay Awhile)

“Heartwarming,” “human,” “genuine” and “community” are among the words that come to mind to describe “Come From Away,” the Canadian-produced musical that just opened this week on Broadway after a preliminary tour across Canada and the U.S.   The musical tells the story of how the small town of Gander, Newfoundland (about 10,000 people), with good cheer and resourcefulness, memorably accommodated during a week-long stretch the more than 6,500 air passengers from all over whose planes were unexpectedly diverted there following the 9/11 attacks.

The reader comments on the NY Times review of the production are striking by how moved people have been by this story. Having visited Newfoundland on multiple occasions, I can attest that the people of this ruggedly beautiful province are as sincerely friendly as this musical depicts.

“Come From Away” Official Site

Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

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City Bus on Vancouver Street (about mid-1950s)

Distinctive industrial design reveals itself in many ways and, when done well, can be a genuine pleasure to take in.   While the specialness of such design is often difficult to see in our contemporary surroundings, its otherwise subtle impact jumps out when looking back at vintage images. A case in point: the humble municipal bus, operated in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and other cities across Canada.  Over this period theses buses began to display a very mod sensibility as they evolved from the severe boxiness of earlier 1930s and 1940s versions to later, during the 1950s through the 1970s, being adorned with more rounded contours, sleek curves and very stylized lines and chrome elements.

Bob Pitzel’s Art of the Vanishing Prairie

B. Pitzel, Redline (2009)

Our fresh snow cover here this morning sent me looking for some wintery inspiration, which I happily found in the wistful watercolors of Saskatchewan artist Bob Pitzel.  Pitzel’s art captures the stark and vanishing rural landscapes of western Canada, typified by imposing grain elevators, graying farmhouses and sheds that dot wide expanses of  prairie, and weathered fences erected more as barriers against the elements than to fence in or out people or creatures.

While Pitzel’s subject matter ranges beyond winter settings, it struck me while surveying his masterful work that many of his scenes are rendered with the coldest of seasons as a central element.  In the biography on his site, I love the ethos of humility, practicality and community that he expresses when noting that given the remoteness of rural life “we had to help ourselves out of the corners our inexperience got us into.”  More broadly, the following observation by Pitzel suggests some further inspiration for the muted emotional feel and sense of isolation conveyed in much of his winter-themed art:  “As the human race, we fool ourselves that we’re in control. But look at global warming, and history. At the end of the day, we’re only spectators.”

More about Pitzel and his wonderful watercolors can be found on his artist site here.

B. Pitzel, Trackside (2014)

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B. Pitzel, Deep Snow and Treeline Study (2010)

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B. Pitzel, Fresh Snow (2012)

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B. Pitzel, Pioneer Grain, Lake Lenore (2007)

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B. Pitzel, Maybe We’ll Start Her Up in Spring (2007)

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B. Pitzel, No Glass Left (2005)

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B. Pitzel, Six in a Row (2014)

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B. Pitzel, Fuel Storage (2005)

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B. Pitzel, Regular or Premium (2016)

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Angela Carlsen’s Retro Americana Art

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Angela Carlsen, “Boulevard Drive In”

If you take creative photography, neon signs and other roadside kitsch and mix them together with a retro-pop art sensibility, for me that’s a winning formula and is the approach taken by Nova Scotia-based artist, Angela Carlsen with her artwork.   Much of her recent mixed media art focuses on bygone Americana as a result of her road trips over the last few years through the American West.   Vanishing roadside relics, such as those depicted in this sampling, comprise a significant part of both the Canadian and America car cultures, and her work serves as a fitting artistic bridge between them.

You can see more of her retro art at Carlsen’s artist site here.  She’s also represented by Argyle Fine Art in Halifax.

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Angela Carlsen, “Copper Manor Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Fresh Donuts”

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Angela Carlsen, “Supai Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Four Winds Motel”

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Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

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— Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

The Ancient Prayers of Compline

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I’m definitely an amateur photographer at best.  So I was pleased to be asked recently to allow a photo I’d taken of a simple, well-worn pew inside an old church on the Nova Scotia shore to be used for a poster for an upcoming concert  by Acadia University’s distinguished Manning Chapel Choir.  Of course, I was more than happy to do so (and the request  made my day)!

The sunset concert of Compline, or night prayers, will be sung, appropriately, in a former old church in the small town of Harbourville on the Bay of Fundy about a week before Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.  The concert poster is above and the original blog post and series of photos that prompted the request is here.  More about the concert and the Manning Chapel Choir can be found here.

For the Love of Old Barns

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Rustic Barn with Red Doors, Windows and Roof, Ile d’Orleans, Quebec

“I’m so glad you’re here . . . 

It helps me realize how beautiful my world is.”

                                                              ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The Atlantic Advocate – Part 1: Vintage Trade and Tourism Ads

Newfoundland Trademarks

The Atlantic Advocate was a general interest magazine published monthly from 1956 through 1992 with a focus on life, culture and business in the four Atlantic provinces — New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  While browsing through a stack of issues from the late ’50s and early ’60s, one of the things that stood out to me was the enthusiastic boosterism of many ads promoting economic development and tourism in those places.  The fact that ads of this nature are so prominent in a general interest publication is partly a testament to the economic challenges long faced by the Maritimes and an appreciation by their relatively small populations of the significant impact of industry and natural resources development on daily life in their regions.

 

Mod Design: Vintage Postcards of Expo 67

Forest Pavilion

Canada Forestry and Paper Pavilion

With the Rio Summer Olympics being just around the corner this prompted me to ponder the differences between the Olympics and the World Fairs.  While both are cultural showcases that bring together people of many nations to good-naturedly preen about their countries, World Fairs seem more ad hoc than the more structured, media spectacle of the Olympics.

Coinciding with Canada’s centennial in 1967, Montreal hosted what is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs, which was the first to adopt the “Expo” moniker by which all subsequent World’s Fairs have been named.  As attested by these postcards, the various national pavilions at Expo 67 served as grand displays for then cutting-edge, very “mod” design and innovation.

Canadian Cities in 1950s Watercolors

Edmonton

For Canada Day weekend, this post features images that span the geography of this vast country.  Around 1953, in a grand display of national pride, the Montreal-based alcohol and beverage giant Seagram Company commissioned over a dozen Canadian artists (including several among the famed Group of Seven) to create a series of  watercolors of major Canadian cities. The paintings were subsequently the focus of a world tour organized by Seagram to showcase Canada and its urban landscapes.

While recently rummaging through an antique shop I came across a small booklet, dating to 1953, in which these paintings were reproduced and for which this post shows a sampling of the now somewhat faded images.  While many of the provincial capitals are depicted, I find the inclusion of several less prominent cities (including Fort William, Hamilton, Sarnia, Shawinigan Falls and Trois Rivieres) to be fascinating.

St. John's

Calgary

Shawinigan Falls

Charlottetown

Halifax

Montreal

Regina

Quebec City

Saint John

Hamilton

Vancouver

Toronto

Winnipeg

Windsor

Quebec Charm in Vintage Postcards

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Jacques Cartier Market, Montreal, Early 1900s

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Similar Posts on O’Canada:

• Bridges As Depicted in Vintage Postcards

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• Vintage Quebec:  Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Eric Bergman: Master Wood Engraver

H. Eric Bergman, "White Morning" (1932)

H. Eric Bergman, “White Morning” (1932)

The intricate artistry of wood engravings amazes me and Canada has its fair share of accomplished artists in this medium. Chief among them is H. Eric Bergman, who emigrated from Germany in 1913 and made Winnipeg, Manitoba his home throughout a highly productive career until his passing in 1958.  Images from the Canadian wilderness figure prominently in many of his very stylized and moody works.

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Come On In!: Doors of Annapolis Royal

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Annapolis Royal occupies a special place in both the far western part of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and the province’s history.  Situated on the sweeping Annapolis River, the site was originally called Habitation at Port-Royal by French settlers around 1605 and was the capital of French Acadia.  In 1710, the settlement became the first capital of Nova Scotia during British rule. The charm of this small town is typified by its wide variety of doors and entryways, many of which hint at the town’s early history and its seaside heritage.  Here’s a sampling from a recent stroll on a brisk fall day.

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Interconnectedness: Of Capstick, Breast Cancer Awareness and Calamity Jane

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Capstick, N.S. (from July 2015 Calendar, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation)

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Occasionally, we all encounter people, situations and things that help to remind us what a small, interconnected world we live in.  Yesterday, I had one of those moments when I received this very nice email about part of the property shown in this blog’s header photo of a weathered, wood-shingled barn situated on the Atlantic, which I took several years ago in Capstick, Nova Scotia, a remote and gorgeously beautiful area of Cape Breton:

“Hello Brett,

I must say, very impressed that you would travel all the way up to Capstick, Nova Scotia to take wonderful pictures of that area. Ironically, the lead picture on your O’Canada website is of our family property. Every now and again I do a Google search of images on Capstick to see what pops up and your website did appear.

The picture of the grey home in your Blog called ‘Gentle Waves Near Capstick, Nova Scotia’ is actually my Uncle Peter’s home. Unfortunately, arsonists burned down that home about 3 years ago and my cousin had to go after them in court.

Each year the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation launches a calendar to raise money called ‘Shop 4 Charity Calendar Sweepstakes’. This year the calendar highlighted a picture representing each Province and Territory in Canada.

As I sat in my home office, the 2015 calendar was up on my cork board and when I flipped to the month of July the Province of Nova Scotia was represented by a picture.

See attached picture.[Note: This is the calendar image above and is of his family’s property.  Click on it for higher resolution]

I grew up going to Capstick every summer in the 1970’s and visiting Uncle Peter and Aunt Irene Kanary in that grey home. Our home (the original home from 1914) was just above Uncle Peter’s home closer to the road but it was burned down about 10 years ago.

Our family settled in Capstick back in 1840 from Ireland during the Potato Famine. The community was basically two families, the Capsticks and the Kanary’s. Not sure why they got their name on the community. Must have been there first.

Thought you might find this little tidbit interesting about your own website.

Dave Kanary
Calgary, Alberta
Canada

What great history and connection to place.  Nice to see that the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (and its photographer) also appreciate this scenery.  I asked Dave’s permission to post his email here, to which he agreed and added by way of a P.S.:

“PS: You may find this interesting as well, take a look at the history on Google for Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary). According to my relatives she is a Kanary (or Canary if you will) from our clan. Some of my own relatives spell their name with a ‘C’ as evidenced by the tombstones in the Capstick graveyard located in Bay St. Lawrence, Cape Breton (about 10 mins away from Capstick).”

Wonderful stuff!

Early U.S.-Canada Political Cartoons

Given that Canada just had a memorable election and the U.S. is still in the throes of its year-plus presidential campaign marathon, this seems to be a good opportunity to interject a smidgen of politics into the mix.  But not too heavy —  so let’s look at some early pop culture.

I'll CatchPolitical cartoons depicting relations between Canada and the U.S. extend back to the founding days of both countries. The images depicted here, from the late 1890s through early 1900s, mostly play on a recurrent theme of the U.S. being attentive or aligned with Canada for reasons that were alternately virtuous or of a more self-interested intention.  With Canada then still firmly part of the British Empire, Britain also figured prominently in many such scenes from this period.

Dangerous

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Interrupted

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Flirtation

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Pertinent

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Money Bags

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aQuestion-of-Time

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