Vintage Picture Map Geography of Canada

nw-territories

I recently came across a copy of an old school book, “Picture Map Geography of Canada and Alaska” by Vernon Quinn, that includes charming woodcut picture maps by Bruno da Osimo, a then noted Italian illustrator, for each of the Canadian provinces (other than Nunavut, which was then part of the Northwest Territories).  Originally published in 1944 and updated in 1954, it has a light but well-written chapter devoted to individual provinces.  Each map features animals, plants, activities and industries peculiar to the province depicted.  In addition to the maps (scanned in above and below), the book is adorned throughout with other delightful illustrations by da Osima (some of which I’ll compile in a future post).

alberta british-columbia manitoba-saskatchewan newfoundland nova-scotia-new-brunswick-pei ontario-2 quebec yukon

 

Similar Posts on O’Canada Blog:

1933 Quebec Tourist Road Map

Old Maps and Their Hidden Stories

Songs & Ballads From Nova Scotia

Joy of the Blues

Nfld -- Boat on Grass

Small Fishing Boat, Near Port Rexton, Newfoundland

I love playing around with themes.  In an earlier post, I grouped together a bunch of my photos from across Canada that featured a strong element of red.  Today, I thought I’d do a similar thing with some photos that incorporate blues (of the uplifting kind).

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.

 

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

Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 1

Aprons in the Wind, Port Rexton, Newfoundland, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall is among the highly imaginative artists showcased at a current exhibition (through June 1) of contemporary art from the rugged province of Newfoundland at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Ontario.

That exhibition led me to Hall’s  “Apron Diaries”, a series of  installation works around the Trinity and Bonavista areas of Newfoundland in which she displays collections of aprons at worksites (such as upon fish flakes for drying salted cod or hanging at a local bakery or at a fisheries plant) as a celebration of the often unsung labor of women.   Images of wind-fluttered aprons affixed to weathered fish flakes are particularly colorful and moving (literally) tributes to women’s essential work roles in their communities. Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 2

Aprons on a Fish Flake, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 3

Aprons Festooned at a Fisheries Plant, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 4

Baking Amidst Aprons, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 5

More Colorful Aprons on a Fish Flake, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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More about Hall , her siteworks and other art can be found at her website here.

(Image Credits:  Pam Hall)

Old Maps and Their Hidden Stories

Nova Canadae 1693

Nova Canadae (1693)

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Good historical maps combine science and art to guide its users through its subject geography, with the best such maps igniting the imagination about the many backstories underpinning its cartographical offerings. Some of the oldest maps of North America include parts of Canada, which then featured place names such Terra Nova (now Newfoundland), Nouvelle France (most of what is now Eastern Canada), and Acadie (now Nova Scotia).  The following collection showcases some interesting old maps of Canada I’ve come across.

Related Posts on O’Canada:

1933 Quebec Tourist Road Map

Fort Amherst and The Narrows, St. John’s, Newfoundland

wHill-Near-St.-John's

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” 

                                                                                          ~ John Muir

Peaceful Seaside Inlet in Newfoundland

aBoat-on-the-Inlet

A Quiet Fishing Village, Newfoundland

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

                          ~Henry David Thoreau

                                                                                              

Artist to Appreciate: Christopher Pratt

C. Pratt, Placentia Bay in Winter (1995)

Christopher Pratt, Placentia Bay Boat in Winter (1995)

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Christopher Pratt is justly considered one of Canada’s most significant living artists.  His realistic art focuses on Atlantic Canada, particularly his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Pratt’s compositions are usually quite spare and many convey a notable sense of melancholy and reflective quietude, whether of outport cottages and other simple structures with strong architectural lines or his sweeping coastal landscapes. While his style is distinctively his own, the subdued moodiness of Pratt’s work brings to mind that of Edward Hopper and the realist paintings of Alex Colville, another Canadian master who taught at New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University at a time when Pratt was a student there.   Mount Allison is also where Pratt met his now former wife, Mary West Pratt, an equally noteworthy Canadian painter in her own right.

In 2013, the always brilliant Canadian publisher, Firefly Books, released Christopher Pratt: Six Decades, which provides a comprehensive overview of this artist’s work.  (Coincidentally, in 2013 another excellent Canadian publisher, Goose Lane Editions, went to press with Mary Pratt, a beautiful retrospective of Mary Pratt’s amazing artistry.)

C. Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

Christopher Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

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C. Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

Christopher Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

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C. Pratt, House in August (1968)

Christopher Pratt, House in August (1968)

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C. Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay -- Long Shed (2007)

Christopher Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay — Long Shed (2007)

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C. Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

Christopher Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Mary Pratt

•  In Memory of Alex Colville

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Michael E. Glover

Artist to Appreciate: Mary Pratt

Mary Pratt, Cold Cream (1983)

Mary Pratt, Cold Cream (1983)

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Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and living in St. John’s, Newfoundland for most of her life and career,  Mary Pratt is one of Canada’s realist painters of the highest order.  Her subject matter ranges from luminescent jelly jars and other domestic still lifes to pensive nudes and fleeting dramatic moments (such as a fire blazing in a steel barrel).  Pratt’s artwork is as much about the intricate interplay of light and color on her subjects as anything else.

In conjunction with a traveling exhibition of Pratt’s paintings organized by the The Rooms of Newfoundland and Labrador (May – Sept. 2013) and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (starting Oct. 2014), Goose Lane Editions recently published a beautiful new book, Mary Pratt (2013), which showcases much of her work.  The book features a wide selection of her paintings as well as remarks by Pratt herself and thoughtfully written essays by several leading Canadian art writers.

Along the Ruggedly Beautiful Coast of Newfoundland

View From Signal Hill Near St. John's

View From Signal Hill Near St. John’s

I’ve been way up to the wonderful province of Newfoundland and Labrador twice and both times were amazing.  If you have the opportunity to visit this gorgeous rugged place populated with extremely hardy and friendly people, don’t hesitate –just go!  For myself, I look forward to my next trip there, exploring quaint outports and inhaling into my soul more if its innumerable beautiful vistas.  From my last trip, here are a few images that I took along the coast near St. John’s and about 200 miles further northeast on the Bonavista Peninsula around the picturesque villages of Trinity East and Port Rexton, both of which sit on Trinity Bay across from the Avalon Peninsula.

Harbor Scene Nfld

A Fishing Stage on a Quiet Cove

Nfld -- Boat on Grass

Boat Pulled Ashore, Port Rexton

Tilting, Newfoundland and Quieter Times

Tilting by Robert Mellin

As I was going through my bookshelf last week in preparation for our family’s annual potlatch exchange, I came across Robert Mellin’s Tilting:  House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching, and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village, which I obtained several years ago following one of my visits to Newfoundland but which I had only skimmed through at the time.  There is so much to like in this neat little book about the sparsely populated and very scenic fishing village of Tilting, which is located on Fogo Island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and is now mostly inhabited by descendants of Irish settlers from the early 1700s.  (See here and here for earlier O’Canada Blog comments about Fogo Island.)  It’s difficult to classify this work by genre — its subject matter ranges across fishing village architecture, local history, oral stories, traditional farming and fishing techniques, and cultural studies.

Mellin, an architecture professor at McGill University, complements his studious observations with an impressive array of photographs (most his own), line drawings and maps, as well as commentary from longtime Tilting residents.  I particularly liked the following amusing remarks by resident Jim Greene on local visiting customs and the frowned upon city-style practice of asking people to remove their shoes upon entering the house:

“They don’t bother to knock — because everybody around here knows one another and they knows what’s in there and they knows what kind of a person they’re going to meet and — there’s no need of them knocking — I think that’s the reason.  .  .  . Nobody don’t want to take off their boots — We had several people comin’ in stopped out in the porch tryin’ to get off their boots — come on in, boy!

“You know Mark Foley?  He was away into St. John’s and I met him one day — I said, “Mark, you were gone.”  He said, “Yes, boy, I was into St. John’s and I had a spell takin’ off me boots. ” Why, that’s bullshit!  They’re imitating that crowd in St. John’s and that’s the reason — we’re going to be just like the crowd that’s in St. John’s and you got to do the same thing in their houses as they does in St. John’s — full of bull.  I had a pair of boots one time I couldn’t get off — what’ll I do then?  You know the kind of boots they are — they calls them “flits” and they calls them “unemployment boots” — them rubbers with a couple of laces at the top.  I bought a pair one time and I put them on — didn’t have much trouble to get them on — but in the evening when I went to get them off I couldn’t get them off.  I lay down on the floor and I hauled on them and everything and I couldn’t get them off — after a while I got them off, and I never put them on no more.  Another fellow down there, Billy Broaders, he’s dead now, he put a pair on one time he had to cut his off!  Well, if you’re going to their house with them boots on you have to turn around and come back — you couldn’t get in, could you?”

The Great Fogo Island Punt Race 2011

Rowers in the 2010 Fogo Island Punt Race

Today marks the fifth annual running in Newfoundland of the Great Fogo Island Punt Race, a 10-mile endurance race that requires its challengers to row punts (essentially, small row boats) across five miles of open ocean between Fogo Island and Change Islands and back.  The official event website is here, which includes a couple of fascinating videos, including “Postcard From Fogo Island”, a gorgeous short video about the race which can also be found here on the website of the Shorefast Foundation.  Aside from being great fun, the annual race celebrates the boating heritage of Newfoundland and its reliance on the durable punt, a craft that the people throughout the province have relied upon for over 300 years.

The Long Studio on Fogo Island

I’ve commented on Fogo Island previously in a post on the National Film Board of Canada’s 1967 documentary “The Children of Fogo Island.”  In addition to its achingly beautiful scenery, this rugged island paradise in Atlantic Canada has a lot going for it, not the least of which is the resilient spirit of its people and their strong sense of community.   Fogo Island’s Shorefast Foundation has done a remarkable job in just a few short years in promoting both deliberate economic development and a phenomenally vibrant arts community.  Providing a good examplef this, is the above photo is of the Long Studio, one of three recently constructed and strikingly innovatively designed arts studios on the island as part of a series of broader arts initiatives fostered by the Fogo Island Arts Corporation and the Shorefast Foundation.

Voices of the Floods

Flooding in Lumsden, Manitoba (Photo Credit: David Stobbe, Reuters)

Although wreaking havoc and presenting immense challenges, natural disasters allow us to better maintain perspective on the things that should matter most.  The record-breaking floods now affecting many areas of Canada, including Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, and the similar flooding to the south that is inundating major swaths of the Mississippi River valley serve as powerful reminders of nature’s force and our inability to bend it to our will.    In an article about the floods near Louisiana, the reporter James Byrne on NOLa.com aptly quoted from T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages”:

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities – ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons, and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.

Flooding Near Bonnet Carre Spillway, Louisiana (Photo Credit: Brett Duke, Times Picayune)

The flooding also had me thinking about the experiences and emotions being shared by people north and south of our common border.   In that spirit, I surveyed a variety of stories about the widespread flooding and below is a small sampling of quotes I found interesting from affected individuals in Canada and the U.S.

It speaks to our spirit. Flooding is not pleasant . . . People put their best foot forward and deal with it.  People tend to stay. This doesn’t drive people out of communities. If anything, it probably makes the community stronger when you have a (common) response to it.”  Chuck Sanderson, Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization, quoted in the Leader-Post

“I don’t think they can afford this flood.  I don’t think the government can pay for all the damage. It’s heartbreaking.  We worked hard all our lives to get established, to take care of our families. Now this.”  Glen Fossey,  Starbuck, Manitoba, quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

“I don’t think I’m afraid.  I just don’t know what to do.”  Chris Yuill, Starbuck, Manitoba, quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

“It’s been very, very long.  As long as the electricity keeps working, I can hang in till the end.”  . . . She added it was heartening to see how people are helping each other out, including one volunteer who has been using his all-terrain vehicle and a wagon to provide a free taxi service through chest-deep water to the main road.  Linda Durbeaum,  St.-Paul-de-l’Ile-aux-Noix, Quebec, quoted in the Windsor Star

 In my lifetime, we’ve never seen anything like this. It’s going to be serious.” Ray Bittner, Manitoba Agriculture, quoted in the Windsor Star

 “What I’ve seen in Shelby County over the past couple of weeks isn’t so much a rising river, it’s a rising community.  . . . Wave after wave of volunteers show up asking ‘what can I do?’”  Craig Strickland, Cordova, Tennessee, quoted in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

“When you live in an area like this, you sometimes forget the magnitude and awe of the river.”  Susan Brown, Bartlett, Tennessee, quoted in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

“This is all I got.  I’ll protect it the best I can.”   Francis Cole, Popular Bluff, Missouri, quoted in the Aribiter

“I packed everything, and I mean ev-ry-thing. . . . It’s depressing. But what are you going to do?  This is a resilient bunch of people, and I imagine the biggest part of them will come right back.”  Terry Bower, Butte La Rose, Louisiana, quoted in NOLA.com 

Like the Energizer Bunny, The Appalachian Trail Keeps Going and Going

 

Map of the SIA / IAT

I just got back from several days and about 65 miles of hiking with one of my sons on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.  Among the notable features along the North Carolina section of this major east coast footpath are many gorgeous vistas, beautiful water falls and streams and high mountain meadows.  The AT, as it is sometimes called, extends between Georgia up to Maine, following the range of the Appalachian Mountains over its 2,100+ miles in the U.S. 

As I was hiking, I recalled that the Appalachian range  actually ends much further north of Maine continuing as it does up into New Brunswick and Quebec on the mainland with a final section of the mountains ending near Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador.   About 15 years ago, a number of hiking enthusiasts conceived what is called the “International Appalachian Trail”, which is a trail extension trail along the natural geography of this ancient mountain range into Canada without regard to national borders.  (Because North America, Europe and Africa were all once connected in truly ancient times, there is even an effort to route a trail with a continuation into Britain then onto Spain and finally in North Africa, linking together the geographical “remains” of this once vast inter-connected range.)   Already quite a few hikers have undertaken and completed the additional challenge associated with the trek from Mt. Katahdin, Maine up to Belle Isle. 

Endpoint of the Appalachian Trail in Maine

Having already hiked along several beautiful trails on Canada’s east coast, I’m sure the International AT holds special beauty and I’ll look forward to tackling stretches of it myself at some point.  For now, though, I’ll admire such feats from afar as my dogs are still barking from my most recent trail outing.

(Photo credit:  kworth30 / Wikimedia)

Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, Other Canada Coastlines Top Rated by National Geographic

Thanks to a justifiably proud friend from Newfoundland for calling my attention to the latest issue (Nov.-Dec. 2010) of National Geographic Traveler magazine, which features a cover story rating 99 of the world’s best coastlines.  Coming in with the highest rating was that province’s magnificent Avalon Peninsula.  Having spent part of a wonderful family vacation there several years ago (about which I’ll write more in a later post), I can attest to that place’s beauty.   The article quotes Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, who sums up the Peninsula’s charms thus:  “Visiting the Avalon Peninsula, with its close-knit communities and strong local culture reflected in the music and arts, is like going back in time.  The unspoiled scenery ranges from stark moonscapes to crystal-clear lakes to open land where caribou roam.”

Of the 99 places rated, 18 made it into the highest category of “Top Rated,” and of those Canada claimed an impressive 4 spots, more than any other country.   Making that short list were the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, the south shore of Nova Scotia, and the coastal areas of Prince Edward Island.

(Not surprisingly, Canadian locations also received at least a few other mentions in the magazine’s most recent issue, including an interview about a trek down the monumental Mackenzie River and the Yukon River (p.24), a note on skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal (p.36), and an overview of new hotels in Toronto (p. 46).)

Link to feature and complete list on National Geographic Travelerhttp://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/coastal-destinations-rated

Canada’s Regional Sounds on Smithsonian Folkways

French Canadian Folk Songs Track Listing  (Song suggestion:  “A la Claire Fontaine”)

Pretty much for as long as I can remember I’ve always liked folk music.  Among the earliest folk songs I can recall is the French-Canadian song “Alouette,” which every now and then would be played in one of my grade school classes as I was growing up in New York.  I enjoyed the fast, playful pacing of this simple children’s tune and, not knowing any French at the time, was more than amused years later to learn that it dealt with the plucking of a chicken.

Folksongs of Saskatchewan Track Listing:  http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=761

(Song suggestion: “Saskatchewan”)

That song, along with hundreds of other Canadian regional tunes, can be readily found through the website for Smithsonian Folkways.  Over almost  40 years, Folkways Records devoted itself to recording songs and sounds from America, Canada and other parts of the world, producing a prodigious 2,168 albums.  Several years ago, the Smithsonian acquired the archives of Folkways Records and part of the Smithsonian’s mission was to make the collection widely available, which it accomplishes, in part, through the website.

A search of “Canada” on the Smithsonian Folkways site reveals a total of 118 Canada-related records.  Because most of these recordings are from the 1950s and 60s, they are very difficult to find elsewhere, so it is amazing that so many are collected in one location.  (Link to Canadian-Related Records on Smithsonian Folkways:  http://www.folkways.si.edu/searchresults.aspx?sPhrase=canada&sType=’phrase’).

While the Smithsonian Folkways collection is broader than just Canadian music, there is a further strong Canadian connection of this music by virtue of the University of Alberta’s folkwaysAlive! project that is part of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology.  The University of Alberta has also made a significant grant in support of the mission of Smithsonian Folkways.  (Link to University of Alberta’s folkwaysAlive!:  http://www.fwalive.ualberta.ca/home/about-us/)

There are many albums worth noting on the Folkways site.   A few examples, with links to album track listings and a suggested song to which you might listen for a flavor of the album, are noted above and below.

Canada’s Story in Song Track Listing: http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=2116

(Song suggestion:  “Poor Little Girls of Ontario”)

We’ll Rant and We’ll Rave Track Listing:    http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=1523

(Song suggestion:  “Harbour Place”)

Heart of Cape Breton Track Listing:  http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=2973

(Song suggestion:  My Great Friend John Morris Rankin, etc.” — Medley)

Songs and Dances of Quebec Track Listing:  http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=1241

(Song suggestion:  “Danse Carre”)

The Children of Fogo Island

I just finished watching a short documentary, The Children of Fogo Island, that consists mainly of observing children going about their daily play activities on this major island off the northern coast of Newfoundland.   Directed by Colin Low in 1967 in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, the film dispenses with narration in favor of a simple and melodic music track, which gives the black and white images an elegiac feel.  Aside from the nostalgia that the film evokes, there is also a sense of sadness in contemplating the tenuous hold on survival managed by the people living on this outport island.  Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet a businessman about my age in St. John’s, Newfoundland who had grown up on Fogo Island and who still held great affection for the place.  He spoke wistfully about his childhood there and how so many young people have left  due to their inability to make a living in that remote place.  This film brings me back to that conversation as well as the simpler times of a generation or so ago — which all children amazingly reinvent in their own way.

Link to video:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/children_of_fogo_island

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