“Dear Auntie . . . don’t be cross”: Scenic British Columbia in Old Postcards

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Postmarked July 12, 1921 (Note Is Below)

Back in the day writing letters and cards was the routine thing to do if you wanted to stay in touch with distant friends and relatives. Picture postcards also allowed the recipient vicariously to experience what the sender did and saw. ¬†As suggested by the note below on one of these cards of British Columbia, the folks back at home expected a long form letter if possible and sending only a postcard from a trip was an occasion for an apology (being Canadians and all). ūüôā

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Note Side of Card Above of Gorge Bridge, Victoria, B.C.

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Yoho Glacier, near Field, B.C. (About 1910)

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Simash Rock, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. (About 1905)

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Seven Sisters, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. (About 1910)

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Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, B.C. (About 1915)

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Fraser River, Yale B.C. (About 1910)

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Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, B.C. (About 1951)

Old Baptist Church, St. Croix Cove, N.S.

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Not far from the Bay of Fundy shore of the northern Annapolis Valley sits this very old and humble Baptist church.  The colored glass windows are adorned simply with a subtle yellow-hued cross motif and a few complementary colors in the other panes.  Every weathered detail of its cedar-shingle exterior and its intimate understated interior testifies to its long history and the many lives and life-stories that have been shared within.

Artist to Appreciate: Walter J. Phillips

Walter J. Philips -- York Boat on Lake Winnipeg (1930) v2

Walter J. Phillips, York Boat on Lake Winnipeg (1930)

Walter Joseph Phillips is yet another unquestioned master of magnificent woodcut images of the Canadian landscape.  He often printed his artwork in color inks rather than just black ink as used by many of his contemporaries working in the same medium.  Although born in England, he settled in Canada as a youth and resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba for much of his life (the same place, coincidentally, chosen as a newfound home by another exceptional Canadian woodcut artist and fellow European immigrant, Eric Bregman).  Phillips produced the bulk of his work from the late 1910s through the 1940s.  In many of his images of the Canadian west he situated people within the scene, providing both a sense of scale and nice human emotional element.

Walter J. Philips -- Mount Cathedral & Mount Stephan (1928)

Walter J. Phillips, Mount Cathedral & Mount Stephan (1928)

Walter J. Philips -- Lake of the Woods (1931)

Walter J. Phillips, Lake of the Woods (1931)

Walter J. Philips -- Red River Jig (1931)

Walter J. Phillips, Red River Jig (1931)

Walter J. Philips -- The Clothes Line - Mamalilicoola (1930)

Walter J. Phillips, The Clothesline¬†–Mamalilicoola (B.C.) (1930)

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Walter J. Phillips, The Stump (1928)

Quebec Charm in Vintage Postcards

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Jacques Cartier Market, Montreal, Early 1900s

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Similar Posts on O’Canada:

‚Äʬ†Bridges As Depicted in Vintage Postcards

‚Äʬ†“Having a swell time . . .”: Vintage Hospital Postcards

‚Äʬ†The Great Canadian Outdoors: Vintage Rockies Postcards

‚Äʬ†Ever-Bustling 20th Century Toronto

‚Äʬ†Vintage Quebec: ¬†Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia

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Front Cover Illustration by Reginald Knowles for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Helen Creighton, a  then-budding musicologist, set about criss-crossing Nova Scotia to collect songs peculiar to the province.  In 1933 she published 150 of these songs in Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia, the first of her many song collections.

I had the good fortune recently to come across a lovely first edition of this book and have enjoyed thumbing through it, while marvelling at the laborious effort reflected in its pages. ¬†Here may be found songs of the sea, of love and its missing, of battle, of children’s play, as well as connections to the English, Scottish, French, Acadian and Mikmaq influences on this rich local music. ¬†The book’s front and back covers are graced with an exquisite woodcut by the noted illustrator, Reginald Knowles, and depict scenes suggestive of the songs within.

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Title Page, Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Homeward Bound

“Homeward Bound,” from¬†Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Frontispiece Illustration by R. Wilcox for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Back Cover Illustration by Reginald Knowles for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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 ‚ÄėGentle Waves Near Capstick, Nova Scotia‚Äô is actually my Uncle Peter‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėShop 4 Charity Calendar Sweepstakes‚Äô. 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 ‚ÄėC‚Äô as evidenced by the tombstones in the Capstick graveyard located in Bay St. Lawrence, Cape Breton (about 10 mins away from Capstick).”

Wonderful stuff!

Go By Air With TCA

TCA -- Go By Air

Before it was known as Air Canada, Canada’s major airline was called TCA or Trans-Canada Air Lines. ¬†The leading railway companies in Canada — particularly Canadian Pacific and Canadian National — played an early major role in connecting the far-flung dots within that country’s vast borders. In 1937, one of those rail companies, Canadian National, in an effort to diversify, formed TCA¬†thereby filling another vital transportation niche to serve Canada’s expansive geography as well as beyond. ¬† In 1965, TCA changed its name to Air Canada. ¬†These stylish travel posters from before 1965 (when its name was changed to Air Canada) harken back to TCA’s first few decades as a national flag air carrier.

Distillery District Door and Window Combo

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This smallish window and nearby door in Toronto’s Distillery District caught my eye both because of their curves and the forest green shared by each opening. ¬†In addition to the well-preserved historic buildings, this area of the city features a wide range of exceptional restaurants, bars and small shops.

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They’re Giving Away Land!

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Back in the day, Canada needed more people to build up its country and, in particular, in its vast western inland plains. With lots of land and not so many people, the federal and provincial governments and land companies¬†starting in the late 1800s on into the early twentieth century launched ¬†recruitment campaigns ¬†around the world, especially in Europe, with the lure of free land grants and the potential for prosperity. ¬†The distance was far and farm life was (is!) tough, but the appeal drew many new immigrants to Canada’s west. ¬† I love the variety and details in some of these posters!¬†(Click on images to enlarge)

“Now God be praised. I will die in peace.”: Early Canadian Military Heroes

Stricken at the battle for Quebec City in 1759, Major General James Wolfe uttered those words as he lay dying just as his troops’ victory was assured. ¬†Imposing bas relief sculptures of Wolfe and three other early Canadian military heroes — Samuel de Champlain, John Graves Simcoe and Isaac Brock — grace the facade of the Archives and Canadiana Building at the University of Toronto. ¬†Like their real-life counterparts centuries earlier, these sculptures keep a watchful and weathered gaze upon the surrounding landscape.

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Samuel de Champlain (1574-1635)

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James Wolfe (1727-1759)

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John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806)

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Isaac Brock (1769 -1812)

Toronto Public Art: Barbara Hepworth’s “Parent 1”

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“Parent 1” (1984), by Barbara Hepworth — Her modern work calls to mind Inuit forms.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

                                                                                     ~~ Thomas Merton

“Having a swell time . . .”: Vintage Hospital Postcards

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Postmarked 1913.  A cozy looking place.

Hospitals seem a peculiar and dreary subject for postcards. ¬†But back in the day — before routine outpatient procedures and hospitals speedily freeing up beds — time in hospital (as patient or visitor) regularly spanned several days or longer, so penning a brief note to update absent friends or loved ones was probably not so odd. ¬†And what better way to do it than with one of the colored cards conveniently available at the hospital!

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¬†Postmarked 1945. The note starts out: “Having a swell time.” ¬†Love those roadsters!

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About 1948. ¬†Yikes — looks more like a prison!

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About 1910.  Regal digs.  Notice horse and buggy to bottom left.

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 Postmarked 1935.  Street car or bus passing by.

“Woke Up This Morning” on CBC Radio

Although I’ve not posted much about music on O’Canada, exploring music and¬†its many genres is one of my favorite pastimes. ¬†While I’ve been clued in to some great Canadian music through CBC Radio over the years, the diverse programming of CBC Radio One is such that I’ve also discovered from time to time new (for me) American pieces. Such was the case earlier this week as I listened to “As It Happens” , which is hosted by Carol Off and Jeff Douglas. ¬†On that particular evening, the show payed homage to Claude Sitton, a journalist who passed away this week and who covered many of the key events of the early 1960s civil rights movement, by closing out with “Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind on Freedom)” performed by The SNCC Freedom Singers. ¬†It’s a powerful song. Video below.

The Great Canadian Outdoors: Vintage Rockies Postcards

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¬†Lake Louise & Victoria Glacier — About 1949

It’s safe to say that when many Americans think of Canada they visualize vast expanses of nature and, in particular, the Canadian Rockies. ¬†These vintage postcards — most of which are colored photos — feature scenes of the Rockies in Alberta, spanning the early 1900s up to the early 1960s.

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Athabasca Glacier — About 1960 (Love that funky snow bus!)

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Bow Valley, Banff — About 1950s

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eBow-Valley-Postcard

Bow Valley, Showing Golf Course — About 1950s

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Cascade Mountain, Banff — Early 1900s ¬†(This was quite a ride then in a horse drawn carriage.)

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Cascade Mountain, Banff — 1920s

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eWind-Mountain,-Alberta

¬†Wind Mountain, Alberta — About 1910s

Let’s Visit Ontario!

Ontario Lakelands

This nifty selection of vintage travel posters do a nice job capturing many of the wonders to be experienced in Ontario.

Bungalow Camps Ontario Vacation Ottawa

Toronto United Air

Similar Posts on O’Canada:

— ¬†Retro Winter Recreation and Travel Ads

— ¬†Magnificent Travel Art of the Canadian Pacific Railway

Bridges As Depicted on Vintage Postcards

High-Level-Bridge,-Edmonton

 Steam train crossing as onlookers leisurely enjoy the vista.  Postmarked 1921. 

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Even with sophisticated modern equipment, bridges are marvels of engineering skill.  Bridges from earlier periods, such as the array of Canadian ones featured on these vintage postcards, built without the benefit of such conveniences and often at the cost of many lives and injuries, are that much more impressive!

Heading into Canada from Detroit.  About 1940s, when cars featured many curves.

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Victoria-Jubilee-Bridge

Love the simplicity of this image and the partial reflection. Postmarked 1906.

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Similar posts:

‚ÄĘ ¬†Beautiful¬†Old Railway Bridge, Near Clementsport, N.S.

‚ÄĘ ¬†Canada-U.S. Friendship Postcard and Stamps

‚ÄĘ ¬†Vintage Quebec: ¬†Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

An A++ for Toronto’s Gadabout Vintage

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While spending a late morning in Toronto’s very hip Leslieville neighborhood I happened upon Gadabout, a fantastic¬†vintage shop showcasing all manner of things from bygone eras. ¬†The store’s very friendly proprietor, Victoria Dinnick, was cheerily helpful and wonderfully gracious in allowing my impromptu photography in her jam-packed two-story shop. ¬†Equally as impressive as Gadabout’s extensive offerings of vintage items are the mad and clever organizational skills on display. ¬†For instance, ¬†numerous rustic cabinets and drawers are carefully labeled to hint at the nifty contents tucked within just waiting for the curious. ¬† (In one such drawer I found the heart-shaped box pictured below, with which I later happily surprised my sweetie.)

I plan to share several categories of photographs — including clothing, housewares, figurines and toys — from this neat little shop in future posts and these shots are just a sampling. ¬†More on Gadabout can be found at its official site here¬†(or stop in over on Queen Street East!).

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The Orenda and the Constant of Change

 

The Orenda

Oh, that bittersweet feeling of finishing a good book that not long before was a welcome and constant companion! ¬† So it is with my having just finished Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda, a gripping epic set around the mid-1600s during the time of first contact between First Nations people and Europeans in¬†what would become Canada. ¬† The Wendat, or Huron, people, who are one of the principal subjects of this book, believed that each of us and every thing is endowed with an “orenda” or life force, and, so it is, more broadly, with cultures.

Not surprisingly, The Orenda was the top choice in the 2014 Canada Reads competition¬†and good reviews abound for this riveting novel (for instance here on GoodReads). ¬†So, rather than pen another, below is a brief excerpt that encapsulates one of the deep philosophical themes underlying the drama that unfolds within its pages. Throughout my reading of Boyden’s poetic work my thoughts continually dwelled on how this snapshot of a not-too-distant earlier time aptly reflects the concepts found in Buddhism, Hinduism and some other spiritual traditions ¬†of samsara (the cycle of birth, death and re-creation), change and suffering, each of which are constants in our world and in the clash of civilizations throughout history.

“Success is measured in different ways. ¬†The success of the hunt. ¬†The success of the harvest. ¬†For some, the success of harvesting souls. ¬†We watched all of this, fascinated and frightened. ¬†Yes, we saw all that happeed and, yes, we sometimes smiled, but more often we filled with fret. ¬†The world must change, though. ¬†This is no secret. ¬†Things cannot stay the same for long. ¬†With each baby girl born into her longhouse and her clan, with each old man’s death feast and burial in the ossuary, new worlds are built as old ones fall apart. ¬†And sometimes, this change we speak of happens right under our noses, in tiny increments, without our noticing. ¬†By then, though, oh, by then it’s simply too late.

“Yes, the crows continued to caw as crows are prone to do, and after a while we got used to their voices even when they berated us for how we chose to live. ¬†Some of us allowed them their cackling because we found it entertaining, others because we believed our only choice was to learn how to caw ourselves. ¬†And still others kept them close for the worldly treasures their masters promised.

“It’s unfair, though, to blame only the crows, yes? ¬†It’s our obligation to accept our responsibility in the whole affair. ¬†And so we watched as the adventure unfolded, and we prayed to Aataentsic, Sky Woman, who sits by the fire right beside us, to intervene if what we believed was coming indeed coalesced. ¬†But Aataentsic only need remind us that humans, in all their many forms, are an unruly bunch, prone to fits of great generosity and even greater meting out of pain.”

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Cheeky Humor of Vintage Canadian Tire Catalogues

CanTire----1956w

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Wherever you go in Canada, you’re probably not far from a Canadian Tire location, a retailer that carries auto parts, sporting goods, hardware and some appliances, clothing and all manner of other goods. ¬†Canadian Tire is so popular it even has its own pseudo-currency — Canadian Tire Dollars — that are both usable and collectible. ¬†Many of the retailer’s older advertisements featured humorous bits — some slightly suggestive — as illustrated by these Spring and Summer catalogs across the years. (I’ll post later some others from Fall and Winter editions of the C.T. catalogs.)

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Ever-Bustling Early 20th Century Toronto

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No Postmark– Around 1920s

The cityscape of Toronto, with its many tall buildings adorned with fine architectural detail and its bustling street-level activity, is most akin to what Americans encounter in the busy cities of New York and Chicago.  These early 20th century postcards highlight the magnitude of Toronto even then.  The people and vintage vehicles in these tinted images add interest and help define scale.

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No Postmark — Around 1920s

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Postmarked 1910

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 Postmarked 1918

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Postmarked 1939

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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

Mother’s Day Homage: The Wilcox Family Gravestones

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¬†Base of Gravestone of Susan Wilcox (1834-1918), “Mother”

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The sorrows of motherhood and the difficulty of raising children safely to adulthood more than a century ago were poignantly brought to mind by a grouping of gravestones I happened upon last Fall in the cemetery of the old Pembroke Chapel (originally Methodist and later a United Church) in Pembroke, Nova Scotia.

Situated beside¬†the gravestones for Susan Wilcox (1834-1918) — prominently marked “Mother” — and her husband, Nathan (1827 -1899), are markers for five of their children, each of whom predeceased their parents: ¬†Cyrus, who it’s noted “Drowned At Sea”, aged 27 years, 1887; ¬†Norman F., aged 2 yrs. 7 mos., 1861; Annie E., aged 13 mos., 1871; Frederick W., aged 1 yr., 1873; and Cora M., aged 1 day, 1877.

My curiosity prompted a search of old genealogical records here, which revealed that Susan and Nathan Wilcox had a total of 11 children (born between 1859 to 1880) — quite a brood! ¬†Families were larger then partly because additional helping hands were needed and life was understood to be more precarious. ¬† To lose a child is an unbearable thought for any parent and to have five leave this world before either parent sounds utterly tragic. ¬†Even though they had six children that survived them and considering that many things about life being very tough may have been taken in stride back then, I imagine that this mother and father must have endured an immense measure of grief.

Thus, this homage to motherhood and Mother’s Day and a reminder to be thankful for family, friends and other loved ones, as well as to treasure each of our precious days (on Mother’s Day and beyond).

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Gravestones for Nathan and Susan Wilcox Family, Pembroke, Nova Scotia

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 Markers of Norman F., Annie E., Frederick W. and Cora M. Wilcox

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 Markers of Cyrus Wilcox and his mother, Susan Wilcox

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Old Pembroke Chapel, Pembroke, Nova Scotia

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

* Saint John’s Transcendent Old Loyalist Burial Grounds

* Halifax’s Beautiful Old Burying Ground

* Canada’s Oldest Regular Cemetery: ¬†Garrison Cemetery, Annapolis Royal, N.S.

When Motels Were Newer and Grander

wPicardie-Motel,-Quebec

Lovely watercolor effect, simple signage and lines, very retro!

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From the 1920s to the early 1960s, the automobile led the way to leisurely road trips and the chance for a quick getaway down newly paved  highways across Canada and the U.S.  The cozy roadside motel filled the need  for an affordable, convenient place for the weary driver and family to kick back and relax in relative luxury with then modern conveniences (such as showers in each room, radio, TV and Hi-Fi!), as these vintage postcards attest.

Early 1900s Town Markets

These colored photo postcards from the early 1900s highlight the importance of town markets as hubs of community activity.  Lots of horses and wagons, ladies in long dresses and men in dark hats and not an automobile in sight.

wHalifax-Market,-N.S.

Postmarked October 6, 1910, Reads: “Dear Cousin, I have not received any letters from you, nor from Oscar. Hope you will write to the above address and by the time I return here, there will be many letters. ¬†Kind Love, Edgar”

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wMarket,-Brockville,-Ont.

No postmark, but likely around 1910; No note

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Postmarked September 8, 1909; No note

 Similar posts:

‚ô¶ Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

‚ô¶ Vintage Postcards: Canadian Churches

 ♦ Whimsical Wednesday: Vintage 7 Day Kisses

Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

Chateau-Frontenac----Moody

While thumbing through a large group of vintage Canadian postcards at a local antique shop a half-dozen or so among the thousand-plus cards stood out because each featured a highly stylized moonlight view of their subjects, giving each card a dark and moody feel.  Most were from about 1906 to 1908, with one as late as 1919, and all but one were marked as being printed by Valentine & Sons, a noted Scottish postcard publisher of the time with offices in Toronto and Montreal.  A little online research revealed that the cards were collotype photographs taken in daylight with a full moon, clouds and lighting effects layered on top, after which the images were hand-tinted.

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Halifax----Moody-Mag

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Windsor-Hotel----Moody

Similar posts on O’Canada:

‚ÄĘ ¬†Vintage Postcards: ¬†Canadian Churches

‚ÄĘ ¬†Vintage Canadiana: ¬†Canadian Home Journal

‚ÄĘ ¬†Vintage Canadian Apple Crate Labels

Backwoods Lumbering During the 1880s

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I recently came across a reprint of Picturesque Canada (ed. by George M. Grant), a two-volume compendium originally published in 1882 of Canada’s history, people and places. ¬†These marvelous books feature hundreds of intricate wood engravings that bring to life with vivid imagery the then still new and developing confederation. ¬†These illustrations of the lumber trade depict the hardships of that way of life, with most of these also seeming to associate that occupation with the extra harsh conditions of winter, which is fitting for the cold weather that is now creeping in up north. (Click images to enlarge.)

Chopping and Sawing

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A Jobber's Shanty; Marking Logs at Skidway

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Arrival of Supply Train at Lumber Depot___

A Sawmill in the Backwoods

Halifax’s Beautiful Old Burying Ground

Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Nova Scotia

Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Nova Scotia

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I find old cemeteries to be serene places for reflection and contemplation, and Halifax’s historic St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, also known as the Old Burying Ground, which dates back to the 1749 founding of the city, is one of the most gorgeous green spaces of this type. ¬†Its many weathered gravestones hint at stories of lives both brief and long — and all so long ago. ¬†The Burying Ground’s charm is evident by, among other things, the numerous times I’ve seen it used as a backdrop for wedding group photography or a leisurely setting for those simply enjoying a good book.

These photos are from an early Fall trip to Halifax a few years ago. [Click images to enlarge.]

“Sacred to the Memory of . . . “, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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Memories For the Ages, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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Solitary Gravestone, Markings Erased, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

Solitary Gravestone, Markings Erased, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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Weathered Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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