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

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

• The Great Canadian Outdoors: Vintage Rockies Postcards

• Ever-Bustling 20th Century Toronto

• Vintage Quebec:  Ox Carts, Dog Carts and Sleighs

Artist to Appreciate: David Taylor

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~ Sunburst Wood Carving, by David Taylor ~

Driving along the rural back roads of the Nova Scotia shore in Kings County, I stumbled upon a classic cedar-shingled house and yard in Black Rock adorned with brightly colored wood carvings that made for an irresistible stop.   As I snapped a few photos, the property’s owner, David Taylor, amiably introduced himself and explained that the menagerie of  carved-wood creatures and other whimsical sculptures spread in every direction across the land are his creations.   He’s even affixed a pea-green sea monster carving about 100 yards (or 90 meters) offshore that sits atop the water’s surface at high tide.

Taylor is a true folk artist in the best sense of that term.  One small carving led to another and eventually Taylor found himself having devoted many years to lovingly making wood objects from locally sourced driftwood and other materials for his own enjoyment and that of others.  In addition to his many sculptures, Taylor spends time making distinctive rustic bird houses, each graced with the weathered, long-bearded face of a coastal fisherman and which he regularly sells.  His work is sufficiently appreciated that the nearby town of Canning recently festooned utility poles along its main business district with about two dozen of Taylor’s birdhouses in a wonderful public art display with local businesses adopting particular birdhouses.

Taylor regularly undertakes commissioned work and has more than a few birdhouses and other reasonably priced carvings available.  Although he doesn’t have a website, Taylor can be reached at  francesanddavidtaylor@gmail.com.

Brian Deignan: Memory, Imagination and Wonder

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Brian Deignan, “House with View, Nova Scotia”

Because it is so unusual, the work of a highly-skilled photographic artist who intentionally seeks to blur his images stands out to me.  Such are the mysterious images produced by Brian Deignan, a Toronto-area fine art photographer originally from Montreal and who also has lived in several parts of the U.S.  Unlike typical bokeh photographs — where the subject is in focus against a blurred background — Deignan’s entire subject is out of focus.  The resulting impressionistic images resemble paintings and conjure up deeper thoughts that often elude sharply focused photographs.   Deignan hints at this with the following observation from his portfolio website:  “People, places, things are what I photograph; memory, imagination, wonder are how.” Very nicely stated!

See more of Deignan’s images at his site here.

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 Brian Deignan, “Crosswalk #28” (High Noon in Mississauga)

Winter Wonderland #10

Brian Deignan, “Winter Wonderland #10”

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Brian Deignan, “School Bus, Route 332 — Nova Scotia”

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Brian Deignan, “Sunday Drive #25”

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Brian Deignan, “Sunday Drive #20”

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 Brian Deignan, “Friday Night — Queen Near Spadina”

(Image Credits:  Brian Deignan)

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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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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 Wind Mountain, Alberta — About 1910s

Crisp Maritimes Morning

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Rusted Tiller Wheel, Annapolis Valley, N.S., Along the Bay of Fundy Coast

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

                                                                                       ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Appreciating Each Precious Moment

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Floating Fall Leaves, Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

                                                                      ~ Henry David Thoreau

Early Fall, Kejimkujik Seaside, Nova Scotia

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“Make each step with intention and surrender and you will move forward on your path. Be kind to others.  Honor the mystery and wonder that surrounds us at every moment.”                                                                                                                                              ~ Nicola Barsaleau*

(*Nicola Barsaleau is a talented artist I recently met at an art fair who makes exquisite linocut prints, several of which incorporate wonderfully inspiring words of wisdom such as the above and can be seen on her site here.)

Splendid Farm Offerings at the St. Lawrence Market

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Since the early 1800s, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto has been a traditional marketplace for fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses and all manner of other agricultural products.  It’s a colorful and happily bustling scene that has the distinction of being named by National Geographic in 2012 as the world’s best  market.  Even if a matter of opinion, that’s high praise!  Snapping these shots between bites of a warm croissant graced with some local honey provided a relaxing hour’s idyll.

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

⇒ Abundance at the Saint John City Market

⇒ Kensington Market, Toronto: Fresh, Funky and Fun

⇒ Early 1900s Town Markets

Broke-Down Dodge Truck

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Situated along one of the wide pathways in Toronto’s Distillery District, this tired old Dodge truck  from the 1940s exudes character with its highly stylized chrome grill cover brightly shining against varied shades of surrounding rust.

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Ossington Avenue Graffiti

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Crisscrossing the streets of Toronto, it struck me that I had to look harder there than in Montreal to find graffiti or street art.  But what’s to be found in Toronto is every bit as varied and creatively expressed, as shown by these two examples, both in the Ossington Avenue area.  I’ll post more later.

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Let’s Play!: Gaddabout Vintage Part II

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Following up on a recent post about Toronto’s Gaddabout Vintage, here’s another installment of wonderful baubles — this time toys and the like — that can be found in this perfect little shop with something for every taste (and age).

 

Kensington Market, Toronto: Fresh, Funky and Fun

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There’s a little something for everyone in Toronto’s very colorful, very funky Kensington Market neighborhood!  Lot’s to look at, taste and absorb!

Simple Beauty in Stanley Park

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Along the Seawall, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.

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“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”
                                                                                  ~ Walt Whitman

Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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

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

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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)

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.

Low Tide on the Moose River, Clementsport, Nova Scotia

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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” 

                                                                                                              ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gentle Waves Near Capstick, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

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“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

                                                                                       ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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

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“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

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A Quiet Fishing Village, Newfoundland

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

                          ~Henry David Thoreau

                                                                                              

A Peek at the Annapolis Valley

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View Across the Annapolis Valley and Minas Basin I, Nova Scotia

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View Across the Annapolis Valley and Minas Basin II, Nova Scotia

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals . . . .”

                                                              ~Walt Whitman

Dockside in the Maritimes

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Brightly Colored Colorful Dories, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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Atlantic Canada’s many docks in all shapes and sizes connect its people to the sea for work and recreation.  There’s also lots of stuff to see while sitting for a spell alongside these bustling docks, a small sense of which can be gleaned in these photos from several relaxing trips to Nova Scotia.

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Lobster Crates, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

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Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

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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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Greenbank----Moody

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Halifax----Moody-Mag

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Rideau----Moody

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St.-James-Cathedral----Mood

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Windsor-Hotel----Moody

Similar posts on O’Canada:

•  Vintage Postcards:  Canadian Churches

•  Vintage Canadiana:  Canadian Home Journal

•  Vintage Canadian Apple Crate Labels

The Scenic Northville Farm Heritage Center, Annapolis Valley, N.S.

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Tiller Wheels, Northville Farm Heritage Center, Northville, N.S.

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With its fertile plain shielded from the Bay of Fundy by a low-lying but extensive mountain range, the Annapolis Valley has long been the farming center of Nova Scotia.  Because of this, there are several places devoted to preserving and sharing that heritage.  Although the Ross Farm Museum in New Ross, N.S., probably gets more attention (and about which I’ll post at another time), the Northville Farm Heritage Center in Northville, N.S. (close to Centreville, N.S.), which we came across while on a meandering late Fall drive through the Valley, has a wonderful display of old farm tractors, machinery and other implements situated in an especially scenic area of the Valley.  It’s worth making the effort to find!

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Trusty Rusty Tractor, Northville Farm Heritage Center, N.S.

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Massey Harris Tractor, Northville Farm Heritage Center, N.S.

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Some Other Farm-Related Posts on O’Canada:

Old Farm Tractor Along Charlevoix / St. Lawrence Shore

Barns and Cottages of the Maritimes – Part 1

Barns and Cottages of the Maritimes – Part 2

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

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Old Tombstones, Garrison Cemetery, Annapolis Royal, N.S.

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Canada’s oldest formal cemetery is Garrison Cemetery, which is situated adjacent to historic Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.  While Garrison Cemetery is not as large as the nearly-as-old eighteenth-century burial grounds in Halifax, the setting — amidst the rolling hills of the Fort’s grounds and the sweeping Annapolis River close by — is especially picturesque. Given that Annapolis Royal served as both the capital of Acadia and later as the first capital of Nova Scotia, the well-worn tombstones on the cemetery grounds are quite old indeed, as attested by the protective marker frames in several of the pictures below from a trip last Fall.  (Click any image to enlarge)

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Similar Posts:

• Halifax’s Beautiful Old Burying Ground

• Saint John’s Transcendent Old Loyalist Burial Grounds

Artist to Appreciate: Louis Helbig

Highway 53 Bitumen Slick

Louis Helbig, Highway 53 Bitumen Slick, Alberta (2009)

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The aerial photography of Ottawa’s Louis Helbig provides a reflective pause for the disquieting natural and industrial vistas that are this artist’s principal subject matter.  Many of his images possess an abstract quality and bring to mind the similarly striking industrial landscapes of fellow Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.

Below are a few of Helbig’s stunning images.  More of his impressive photography can be found at his homepage here.

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Alluvial Fan

Louis Helbig, Alluvial Fan, Alberta (2009)

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Sulfur PileLouis Helbig, Sulfur Pile, Alberta (2011)

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ATV Tracks in Frozen Snow

Louis Helbig, ATV Tracks in Frozen Snow, Quebec (2011)

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Pumping Vessel

Louis Helbig, Pumping Vessel, Alberta (2009)

Image Credits: Louis Helbig

Other Posts About Notable Canadian Photographers:

•  Edward Burtysnky and Industrial Landscapes

•  Todd McLellan: Taking Things Apart

•  Manu Keggenhoff’s Photography of the North

•  A Virtual Trip to the Yukon

•  Jerry Kobalenko’s Beautifully Rendered Arctic Eden

•  Jim Shaugnessy and Canadian Railroad Photography

Beautiful Old Railroad Bridge, Near Clementsport, N.S.

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Near Sunset and Low Tide, Old Railway Bridge, Clementsport, N.S.

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This rusted old iron railway bridge near Clementsport / Upper Clements in the Annapolis Valley area of Nova Scotia held my fascination one late Fall afternoon as the sunset slowly crept in.   The point at which the forlorn bridge and its ancient wood trestle crosses the tidal river bend is both scenic and serene.  On this occasion, the deep chipping orange-brown rust and the weathered blue-greens of the bridge’s structure harmonized perfectly with the complementary tones in the cloudy sky, the cool water and the distant hills.

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Colorful Coastal Collections

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Whimsical Tractor Seat Display (along the road to New Brunswick)

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Brightly colored fishing buoys and other items with vivid hues dot the coastal landscape.  These photos highlight a few collections of such items spied not long ago around Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Buoy Display, Campobello Island, N.B.

Buoy-Adorned Cottage, Campobello Island, N.B.

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Buoys and Floats, Delaps Cove, N.S.

Pink and Orange Floats, Delaps Cove, N.S.

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Cozy Chairs, St. Andrew's By the Sea, N.B.

Cozy Lounging Chairs, St. Andrew’s By the Sea, N.B.

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Buoy Signpost, Neils Harbor, Cape Breton, N.S.

Buoy Signpost, Neils Harbor, Cape Breton, N.S.

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Buoy Display, Shelburne, N.S.

Buoy Wall Display, Shelburne, N.S.

Mel’s Tea Room and More . . . Sackville, New Brunswick

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Mel’s Tea Room, Sackville, New Brunswick

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These classic old signs and doorway tiles stood out on a recent stop in the historic town of Sackville, New Brunswick.  The neon and styling of the sign for Mel’s Tea Room — a local diner that is authentically vintage — in particular harkens back to an earlier era.

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wwDSC_9386Sackville Bowling, Sackville, New Brunswick

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wwDSC_9388Tiled Store Entryway, Sackville, New Brunswick

St. Andrews By The Sea, New Brunswick

View Across the Bay, Celtic Cross Park, St. Andrews By the Sea

View Across the Bay, Celtic Cross Park, St. Andrews By the Sea, N.B.

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St. Andrews By the Sea is a historic town located in the southwestern corner of New Brunswick (about an hour west of Saint John) across the Passamaquoddy Bay from Maine.  Established as a Loyalist bastion in the late eighteenth century, it is now a resort town featuring magnificent bay views and many well-preserved buildings showcasing early architectural styles.  These photos are from a late Fall visit.

Espresso Cup Charm at The Flying Fox

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These bright little espresso cups caught my eye at the very cozy The Flying Fox Bake Shop in historic Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The shop’s tasty fresh-baked treats and piping hot coffee brightened the cold November day considerably, as did the ready conversation of the shop’s cheerful owner, Julie Shand.  Julie shared with me that in light of her having lived way up near Yellowknife, Yukon Territory, shortly before opening the Flying Fox, Shelburne’s windy temperatures of 33°F / 0°C on that day seemed nearly tropical to her! For my part, I kept my gloves near at hand.

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