More pictures are emerging now of the devastation on the Island. The picture below of Stanley Bridge and area around Cavendish on PEI very bit spot for summer cottages and the Anne of Green Gables story. I was there this summer and the restaurant Carr’s is famous, it all appears gone now destroyed by Fiona.
For all lot of tourists coming to PEI they will not recognize the Island after this storm. It will take many decades to see nature in a more picturesque setting. The tourist season took a abrupt halt on Friday and now it is truly over until at least May 2023. After two years of shut down because of Covid now this, it will push many into bankruptcy. Farms have lots their crops, buildings and machinery, a total disaster and harvesting of potatoes and corn had not even started yet. Many farmers will be out of the business all together and probably forced to sell farm land to build tourist cottages and homes. But with the great shortage of manpower, I do not see how any of this can be done. For sure some savvy entrepreneur will buy land cheap from desperate farmers.
Currently what I cannot stomach is our Premier Dennis King constantly telling us how good we are and how we can overcome this, he loves to talk down to people as if we were 5 year old kids. Uncle Denny will explain it all to you, why does he not tell us what his government can do or is doing. Same with the smiling clown Philip Brown Mayor of Charlottetown who tells us he spoke with the Prime Minister in Ottawa, so what! Why is the City not cleaning up the mess already, what are they waiting for. The Federal Government has already sent the army, 100 soldiers, teams of people are arriving to clean up and funds are available. So now I want to see what the Provincial Government will do, to improve infrastructure to bring it up to 2022. Or like in the past will they simply line their bottom line and make us believe in a budget surplus.
Stanley Bridge same area this Summer, the before picture, all gone now. The red roof building above under water.
We have had daily arrivals of giant cruise ship with thousands of passengers, pollution and garbage, but our politicians say this is so nice and so important to our economy, really? No one in business has spoken favourably of this disgorging of thousands of people for 5 hours daily. The only one that profits are the Port Authority a private corporation, Anne of Green Gables amusement park, and a few cheap souvenir shops.
The weather as been very good and sunny and looks like it is going to continue for a while which is very pleasant. I have to say that I am not sure some days of the month we are in, is it August or September and what day of the week. I am very preoccupied right now with a serious matter and maybe this is why my mind is wandering. I do keep busy with Club business and the new Fiscal year and renewal of the Club membership. Happy with this distraction.
Monday 19 September will be a National Day of Mourning on the occasion of the Funeral of our Late Queen Elizabeth II. In Canada it is a statutory holiday declared by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Because Canada was the putative home of the Queen, she came 24 times during her life as a Princess and then as Queen, Canada will play a large role in the ceremony with military detachments, the Governor General and the Prime Minister will be present. The Queen knew Justin Trudeau as a child when his father was Prime Minister.
This week also the Conservative party of Canada has elected a new leader who may be popular with his party but not with the population in general, Pierre Poilievre has embraced all manner of right wing extremist movements and individuals. He has been a politician all his life and he closely identifies with Donald Trump. The man believes that his caustic approach will allow him to become Prime Minister, if he wins the election in 2025. That is a long time off and I really do not see it as a possibility, however in politics anything is possible.
To counter him Prime Minister Trudeau has announced several programs which will help millions of Canadians, one is a free dental plan for children, a rental financial supplement for people with low income to allow them to get out of poverty, people who qualify with low income can claim twice the rebate on General service tax (GST). All these measures will make a big difference in the lives of a lot of people. Our new leader of the Opposition Pierre Poilievre who is also known by his nickname Skippy has already said that he does not believe in any of this because he is a conservative. He believes in Freedom, what ever that means. His voting record in the last 20 years in Parliament is telling, he voted against abortion rights, he voted agains any supplements to help the poor, he voted against rights for Trans people and against marriage for gay couples, despite the fact that his own father is gay. Pierre Marcel Poilievre was born June 3, 1979, to a “teenage unwed mother who had just lost her mother,” he said in an interview. He was adopted by French Canadian school teachers from Saskatchewan: “[They] adopted me and raised me and basically gave me a life,” he said. Now in his first news conference he silenced the journalists call them hecklers and took questions for QAnon. Does that remind you of someone south of the border.
Tomorrow Thursday I am taking the 2 puppies for a good grooming in Kensington, so I will be gone most of the day. Nicky is quite blind now and we have to be very careful with him when we go for walks. I am going to go again to the vet to have an assessment made again. I do not think much can be done given his age.
I am told that it is Tuesday today, who knew. So this morning I went to see my nutritionist, and my weight is currently 174 lbs. meaning that I have lost 20 lbs in just 7 weeks. I feel much better now and people do tell me that I look slimmer. Though I do want to loose some more maybe 8 to 10 lbs. simply so that I can control more easily my weight. Unfortunately in my family we do gain easily, too easily really. It does help that I do not eat processed foods or prepared entrees, rarely will we have a dessert, coffee in demi-tasse with a bit of milk is usually dessert. I do not go to the gym but it is easy to walk around here and this is what I did today again. Usually walking about 3 to 4 Km. I wish I could like our friend in Fuengirola walk 12 km per day. The Costa Del Sol is an easy place to walk.
Since 2018 the Legislature has been closed and off limits due to the massive rebuilding and renovations initially costing $36 million and now at $100 million. The building known as Province House is at the top of Great George street looking down towards the water.
It was built in the Georgian Style and looks very much like a smaller version of the Legislature in Halifax. It was built in 1843 and has been used as a legislative building ever since. However when they started to inspect the building in 2018 it was discovered that the whole building was about to have a catastrophic failure and the 2 porticos on the North and South facade with their columns where about to tumble down into the gardens, taking the rest of the edifice with them. There is the story of the dispute between the architect builder and the politicians in 1843, the politicians demanded a columned portico, like Halifax, the architect had other ideas based on aesthetics. So he gave the politicos what they demanded but he built the two porticos without any foundation. The soil in very soft clay like. The problem has been resolved now. This photo taken this morning shows the building without its white sheet covering it. The rest will be removed in the coming weeks including the steel ectoskeleton. The photo is not very clear, I will have other later. Some 1300 stone blocks had to be replaced due to severe damage. So the new ones are light in colour compared to the original which are darker.
I went on to walk towards the water and a spot I love which is in front at the entrance to Victoria Park. A nice quiet area in the city.
Yesterday was Canada Day and we had a BBQ at the Club. I volunteered to be the Grill Master on our 8 burner BBQ. I cooked 50 Burgers, 24 hotdogs and 16 Bratwurst. The burgers were good sirloin beef type. The Bratwurst were also very good, the hotdogs, I am not crazy about but they were popular nonetheless. I served everyone, they assembled their own toppings, we had great cheese selections and all the usual condiments. After I was done I cooked my own. I got help from one other member who moved things along with the serving. We also featured Canada’s Official Cocktail the Bloody Cesar, Yes Julius Caesar was Canadian from Banff or was it Lake Louise, Alberta. Makes sense really he defeated Hannibal and his elephants in the Rockies as they were marching down to Rome or was it Publius Cornelius Scipio? No matter, it’s a good story.
I wish I could do Clamato juice the old way, when you added to a tomato juice bottle a cup of crushed clams. You crushed them with your bare hands, wash your hands before doing this.
The weather was beautiful, sunny and a very pleasant 22 C. Just a perfect day for all. I did not take any photos and it was only afterwards that I thought about it, too late.
Today I went shopping at M.R. Seafoods which is my favourite shop for very fresh seafood or fish in Charlottetown. They sell the best Seafood Chowder mix, varied and generous. So Will is making it for our dinner. He also like to make the broth with 2 bottles of Clam juice and whole tomatoes, but I would not call it Manhattan style because it is not the same recipe.
Will also made bread today, it smells soooo good, it is also cheaper than buying at the bakery where the loaf is now $6.00
At the Grocery store I ran into at the Cashier station on one of my old nemesis in PEI, a very prominent developer who in my last campaign for Municipal Office in 2018 had been a constant opposition pain to me and was very unpleasant during the whole campaign. He of course knows a lot of people and there was a constant harassment campaign. Today we had a very nice chat and he invited me to visit his new resort on the North Coast and the new restaurant. Then he asked if I was going to run again this November, I said no I am not, I have other priorities now. He went on to say that I should run again, someone like me would be needed to replace the gang we now have, including the Mayor. Remembering what happened in 2018, I was very surprised by his invitation to run now. I take it all with a grain of salt. I prefer to write opinion pieces, they have more punch and bring a response.
Well yesterday I went shopping for new jeans because the old ones did not fit me at all, too big now, so on sale they had Levi’s 501 and I got a size 34 which is 2 inches better on my waist. That made my day and shows that the diet works. I am now at 80Kg and hope that by next week I will be at 79kg or my weight of 2011. Met with my nutritionist today and he also coaches fitness training. He suggested that if I did not have a glass of wine with dinner I could easily reach my initial goal. Wine has a lot of calories around 250 per 9 oz glass. If you have 2 glasses which I do then with a meal this makes for a lot of extra calories. I will try it and see what happens. Exercise like walking is also very important. This is my little project.
Canada Day is coming up this Friday and because of the major renovation work at Parliament in Ottawa the festivities have been moved to a large vacant site below the hill called LeBreton Flats by the Outaouais River. I never went to Parliament Hill for the show too many people, upwards of 100K. Here in Charlottetown 1100 km away, I am the BBQ guy for the party at the Club. Looks like we will get nice weather.
Today I stumbled upon this picture in the German Newspaper, Berliner Zeitung. It’s a photo of the Cartouche or great coat of arms that will be placed above portal III of the reconstructed Berlin Palace. It will be made of copper, the photo shows the model to follow. The undamaged original was destroyed by the communist regime of East Germany in 1958.
The artist is Andreas Hoferick on the left with Oleg Bessonov, both are responsible for many sculptures on the rebuilt palace, the cartouche is 8 meters high. The second photo is the middle part which is inserted. It is to be installed in November.
Finally Summer, the weather is much warmer than it was just one week ago. The City Public Works crew were out hanging flower pots from lamp posts. The Strawberries from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia have arrived on the market and this being PEI, the tradition is to ask on an enquiring tone from the Fruit and Veg section clerk, where are they from? Of course we all know the answer and the clerk as per the tradition will apologize and admit in a contrite tone that they are from Annapolis across the Strait 12 km away. Then you sniff at them and proclaim that you will wait 2 weeks for the real Strawberries from PEI to appear on the shelves and of course when no one is looking sneak back and buy the Annapolis Valley Strawberries to make shortcake for one of the numerous socials going on.
The City also came by or I should say the nice ladies from the big park next to our house who are in charge of keeping it nice looking, tending the flower beds etc. They always clean a little patch of weeds by our house that technically belongs to the City and they over the years have planted hostas and tiger lillies, it looks really nice. Public works has also changed the flags at the marina, they do this once a year or maybe twice, the wind rips them up pretty bad and it is disgraceful to see.
All shops are now open and we are going into full tourist trap schedule. So far the numbers are not high and even the cruise ships do not appear terribly full, maybe half full. Fine with me. What is a little sad are the arguments made by business owners and the Chamber of Commerce to keep wages down and offer little to workers, while gouging the unsuspecting tourists. You see it in restaurant prices, Air B&B at $500 to $700 dollars a night for one bedroom downtown. No wonder workers are next to impossible to find in all positions.
With inflation at 7% now in Canada and t 9% in PEI and with the price of gas, I wonder how many people can afford to come here to sit on the beach or go look at fantasy land, Anne of Green Gables. Yes there are other things to see and quite enjoyable, mostly national parks, but then again we are not that different from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia who offer more in terms of more varied restaurants scene, shopping, important sights, all because they have larger populations. Though we are told constantly that tourism is important, the City does very little to clean itself up, Queen Street the main drag looks shabby and other sites in town need a major uplift. They still have not finished renovating the Legislature, Province House, we have to wait another 2 years to see the Legislature return to the building, the final price tag which is covered by the Federal Government is about $100 million from the original of $36 million.
June 21, was Indigenous day in Canada, the National Broadcaster CBC and Radio-Canada played all day music from the First Nations. I was a little apprehensive as to what that would be, however it turned out that many artists, composers, musicians presented great music in very varied genres. It was a discovery, many were unknown to me and I wondered why do we not hear more about them all year long.
Also on PEI the Government has been including the original indigenous place names on road signs instead of just the English place names which were imposed after 1755, this is part of a PR exercise which is very cynical, our politicians have suddenly since 2019 discovered the indigenous people living with us.
One place is called Savage Harbour, on the North Shore, it was so named by the British to replace the name the French Acadians and the Mi’kmaq had for the place which was in French, Havre a l’anguille, (Eel Harbor), in Mi’Kmaq it would be Jipijka’Maq. The first French families in 1725 were Laforestrie, Blanchard, Chiasson, de Veau, Garenne and Poitier families, all farmers. It will be interesting to see if the PEI Government goes along with changing the name of Savage Harbor to its Mi’kmaq origin or even include the French name Havre a l’anguille, which they always try to suppress to this day.
In about 8 days its Canada Day and I believe we will be going to the Club for a BBQ in the garden. Tomorrow is grooming day for Nicky and Nora in Kensington and I will go to Summerside for lunch before returning to pick them up all cleaned up for the Summer.
Tomorrow morning I am going away to Halifax, 3 hours down the road off Island. I am collecting my 6 Oriental carpets from the cleaners of such rugs in Bedford a suburb of Halifax. I will return to PEI on Tuesday.
Last night at the Club, we had a mix-in Military Dinner with members of the PEI Regiment and the regimental bands, Members of the Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force. Everyone was wearing their Mess Kit. The food was wonderful the main course was a filet of Beef Wellington, one of my favourite dishes. The best part was because I have lost 11 lbs I was able to wear comfortably my Italian silk and wool dark blue suit. I bought that suit in Rome in 2010. I could not wear it because I had gained so much weight.
Here I am in the Great room of Farringford House with my fellow members in their mess kit of the PEI Regiment, the fellow next to me is a Colonel and the other fellow a Captain, both now retired from the Armed Forces.
I still need to loose 20 lbs. I was asked to make the Loyal Toast to Her Majesty at the dinner this being the Platinum Jubilee Year. I followed the formula of Windsor Castle, not the one President Obama got caught it by speaking the name of the Queen to soon which is always the cue for the band leader to give the signal to start playing the Royal Anthem. Once they start they cannot stop. So I was careful to word it properly and we had the Royal Anthem on cue.
Because the Lieutenant Governor was also present, the band played the Royal Salute upon her arrival with her ADC a Canadian Royal Navy Commodore. There is a lot of protocol in such dinners, the food was fantastic, the wines and the port was also very good. Throughout the evening the Band played including Canadian Regimental marches.
*** I started to write this post on Friday and now it’s Monday 2 May.
The weeks go by so quickly, May is just around the corner and the weather is getting nicer by the day though still cold given we are an island in the Gulf and it will only get warm around 1 June. Tourists are few and the first cruise ship arrived this week however it only had 320 passengers. It would appear that cruising is not back and people are still shy about getting on those boats.
Major scandal in Charlottetown at City Hall, you see the problem with PEI it is very small and the everyone on the Island is related in some fashion and outsiders (non-Islanders) are kept out of Government jobs, so yes there is a small mafia running the show in every government department.
This time it’s the CAO or Chief Administrative Officer who was hired by the former Mayor 5 years ago, there was a cloud with that person stepping into what is an important job. Many problems have surfaced since and now the current Mayor and City Council are embarrassed and looking at ways of ditching the guy. The press as a field day with this story and an election is coming in 6 months. This guy is an albatross around the neck of Council and it will be difficult to get rid of him.
Other scandal involving the Premier Dennis King and his wife who got a huge grant for her business without going through regular channels. It made quite a raucous and so she returned the money. The Premier said he had no idea, of course.
On another note I have re-discovered the music of composer Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) born near Weimar and died in Zerbst, the home town of Catherine the Great of Russia, who was born in a noble Prussian family and married into the Romanov family. He held a very important musical position in Zerbst as Kappelmeister and would have known the father of Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst, later to become Empress Catherine of Russia, as he would also have known her.
Fasch musical style is baroque and suits what is known as the age of Princes, elegant and beautiful. George Frideric Handel also a contemporary of Fasch wrote in the same style. As I am sure many other composers of that era.
On you Tube I noticed the number of site visiting so called abandoned mansions or homes. What I wonder is how many such places actually exist and why is it that in most cases it looks all very staged. One scenario is of a home that is fully furnished and it looks as if the residents just left a few moments ago. In some places you can see that the property are probably not occupied and water damage, vandalism has taken place. But I wonder what is the thrill of going through buildings which are closed to have a look inside, it is morbid in a way. It also gets you clicks on your site. Similar channels on cemeteries and mausoleums, abandoned burial places, old funeral homes etc.
On the other hand we have discovered a lot of great recipe sites and wonderful new cooking experiences. I have also started a diet with a nutritionists and have in the last 17 days lost about 9 lbs. which is encouraging, I hope to loose another 20 lbs. and mostly I do hope to keep it off. This way I can wear comfortably all those Italian clothes I have in my closet. I was at 87 kg and I am now at 82 kg. I am happy with the results – 11 lbs.
In 2015 the Winter in PEI did not start before mid-January, there was no snow, nothing, very quiet weather wise and then all of a sudden every 4 to 7 days a major snowstorm and it lasted for 2 who months. There was so much snow that no one knew what to do with it and life became difficult for many. The City had no where to put it, people could not get out of their homes, some people lost their homes to house fires simply because the Fire Dept could not get to them, blocked by giant snow banks. Here is an archival picture of what it was like. People were in shock, yes we are Canadians but there is a limit to everything, the cold also was intense. We missed it all by arriving in May 2016.
Hopefully this year 2022 will not be a repeat but we have had 2 major snow storms in 7 days. The City has had little time to clean up after the first storm. We also have now Omicron and 2 people died last night in hospital, the first of this pandemic. People are scared and concerned.
Needless to say, tonight the storm is over but the streets remain unplowed and the sidewalks well they disappeared under 4 feet of snow. It is very heavy snow, very compact and it is about -28C right now. So walking the dogs is short and sweet, they do not want to be outside.
While this was happening Will was making meat pies aka Tourtière, small ones for 2 so we can have them for dinner. Tomorrow he is making his lasagna with béchamel sauce. He already made his meat sauce. For the pie crust he uses a little vodka, it makes it more flakey.
I always jokingly say that we are the Key West of Canada, balmy weather, great beaches and good seafood. Until 7 January 2022 that we true, not a speck of snow and Spring like weather. Then Mother Nature struck, the photos below illustrate what happened, I park outside my car was buried in snow, luckily the snow cleaning service came with 2 tractors and cleared it all for me. Our house door was frozen shut and we could not open it, we had to use the emergency back staircase to get out. That too has been cleaned, though the streets are a mess and the sidewalks disappeared, so you have to walk in the street for now. It will probably take 3 days to dig out of this Winter Wonderland.
Luckily for us we have no were to go and no reason to leave the house. Nora loves the snow because she eats it, Nicky does not care for it much and the wind scares him. Walking them is a problem, when you legs are 3 inches and there is 2 feet of snow.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown