This was taken last night 10 November 2017 at the Delta Hotel in Ch’Town at a gala Santa’s Angel Charity event.
I think it is a very good picture of the two of us.
We are having a beautiful Fall Season with temperatures well above normal. I heard this week that Winter in the Maritimes this year should be warmer than normal and snow levels well below normal. Given that we have an Atlantic weather pattern this may mean more rain and fog and temperatures like those of Continental Europe in the 0 to +5 C. range, which is easy to take.
The cruise season is coming to an end this week on Friday. The Disney Ship is coming into port for the very first time and its arrival had been expected for some time. With the end of the cruise season usually most tourist related businesses close and quite a few have already closed. Some restaurants who cater usually to tourists will try remaining open until Xmas time. The whole idea now for some years has been to extend the tourism season to 9 months instead of the usual 4 months. In the long run many business owners would like to have a year round season with activities etc. But for this to happen we will need more direct flights to Charlottetown airport all year round. At the moment Halifax which is only 20 minutes away by air or 3 hours by car is an international hub, Montreal and Toronto are the other two major airports but in Winter flights to those two cities are cut down severely which creates a problem for our growing population and our link to the rest of the planet.
The cruise liner leaving as seen from the park behind our house.
Talking of which, PEI has now reached a total population of 152,000 people, with 49% of the entire population of the Island living in the greater Metropolitan area of Charlottetown, this according to statistics recently published. I had no idea I lived in what can be described as a Metro City area. Our population is still a majority of over +55 years old and growing. But then again in Canada the population is aging rapidly despite high level of immigration, which it turns out is not the solution to the aging demographic.
No 2 West street is for sale at $1.2 million, it is a Georgian style house and property on the water.
View from West street, Fanningbank the Official Residence of the Lieutenant Governor since 1834.
The City last night was very quiet, no cars in the street and almost no one about. It is a luxury to have this sort of quiet. The cold I had all last week is finally over, a lot of coughing, lack of sleep and discomfort.
I am also attending this Fall, courses at the Seniors College which is a program offered by Holland College. One course is on French painting in the period of 1830 to 1871, a troubled period in France and in Europe marked by emerging social movements due to the transformation of society in general with the industrial revolution. France is going through one Royalist regime to another and finally a return of the imperial regime with Napoleon III the nephew of the great Napoleon. How does painting and painters express themselves in this age.
Here the cruise ship turns to exit the harbour and enter the Strait before turning Westward.
The other course is given by the Head of the History dept at the University of PEI. Dr Ed MacDonald gives superb lectures and they are highly informative and entertaining. There is a lot of history to PEI and its Capital Charlottetown founded in 1765 by the British. The old city is drawn like a Roman Military Camp and it has kept to this day the original plan. There is a lot of history in Charlottetown, a lot more than I suspected, it is complex and there are many actors. If Charlottetown at one time in the history of Canada occupied the 11th rank in terms of large cities in our country with Confederation it has been pushed to the margins and is now around 130th in the ranking. In 1867 with Ottawa as the new Capital of the Dominion everything shifts from the Atlantic to central Canada and Montreal becomes the Metropolis and big shipping port some 1000 km away.
This week our new Lieutenant Governor took Office, she was sworn in at Tignish which is an old Acadian settlement dating back to 1799. This is a first on the Island, since all Governors have always been sworn in at Charlottetown. She is from Tighish which is on the Western tip of PEI about 2 hours by car from Charlottetown. The PEI Regiment also has a new Commander, Colonel Moriarty. Someone pointed out to me that when Antoinette Perry was named Lieutenant Governor, the first thing that came to mind was the person who gave her name to the Tony Awards, but that Antoinette Perry died in 1946 in NYC.
This week is also busy, we are having a visitor who is coming to look at houses as she is moving to PEI from Toronto. I also made an appointment to have the car serviced for the Winter, I always like to have this done before the rush.
Life in Charlottetown is never dull, small town like Mayberry but lots to do. This week we had invitations from every night of the week and people to meet in the day time.
First there was pumpkins to be bought at 0.99 cents to $5.00 for a giant one requiring two strong men to lift into the car trunk, a bargain. It comes from a Farm just minutes away from our home across the Hillsborough river.
We also had Farm Day on Queen Street which is the main street of Charlottetown running from the river’s edge up North to the far suburbs some 5 Km away. The Farm Day was held in the old town core between Water street and Grafton Street.
Lots of farmers present most of whom can be found at the Farmers Market on the weekend. I bought some fresh flowers.
We were invited by the owners of Dunes at Brackley Beach to their annual Fall party which takes place at their home, a very modern construction which blends in perfectly with the surrounding area by the sea. Here is a photo looking out unto the gardens towards the sea. The garden is part of their Art Gallery and restaurant and features Asian sculptures most from Indonesia. A very beautiful and unique place. http://www.dunesgallery.com
While we were on the rooftop a full moon appeared, at first as it was rising it was orange and then turned yellow.
We also went to a housewarming party in Saint Catherines PEI our neighbour Kendra made the cake, it was so good, Kendra is an excellent pastry chef. The cake had real flakes of gold on it.
Leaving the house, because it is in the country side the only light was a half moon, I made a left turn instead of a right turn on the road to lead me back to the highway and suddenly I was on his red dirt road in a dense forest, I thought am I lost, I could not recognize anything. However as is often the case in PEI rural roads they lead you back to the main road, suddenly I was on the highway near Bonshaw.
We are still having cruise ships visiting Charlottetown until 28 October. Today we had 2 one docked at the pier and the other out on the river.
I am so glad we did not buy a Palazzo on the Gran Canal in Venice, living here is the same feeling, look at this one turning around in front of my window. They are closer than they look.
They turn around a lot faster than you might think. This is a Princess cruise ship. All cruise companies visit us.
Finally today was Thanksgiving Sunday so here is our table, do notice the open window, it was quite warm around 22C which for the 8 October is not seasonal at all. But I am not complaining.
The turkey was perfect and so good, Just enough left over for a casserole or a few sandwiches. We also had 2 pies, one Buttermilk pie and the other a Gala apple and PEI Cranberry mix.
Well our big fundraising Gala evening was a huge success and I am very proud with the turn out. The theme of the evening was the period 1920-1930 so everyone was encouraged to dress up the part. Turns out that I have worn my tuxedo in PEI more often than anywhere else, though usually people dress in a more comfortable way given that we are all about agriculture, beaches and a relax atmosphere, but when the occasion calls for something different we know how to do it. The evening was a success and we raised quite a bit of money for the Symphony which will be helpful for the operations and musicians.
Our photographer Bev did a superb job as always. cardsbybev.com
It gave me a chance to wear my white cashmere dinner jacket.
Here are some photos of our evening.
Here we are with the PEI Symphony Maestro from Julliard in New York City, Mark Shapiro.
With Katie Kerr, who has appeared in many musicals at the Confederation Centre and was Anne a few years ago. An incredibly talented person it was by pure coincidence that we found our home in Charlottetown through her and her husband.
Our little group.
more of our group of friends
We did have a Jazz orchestra and a Burlesque show
And now on to Culture Days and Thanksgiving and then Christmas, with lots of parties in between, it never stops.
We have on FB a site which publishes old photos of PEI and Charlottetown. The author is Earles Picture Restoration PEI.
The old Saint Dunstan R.C. Basilica in 1909 before the fire which destroyed the building in 1913.
After the fire, the ruins being demolished. The church was rebuilt.
Saint Dunstan today on Great George Street. The architect was François Xavier Berlinguet of Quebec city. To this day the twin spires can be seen from a great distance.
Well August has ended and in 24 hours the weather changed from Summer to Autumnal, the tourists are gone, the city is quiet and rain clouds have rolled in and rolled out, giving us trees that glisten in the Sun light, a radiant green. It’s early evening and the setting Sun is casting long shadows, here and there a smell of wood fire burning. I think of upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday on 9 October, my personal favourite Holiday of the year. When I was on posting abroad, every year the Ambassador and other senior officers at the Embassy would get together to choose which Holiday Canadian and local we would observe, Thanksgiving was always on that list. On the other hand we always worked on Canada Day, not because we were disrespectful, no, but it was a day when a lot of things would happen and we had to be on hand to help out with Official functions.
But Thanksgiving was a designated holiday and we would all go to the Official Residence for dinner, hosted by the Ambassador. We always managed to have turkey on the menu even in countries where turkey was really not a known commodity. In Mexico where turkeys come from, we had the wild ones, black in plumage, they were quite good. In Egypt, they were flown in from Denmark, in Jordan we got them from Israël, kosher birds, quite good. In China we had beef brisket, turkey are designated as a capitalist bourgeois bird, hey China is the main alley of North Korea, need I say more.
Anyway I digress, this is about Charlottetown PEI! not about turkeys, but I wonder could you have turkey in PEI with a lobster and oyster stuffing? Oh!!!! that sounds so good and decadent and God knows this Island and food is a little paradise.
City Pools are closing this week, tour boats to watch whales, seals and do to tune fishing are all ending this week, boats are already pulling out of the Marina for Winter storage and the tourist restaurants are closing now at 8:30pm instead of 10:30pm. Soon they too will close until Spring. But many Festivals are on going this month and in the months to come, geared to Islanders.
What is great right now is the fact that peace and quiet has returned and for that we are truly thankful.
Prince Street nice and quiet in the setting sun of this Saturday evening
This week we had the first TUI cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 arriving from Hamburg Germany, an all German speaking cruise about 3000 passengers. A much larger ship than usual, very nice people and big spenders. Many came to the Art Gallery, it was a pleasure talking to them.
The garden on the East side of our house, our landlady has done tremendous work
We have been celebrating for 2 days, very festive atmosphere in Charlottetown PEI.
Yesterday we went to our friends cottage DS and PS to see the tall sailing ships line up to enter the Charlottetown Harbour passing the narrow point at Port La-Joye the old French Fort guarding the entrance.
Here is one of them , approaching the entrance from the Strait of Northumberland into the Harbour. Passing in front of a low laying Governor Island. There are 9 in total in port. Plus (HMCS) Her Majesty’s Cruise Ship, Charlottetown of the Royal Canadian Navy. The tall sailing ships are from Malta, Peru, Holland, USA, France, UK.
Here turning to the right into the Charlottetown Harbour, following the Light House signal to turn, the current of the Hillsborough River and North River in the Harbour is quite strong.
Here is the Peruvian Sail ship passing under the cannons of Port La-Joye. At night in the Harbour the 4 masts are all lighted up, quite festive.
HMCS Charlottetown in port.
Also in the Harbour they displayed a large map of Canada. I was happy to see it because I got a much better understanding of where is the Western and Eastern part of the Province by looking at it. The map also display the name of the Mi’kmaq First Nation whose territories cover all of the Maritimes. You can also see Cap aux Meules where we are going in a few days by ferry on the Iles de la Madeleine, part of Quebec Province, a 80 Km sand bank in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
The Polar Price C-3 is an ice breaker who is undertaking to sail all of Canada’s 3 Seas, Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific in the coming months. Prime Minister Justin was in town yesterday to visit the ship.
Our Flag on our back balcony. This flag is 40 yrs old, all these years ago when I worked in Parliament in Ottawa, I got it then and it travelled the world with me, flying in foreign Capitals where I was stationed on July 1.
This morning, 1 July at 10am the 18 bells of St-Dunstan Basilica were re-dedicated after an absence of 40 yrs. The Premier of PEI, Wade MacLauchlan and many others spoke, the Bishop blessed the bell tower and then a concert by the organist, the working of the bells is now computerized, playing the National Anthem O Canada and the crowd singing along.
Friday evening shot of the harbour at Prince Street. The sky was beautiful.
Happy Canada Day to all!
It was a busy week both at the Art Gallery and in general, we were invited to attend a fundraising cocktail at the home of the Premier of PEI. It was all very informal, the food was prepared by the our Premier Wade MacLauchlan, he is a very good cook. The drinks or special cocktails were very good, one made with gin and the other with bourbon. He and his husband Duncan MacIntosh have a beautiful home on the beach. The scenery is spectacular and so peaceful.
Here we are at Covehead with our friends Blake and Alex. The Sunset in the West over the Gulf was amazing in its brilliance. Alex is the President of Pride PEI and Blake is the top hairstylist in Charlottetown. Will is enjoying one of the special cocktails.
The Art Gallery was also very busy this week, lots of visitors, with the end of June suddenly the tourist appear. We had the big opening night and now it is regular Summer traffic.
We were told by Robert Houle, the new commissioned canvass for the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. Beside it is the famous and celebrated canvass by Jean-Paul Lemieux, Charlottetown Revisited, created in 1964 for the opening of the Art Gallery.
All the various canvasses on Canada and Confederation have a political message to them, my job is to steer clear of it and speak solely about the art itself and the artist.
Today is June 24 and is the National day of all of us French Canadians across Canada, originally called Saint Jean-Baptiste Day. From this old celebration comes the Canadian National Anthem O’Canada, with original lyrics in French by Adolphe-Basile Routhier and music by Calixa Lavallée. It was originally commissioned by Lieutenant-Governor of Québec, Théodore Robitaille in 1880. Like everything else in Canada, the original French version is very different in its wording from the English version composed many years later.
|Ô Canada ! Terre de nos aïeux,|
|Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux !|
|Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,|
|Il sait porter la croix !|
|Ton histoire est une épopée|
|Des plus brillants exploits.|
|Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,|
|Protégera nos foyers et nos droits,|
|Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.|
|Sous l’œil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,|
|Le Canadien grandit en espérant.|
|Il est né d’une race fière,|
|Béni fut son berceau.|
|Le ciel a marqué sa carrière|
|Dans ce monde nouveau.|
|Toujours guidé par sa lumière,|
|Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau,|
|Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau.|
|De son patron, précurseur du vrai Dieu,|
|Il porte au front l’auréole de feu.|
|Ennemi de la tyrannie|
|Mais plein de loyauté,|
|Il veut garder dans l’harmonie,|
|Sa fière liberté.|
|Et par l’effort de son génie,|
|Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité,|
|Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité.|
|Amour sacré du trône et de l’autel,|
|Remplis nos cœurs de ton souffle immortel !|
|Parmi les races étrangères,|
|Notre guide est la loi :|
|Sachons être un peuple de frères,|
|Sous le joug de la foi.|
|Et répétons, comme nos pères,|
|Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi ! »|
|Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi ! ».|
Next week on Friday 1 July is Canada Day, in Charlottetown the tall ships are sailing in at 9am. Hopefully it will be a nice clear day, to watch this spectacle.
We will be able to observe them from our house and it will make the harbour look as it was in 1900.
This week Earle Macdonald who has a blog on Facebook about old Charlottetown published a photo of what the city was like before 1989 showing the rail yards across the street from our home. The waterfront which today has been reclaimed and turned into parkland was then a very industrial area.
In this photo you can see, barely, our house, hidden by trees.
The big round house for locomotives and the rail cars refurbishment buildings with other Canadian National Railway buildings. Only the Brass shop and what is now called Founder’s Hall remain today the rest is parkland. The cruise ships dock at the end of the wharf now Prince Street.
The old Brass shop, still standing and completely renovated housing today Receiver Coffee Co. and John’s Bread Works.
Today the Brass Shop c.1876 much improved.
Founder’s Hall today, to be soon re-developed into a market
This has been a busy weekend with the Opening of the Summer Theatre Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts and then on the next night the Opening of the Summer Exhibit at the Art Gallery. In both cases it brought out the whose who of PEI Society from the Lieutenant-Governor to Members of Parliament, Senators, Chief Justice and many others actors on our social scene.
The Opening play is Million Dollar Quartet which tells the story of the meeting at Sun Records in December of 1956 of four greats of the Rock and Roll scene, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins in Memphis.
The reception before and after was a lot of fun with a live orchestra and great food by the new Chef of Mavor’s Miguel Cervantes.
The next night was the opening of the Summer Exhibit of the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre. This being the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, the exhibit highlights the Collection of the Art Gallery, the best pieces of our 17,000 works of Art by great Canadian artists. The Art Gallery is mandated to show only Canadian Art since the Centre is a Memorial to the Fathers of Confederation.
We also unveiled a new giant painting by Canadian Native Artist Robert Houle Aka Blue Thunder who is a from St-Boniface, Manitoba. It joins the other great canvasses on the same theme by Jean-Paul Lemieux, John Fox, Jane Ash Poitras, Yvon Gallant, Wanda Koop, Jack Shadbolt.
Robert Houle, Blue Thunder (born 1947) is a Saulteaux First Nation Canadian artist, curator, critic, and educator. Houle has had an active curatorial and artistic practice since the mid-1970s. He played an important role in bridging the gap between contemporary First Nations artists and the broader Canadian art scene through his writing and involvement in early important high-profile exhibitions such as Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, 1992). As an artist, Houle has shown both nationally and internationally. He is predominately a painter working in the tradition of Abstraction, yet he has also embraced a pop sensibility by incorporating everyday images and text into his works.
We were told or ‘O-ween du muh waun’ by Robert Houle, 2017
Me and the artist
This great canvas represents the Delaware in the classical pose from the celebrated propaganda painting of Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe which is in the National Gallery of Canada.
The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West, 1770. The Official story as told is of Wolfe dying on the Plains of Abraham in September 1759 during the famous battle against French General Montcalm. This scene was pure fantasy but it was necessary for propaganda purpose in England to raise taxes to pay for the Seven Year War, the tax raise led a few years later to the American Revolution.
In his painting Houle presents a different narrative, he rejects the fantasy painting of West and presents not a battle scene, stating that who won the battle is not really important and should not be celebrated. For Houle on this anniversary we should celebrate today’s Canada. Further being from the Saulteaux First Nation the idea of 150 years does not apply to his people since they have lived in North America for 15,000 years.
I also got a very nice gift this weekend, I often give tours to school children aged 8 to 12.
Once class sent me several thank you notes designed and written by the students.
Each card as a personal message addressed to me as a thank you from a student. I am very proud of this gift and happy that for some kids the day at the Art Gallery meant something.
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