Wednesday, August 31, 2016

grave post - Dionne and Fraser

On the south shore of the St Lawrence River, about 400 km northeast of Montreal is the small town of Kamouraska where you can find this small memorial park. 
Since 1994,  300 years after the first settlers arrived, it has been recognized as a heritage site.
Berceau translates as cradle in English and there is a rest area, a cemetery, and a memorial chapel

I was pleasantly surprised to find this slightly askew explanatory plaque in English
There is a monument dedicated to the early settlers with the names of 220 families. This seems extraordinary as there are less than 600 people living there now. I don't quite know how this works, but from the individual family gravestones many seem to have a 'family association' who have researched their genealogy and erected markers in homage to their ancestors.
Canada is a very young country and it almost felt like an honour to see a marker erected for a family who arrived here in 1698

My family is quite small. I never knew my grandparents and the rest of my mother's family (which consisted of one sister and three cousins) are scattered around Scotland and England. The Dionnes of Kamouraska had numerous descendants of the first three generations who lived here. I cannot imagine what that must be like. 
Grand-père Antoine and Grand-mère Catherine were married at ages 19 and 16, likely in France in 1660. They would have 12 children of which Jean would be their third born. Jean and his wife Marie-Charlotte would have eight children, with Jean-Baptiste being the second born. Jean-Baptiste and his wife, Marie-Madeleine would have nine children. Of all those 29 children, seven would die in infancy. There were too many cousins to continue counting.
It seems to have been a common part of life at the time to have a series of haphazardly spelled names, (as I discovered when researching another grave post from this cemetery for Kerouac) and here, John Fraser, born in Inverness, Scotland, also went by the names Jean Le Gros and Jean-Baptiste Grosjean and even Jean Phraser and Jean Fraiser. However he or his descendants (or the clerks who wrote it down) chose to spell it, John arrived here as a member of the 78th Fraser Highlanders during the Seven Years War. When they were disbanded in 1763 many of the soldiers chose to stay in Quebec. Jean/John would marry Marie-Josephe – aka Marie-Josette – Dumont on February 10th, 1777 when he was 47 years of age and Josette was 24 years of age. Things are a little murky on the genealogy site, but it seems there were two children born in 1777 – an Anastasie and a Jean-Baptiste (twins?). But, there's also listed a Pierre Fraser born 1772 (when Josette would have been 16) and a Jean-Michel Dumont whose father may or may not have been our John/Jean Fraser born 1771. Another daughter, Marie-Theotiste would be born in October of 1780, a mere two months before John/Jean died.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Heritage Village

I had never heard of Backus Heritage Village until a friend suggested we drive down to partake of the Bluegrass Festival that was being held there this past weekend. 150 musicians from Ontario, and places such as Michigan, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin would be performing at various locations. No stages, just informal gatherings for an old-fashioned jamboree. 
Sounded like great fun.
Not sure what it was like on the Saturday, but when we arrived before noon on Sunday it was strangely quiet. Very few cars and certainly no music. It was advertised as a two-day event, but nobody was playing anything on Day Two. There were several trailers around and people were sitting and resting, or packing up.

Disappointed, we decided to make the most of the visit and wandered around. 
Backus Heritage Village is part of Long Point Conservation on Lake Erie and is now a National Historic Site.
 The 1852 homestead of John Backus is one of about 15 buildings that comprise the village. 

Inside you can find interesting things like this indoor teeter-totter with a photo of the family enjoying the fun - though the seats in the photo seem to be longer than the one exhibited which would allow for better and safer teetering, I think.

Scattered around are carriage houses, barns, a bake oven, an ice house, a blacksmiths and, of course, log houses

you can guess by the size of the chimney that this is a kitchen 

but just look at the details - the varied stone, the rough hewn logs
and the wood eaves and downspout!

The Cherry Valley octagonal schoolhouse was perhaps the most unusual building. Built in 1866, each side measures 36 feet and the outside walls were constructed of three layers of brick. It is only one of two octagonal schools in Ontario and was in use until 1929. It was relocated to this spot in 1982.

The pièce de résistance, though, was the Mill.

When John Backhouse (no idea when his name changed spelling to Backus) arrived in 1796, he acquired 600 acres at this site on the condition that he build a grist mill as one was sorely needed in the area. First order of business was a saw mill and used the lumber to build this grist mill. It is one of the oldest and best preserved water-powered mills. The entirely wooden structure has survived through two centuries of continued use - even making it unscathed through the War of 1812, probably due to Major Backhouse's influence. It was in use until 1955, and is now used for demonstrations.

By now my camera battery was prematurely dying, so mostly I just gaped open jawed at the interior as the excellent interpreter explained the inner workings. It was a jungle of wood spouts and chutes. As newer innovative methods were introduced, they were simply added to the older spouts. None of this tearing down and replacing that is done with abandon today.

a little walk for Jo's Monday Walks
and some treasures for Tom's Tuesday Treasures

Monday, August 22, 2016


While wandering around Wiarton one quiet evening, I noticed some interesting creatures lurking. Wiarton is home to the albino prognosticating groundhog which I previously wrote about here. He is everywhere in town, but now he has some friends (at least I hope they are friends, or it could get nasty with wood chips flying...)
footprints along the sidewalk
and then a few more creatures...
there were no doubt a few more to find, but it was very warm out and I had an ice cream in one hand and a camera in the other...
then down the road aways, just south of town, was the source
Edwards Outpost has tree sculptures, carvings, a gallery, antiques, wool, and a chip shop if you get peckish run by Bobbi Switzer and Edward Knopf. But none of that was open at the time.

These tree sculptures were made by Bobbi Switzer. When a tree needs to be cut down due to rot, or other damage, often the stump is perfect for a transformation. She has done several carvings in the area over the last ten years or so, (another example is here) and now even her daughter has taken up the chainsaw.

a little something different for Jo's Monday Walks
and some signs for Lesley's signs, signs

Sunday, August 21, 2016

gold, silver and bronze

In 1976, for the first time ever, the Olympics were held in Canada. It was also the first time a host country did not manage to win any gold medals. (We would repeat that feat 12 years later in Calgary, though redeem ourselves in 2010 in Vancouver with a record 14 golds, though both of those were winter games.) Other memorable firsts stemming from these games would include Nadia Comaneci with her seven perfect 10s.  And for the first time, because of the games, a lottery was held in Canada. It proved so popular, that they continue in various forms to this day. An unfortunate legacy of the games was the last minute pull out of 22 African nations over New Zealand's participation after having played a rugby match in South Africa. And the biggest legacy was the serious debt for the city of Montreal for a very long time. The stadium was riddled with problems and the original estimated cost of $250 million ballooned to $1.6 billion - a cool $1,600,000,000 - that wouldn't be paid off until 2006, 30 years after the games ended.
As for the stamp, you'll notice it has a surcharge, this was also a first for the post office. It was seen as a way of getting people to feel a part of the whole Olympic excitement by allowing us "a convenient opportunity to support the Games on a voluntary and personal basis." You'll notice also that they are in a gold, silver and bronze.

The logo was designed by Georges Huel and the stamp was designed by  Alois Matanovic. The base features the Olympic rings and the top  represents a podium as well as an M for Montreal.

Rainbow colours would also used for the US set of stamps for both the summer and winter games. 

run, dive, ski, or skate on over to Sunday Stamps II for more Olympic stamps

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

with love from Australia

My Postcrossing profile says I like cute cats, so am not sure why I received this deadly snake. But, it is good to have your horizons expanded.

The Tiger Snake of Australia is
highly toxic.

Seek help immediately if you are ever bitten.

It is generally found in swamps and lagoons and areas near rivers and open forests in southeastern and southwestern Australia. Some other interesting facts:

  • the laughing kookaburra is one of their predators
  • they can climb trees as well as swim and dive
  • females give birth to anywhere from 20-30 live snakelets
  • from the moment they are born they have to fend for themselves

Sunday, August 14, 2016

high level

A walk around the High Level Pumping Station
located at Avenue Road and Dupont, in what was then the
Village of Yorkville (Toronto)
It is now in a residential area, which may seem odd, until you realize that none of these homes were here when the pumping station was built. Originally the pumphouse was built near the Castle Frank Brook. It wasn't long before the brook became insufficient and water was pumped from Lake Ontario with several expansions made to the 1906 pumphouse. Eventually, the Castle Frank Brook was buried as the area became more developed, but the 'spirit of the stream' is remembered in the two toned brick work on the road.
I was there during Doors Open so inside were displays and photographs of the way the building used to look.
sadly, that fountain is long gone. but doesn't it make sense for a pumping station to show off with a fountain?!
brightly painted machines pumping away
and some antique machinery no longer in use
big wheels with leather straps

and old wrenches

and these wonderful swing lights!

swing on over to RestlessJo for more Monday Walks