Category Archives: Canada’s Maritime Provinces

Hillsborough and its Acadian past

This quaint village just south of Moncton was originally settled by Acadian farmers back in the 1600s. They were the only people in North America to farm below sea level on marshy salty land thus causing little conflict with the region’s Aboriginal people. The Acadians constructed a complex system of earthen dykes by the Petitcodiac River. Into the dykes they built wooden sluices that when open allowed fresh water to drain from the newly claimed land. When shut, the sluices kept out the salt water at high tide. This land then sustained both crops and livestock. With this successful farming method, the original sixty-five Acadian families increased to one hundred and sixty by the 1770s—many moving to the French community to avoid being under the British.

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Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park

This provincial park is situated by the Bay of Fundy where one hundred billion tonnes to water flows in and out of this narrow bay twice a day. Because of the enormous amount of water, the water level rises by two metres per hour, meaning the level can rise as much as fourteen metres, depending on the position of the moon and sun. It is not surprising that this bay is famous for its giant tides. 

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Sunnyside’s Beothuk past

 

Driving in Newfoundland had been easy as there wasn’t a lot of traffic to contend with. I could have made the journey from west to east in a day if I’d pushed it but what was the rush? I stopped in Gander so that the next morning, I had time to investigate the narrow strip of land that joined Avalon Peninsula to the rest of Newfoundland.

On one side was Arnold’s Cove; on the opposite side, Sunnyside. There was a Beothuk/European memorial site where supposedly the two groups had once met peacefully. Continue reading Sunnyside’s Beothuk past

Arches Provincial Park

My Newfoundland trip was almost over and as is often the habit when I know my holiday is near the end, I want to drag it out a little longer.

As I drove back down the coast, I stopped at every point I thought might be of interest, first Bird Cove that turned out I needn’t have bothered, then Arches Provincial Park, that was definitely worth a look. Continue reading Arches Provincial Park

The Vikings of L’Anxe aux Meadows

On the way to L’Anxe aux Meadows, I spotted a tiny piece of white floating in the sea. That was my iceberg, the only one I saw. Had I started on the west coast and toured east, instead of the reverse, I would have been three weeks earlier and probably seen more. I put the thought out of my head because I was headed to what the Vikings called Vinland where they settled a thousand years ago. Continue reading The Vikings of L’Anxe aux Meadows

Flowers Cove thrombolites

Further north from Newfoundland’s Port au Choix was Flowers Cove where on a clear day, it was possible to see the coastline of Labrador. On the day I arrived in the tiny town, this wasn’t possible but I wasn’t disappointed because I’d come to see the thrombolites.

According to the sign along the well-maintained trail, thrombolites, or living rocks, were like the earliest forms of life on earth from over three billion years ago. Not only were they ancient, but rare. In fact, they are only found in one other place in the world, Shark Bay in Western Australia.

Port au Choix Trail

Because of the rich pickings from marine life, Port au Choix was another ancient spot where peoples (such as the Dorset Inuit) had lived for thousands of years.

Even though I visited the interpretive centre, I’d come, not for its archeological history, but to find interesting rock formations that lined the Gulf of St Lawrence. Continue reading Port au Choix Trail

Western Brook Fjord, Gros Morne

The southern trails were in sharp contrast to Western Brook Pond fjord. I’d hiked for an hour through low, but lush vegetation to arrive at a jetty where the tour boat would head out. I was told they weren’t sure when the next sail would be because the weather looked ominous. The only family waiting and I shrugged our shoulders. We’d taken the hike, so might as well see how the day turned out. Continue reading Western Brook Fjord, Gros Morne