Friday, May 09, 2014

Prince Edward Island

We are now in Nova Scotia. We took a shuttle bus from Charlottetown right to Tammy's front door. We crossed the Confederation Bridge - 13 km long across the ocean. Not my idea of fun but there was very little wind so I was actually quite relaxed. The driver and a couple of passengers were quite chatty and supplied us with information and stories for most of the four hour trip. It is always wonderful to hear the local stories.

Yesterday was a full day of sight seeing and traveling. Owen and Rob were done with the convention - huge banquet on Wednesday night - and so we set off looking for adventure. PEI is just gearing up for tourist season so things are beginning to open.

We heard a cruise ship was docking so we headed down to the harbour to see it. While there Rob kindly took a picture of us for a friend who wanted it for her holiday album.

If you think I look cold - I was. The wind off the ocean is quite chilly. This is because the ocean around PEI (unlike around Nova Scotia) freezes in the winter. The ice has just melted so the water is quite cold. The wind picks up this cold as it blows across the water and kindly leaves it with me. Even Owen had to wear a jacket.

We started wandering back to the hotel. As mentioned our hotel is an old one. Lots of character. But then I found so many old character buildings on the island. It became a joke between Owen and me that I wanted to find a real fixer-upper and retire there with lots of work to keep Owen busy. Every old house we looked at became a house with potential. Here is a picture of our hotel.

On our way back we stopped off at Province house - the birthplace of Confederation. We watched a 17 minute video about the events of 1864 leading to 1867. It was quite interesting - giving details we hadn't learned in our social studies class in high school.

The first picture is Province House. The second picture is the table where ideas for confederation were discussed. Speakers were eloquent and passionate. The whole process took place around a week of relationship building (Hmmm. I wonder who consistently preaches about the importance of relationship building in moving forward as a church.) The third picture is the speaker's chair and clerks' table for the legislature. It amazed me how small the room actually was compared to the one in Saskatchewan. It looked quite cozy to me.

Our next stop was St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Basilica. I took a bit of time here to light a candle for my two wonderful parishes.

Our next stop was All Soul's chapel at St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral for Matins. We were a little late but snuck in anyway.

The wood looks black but it is actually red mahogany. You can see the red in the arches. The black comes from when they used coal heat. The coal dust produced turned the red to the beautiful (I think) black colour it is now. The red in the arches is from an attempt to clean the coal dust off the wood. The project proved to be greater than anticipated and so was abandoned.

All Soul's was built after the death of a beloved rector. Two parishioners decided to build a chapel in his memory. It was then decided that it be named in memory of all who had died. The one side of the building has stain glass windows. All along the walls are pictures.

The first picture is in memory of two young children that died. The children are the ones on Jesus' knee. The second picture is the Holy Family. The models for this were the artist's own family. The older man to the side is the architect of the chapel.

We had a wonderful visit with a parishioner and the lay reader. Normally Mass would have followed Matins but the priest was sick and a lay reader filled in for the first service. We were also able to see the cathedral. We heard many stories about various things in the church as well as about current projects.

What amazed me is that this church is kept unlocked during the day. About 15 years ago there was an incident when there was some vandalism done. A fair sized man with a mental illness came into the chapel. He took the altar cross and tried to dig out a big stone at the top of one of the pillars. The cross was found on the floor bent out of shape. The congregation was able to send it to a church supply company and have it repaired. Two years later the same thing happened again. The church supply company told the congregation there was nothing they could do to repair the cross. Fortunately, they found someone more local who was able to give it a try. The cross was repaired. There was nothing that could be done about the scars at the back of the cross. The woman I was talking with thought that was quite appropriate. The church was kept locked after that. Gradually the congregation became comfortable leaving the door unlocked during tourist season again.

Another story was about the stain glass windows. Lead has a life span of about 100 years. A few years back the windows started to bow out. The congregation priced out how much it would cost to have them redone. To their dismay it was about $25,000 just to crate them for the shipping. There was no way they could afford that. They found someone more local who was willing to camp over two summers and work on the windows. The cost came to about $32,000. The money to pay for these windows was raised by picking bottles. There may have been something about fudge as well. The woman who was telling me the story also spoke about making fudge every Saturday and taking it to the staff at local businesses. Each business would be visited about once every six weeks.

One other story about windows. They cleaned the windows in the chapel a number years ago. Once again the culprit was the coal heating. They discovered a serpent in one of the windows. A visiting bishop remarked "Scratch the surface of anything and there will be the devil underneath."

It was proof of a small world when I discovered that one of the woman on the shuttle to Nova Scotia also went to St. Peter's.

Rob wanted to go for lunch at Georgetown about an hour away. We headed back to the hotel to get the car. Georgetown is about an hour out. The speed limit is 90 km/hr but we often had to go slower through frequent settled areas. You don't go far between places. We also found that the 90 was taken by drivers as a suggested speed. Even doing 110 we were passed frequently.

Georgetown tells part of the story of modern PEI. I found it interesting during the video at Province House that at the time of Confederation that PEI was one of the wealthier provinces. That isn't the case now. There are some wonderful houses but more frequently the houses we saw were in need of some TLC - giving Owen and me lots of resources for our game of picking which fixer-upper. Georgetown was a prime example of this. There were some beautifully restored or upkept houses and a fair number of very "tired" ones. One thing we noted though was how clean and tidy all the yards were. There was very little garbage laying around and all the yards were raked.

From Georgetown we headed back to Charlottetown so we could head out to Green Gables. On our way to Cavendish we passed through North Rustico. Our entertainer the night before had spoken of this place as his home town. He also tried to convince us that the Farmer's Bank there was actually the first Credit Union in Canada. Owen is not sure about this as he has always understood the first Credit Union to have been in Quebec. He was quite interested in seeing the building that had held the Farmer's Bank.

Owen was also fascinated by all the churches on the island and would take pictures each time we passed by one. This next picture was also taken at North Rustico. It is the oldest Catholic church on the island built in 1838.

Next stop was Green Gables. It was just in the process of being opened. Actually it was great being there without all the other tourists. We basically had the place to ourselves. We could experience it as the place it would have been when Anne of Green Gables was first written.

The first picture is the back of Green Gables. The second is the parlour. The third was taken for my mom who loved crocuses. The fourth is taken from the Haunted Woods. And the last is taken on Lover's Lane.

By now we were getting hungry so we headed back to Charlottetown for the guys to have their lobster feast. The one they had on Tuesday night only whet their appetite for more. We had heard wonderful things about a particular restaurant on the harbour front. It definitely lived up to its reputation. And the waiter was absolutely awesome especially because he made sure my coffee cup was never empty. He was wonderful to talk to - so full of tidbits of information. I have always found Maritimers the most hospitable of people. With one exception (The sit down lunch where the servers absolutely refused to give me coffee until desert time - never come between me and my coffee) I found they nearly bent over backwards to make sure we got everything we would ever need.

Love and Prayers,

1 comment:

Allan Samm said...

Looks like you are having a good time. Too much info for a filler page, I will start a book Have fun. Socialble