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This past week, the 13th Annual North American Agroforestry Conference took place in Prince Edward Island and, as part of their program, delegates were offered local tours that included Don Northcott’s farm in Clyde River. One hundred people from places like U.S., Germany, France and provinces across Canada learned about the innovative research and development that Don’s company Phytocultures is carrying out in Clyde River.

Don and his team led the tour through research plots to allow visitors to taste some of the early Haskap berries that will be ready in another week or so. Don sees this as an opportunity to expand his network of contacts as he builds his Haskap operation.

Phytocultures is a horticultural company that has been specializing in Haskap genetics and propagation since the berry’s North American introduction in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan. Haskaps originated in Japan and the Japanese refer to them as “longevity berries” for their nutritional benefits, offering at least twice the antioxidants as blueberries.

Phytocultures has established a five-variety research plot of Haskap berries. By profiling these new varieties of Haskaps, their goal is to identify critical production and management techniques to aid in crop development, offer production recommendations to producers, determine traits for commercialization and develop a new berry industry. Specific research includes:

  • New variety development for hardiness, yield, taste, harvesting ease and insect and disease resistance
  • Variety profiles for maximum growth performance
  • Selecting a plantation site
  • Pest management
  • Pollination
  • Harvest technology

As Don says, “In apple, strawberry, and grape crops, we know the diseases and we know the particular problems each variety tends to have, the harvest issues, which variety needs fertilizer when, what pests are an issue and how to control weeds. For Haskaps, it is still an open book. There are no sources of information that can be used to answer questions like when to fertilize the plants for best growth and to produce the best berry. We are trying with our production plot to develop initial information to profile the crop and become the go-to source for growing Haskaps.”

“This is a new berry for North America, so it is important that varieties be developed that will meet requirements for commercial production. Our company wants to develop top-performing, volume varieties to wholesale nurseries and berry producers while providing them with the research expertise to support their success.”

Phytocultures’ current production inventory for Haskap plants already exceeds 150,000 plants annually. Big selling features of Haskaps are the plants can easily withstand Spring frosts, be grown further north and produce the first fresh berry of the season in late June. Also, the berries taste good!

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JoyFit has been running now for almost 5 months on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 6:15 to 7:00 a.m. The average number of participants ranges from 8-12. A few folks have not missed a morning yet. They are a dedicated group and they include: Jo-Ann MacPhail, Valerie Docherty, Melody Sider, Bev Farrer, Gloria Sauve, David Sider, Stephanie Sider, and Kerrilee York. Why do they keep at it?

“Deborah is great to always have variety to our routines/exercises and it’s never the same class twice. So it keeps things fun and motivating. She has such a warm, fun personality which makes her the perfect fit for this role as instructor,” says Kerrilee York.

Deborah Christie, the JoyFit Instructor, is currently a teacher at Queen Charlotte Intermediate School. She has 26 years experience teaching health and physical education. In August 2013, she will be working towards a Fitness Instructor Certification under the leadership of Revelation Wellness, a non-profit ministry dedicated to educating and inspiring people to enjoy a healthy life, both from a physical and spiritual perspective.

The last thing you want when you are exercising is to be self-critical. Deborah doesn’t allow that. She is always telling them how great they are and saying things to lift their spirits along with their knees and arms. She tells them she is going to make Clyde River the fittest community on PEI!

When the weather gets warmer, Deborah is planning to have to some classes outside overlooking the river, so pretty soon the residents of Burnside Community Care Home will be able to see them across the way, if they are up that early.

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Jessie being interviewed by CBC's Sarah Fraser (Photo credit: CBC)

Jessie being interviewed by CBC’s Sarah Fraser (Photo credit: CBC)

Jessie and friends have sold close to 1000 cookbooks within a few days of the campaign being featured on CBC. Her friends created a Facebook page that now has over 400 members. It keeps getting better, though. The Parkdale-Sherwood Lions Club has offered to cover the cost to produce the first thousand books, so they are closing in on $10,000 in proceeds for the Palliative Care Unit.

The cookbook entitled “Granny’s Secrets: Favourite Recipes from McCrady’s Shore Acres” was written by Jessie’s mother-in-law Cassie McCrady who was famous for her home-cooked meals at McCrady’s Shore Acres.

The whole idea for a campaign started when Jessie offered Palliative Care Dr. Mirielle LeCours some rhubarb and then she asked her if she wanted a recipe. Dr. LeCours said she wanted one of Jessie’s own recipes. Jessie delivered her an entire cookbook and then the staff wanted copies.

Jessie, your Clyde River friends are so proud of your spirit and leadership. And we have a strong feeling that this story will just keep getting better. But, Jessie, make sure to take your naps!

If you want to order a cookbook, you can call Tracy (Palliative Care office) at 368-4781. The price is $10.

To watch Jessie’s CBC interview, click here.

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Credit: Guardian Photo

Credit: Guardian Photo

Reprinted from The Guardian, June 8th, 2013 – by Dave Stewart – Alan MacPhee of Hartsville was ministering in the community for 15 years when he sensed another calling.

The beef farmer was moving a bale of hay one day when it came to him — he wanted to combine his love for helping people with his desire to go into business. Soon, he will open the doors on his new venture — the Burnside Community Care home in Clyde River.

“Business was always something interesting, in my mind,’’ MacPhee said in an interview as a construction crew worked not far away getting the 40-bed, three-floor home ready.

“I remember I was driving up in the field in the fall with a round bale of hay when I thought I have to make a move here. Personally, I felt it was time for a change.’’

So, he stepped down as minister of a parish in Hartsville.

He quotes scripture (Hebrews 11:8) to convey what he felt at the time he knew his life was moving in a new direction.

“There is a scripture that talks about Abraham. It says ‘He went out, not knowing where he was going’. He had a sense of calling. I didn’t know where I was going but I did have the sense that it was time to move on.’’

MacPhee had a partner who was interested in investing in the community care facility with him but that partner wants to stay silent.

“As far as most of the day-to-day stuff, I carry the ball.’’

So, MacPhee started looking into community care facilities. He met with the owners of the Andrews facilities in Charlottetown and Stratford and toured similar facilities in Tignish and Eldon.

Burnside will have 40 beds, featuring both single- and double-bed rooms. The building, which sits directly beside Burnside Presbyterian Church in Clyde River, has three levels, wheelchair accessible showers, dining room, community room, a chapel, beauty salon, activity room and two lounges.

The outside will feature a courtyard, screened-in deck, veranda, walking trail and a garden.

MacPhee thinks the top floor will be dedicated to assisted living or independent living.

“They’ll have a nurse call, availability to any of our programs and they can have the menu.’’

MacPhee says lots of effort will be put into decoration to bring as much life to the place as possible. That includes buying just the right furniture, drapes and bed spreads.

“When I walk into one of these rooms I’m always thinking ‘Would I be happy here?’ I’m trying to make a place that gives people independence, gives them freedom and is a place that is interesting.’’

In other words, he doesn’t want residents to feel like they’re living in a community care facility. He wants them to feel like they just moved into a new community.

“I want a sense of community. We go through various stages (in life) and when you come to the stage of being a senior it’s a difficult stage a lot of the time. It’s a stage of change.’’

As for staffing needs, MacPhee is getting plenty of interest. So far, he’s hired about six people, including a cook, resident care worker, licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse.

“We have those but we foresee in the fall we’ll probably be hiring again so we’ll be looking for more people (but) we want good people who have great attitudes. This is going to a creative place to live and we want a positive sense of community.’’

As for the name of the facility, Burnside just happens to be the name of the adjacent church and in Scottish means ‘by the river’.

“We just thought (Burnside) was a good fit all around.’’

For more information, contact MacPhee at 621-0284 or 394-1241 and by email at a.macphee@pei.sympatico.ca.

Visit The Guardian website at www.theguardian.pe.ca

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For anyone of us who knows the generosity of Jessie McCrady, it is not surprising that even though she is in the Palliative Care Unit of the Prince Edward Home, she is still thinking of how she can make a difference. Having experienced the culture at Palliative Care while our mother was there last year, I can attest to the fact that it is one of the most caring places that someone could find themselves. The staff create a positive and nurturing environment for both the patient and their family. They understand very well this stage of life and they gently and compassionately lead each family through this time. Jessie is shedding light on their good work and inviting us to support her campaign.

Jessie is selling copies of her mother-in-law Cassie McCrady’s cookbook for $10 with the proceeds of $5 going toward the Palliative Care Unit. As Jessie says, they need lots of things that will make the patients’ and their families’ time there more comfortable.

Her friends have set up a Facebook page here where they are taking orders. It mentions that the books are currently being printed and they will be announcing where they can be picked up soon. I will post details here when they become available. If you are not on Facebook, you can order books by emailing profitt.hughes@pei.sympatico.ca

We are well aware of the inevitability of death, but it is in finding reasons to live that gives us joy. Jessie is fine example for us all.

To watch Jessie’s CBC TV video, click here.

UPDATE: As of June 9th, they have sold almost 1000 books and the Parkdale-Sherwood Lions Club has offered to cover the costs to produce the book, so that is almost $10,000 for the Palliative Care Unit. Way to go Jessie and friends.

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I am working on an upcoming conference that will include a public lecture. I thought our Clyde River audience might be interested to know about it. If you have any questions about this lecture, email vivian@eastlink.ca.

Public Lecture:

The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance will host a public lecture on Sunday, July 7th, 7:00 p.m. at Rodd’s Brudenell River Resort, Montague/Georgetown Room, 86 Dewar’s Lane, Georgetown Royalty. Guest speaker Patrick McGeer, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), FRSC from the University of British Columbia has dedicated his 50+ year career to researching and writing about neurodegenerative diseases of aging and has been a pioneer in the study of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and multiple sclerosis. Dr. McGeer will offer important professional and personal insight into how to maintain a healthy brain and avoid dementia. Bus transportation will be available from Charlottetown to Rodd’s Brudenell River Resort, leaving UPEI Parking Lot A, just off Belvedere Avenue, at 6:00 p.m. and returning to this location following the lecture and refreshments. To register for this public lecture, please call Jennifer at 367-4400 or email jennifer@peibioalliance.com. There is no cost to attend.

Dr. McGeer’s biography:

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 5.55.23 PMDr. McGeer graduated from University of British Columbia in 1948 with a first class honours in chemistry, then went on to Princeton for his Ph.D (1951). After graduating from Princeton, McGeer went to work as a researcher at DuPont, where he met a fellow researcher, Edith Graef. They married in 1954 and returned to British Columbia, where he earned an M.D. in 1958, while Edith went to work at the Kinsmen Laboratory for Neurological Research in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. In 1959, Pat joined Edith as a professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. The two of them rapidly became a formidable research team, building the Kinsmen Lab into a premier neurochemistry facility with a particular focus on the degenerative neurological diseases of aging. Though they have long since officially retired (Edith in 1989 and Pat in 1992), they remain active. Both continue to research and publish in brain-related research, particularly on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and Multiple sclerosis, with more than 800 papers and three books.

McGeer was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1966. In 1995 McGeer and his wife were honoured for their lifetime contributions to science and technology with a special award from the Science Council of British Columbia. Their research in the study of the function of neurotransmitters in the brain has been pivotal to the pathology of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Their textbook with Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles, “Molecular Neurobiology of the Mammalian Brain” (ISBN 0-306-42511-4) was a classic in its day. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Wisniewski Award for extraordinary contributions to Alzheimer’s disease research. He and his wife Edith have been lifelong partners in neurological research and Pat considers that she has made the major contribution to most of their scientific publications. In 1995, he and Edith were inducted as Officers of the Order of Canada. In 2002 they were jointly inducted as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2005 they were jointly inducted into the Order of British Columbia.

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Fiona and Keith Samuel

Keith Samuel, husband of Fiona (Cameron) Samuel, recently received his Canadian Citizenship at a ceremony in Charlottetown.

Keith is originally from Annan in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, UK.

He came over to Quebec to study French for a few months on a student visa. When the course finished, he decided that he wanted to see more of Canada, so he did research online and found out about WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or Willing Workers on Organic Farms). He applied at a few different farms across Canada, and the first one to get back to him was a farm owner in PEI.

Once Keith arrived, he learned that the owners had a farm and also two hotels, The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown and Stanhope Beach Resort. He had a worked in a hotel in Gretna Green, Scotland, for 15 years before coming to Canada, so they offered him a job at the resort in Stanhope for the summer. When the summer season was over, he went on to the work at The Hotel on Pownal, formerly The Islander. Now Keith is the General Manager of this hotel.

As they say, the rest is history. He has been here six years now. He likes how laid back and easy-going everyone is. The weather is different from Scotland; they don’t have too much snow or very cold temperatures. He said that when he arrived in PEI, he almost immediately realized how small the Island was and how everyone seems to know everyone.

His Canadian citizenship test included questions on government and structure, rights and responsibilities of being a Canadian citizen, history of Canada and trade. It sounds, Keith, like you could teach the rest of born-and-bred Canadians a few things.

“The day of the citizenship ceremony was daunting with all the waiting, but it was very exciting, not just for me but also for all the families around me taking the next step in their lives.” Keith said. “I felt welcome and proud to be part of Canada.”

When his family back home asks him about Canada, he tells them it is beautiful with great places to visit and the people are friendly. He does have to remind them that Canada is the second largest country in the world and you can’t drive from Charlottetown to Calgary in a day.

“I just love it here, ” Keith says. Well, we can see why. He was lucky enough to find a beautiful Clyde River bride, Fiona Cameron Samuel. They were married at the Clyde River Presbyterian Church last summer.

Fiona attended the citizenship ceremony along with her husband. “It was a wonderful experience to be able to attend the ceremony and to see how happy and excited all the new Canadians were,” she said.

Fiona and Keith Samuel reside in Clyde River. We wish you both many happy Canadian years.

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Scan 17

Frank Gillespie

Frank Gillespie was born in 1871 in the farmhouse by the old forge on the Bannockburn Road in Clyde River with the heart of an adventurer. In 1889, he and his brother Richard travelled West. They arrived in Vancouver in 1896, but they couldn’t find work, so they went down to Bellingham, Washington, where they worked as deck hands on a boat going to Skagway, Alaska. When they arrived in Alaska, they heard that gold had been discovered on Bonanza Creek in the Yukon, so they were determined to go.

We are not sure how they made their way from Skagway to Bennett Lake, but according to the book, Klondike by Pierre Berton, they would have had to cross the 30 miles of White Pass, a trail that led through a treacherous mountain area, so dangerous for horses that it was renamed Dead Horse Trail and closed in late 1897. In the History and Stories of Clyde River, it indicates that they arrived in Yukon in 1897, so it is possible they took this route. Later there was an alternate trail opened that could accommodate wagons, but they would go when the muddy ground was frozen.

Further to an account offered by Richard’s son to The Yukoner Magazine, the brothers had a harrowing experience up the Yukon River. Being experience loggers, they cut down some trees to build a raft that would take them from Bennett Lake to Dawson on the Yukon River which covered a distance of 500 miles (800 km). Along their journey while they were camping in a sheltered bay, they woke up in the morning to a cold wind and light snow. Even though Frank was not feeling well, they decided to continue on. They had trouble controlling their raft and the snow turned into a blizzard. The raft started breaking up, one log after another breaking away. Cold and bewildered, their endurance was waning. Their feet and hands were numb and they were losing hope of ever reaching Dawson and wondered why they had ever left their home in Prince Edward Island. Although their parents were religious, they were not that serious about praying until that day on the Yukon River. Their fervent prayer lasted half an hour until they saw a dim light in the distance. The storm abated somewhat, at least enough to bring what was left of their raft ashore at a settlement called Stewart River. After a hot meal and warm beds, they went on to complete their journey to Dawson.

In Yukon, Richard mined and became the District Mining Recorder in Dawson City and Frank continued to prospect.

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Gillespite

In 1921, at 50 years of age, Frank discovered a new mineral specimen with the chemical formula of BaFe2+Si4O10 with a composition of 29.5% barium, 12% iron, 24.13% silicon and 34.37% oxygen. He discovered it in a glacial deposit, one hundred miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska along the Upper Ross River. A specimen was brought to the Chemical Laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey by Dr. Philip S. Smith. In early 1922, the mineral was named Gillespite in his honour. The mineral’s distribution is in the USA, near the head of Dry Delta, Alaska Range, Alaska; from Trumbull Peak, near Incline, Mariposa Col, and on the Esquire No. 7 claim, Big Creek, Fresno Co., California; n the Gunn claim, in the Itsy Mountains, near Macmillan Pass, Yukon Territory, Canada; in the La Madrelena mine, Tres Pozos, Baja California, Mexico.

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The Brooklyn Standard Union article

Pictured here is a newspaper clipping from The Brooklyn Standard Union: Sunday, January 28th, 1922.

Frank had no formal education, but during his lifetime, he was a carpenter, timberman, prospector and miner. As a carpenter, he helped to build Chateau Mayo Hotel “that became the heart of the thriving silver centre in the early 1900s and Mayo landmark until 1986.” according to the Historical Society of Mayo. He also worked on the construction of Galena Creek Bridge at Silver King, a mine established in 1913 that ran until 1917. Frank remained in Yukon, never married and died in 1958 at the age of 87.

Richard “Dick” moved from Dawson City to Mayo in 1921 to become their first Mining Recorder. A log cabin was built for him to use as the Mining Recorder’s office. Link here for more information on Mayo. Richard eventually retired in Newton, B.C. and his descendants still live there.

Neither Frank nor Dick made the journey back to Prince Edward Island.

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Richard Gillespie’s granddaughter visited PEI for the first time in 2011 and we featured a story at that time. To view it, click here.

Frank and Richard are great uncles of George, Ethel, Wayne, Carol and Douglas.

More details on the Gillespite mineral, click here.

More background on Klondike Gold Rush, click here. Includes a description of the journey from Skagway to Dawson City and the challenges of weather, terrain and rapids.

To view a google map created to show the Gillespie boys journey, click here. Includes an approximate location of where Frank Gillespie discovered the new mineral based on descriptions.

References: The Yukoner Magazine, Issue #23Handbook of Mineralogy; Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences Archives, 1922; The Brooklyn Standard Union, 1922; Kerrilee York, Doug Gillespie and Carol Murray.

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The following is a transcript of the speech Helen MacPhail presented at the 5th Clyde River Lecture recounting her and her husband, former Lieutenant Governor Lloyd G. MacPhail’s visit to meet Queen Elizabeth II. The 43 people in the audience today were as quiet as children attentively listening to a favourite bedtime story about what it was really like to meet our dedicated and charming monarch, Her Majesty the Queen. Here is her story:

Early in 1986, we received an invitation to visit the Queen in November of that year. I remember thinking what a difficult time to leave PEI, recalling how busy the previous year at Fanningbank had been with so many events to attend and preparations to be made for Christmas. I did know, however, it would not be proper to ask for a rain check.

On November 17th, we flew to England. We were greeted in Heathrow by Mr. Lowell Bourassa who had made all the arrangements from Canada House. He accompanied us to the St. James Court Hotel where we met Mr. Garth Powell, the manager. The hotel was on Buckingham Gate Road about a five-minute walk to the Palace. We were given a beautiful suite with our own personal maid who was there ready to unpack for us. She was surprised to see that we only had two suitcases each, as she expected that we would have several trunks.

The next day was a leisurely one. We went for a nice long walk and enjoyed some of the sights of London. In the evening, we were entertained at Canada House by the Canadian High Commissioner, Honourable Roy McMurtry and his wife along with three other couples.

We were on our own the next day and so, naturally, we visited Harrod’s Department Store and also Hambly’s Toy Store that had six floors to pick up some gifts for our young grandchildren. In the evening, we had tickets for Agatha Christie’s long-running play “The Mousetrap” and not so long ago I read that it is still bringing in the crowds after 24,500 performances.

Day 4 was a special day. London was adorned in brilliant sunshine with a nice crisp autumn temperature. Mr. Graham Johnston, Secretary of State, arrived about 1:30 p.m. and we drove to Buckingham Palace. We were almost three minutes too early and Mr. Johnston instructed the driver to drive around Queen Victoria’s monument. Apparently, this is the usual procedure. You don’t just sit outside the gate idling the car, so we drove around the monument three times and then it was time to drive through the gate.

Inside, among many people in various uniforms, we were met by the Queen’s Aide-de-Camp and Miss Mary Burden, the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting. We walked along until we came to the Bow Drawing Room where we sat and chatted for a few minutes. Miss Burden is from Wales, and she told us that she and Her Majesty had been friends since childhood. I thought how lucky the Queen was to have such a lovely lady-in-waiting and also an old friend.

Very soon, the high double doors opened and a very distinguished black couple emerged. Both were dressed top to toe in white. Miss Burden had told us earlier that they were from one of the African countries. They had arrived in a white carriage driven by a team of horses. We had arrived in a shiny black car.

I was very relaxed about this visit because I had been presented to the Queen at least three other times in Prince Edward Island. The only thing that I was a bit concerned about was my hat. I didn’t want it to fall off when I would curtsy to the Queen, but everything was fine. However, when I raised my eye and saw this petite lady coming to greet us with her hand out and calling us by our names, suddenly I thought, this is our Queen coming toward us. She had a cheery fire burning brightly in the fireplace and she invited us to come sit down. Lloyd sat beside her and I sat across from them.

The conversation was free and easy, no different that visiting with friends in our own home. She was a completely different person from the times I had met her before, which was always a formal setting. Here she was in her own familiar surroundings and totally relaxed and ready for a friendly chat. The Queen has a great sense of humour and a very jolly and hearty laugh. She had visited China not so long before and told several funny stories about her walk on the Great Wall of China and how she enjoyed the culture.

She has an excellent memory, too, as there was no time between visitors to check her notes. She knew all about our family, our four children, Lloyd’s political life, and she commented how nice to be able to live in the country with our family and still be so near the capital city. She seemed very familiar with the geography of PEI. Her homework was well prepared. She talked a lot about her mother and how she loved Canada.

Lloyd did most of the talking with Her Majesty, but I did tell her that when I was six or seven years of age, I was the proud owner of a Princess Elizabeth coat. It was pale green tweed with a green velvet collar and cuffs. She did indeed remember. She said both her and her sister Margaret had matching coats and quite often they would get them mixed up and the younger Margaret, who was a great tease, would run off wearing the longer coat. With a rather longing look, she turned toward the window and said, “Those were happy carefree days.” No doubt that would be before she had begun the heavy training to be future Queen.

That afternoon she was wearing a blue flowered dress, gold earrings and her wedding band and no other jewellry. The sitting room was spacious but very comfortable. Beautiful paintings decorated the walls and heavy ornaments set on the tables. The room looked out on a large rose garden and roses happily bloomed in November.

During the conversation, Lloyd mentioned something about that day being her and Prince Philip’s wedding anniversary; I think it was their 36th, if I recall. “Yes, it is”, she said, “But we don’t bother celebrating because there are so many of us. Anyway, Philip is out in the country today and I don’t know if he will be home for tea, but I hope he will be,” and she laughed.

No one could or would tell us before exactly how long the visit should last, and, of course, we couldn’t move before the Queen did. Lloyd had read in the London Times that morning the names of people with whom the Queen was to meet that afternoon. Our names were included. Later that afternoon she would be opening a medical building. Lloyd as always knew the right thing to say and mentioned her busy schedule. So after a few more comments, we were ready to leave. It was a solid half hour of continuous conversation and laughter. She walked with us almost to the door where her aide and Miss Burden met and accompanied us to where Mr. Johnston was waiting.

As we were walking along, Miss Burden made some mention about our visit with Her Majesty, sure that it was enjoyable which we indeed did agree. I did say that I was hoping to see one of her corgis. “Oh”, Miss Burden said as she turned to me, “That could have been arranged if you had only mentioned it.” She told us Her Majesty would have been so pleased. “So many people do not like dogs”, then she said, “The next time you come be sure to tell us.” I said, I would.

The reason that I mention the corgis to you is to recount the story about Lieutenant Government George Stanley and his wife Ruth from New Brunswick who had made the Royal Visit the previous year. Mr. Stanley was less fond of dogs. As it would be, one of the Queen’s corgi dogs was in the room and, naturally, sat beside Mr. Stanley’s chair the entire time much to his dismay.

The rest of our trip included attending a church service at Westminster Abby and touring around England. One day we went to Ascot Raceway, and upon an invitation from the track manager, we sat in the Queen’s Royal Box to watch the horses exercising. We went on to tour Stonehenge. At Stratford-upon-Avon, we had coffee and crumpets in a pub where Polly the 13-year old parrot could talk, sing and whistle the Colonel Bogey March and at the end of a performance would flap its wings inviting applause.

We saw one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. In Salisbury, we toured the cathedral built in 1220 which features the beautiful rose window. In Bladen, we toured Winston Churchill’s grave. In Southampton, we were welcomed on board Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory. We drove around the New Forest where the horses run wild. We stopped at Beaulieu Place and admired the antique cars in the National Motor Museum.

I must not forget to tell you about the day we were at Windsor Castle and I saw Queen Mary’s doll house which I had read so much about when I was a child. Never did I think that I would really see it.

Queen Elizabeth has had a remarkable life. She has always displayed grace and dignity. Not long ago, I read where a British journalist was quoted to say, “Our Queen is a national treasure and the most repeated figure in the modern world.” We hope that the ones who follow in her footsteps some day will enjoy similar respect.

Thank you Helen for sharing this wonderful story. Your exquisite detail takes our imagination with you on the visit to see Her Majesty the Queen.

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In the latest Clyde River lecture, David Weale told us when communities cease to take part in their own traditions, they start living someone else’s story, and the only way to counter this trend is to revive or take up our own traditions and, in the process, create our own stories.

David said that when he was driving out to Clyde River for his lecture, he heard a radio interview with the father of one of the five young lost fisherman in Wood’s Harbour, Nova Scotia. The statement that resonated with him was the father saying that if he needed 50 boats to go out there to search for the boys from his community and neighbouring communities, there would be 50 boats that would go out tomorrow if he put out the plea. That is what a community does. They share the good times, the bad times and come together in force to deal with tragic times. They know each other stories, generations of stories, so when something happens to one, they all feel it.

David says we all represent a story, a story about ourselves, the lives we have lived and continue to live. We share that story with our family, friends, neighbours and all those we come in contact with in our lives. And within those stories are traditions, many of which are long gone, others existing in some form and ones that are new.

“A community does not exist just because they live in proximity to one another. They have to engage and do things with one another.”

Communities need their own stories, and traditions and stories go hand in hand. They demonstrate what we find important, what we value. It is dangerous when we lose control of them. Mass media presents us with many stories about what we should buy into, who we ought to be and what we need to consume. At the local level, we need to engage in our stories.

David made reference to the Clyde River community resolutions series and our latest one about “starting or re-starting a tradition.” In preparation for his lecture, he wrote down all the community traditions that he could think of from Island history and went through them with us one by one.

  • The Pound Party – A community event where people would take a pound of something to help a family in need.
  • The Basket Social – Ladies would prepare baskets and auction them off to the highest bidders and then the buyers would have the delight of enjoying the basket lunch with those ladies.
  • The Frolic – We may know it more as a “working bee” where people would come together to combine work and leisure. They would labour all day in order to earn the opportunity to have a social of food and music afterwards. It satisfied the need to be industrious and the need to get together and have a good time.
  • The Mayflower Expedition – When mayflowers would appear in early Spring in PEI, people would go out to the country on the train and pick baskets of mayflowers to take back home.
  • Ground Spruce Christmas Excursion – In St. Georges, PEI, the whole community would go to the woods and gather ground spruce which was later used to decorate the church for Christmas and offer an opportunity for a social.
  • The Summer Tea Party – It was often the biggest social event of the year where community members decorated booths or set up a horse ring (a carousel that was driven by a horse and offered a ride for kids). The tea was called a Sunday School Picnic in some communities.
  • Christmas Concert – Children from the school would put on a concert.
  • Dress-up Skating Carnival – People would dress up and get together for a skate.
  • The Wake – When people passed, the deceased would be waked within the community. David says nowadays, so many residents who have lived their entire lives in one community are more often taken elsewhere to be waked.
  • Parties – House dances, crokinole parties, card parties, concerts
  • The Chiverie – When the neighbours in the community would dress up and show up to chiverie newlyweds which involved banging pots and pans, shooting guns, placing spruce needles in their bed or animals in the house.
  • Ice Racing – Neighbours would get together to race their horses on the frozen river and others would gather to watch.
  • Bridal and community showers – An event to celebrate an upcoming or recent marriage where the community would offer gifts.
  • Decorating an Easter bonnet – Decorate a hat in celebration of Easter. The Clyde River Women’s Institute still celebrates this tradition.

In Clyde River, some of the traditions that we still take part in would include our annual Strawberry Social, Christmas Party, crokinole parties, Canada Day Celebrations, Art in the Park and the Sunday School picnic, and we capture stories on our Clyde River website.

In closing, David read from his first issue of RED Magazine that tells Island stories. He had interviewed Ethel MacPhail, and the story pointed to the traditions or Island codes of behaviour that are rules, not law, but yet were never to be broken.

David was told that Ethel was a great resource of history, so he called her up to ask if he could visit. Sitting at her kitchen table, David asked Ethel if she minded if he tape-recorded their interview. She said yes, but he could see that she was not at all comfortable with being recorded. They chatted for a while, but she just couldn’t get into a conversation. Even though they went through her old photographs which David thought would take her mind away, she still could not overcome her fear of the tape recorder. David succumbed and wrapped up the interview, thinking she would be glad to see the tail end of him. The next morning, he received a call from Ethel and she sounded terribly upset. David was nervous that he had contributed to her distress. Ethel said to David, “Do you realize that you are probably the first person in three generations to come into this house for a visit and leave without being offered a cup of tea.” She had broken the ancient tradition and she could not be consoled.

David’s lecture entertained us but also gives us a good deal to thing about. I told someone after that his talk was halfway between a lecture and a sermon. He personalized the meaning and importance of community. He challenged us to take the chance of being ourselves which is our opportunity as a community. Respect and engagement in tradition is the legacy that our ancestors took to heart, the same legacy that can be ours and the legacy that we can share with younger generations.

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