Canada 150 – The First 50

Canada 150 - #65 - Toasting 2017.

A year ago, my intentions were to take and post at least 150 photos that celebrated Canada in some way. A personal project for Canada’s sesquicentennial…

Well I partially succeeded – I indeed took 150 photos – in fact far more. But the regular posting fell by the wayside as life got busier.

So Plan B it is. I have gone back through my 2017 photos and selected 150 that I feel are representative of Canada 150 in some way. I am now writing  – captions, explanations, and even the odd factoid that I have discovered in the process of completing this project. (A little googling from time to time has brought me some newfound knowledge about my home and native land!)

So with that explanation, I redirect you to the main posting venue for these photos – The Garden Shutterbug Facebook page. This is a direct link to the Album “Canada 150 Project – Part 1 of 3”.

(Whether or not you are registered for Facebook, you can access this album. Click on each photo and you will see the context or caption.)




Canada 150 – #16 – Old Fashioned Nor’easters

Canada 150 - #16 - Old Fashioned Nor'easters.

Since everyone seems to be conforming to “the obvious” today for a post, I too shall stick to Canadian winters for my Canada 150 theme for the day. Atlantic Canadians are very familiar with the “Nor’easter” – always a storm situation to be respected. Today’s is one of the worst we have had in recent years – a good old fashioned blizzard.

There’s not much I can say about Atlantic Canadian winters except that winter definitely happens here, and we Canucks are pretty good at dealing with it.  Without winter we would not have the same appreciation for the other seasons, would we?

This photo – Sometimes we Canadians build carports, so that we don’t have to clean off the car and so that we don’t have to shovel off the woodpile. That worked like a charm, didn’t it?

And a few more shots from this afternoon, when I ventured out briefly to shovel my doors clear…


The pile outside my back door…



A view back at the house…



Blizzing on St George Street…



This sundial isn’t telling time right now…



Yes, I think my Merry Grinchmas sign will be in the ground for a while yet!


Canada 150 – #15 – My father, well disguised.

Canada 150 - #15 – My father, well disguised.

Re-enactments, pageants, skits… call them what you may, but theatrical presentations have been part of our history for a very long time. And as this “photo of a photo” indicates, my father was known to play a role in some of these productions.

This photo took me on a rather convoluted path, as I had originally thought it was from a pageant at the Grist Mill (of which I have a very vague memory and you can read about in a future post). It turns out that this photo was from another event, I think at the Habitation although I am still trying to nail that down. It would have been in the sixties I think.

All I know for sure is that this photo is of Larry Bower (left) and Dad (right). There used to be a number of photos from this re-enactment hanging at the Legion, but they are no longer there. I’m sure there are folks in the community who can fill in some details for me so please comment if you remember this event!


Canada 150 – #14 – A Stormy Past on a Stormy Night.

Canada 150 - #14 – A Stormy Past on a Stormy Night.

An unanticipated result of my Canada 150 photo challenge is that I find myself digging into the past as I build context around some of my photos. Maybe that should have been predictable – I hadn’t really looked at this as a year-long history lesson but it seems to be heading that way.

So, also unpredictably, I now find myself reading about our stormy past on this stormy night – digging into Barry Moody’s book: The History of Annapolis Royal – Volume 2 – 1749-2005. I bought it in 2014 and it has been on my “should read” list ever since, but fiction always wins my vote in reading (my father was the historian in the family, not me!). Nevertheless, I picked it up this morning, opened the cover, and was immediately hooked. Our history is so rich and so interesting, and Barry’s way of writing makes it very readable as well.  Learning lots – no doubt some of this newfound knowledge will shine through as I background future Canada 150 photos.

Thanks Barry for presenting our past in such a good read! You’ll make a history student out of me yet…



Canada 150 – #13 – And here’s to you Mr. Robinson.

Canada 150 – #13 – And here’s to you Mr. Robinson.  (…with apologies once again to Simon & Garfunkel…)

Canada 150 - #13 - And here's to you Mr. Robinson.

In the course of remodelling the Rec Room, I have been checking out some artwork that I haven’t really noticed for some time. One of those pieces is “Sou’wester” by L. Robinson. Laurence Robinson was a teacher in Annapolis Royal, better known as “Rip” Robinson (for reasons unknown to me). He and his wife Helen lived in Annapolis Royal until their deaths in 1986 and 2009 respectively. He had retired from teaching before I hit high school, but my older siblings had him as an English teacher.

Art was a hobby for him, and Mom & Dad had several of his works. This one was has a tag on the back for Chas Dargie & Sons, a long time business in Annapolis Royal for the better part of 100 years (a research project/story for another day). From what I can gather, I believe my parents may have purchased this one as a gift for my mother’s parents, because also on the back of the frame is “Norma” in my grandmother’s handwriting – she was always known for labelling her special things so that their eventual destination would be very clear when she died.

Anyway, here’s to you Mr. Robinson for your work in immortalizing various Nova Scotian scenes through your art.


Canada 150 – #11 – Of Witching and Witch Hazels…

Canada 150 - #11 - Of Witching and Witch Hazels.

Funny where a photo can take you sometimes. I started with the mindset of snagging a pretty picture, so headed out to see how the Witch Hazels were blooming. Which of course led me to consider what, if any, Canadian connection there might be. Which led me from our hybrids to the native witch hazels, which predictably (or not so much) led me to the always popular topic of water divining. Still with me?

Let me start again. Here we have a photograph of one of the Witch Hazels in the Gardens. These Hamamelis x intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis). Their job is to bloom in the winter, and for that alone they deserve an A+, right?

There is another Witch Hazel – H. virginiana – which is native to Nova Scotia among other places. You can see this in the woods in the more southern parts of the Province. It is rumoured that Point Pleasant Park is home to a number as well. It is a fall bloomer, rather than a winter one like the hybrids.

It also turns out that Witch Hazels were a common tree for use when witching for water, an art that has a long heritage in Nova Scotia. In fact, there are still many people who have the gift, and can find water with nothing but a Y-shaped twig, or a pair of coat hangers. It is very cool to watch… and to try!

So my quest for colour took me to an old rural tradition… and as always, I learned a couple things along the way. Oh yes, and in case you were wondering… the name Witch Hazel, they say, has nothing to do with witching/divining/dowsing for water. According to an article written by David Patriquin published in the Herald, “witch” is apparently derived from the Anglo Saxon “wych”, meaning bending or pliable (referring to the stems). “Hazel” refers to its hazel-like leaves. Actually, the article is an interesting read:

The Witch Hazel shown at the top is ‘Pallida’. And below, as a bonus shot, is ‘Jelena’. What a great plant!



Canada 150 – #9 – Another Special Birthday.

Canada 150 - #9 - Another Special Birthday.

While Canada’s 150th Birthday is the theme of this year’s photo challenge, there will be other celebrations along the way. The first of those, and indeed one that will be reappearing throughout the year, is the 100th Anniversary of Fort Anne. On January 24, 1917, Fort Anne was designated as a National Historic Site, the first in Canada. This designation came as a result of a community movement to pressure the government to save and preserve this special piece of Canadian heritage. Thus began a federal legacy of preservation of National Historic Sites – there are currently 950 NHS in Canada, of which 171 are administered by Parks Canada.

The public is invited to join us in Annapolis Royal to mark the occasion on Tuesday, January 24, beginning at 10am at Town Hall. Celebrations will involve a re-enactment, sneak previews of the new exhibits, and of course, birthday cake!  Should be fun.

((Note: Event postponed until Friday Jan 27 due to weather forecast))



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