Last summer a good friend came all the way from Calgary to visit me and Josh (and not-yet-born Joseph) here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I absolutely love my home here on the East Coast of Canada and couldn’t wait to play tour guide!
After visiting my parents in PEI, we decided to take the ferry and do a quick visit to Cape Breton Island.
If any of you are familiar with Cape Breton, you might be familiar with this image:
It is an absolutely beautiful drive along the Cabot Trail up near the Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada. I knew that we would not have enough time to do that part of CB, so we decided to do a sight-seeing trip to a little less well-known spot: Bras d’Or Lake.
We did the drive around Bras d’Or Lake, and stopped in to the cutest and most quaint little museum: The Highland Village Museum. It’s “a living history museum and cultural centre that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia.” Using buildings and actors, visitors are taken through the history of the settlement of Cape Breton. To this date, it has been one of my favourite vacation experiences and I highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting that part of Cape Breton.
When we got back to Halifax, we decided to hit up some garage sales to see if my friend could find a legitimate Nova Scotian souvenir. That’s when we came across this treasure of a book!
Penned by author Margaret MacPhail, it is a story about a young girl growing up on Cape Breton in the late 1800’s. More of a series of short stories than a novel, I am having such a great time reading this book and fantasizing about life back then.
Before she left to go back to Calgary, my dear friend slipped the book back into my possession as a souvenir for me! Josh and I are planning a trip to Calgary soon, so I am bound and determined to finish the book so that I can bring it to her.
Here are some of my favourite lines from the book so far:
“We of the young generation wanted no part in the old world.” (Ha! It seems the “young generation” hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years)
“We had roast goose, plum pudding, and the fixings. Every last bite, except the raisins in the pudding, came from our farm and garden.” (see..even they were interested in locally sourced food!)
“‘It’s and old saying, ‘When you eat fish don’t eat the bones or you may be choked.’ She went on placidly, ‘There is so much good in the Bible, you need not question what you don’t know.”‘ (There is some wisdom in that…I think…)
“It was a great day for Cape Breton when the Intercolonial railroad was completed to Sydney. It spelled an end for the Trader and costal schooners, that until then were the only available means in our area to send farm supplies to Sydney…What a fast, new world opened up for us!”