Thursday, 24 January 2013

Nova Scotia - Part 1


via wikipedia
Evening in Halifax, Nova Scotia
It is little wonder that Nova Scotia is called New Scotland it bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish lowlands, and many of its inhabitants originated from Scotland. In fact our flight from London was almost empty until it landed at Glasgow to pick up the majority of it's passengers. We flew over the Gulf of St. Lawrence which dramatically was covered in ice floes.
Rose bay Willow Herb covers much of Nova Scotia
one of my own snapshots from the time
via wikipedia
Dalhousie University taken in 1871
Our visit was in the early 1990's when H was invited to a conference at Dalhousie University by Prof. Elisabeth Mann Borgese, the youngest daughter of Thomas Mann, the renowned writer - Death in Venice. We had met her at various environmental conferences, particularly in connection with the oceans. She was a recognised authority of the Law of the Sea and for a long time was the only female member of the Club of Rome. She was an extraordinary women and could travel around the world carrying only a very small holdall containing her change of clothes and wash kit.  She married the anti-fascist Italian writer Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, 36 years her senior, by whom she had two daughters. At her home situated on a remote spit in Nova Scotia she lived alone, but surrounded by animals including a chimpanzee. She said that one of her dogs could play the piano, which greatly amused us. However, my brother, living in Toronto, heard her being interviewed on Canadian radio talking about the dog, and in fact, heard the dog play the piano on the programme!!! It is known that the chimp once had a bit of a rip roaring time in the house, charging around smashing everything up with a hammer left by a workman. He had watched the workman hammering away and thought he could do the same.
 
another of my snapshot photos - no digitals then 
 Halifax Park
Nova Scotia in the early 1990's resembled a life that we remembered ourselves from years ago. The people had perfect manners and politeness, in fact if you wanted to cross the road, a car would just stop and wave you over. The Park Keeper, wearing a uniform, would blow his whistle at youths riding their bikes, and they would immediately get off and walk with them. People attended church wearing hats and gloves - a world long forgotten in many places.
When had finished at the university, my brother and his wife flew down from Toronto to meet us. We hired a car for a week and set off to tour Nova Scotia together. 
via wikipedia
The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove - one of the places we visited on our tour around Nova Scotia. 
To be continued................
Elisabeth Mann Borgese died in 2002. We both consider it to have been a great privilege to have met her. She was one of life's colourful characters, the sort of memorable person you come into contact with only rarely throughout your lifetime.

53 comments:

  1. Super post, Rosemary, not only the photos but the account of a remarkable woman. I follow a blogger in Nova Scotia, but know very little of the history or wider landscape of the area, so this was so interesting.

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    1. I am pleased that you found it interesting. The world becomes a much smaller place through blogging. Nova Scotia is a good place to holiday, and especially easy if you hire a car. The roads are so quiet, you have them all to yourself. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tidal bore, I believe that our own bore on the river Severn comes in at second place. There is of course an important history lesson to be learnt about the life and shocking deportation of the Acadians, the intrepid French settlers who first claimed Nova Scotia as their home in the 17th century.

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  2. Hello Rosemary:
    What an intriguing character Elisabeth Mann Borgese sounds to have been and how marvellous that you met with her. Such a menagerie she surrounded herself with. Life could certainly never have been dull for her or with her.

    We have always thought Nova Scotia to be terribly remote and bleak but we do in fact know very little about it at all and so are looking forward to reading more. Whatever, we can well imagine that the vast expanse of sea and sky make a wonderful backdrop for the most amazing sunrises and sunsets.

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    1. Dear Jane and Lance - you do imagine Nova Scotia to be remote and bleak, but in fact it is not. The flight time to Halifax is 2 hours less than travelling to Toronto. We felt as if we arrived there very quickly, in fact I think that it is the first piece of Canadian ground you spot when you cross the Atlantic. It is a very easy place to travel around with good bed/breakfasts in lovely homes. Great seafood restaurants, lobster being a speciality, and lots of sites of historic interest to visit.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, Very beautiful photos--the colors and details are so intense. What is your opinion of photo quality between digital and film cameras? I often notice that film shots are some of the best.

    Wikipedia only gives a sketch of Elisabeth Mann-Borgese, but what an interesting woman she was, with far-reaching interests, always on a high level. I will try to look up some of her writing.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim - it is digital every time for me. With film you are so restricted and inhibited, got to get the right shot as there are so few pictures on a film. With digital you can shoot to your hearts content. Somehow these film photos of mine seem to look as if they are from a different era, which I suppose in truth they are. However, I was surprised that the the rosebay willow herb photo almost had a 3D quality to it.
      Gardeningbren, from Nova Scotia, has commented below, that Elizabeth Mann Borgeses recieved the Order of Canada and that her obituary is online at the Dalhousie University Archives.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,
    I must say that I too always thought of Nova Scotia was a fairly out of the way place. It certainly sounds like a nice place to visit. My mother has relatives in Toronto and in Vancouver and my father lived there in the early 1950s with his parents but I have never really thought about visiting it although I would like to go to PRince Edward Island which I believe is rather beautiful.
    It is interesting to look back on one's life and think of all the different people we have had the pleasure to meet. I would have liked to see the dog play the piano too!

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    1. It is difficult when writing a post about somewhere you have visited, not wishing to push a travelogue at readers. However, maybe this will encourage you to give it a try. I believe it is also possible to visit Prince Edward Island by car on a short ferry trip from Nova Scotia, or by crossing a bridge from New Brunswick.

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  5. Dear Rosemary: You can imagine my delight when I turned on my computer this morning to discover you were blogging about my province, Nova Scotia. It was a delight to see the photos (the Peggy's Cove one is spectacular) and to read about Elisabeth Mann Borgese. You know, she was the recipient of the Order of Canada among other merits. Her obituary is online at the Dalhousie University Archives.

    Nova Scotia is as you say, easy to reach from England via Air Canada direct from Heathrow. We are a lush and beautiful province presently covered in snow!

    Thank you, you are very right, an easy place to travel around. Our friends from England would comment "when are we going to see the next car?" in humour because the roads were so much quieter than they were used to. Lobster is king, our seafood speciality in fact, and as you say, there are many historic sites to visit most noteably the Fortress at Louisbourg which is celebrating: Louisbourg 300, a grand fête marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of Ile Royale – modern day Cape Breton Island – with Louisbourg as its capital.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with our province in such a positive and encouraging manner and also for sharing your experience regarding Elizabeth Mann Borgese. Will look forward to number 2 post.

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    1. I was delighted that you were happy with my post from Nova Scotia, and thank you for all the added information that you have given.
      I will take a look at Elizabeth's obituary at the Dalhousie University site.
      Thank you, and hope that you enjoy edition No 2.

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  6. Lovely memories you have written about. Hats & gloves, remember them well was part of my College uniform way back..Love the photo of the flowers, bet that was a pretty picture in reality.

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    1. I was surprised how well that old photo reproduced, it almost has a 3D quality to it - over the tops of the flowers and down to the sea.
      It is amazing the way things change, I wore gloves last week in the snow, the first time for years, and literally because I wanted to take some photos.

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  7. Lovely to see my home province featured on a British blog! I'm the first in eight generations of my family to leave Cape Breton Island for good. Others may have sailed away for work, to serve overseas in two wars etc, but all returned, whereas I've decided to make my life on a warmer island on the west coast of Canada. I hope to see that you discovered Cape Breton - the Fortress at Louisbourg, the Gaelic college at St Anne's, the Cabot Trail.
    Such a treat to see this on a gloomy Thursday morning.

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    1. We would have loved to do the Cabot Trail, which my father did with my brother, but regrettably we only had a week once we moved on from Halifax.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing your old home province.

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    2. Then you must return as the Cabot Trail is unmeasurable in beauty. Pondside and I would agree!!

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    3. You are right - I have it in mind.

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  8. I haven't been to Nova Scotia but from your pictures, it is a beautiful and enchanting Province. Your photos of the Province are beautiful. I work at a Bank here in Toronto. Whenever we have clients from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, we know right away where they are from because of their distinct accents, very Scottish like accents. It must be really special to meet an intelligent and talented Prof Elisabeth Mann Borgese. Her house must be beautiful too.

    Canadians are generally very polite and kind. We still stop our cars and let people pass. I am also quite surprised myself that since I became a blogger and have been taking more photos around the City, that people here have stopped to allow me to take the picture first before they continue on their walk. In some cities, they don't care! They won't even look at you. But over here, there are still manners and politeness as you wrote above. Thank you for featuring a part of Canada on your blog.

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    1. I am sure that you would enjoy making a visit there Pamela, and it is almost on your doorstep. My brother flew from Toronto, and picking up a hire car at the airport is very easy, and as I mentioned the roads have hardly any traffic on them. Do give it a try.

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  9. That light hosue picture at peggy's cove is amazing!! How neat to get to go to all these wonderful places!

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    1. I have been fortunate, mainly because my husband worked for the UN and we travelled to many countries.

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  10. Hi Rosemary,
    It was so interesting to see pictures and learn more about Nova Scotia, particularly as I have recently met Gardeningbren through blogging. I have ancestors born in Prince Edward Island and Vancouver and Canada is somewhere I would love to visit. Was H an expert of environmental issues too? I love the story of the chimp, you can just imagine it.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hello Sarah - you must visit then, and you would enjoy it. Vancouver is of course a long journey, but Nova Scotia is only just over 5 hours away.
      Yes, H's expertise was the marine environment - pollution etc and shipping regulations,

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  11. It's a delight to see these views, all places I have been to, with the exception of Dalhousie University. I'm sorry you never saw the Cabot Trail — it's a lovely excursion. As we went around on it, my host promised that I'd see some auks, but, alas, I never did.

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    1. It is a part of the world where we should probably have stayed for a longer period of time. We didn't get to Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick either. However, H was working for the first part of the trip, and he could not spare any more time to be away.

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  12. So lovely photos ! It is nice that you met an interesting woman and to have these memories !I wait for the second part !
    Have a nice evening !
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos of Nova Scotia, and that you are looking forward to the second instalment. Nova Scotia is a quiet but beautiful part of the world, and not unlike the lowlands of Scotland.

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  13. Rosemary, I must say, I am most touched reading the comments on your blog about my home. Also, most touched by your kind responses to those comments.

    I have not been to the lowlands nor the highlands of Scotland but my ancestors came from there to here, and from England on my mom's side.Your blog post made me think, perhaps, I should on occasion post a little about Nova Scotia..the shore that I live on..the things that make my life buoyant, the joy of a slower yet enriched kind of life. Your post meant a lot to me. Thank you.

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    1. I think that would be a lovely thing to do, and certainly something that I would do if I lived there. Many people do not seem to know anything about Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick. You could write about the Citadel, the history of the Arcadians, the wonderful seafood, your Scottish ancestry, just take some lovely views, everyone would be interested.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed it - thank you.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,nice memories meating that interesting woman,great pictures too from Nova Scotia,i liked readind about the people that live there,wishing you a lovely weekend!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - We were fortunate to visit that little corner of the world, and especially so, to have met Elizabeth Mann Borgese - a unique lady.

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  15. I have learnt a lot from this post that is new to me so thank you for sharing. I was intrigued regarding the rose bay willow herb which you mention grows in profusion in Nova Scotia. I understand that it often grows where there has been a fire so wonder whether there was an initial site and then, of course, spread across the land and became established.
    Prof. Elizabeth Mann Borgese must have been quite a character. It's always a privilege to meet such women.

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    1. I am sure that there is a large element of truth in what you say, the plant is commonly known in Canada as Fireweed. I am pleased that you learnt something new from this post - apart from connecting with lots of lovely people, that is one of the things I enjoy so much about blogging.

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  16. Dear Rosemary, thank you for this wonderful post. Have not been to Nova Scotia. So interesting to hear about Prof. Elizabeth Borgese. How fabulous her life must have been. I love the idea that she only took a small holda (a term I'm not familiar with) on her trips. While traveling I recall seeing women with four or 5 pieces of matched luggage and in addition, a hat box and make up kit.
    Happy traveling.

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    1. Dear Gina - a holdall bag is one that is small enough to stow away in the aircraft cabin. May be you call it cabin baggage?
      I try to travel light myself, half of the stuff one takes never gets used, I learnt my lesson from Elizabeth.

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  17. Nice to see a snippet of our country through your eyes Rosemary. Your photos, even pre-digital, are gorgeous. I had not heard of Elisabeth Borgese before and from your description she seems to have been a colourful character indeed :)

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    1. Dear Rosemary - We are so fortunate today with our digital cameras. We can shoot away as much as we like. In those days it was a one shot pot luck, and the development costs were an added factor. Glad you enjoyed seeing a little piece of your country.

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  18. Thank you Rosemary for this information. I can imagine the terrain the rose bay willow herb grows on from your impressive photo and description.

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  19. A wonderful blog Rosemary. Have a wonderful weekend

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    1. Thank you Marijke - wishing the same to you.

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    1. Thank you for your visit - do please call again

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  21. Just love the flower field and lighthouse picture. They are both master pieces.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thank you Filip - the flower picture is just an old snapshot I took about 20 years ago.

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  22. I love the second flowet-power shot, thanks for the tour+informative reportage, happy to learn new things with u:-)

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    1. Thank you Jana - glad you enjoyed the little tour, I am surprised that so many people like the little flower snapshot from my film camera days, but it does seem to have some 3D quality to it.

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  23. Beautiful photos!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Regine - and thank you for your visit - do call again.

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  24. Hello, rosemary! The pleasant time with Elisabeth Mann Borgese will be full-grown in your memory. My favorite is the last image – so magical and dramatic.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - you are correct Elizabeth Mann Borgese will never be forgotten by many many people. The last image I cannot claim any prizes for, it is via wikipedia, but it is a lovely photo.

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  25. What an interesting post, Rosemary. I had not thought of visiting Nova Scotia, being rather transfixed on Prince Edward Island, but now I will put it on my wish list too. I only learnt about the Arcadians a couple of years ago when visiting the Museum of Civilisation in Ottawa, and reading a book of Canadian history. There is always so much to learn about the world, and your pictures and story really whet the appetite!

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    1. Dear Patricia - it would make a wonderful add on trip for you when visiting your family in Canada. Prince Edward Island is right next door to Nova Scotia so it is possible to do the two of them very easily together - they are linked by ferry and a bridge.

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  26. I seem to have missed the small letters “via Wikipedia” but I think you are the one who can take picture like this if only you are there at the right time.

    Yoko

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh