Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Truce Sound

Truce Sound 20Sunnyside sits on the isthmus of the Avalon Peninsula. One of my earliest memories is of driving with my grandparents to Hillview and my grandfather pointing out the isthmus from a hilltop on the Trans-Canada Highway (or TCH as it is known in Newfoundland). He pointed to the right and said "That's Trinity Bay" and then pointed to the left and said "That fog there is Placentia Bay. This is the only spot in all of Newfoundland where you can see two bays at the same time."

I drove past many times after that and I always remarked on how foggy it usually is at the isthmus. Despite the countless drive-by's of Sunnyside over the years, I had never taken the exit and gone in, until this summer.

My folks are heavily involved in the Newfoundland heritage scene, and were heading to the Truce Sound 400 Festival in Sunnyside. They had arranged for a boat to go out to the Truce Sound site, and suggested I swing by on my way to Trinity to join them.

Truce Sound is where, in 1612, John Guy and fellow members of his Cupers Cove colony met with the Beothuk in an attempt to establish a peaceful relationship between the two peoples. Despite the well-meant intentions of this meeting, subsequent events did not go well for the Beothuk. Today, they live on only in museum exhibits and in the term "Red Indian"*. You can read about Guy's trip from Cupers Cove to Bull Arm here.

At the wharf, I noticed that the stereotypical Newfoundland fishing scene now includes crab pots instead of gill nets.

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We left the wharf in Sunnyside and headed down the Arm. It was very hazy, and I wasn't sure if we were going to head into fog, or if the weather would hold fine.

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Along the way we passed the Bull Arm fabrication site where they are making another off-shore oil platform. Their website has a video which, if you can stomach the annoying sound track, has some great aerial footage.

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As we rounded the corner to head into Stock Cove, we came across a guy out trying to get a meal of cod. I am still not accustomed to seeing a cod fisherman using a rod and reel and not a hand reel and line.

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Then it was into Stock Cove, where archeologist Bill Gilbert believes the Beothuk had some houses. There isn't much to see today, of course, except for this bald eagle standing guard and protecting the spirit of the place.

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As we moved into the cove, it squawked out a warning and took off.

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Perhaps sensing our honest intentions, it returned and settled in some nearby trees.

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In the struggle just to survive, Newfoundlanders have often put a very low priority on setting down a written record of our history, although we have a strong oral history. So I am very pleased to see how many people are taking up the cause of documenting Newfoundland history. Like these folks who were with me on the boat out to Truce Sound. On the left is my mother, Edwina, one of the co-founders of the Carbonear Heritage Society and a current member of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation (BTHC). Next to her is Gerald Smith, also a member of the BTHC. Dan Burke is the current Chair of the BTHC. On the right is Bill Gilbert, the Chief Archaeologist with the BTHC and who provided a vey interesting running commentary about the work in uncovering more about Truce Sound, and about the Beothuk in particular.

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When we returned to shore, we hopped in the car and headed to the Lion's Club for a community jiggs dinner. This is the part of Newfoundland I miss the most, and I am glad to see the tradition continues of coming together for a community meal, be it a Jiggs dinner or a turkey tea***.

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Many of my images from Newfoundland are available to purchase as fine art prints from my web gallery.

If you would like to read some of my other posts about Newfoundland, click here and use the "Older" and "Newer" links at the bottom to scroll through the posts.

* I am very proud of my Newfoundland heritage, with the sole exception of the extinction of the Beothuk. That is a source of great shame.

** The Beothuk, the predecessor to the Europeans (not including the Vikings) do not appear to have had a written tradition.

*** I have no idea who the woman waving is.

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