The parade will go on, even with only one float

Photos by Jim Brown

Rainy, windy weather forced organizers to cancel the North Rustico Canada Day parade but that didn’t stop one family from participating anyway.

Jonathan and Christine Townsend and their grandkids, Jake and Maggie Moore, were adding final touches to their float in the Lions Club parking lot.

“You can’t cancel your birthday,” said Christine, with a laugh.

“You can’t cancel Canada’s birthday,” said Jonathan.

And then, with a toot of their truck’s horn and a “Happy Canada Day” cheer, they were off to the downtown, flags and balloons rippling in the wind.

Share

Stanley Bridge Centre available for weddings, anniversaries, other family gatherings in July


 
Looking for a magical place, steeped in history and culture, to hold your wedding or other special event? Why not consider the historic Stanley Bridge Centre building, recently renovated to accommodate many different uses?

Can you imagine a better place for a wedding, a reception, a family reunion, anniversaries or other special events than a century-old former United Church, nestled in the middle of gorgeous central PEI? The Stanley Bridge Centre is just a few minutes walk or drive from the picturesque Stanley Bridge wharf, an oyster bar and restaurant, the Stanley Bridge Country Resort, several gift and craft stores and, of course, Cavendish and North Rustico.

The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society is offering space in the former United Church for a modest price. Call Helen McEwen at 1-902-836-3222 or Don Reid at 902-432-2485. Viewing times are flexible. Just call us and we’ll meet you there!

Share

Battle of the Atlantic ceremony held in North Rustico

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Under sunny, blue skies a ceremony honouring Canada’s participation in the longest military campaign in World War 2 was held in North Rustico, on May 5. Members of HMCS Queen Charlotte led the 2019 Battle of the Atlantic Parade.

The Battle of the Atlantic started 80 years ago in 1939 and didn’t end until the war was over six years later.

“It was a no-fail mission upon which any victory in Europe depended upon,” said Captain Alan J. Offer, Deputy Commander Naval Reserve.

Canada embarked on an astonishing ship building campaign during the war, which saw more than 400 vessels built. At war’s end the Canadian navy was the fourth largest navy in the world.

“This victory came at a high price. Our bell tolls again today for 24 Canadian warships, 62 Canadian merchant ships, as well as the human cost of almost 2,000 sailors, 1,700 merchant navy lives and over 900 Royal Canadian Airforce aircrew,” said Captain Offer.

Several Canadian ships were sunk by German submarines in the Gulf of St Lawrence, well within Canada’s inland waters.

Every effort should be made to remember those “remarkable stories” and “remarkable achievements,” said Captain Offer. There are only a few veterans left who served during those terrible years when the world’s future was balanced on a knife’s edge.

Canada’s navy personnel have always been there when they were needed, whether overseas or close to home, helping flood victims and the victims of other natural disasters. Many paid the “ultimate sacrifice” during the navy’s more than century old history, said Captain Offer.

Among the Battle of the Atlantic’s fallen sailors were many who were born and raised on PEI, including North Rustico.

Every year members of HMCS Queen Charlotte hold the annual event at different communities across PEI. They also held ceremonies in Charlottetown on the May 5 weekend.

Among the dignitaries attending the North Rustico ceremony were PEI Lt Governor Antoinette Perry, HMCS Queen Charlotte Commanding Officer Rob Alain, HMCS Queen Charlotte Lieutenant Commander Greg Davis (the ship’s padre), Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter and Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers.

[modula id=”12836″]

Share

80-year-old twins pull six trout from the Stanley River

Photos and story by Jim Brown

Not everyone was complaining about a bad start to the trout season. One day after the April 15 opening twin brothers from Ontario who grew up on PEI, Ron and Don Rayner, landed six large brook trout in Stanley Bridge. The 80-year-old anglers caught them at the bridge on the Rattenbury Road.

The two had been fishing since 6:30 am, using gudgeon as bait, and were still fishing at 3 pm when these photos were taken.

The brothers were joined by several other anglers who fished through a mix of rain, snow and heavy winds.
[modula id=”12670″]

Share

Hundreds of jobs up for grabs at North Shore Job Fair

Story and photos by Jim Brown
Jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs. That was the theme of the 2019 TIAPEI North Shore Job Fair, held April 13 at the Stanley Bridge Country Resort.
A total of 495 jobs were available at 27 businesses, with Cavendish-based Maritime Fun Group alone hoping to fill 300 positions for the busy summer season. Needless to say anyone armed with a resume and a ready smile had a good shot at landing one.
[modula id=”12652″]

Share

Stanley Bridge Centre renovations underway

Say goodbye to the porta-potty!

More than $80,000 worth of renovations are underway at the Stanley Bridge Centre, including two new washrooms, work on the front entrance, sewer and water connections and a new kitchen. Repairs to the roof are also planned. Adam Perry (in photo), owner of Big Dogs Construction in Freetown, along with his crew, began work on the site April 3. The renos should be done by the start of the farmer’s market season. The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society, the building’s operator, is in the midst of a major fundraising effort to help pay for the renos. Anyone who wants to contribute can contact Jim Brown at peijim@hotmail.com.


Photos by Jim Brown

Share

Fundraiser brings in more than $23,000 for Fyfe family

By Jim Brown

Janet Cotton, one of several volunteers involved in a fundraiser at the New London Community Complex for the Fyfe family of Stanley Bridge, was thrilled at the turnout and money raised.

“I think it was a really fantastic evening,” said Janet, of the more than $23,000 raised during the March 22 benefit.

“I’d say it exceeded expectations,” she said, estimating the number of people who attended the event at more than 300.

The $23,000 haul includes money donated to an account at the Malpeque Bay Credit Union, which is still accepting donations.

A total of 185 items were auctioned off during the evening.

An earlier Gofundme campaign raised $14,385, which was substantially more than the $10,000 target.

Alfred and Karen Fyfe, and their daughter Michelle and her fiance Kristen Rochford, were living in the nearly two century old building when it caught fire on Feb 20, and burned to the ground.

They were fortunate to escape, along with the family’s dog and a cat, but they lost nearly all of their possessions.

The historic farmhouse had been in the Fyfe family for six generations.

Donations are still being accepted, and in addition to the Malpeque Bay Credit Union, would be donors can also contact Janet Cotton at 886-2528, Bethany Cousins, 439-6723, Sandra Blackett at 886-3239 and 303-3164, Stephanie Moase, 886-2599, Nancy Sanderson, 621-1958 and Angie Matheson at 626-9902.

Share

Groundhog Day in Ottawa

Justice committee could take a while to get to bottom of SNC-Lavalin scandal
Story and photos by Jim Brown

It’s Day 334 of the House of Commons Justice Committee’s hearing into the SNC-Lavalin affair.

There’s been a federal election since the committee started its work in February, of 2019 and the Liberal majority has been reduced to a thin minority, propped up by the Green Party’s 35 seats.

On this day yet another high-level bureaucrat has demanded an appearance before the committee. An earlier witness said he observed the bureaucrat putting milk in his coffee, to which the indignant bureaucrat responded: “It’s a bald-faced lie! Everyone knows I’m lactose intolerant!”

Day 335

RCMP officials are invited to present details on the progress of their investigation into the PMO and Justin Trudeau. Trudeau was visiting PEI during the hearing and was spotted on a lobster fishing boat hauling a trap. His little finger was crushed in a three pound lobster’s claw.

Day 378 The very same day SNC-Lavalin closes its doors for good a legislative aide tells the committee he overhead Chrystia Freeland say the Tim’s donuts served at a Liberal party fundraiser were stale. Heated debate ensues.

Day 382 Three school buses disgorge more than 100 students at the hearing. They were there as part of a class project on civics. One was overhead telling a teacher, “This blows big chunks.”

Day 392

A White House staffer was in the visitor’s gallery. The staffer was on a fact-finding mission to Ottawa and was due to report back to the GOP conference the next day. “I don’t get it,” said the aide. “Where’s the million dollar payoff? Was anyone even groped?”

Date 398 Green Party Leader Elizabeth May testifies. She apologizes for not preparing for her appearance, having believed it was an emergency meeting on safety measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale.

Day 412 Justice committee members vote to take the show on the road, scheduling sessions for Thunder Bay, O’Leary, PEI, a legion in Calgary and the Hooters in Ottawa.

Day 433 Justice committee discovers it has blown through its budget. No more Tims.

Day 455 The backlog of witnesses wanting to speak at the hearings has reached several hundred. Here’s how a frustrated committee member described the situation: “Someone says something that’s at odds with an earlier witness so a nose is going to get out of joint. So he or she is going to want to rebut the witness’s testimony, and then someone else will feel wronged in the process. Or maybe Andrew Scheer thinks something is still being covered up so the committee will call more witnesses and the cycle will continue like one of those Groundhog Day loops.”

The committee member says this will continue until everyone is exhausted or there’s another election. “It’s the Canadian way and a lot cheaper than throwing people in jail.”

Day 456 “I can’t take it anymore! Make it stop,” is the anguished cry from an unnamed committee member, that somehow gets on CBC Radio.

Day 457 Andrew Scheer says the government is determined to cover up one of Canada’s biggest political scandals. He wants the witness list expanded.

Several members phone in sick and the justice committee adjourns for an indefinite period.

Share

Fyfe family rebuilding after devastating fire

By Jim Brown

For decades they were surrounded by history but in just a few minutes it had all turned to ashes. A nearly 200-year-old farmhouse, built 40 years before Confederation, was reduced to a smoldering firepit.

This is all that is left of the Fyfe family’s 190-year-old farmhouse.

The historic home prior to the fire.


The Fyfe family lost nearly everything in the Feb 20 blaze. They may have felt alone in the immediate aftermath, but they soon learned they had an entire community standing with them during the difficult rebuilding process.

Alfred Fyfe, his wife Karen, their daughter Michelle Fyfe and her fiancé Kristen Rochford didn’t have to wait long to find shelter. A good-hearted neighbor, Leslie MacKay, invited the family to stay as long as they wished at his farmhouse.

“We’re just overwhelmed by the support and the affection we’ve received from the community,” said Karen.

“It really is humbling to know there are so many people like this in our community.”

Friends and supporters organized a benefit for the Fyfe family for Friday, March 22 (snow date March 23) at the New London Community Complex. The Fyfe family benefit, featuring items for auction, a 50/50 draw and a cash bar, will start at 7 pm, with the doors opening at 6. Monetary donations will be accepted at the Malpeque Bay Credit Union.

A GoFundMe campaign is trending and by March 6 had already exceeded the campaign’s $10,000 target, with close to $14,500 raised for the Fyfe family in just three weeks. One of the benefit’s organizers, Sandra Blackett, said more than a hundred items had been donated so far, which included overnight stays at hotels in Summerside and Charlottetown.

“We’ve got people everywhere who are helping out,” she said.

Karen Fyfe said the family farm hasn’t missed a beat since the fire, with her daughter, her husband and her daughter’s fiancé all carrying the load.

There are 35 “momma” cows on the property and several have given birth since Christmas Eve Day and the birthing season will continue into April and May, said Karen.

All considered, things could have been much worse. The fire could have spread to a nearby barn and threatened livestock, she said.

“That barn could have been gone, Alfred’s workshop could have been gone,” said Karen.

The family is still counting their blessings everyone escaped without injury. The family dog and cat are alright, as well as three pet ducks and several laying hens.

The family has insurance and will be able to build another farmhouse, but it won’t be nearly as big as the 3,000-sq foot historic building that had been on the property since the late 1820s and had been in the Fyfe family for six generations.

“It was built and lived in before Canada became a country,” said Karen, wistfully.

“It’s a huge loss…the history and the craftsmanship,” said Karen of the home where five children had been raised and she had lived since 1981.

Anyone wishing to donate items to the Fyfe family benefit can call the following numbers: Janet Cotton, 886-2528, Bethany Cousins, 439-6723, Sandra Blackett at 886-3239 and 303-3164, Stephanie Moase, 886-2599, Nancy Sanderson, 621-1958 and Angie Matheson at 626-9902.

DSC_0010 (2).JPG

Share

Strange crop for this time of the year along Highway 6, near Margate

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Motorists travelling this stretch of Highway 6 on March 1, near Margate, saw something unusual on the road’s shoulders and in streaks in the middle of the pavement – thousands of tightly-packed kernels of corn. Provincial officials did not return phone calls by 5 pm of that date to explain the presence of large quantities of this crop, but an internet search unearthed stories in other parts of North America of corn replacing road salt for melting ice. The corn helped reduce the environmental damage caused by large quantities of salt washed into nearby watercourses and absorbed into vegetation. It is not known whether the corn was dumped by accident or deliberately.
Click on an image below to enter Lightbox
[modula id=”12000″]

Share

Black History Month celebrated at Kensington library with drums and traditional dance

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Mufaro Chakabuda, left with Kat Carroll during a drumming session.

Mufaro Chakabuda, who was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, was a special guest at the Kensington Heritage Library on Feb 23, during Black History Month on PEI. She gave a compelling presentation on her native country and the 54 nations that make up the continent of Africa.

The presentation also featured traditional drumming and dancing, with everyone getting to their feet to join her in ceremonial dances.
She said Africa’s largest nation by population is Nigeria, with 150 million people.

Mufaro went on to say Ethiopian Airlines is the largest airline in Africa and is bigger than Air Canada and British Airways.
There are literally thousands of different tribes in Africa, with each tribe having its own language and culture.

In many ways African nations are ahead of the developed world. There is much more to Africa than the grim stories that routinely make news headlines.
Rwanda, for instance, leads every other nation on earth in an important environmental initiative.

“They are the first country in the world to introduce a no-plastic policy,” she said.

Anyone with plastic items in their possession, even a toothbrush, can be charged with a criminal offence.

Mufaro, who arrived in Canada at the age of 19 to study at Dalhousie University, went on to found the Maritime Centre for African Dance with just $20. She also founded a publishing house and a charity for scholarships directed towards Zimbabweans.

Mufaro Chakabuda shares a lighter moment with Kensington youngster Zoe Carroll.

Zoe Carroll, after a miscue or two quickly picked up the beat of Mufaro’s drumming.

She has won numerous national and regional awards for her entrepreneurial accomplishments and her community leadership.
Mufaro divides her time between her work in Canada and her native Zimbabwe.

She said she hoped her presentation, in addition to entertaining people, would leave everyone with a “realistic picture of the continent.”

Share