Odds & Ends


Restaurants have "washrooms" not "restrooms"

Water out of the cold water tap is really cold! Feels like just a few minutes upstream the water had been snow and ice.

Drinking straws everywhere are one-half the diameter of US straws

We were puzzled as to why bags of garbage placed by the roadside were frequently covered with sheets or blankets. Finally we learned that it was to keep crows and, along the coast, gulls from tearing into the garbage bags. Many homes used special horizontal cylindrical bins made of wooden slats to hold the garbage bags.

Most mailboxes were removable, presumably to protect them from snowplows in winter.

Scenic stopping points are "Look-offs," instead of "Overlooks"

Many homes, seacoast and rural, were simple boxes, the kind of house a child would draw; usually painted white and with black roofs.

Lots of daylight. Stars appear around 11 p.m., and the sky begins to brighten around 4 a.m.; you can almost feel the earth's tilt as the sun slides around not far below the horizon during night.

Politics are about the same as here, divided almost equally between liberals and conservatives. They're split on the same issues: gun control, abortion, gay marriages, medicare.

Quite a few homes fly the Canadian flag and the provincial flags. In Acadian country we saw lots of Acadian flags (French tricolor with a lone star in the blue bar). The Acadians are scattered in pockets throughout NB and NS, so I suppose its not practical for them to lobby for a separate nation, like the French do in Quebec.


kilometer = KILL-o-ME-ter, not kil-LOM-e-ter
Baddeck = bah-DECK, not BAD-eck
Miramichi = MIR-a-mi-SHE, not MIR-a-mi-KEY, nor MIR-a-MIC-ky
Bras d'Or (Lake) = bra-DOOR, not BRASS-dee-ORE
Antigonish = an-ti-go-NISH, not an-TIG-o-nish (said fast it sounds like an-a-ga-NISH)
Kouchibouguac (a national park in NB) = COO-she-boe-GWAK
Pictou = PICT-toe, not PICT-too (an Indian name, not related to the ancient Picts in Scotland)

History Note

The first powered aeroplane flight in the British Empire (Feb. 28, 1909) was made at Baddeck, NS, on the frozen Bras d'Or Lakes. The plane was piloted by John A. D. McCurdy (from Baddeck). My great-great- grandmother was a McCurdy (not from Canada, though). Wonder if John was a distant cousin? The flight team was led by Alexander G. Bell and his wife. Glen Curtis, an American, was also on the team.

Poems of Scottish Longing

In dreams I saw the village
Where my sad heart longed to be--
Where the waters of Iona rippled
Down to the deep, blue sea.

-- Lillian Crewe Walsh

Where the trees of Cape Mabou are kissed by the sky.
They wander, yes, wander, they wonder why.
In their fashion they sing of my passion,
For their home is my home--why should I roam?

The sun-setting sky that glitters the deep
Warms and comforts the grazing sheep.
The bell from the Chapel is beckoning me,
Gathering past times down by the salt sea.

-- Annie Mae MacPherson-Skinner


Listen to me, as when ye heard our father
Sing long ago the song of other shores --
Listen to me, and then in chorus gather
All your deep voices, as ye pull your oars.

Chorus: Fair these broad meads -- these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas --
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.


We ne'er shall tread the fancy-haunted valley,
Where 'tween the dark hills creeps the small clear stream,
In arms around the patriarch banner rally,
Nor see the moon on royal tombstones gleam.


When the bold kindred, in the time long vanish'd
Conquer'd the soil and fortified the keep --
No seer foretold the children would be banish'd,
That a degenerate lord might boast his sheep.


Come foreign rage -- let Discord burst in slaughter!
O then for clansmen true, and stern claymore* --
The hearts that would have given their blood like water,
Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar.


-- Anon. (sometimes attributed to Walter Scott or John Galt)
Published for the first time in "Blackwood's Magazine," September 1829

* Claymore = a large, double-edged broadsword; formerly used by Scottish Highlanders