Prime Berth in Twillingate

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 35 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #85. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Before reaching St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, from Western Newfoundland, I passed through many small fishing communities and headed north to the town of Twillingate, located on the Twillingate Islands on the north east coast of Newfoundland.

Twillingate gets its name from the French word “Toulinquet,” given to the islands by French fishermen, who compared it to a group of islands off the French coast near Brest also called Toulinquet. Twillingate is known for icebergs, whales, ocean experiences and outdoor adventures. It was a historic fishing community (since the 1500s), but because of the decline of the fishing industry, its economy now relies more on tourism.

One of the attractions in Twillingate is the Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre. It is a private interpretive fishing center and craft studio created by David Boyd, with the support of his wife Christine, as a tribute to his fisher forefathers. Captain Dave also runs boat tours for iceberg viewing and whale watching.

Prime Berth refers to the age old practice of each spring holding a draw, or lottery of sorts, to determine the place, or “berth” where fishermen would set their cod traps during the coming summer. Everyone hoped and prayed that they would be lucky enough to draw the best spot, or “Prime Berth”, as it was called. In David’s case this was personal and special as all the fishermen gathered in his father’s kitchen each May for the annual cod trap draw. In honour of this tradition, and as a tribute to proud people so dear to his heart, David decided to call his heritage centre – “Prime Berth”- meaning literally -“the best spot!”

Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre

The following two slideshows highlight some of the displays that I found interesting at Prime Berth. Click on the arrows or swipe to move through the slides.

Buildings and Doors

These brightly painted buildings house fishing artifacts and tools. There are hundreds of items on display in the buildings and on or above the doors. The last picture shows the jaw bone of a fin whale found at Trinity Bay in the 1950s.

Murals

These murals depict life in a fishing community. Look closely to see fish, icebergs, whales, seabirds, boats, clapboard homes, fishermen and women, the ocean and the rocky coastline. The island of Newfoundland is nicknamed “The Rock” because of its rocky terrain and high cliffs.

I hope to take you on an easy walk in a charming and historic town next week.

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, PPAC#62, #SundayStills.

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Life and Fish-Themed Art

Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope all is well with you. Come on in to my blog space so we can share a coffee or tea and catch up since we last chatted about life with flower plants.

The weather continued to be nice here in the second week of June, with plenty of sunshine, clear blue skies, and even a touch of high heat and humidity. On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 9 and 10, it felt like 32C (100F). The rest of the week was pleasant with high temperatures ranged from 17C to 25C (63F to 77F).

Floating docks on a beautiful sunny day.
Floating docks on a beautiful sunny day.

Sisters’ Coffee Chat

If we were having coffee, I’d share that the first highlight of my week was meeting my sister. While we’ve been in touch by phone, text and virtual meetings, this was our first in-person meeting since March in “COVID-19 caution” style.

We sat outdoors under a tree by the lake front and had a nice chat while sipping hot coffee from our individual thermos and staying two meters apart the whole time. The day was perfect, sunny with a light breeze. It prompted us to talk about our summer plans. We’ll likely spend time exploring parks and conservation areas close to home.

Calm lake on a sunny day.
Calm lake on a sunny day.

Fish-Themed Art

The second highlight of my week was a photo hunt for fish-themed sculptures. To start my imaginary fishing expedition, I looked for a canoe, like the Red Canoe, designed by Douglas Coupland. This canoe is large enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner Expressway to Lake Ontario.

Red Canoe designed by Douglas Coupland.
Red Canoe designed by Douglas Coupland.

As I started canoeing, a colourful group of large fishing bobbers, also designed by Douglas Coupland, appeared. The lake water level was high and the water was so clear, I could see the reeds swaying under the canoe. We should see schools of fish soon.

Fishing bobbers designed by Douglas Coupland.
Fishing bobbers designed by Douglas Coupland.

I spotted the Salmon Run, designed by artist Susan Schelle. This 1991 sculpture fountain depicts schools of salmon in silhouette swimming upstream through a barrier of reeds and jumping over the steps of the fountain. The fountain is a combination of both black and green granite as well as bronze. When the fountain is on, it’s a powerful sight.

Salmon Run sculpture fountain (1991) by Susan Schelle.
Salmon Run sculpture fountain (1991) by Susan Schelle.

A bit further along, a school of forty-two bronze fish sculptures designed by local artist Stephen Radmacher ran west along Queens Quay from the foot of York Street. This public art installation on the sidewalk is well known and much loved by locals.  

Four of forty-two bronze fish sculptures by Stephen Radmacher.
Four of forty-two bronze fish sculptures by Stephen Radmacher.

During the Toronto’s waterfront revitalization project, the fish were removed in May 2013 and sent back to Radmacher. He straightened and cleaned them. He also added new stainless steel rods to anchor the fish into the concrete base below the promenade.

Fish sculpture.

The fish were photographed, measured from nose to tail, and labelled so that each one could be returned to its exact location along the new granite promenade in September 2015. If you look closely, the artist’s initials SR are on the fish front gills.

Fish sculpture by Stephen Radmacher.
Fish sculpture by Stephen Radmacher.
Fish sculpture by Stephen Radmacher.

In case you wonder, here’s a list of Toronto’s Waterfront fish that are safe to eat. I saw a few big (real) fish in the harbour this week. They looked like northern pike and bass.

Toronto's Waterfront Fish that are safe to eat.

Ducklings

The third highlight of my week was to see a mother duck and her eight ducklings. I saw them twice on two different days. The first time, the ducklings stayed very close to their mama. I could tell they were not confident on their own yet. It was cute to see the last fuzzy duckling hurried to catch up with its mama and siblings. The second time, the ducklings were already able to swim very fast and confidently away from their mama.

Mother duck and four ducklings.
Mother duck and four of her eight ducklings. The other four were further away.

All in all, I had a good week with lots of sunshine, a nice meeting with my sister, a fun imaginary fishing expedition, and first sightings of little ducklings this season. These simple pleasures made me smile.

How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

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