Work has been busy and it has been some time since I’ve been able to write a new story! This Canadian story is about some people I met on my journey through Canada in 2018. I asked them to tell me a bit about why they decided to visit Canada from France and their experience here.
I met Jean-Michel and his wife Catherine on my first night in New Brunswick. I arrived in Campbellton, New Brunswick around suppertime that evening and had booked into McKenzie House for the night. At breakfast the next morning, I met some of the other occupants of this lovely B&B. Fortunately for me, Jean-Michel’s English was much better than my French and we were able to have a little conversation over breakfast. I recently contacted Jean-Michele and his wife to have a little story to tell you here.
Hailing from Royan on the west coast of France, Jean-Michele had the following responses to my questions about their visit to Canada and graciously shared his photographs with me for this story.
All photos are courtesy of Jean-Michel and are not to be produced without permission.
Q: Why did you choose to travel to Canada?
A: I chose to travel to Canada to see wildlife, specifically to see whales!
Q: Who were you travelling with?
A: I travelled to Canada with my wife and met our daughter and her husband when we arrived in Canada.
Q: What cities, towns, provinces did you visit while in Canada?
A: We visited a lot of cities – mainly Quebec. Then we travelled to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We went as far out as Brier Island in Nova Scotia and travelled back to Quebec via Halifax, Shediac and Fredericton.
Q: What places or sites did you visit while you were here?
A: We visited some national parks: Kouchibouguac, Fundy, Grand Manan Island, and Kejimkujik. Fundy was impressive! We also visited the Balancing Rock at Bier and enjoyed the New France Festival.
Q: Were there experiences, places or people that were especially memorable?
A: The most memorable experience was the trip to see the whales on Brier Island. We had a very nice time with the whales!
Q: What was your impression of the Canadian people?
A: Canadian people are very nice and kind!
Thank you, Jean-Michel, for sharing your Canadian experience with me! While we visited some of the same places, you have introduced me to new ones in my own country by telling your story.
Since the motorbikes are parked at home during the current pandemic, I thought it would be interesting to continue to explore Canada through research. Who knows - it might inspire a completely different Canadian journey to plan!
I would love to hear your ideas of stories you would like me to cover. Or, comb the archives of your family and memories and tell me YOUR interesting stories of Canadian people, places and events for me to report on (with credit to you, of course). You can email your content to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with any pictures. Please note that any pictures sent assume consent to post publicly on this blog. If anyone in the photo(s) does not want their picture shared, please don't send it.
The first blog is a story from the Parks Canada archives called This Week in History, with additional information from Wikipedia. It's a story I've never heard before!
During the time of prohibition, many rum-runners were smuggling alcohol into the US through southern Ontario, Nova Scotia and the French islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland. For 9 years, the ship I'm Alone, which was registered in Nova Scotia, had been smuggling alcohol into the US between Belize and Louisiana. At the time, Belize was British Honduras.
In 1929, the US Coast Guard shelled and sank the I'm Alone after the crew refused orders to stop. All but one of the crew members were rescued, arrested, and jailed.
The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Canada and the US over whether the US Coast Guard had a right to pursue and sink the ship, since it was sailing far beyond the US coast. The US defended their actions by citing a treaty between Britain and the US that US authorities could board British vessels within an hour's distance from the coast if they were suspected of rum-running. Eventually, the dispute was resolved by the Joint Commission, ruling that the US Coast Guard had violated international law and the US government was required to pay damages. Ironically, according to Wikipedia, the owners of I'm Alone were American, and the US paid a much lower fine than the amount originally demanded by the Canadian government. The Captain of I'm Alone, John "Jack" Randell, and the widow of the crew member that died, were compensated upon resolution of the dispute.
Charles Vincent Massey, who was the ambassador to the US at the time, subsequently continued to serve in a variety of prominent public office positions, including Governor General of Canada.
Photo credits to: Wikipedia and Newfoundland Shipwrecks website