Today our intrepid explorers visited the north side of the Gaspe peninsula, and the villages of Riviere-au-Renard, Anse-au-Griffon, Cape-des-Rosiers, Cap-Bon-Ami, Grande-Grave, Saint-Majoriquie, and Pointe-Navarre.
Our first stop was Rivere-au-Renard, a small cod fishing village along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There we saw the fish shed for the Hymen Fishing Company, one of a few companies with installations in the town. The shed was used for packing salt cod into barrels.
Here you can see where a barrel was used to repair the floor. Photo by Zach Violette
The fish shed of the Hymen Fishing Company, photo by Gretchen Pineo
Next we went to Anse-au-Griffon, another small cod fishing town. There we saw the Manoir LeBoutillier and the Maison Boulay. The Manoir LeBoutiller was home to the owner of a cod fishing company, built in the mid 19th century and is now a historic house museum. The Maison Boulay was home to four generations of the Boulay house, which is now owned by La Maison aux Lilas de L’Anse, a non-profit agency, hoping to preserve the house and establish community gardening and the promotion of the natural environment.
Manoir LeBoutiller, a mid-19th century upper middle class home, photo by Gretchen Pineo
Detail of the windows at Manoir LeBouillier, photo by Ian Stevenson.
In the basement of Manoir LeBouiller we saw the base of the chimney stack, which had a door at the base to aid in cleaning out ash.
door in the chimney stack for cleaning out ash, photo by Gretchen Pineo
The Maison Boulay (Boulay House) sits behind the Manoir LeBouillard, and was built between 1870 and 1880.
The Boulay House (Maison Boulay), photo by Gretchen Pineo
The circulation of heat is always an issue, and the Maison Boulay solves it in an ingenious way: behind where the cast iron stove sat is a pair of small doors leading to each of the two rooms off of the main sitting room. These doors could be opened or closed to regulate the flow of heat into each auxiliary room.
One of the doors to regulate the heat in Maison Boulay, photo by Ian Stevenson.
The kitchen in Maison Boulay, photo by Zach Violette.
Next we went to Cap-Bon-Ami, which is part of Forillion National Park, where we were able to get a good view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The establishment of the park was somewhat contentious from what we have gathered, with property being appropriated by the government and houses moved to the outskirts of the park.
A view in Forillion National Park, photo by Gretchen Pineo
After Cap-Bon-Ami, we backtracked to Cap-des-Rosiers, where we had lunch and got to see a beautiful church that looked to us like the hull of a ship.
Interior of the parish church at Cap-des-Rosiers, photo by Ian Stevenson
The cemetery posed some interesting questions for us (perhaps our readers who are interested/knowledgeable in religious iconography in cemeteries can help!): There were some headstones carved with crosses that had what looked like the stubs from cut off branches embedded in the cross, with either four, five, or nine stubs. We did determine that a pair of headstones for a husband and wife had the same number of stubs, but we still do not know what they symbolize. If you have an idea, leave us a comment!
Headstone with nine branch stubs (?) in the cemetery at Cap-des-Rosier, photo by Gretchen Pineo
After lunch we traveled back through part of Forillion National Park and visited the remnants of the village of Grande-Grave. The buildings located there are original to the site, and were preserved by Parks Canada when they appropriated the land for the national park. Some of the buildings are open to the public and have interpretive text and exhibits inside. We were able to see the Dolbel-Roberts house, the Bartlett House, Gavey House, Magasin Hymen, and the Blanchette property. Inside the houses were some interesting architectural details that got us asking questions: in the Bartlett house, we saw applied mantles, that is, mantles attached to the wall without an associated hearth, which were closed off. In the Gavey house, the mantles were open, and after speaking with Tania Martin, one of the fantastic organizers of the conference, we determined that the open mantles were used for heat circulation, much as the doors in the Maison Boulay were used, but with an applied mantle indicating conspicuous consumption. Which makes perfect sense: the Bartlett House was home to one of the managers of the Fruing company, one of the local cod companies. Part of our group, Karen and Kathleen, went to see the Blanchette farmstead, where there was a recreation of the mantle ‘set-up’ – a cast iron stove in front of an open mantle.
Dolbel-Roberts House, photo by Gretchen Pineo
The Bartlett House, photo by Gretchen Pineo
An applied mantle in the Bartlett House. Notice the space for the flue in the ceiling. Photo by Gretchen Pineo
Looking towards the Joseph Gavey house from the Bartlett House, photo by Gretchen Pineo
Open mantle in one of the Gavey houses, photo by Gretchen Pineo
The Gavey house also helped us answer question about some external flues with smaller pipe diameters than we expected in the Bartlett house – it turns out that they were probably for ventilating composting toilets!
A bathroom in the Bartlett House, photo by Zach Violette
The Magasin Hymen, the Hymen Company Store, has a recreated interior to make it look like it did in the 1920s. Behind it is a storage building, which had an exhibit on cod fishing, and graffiti on the walls that was put there by the men who passed through the building to work in the early part of the 20th century (though I’m not quite sure what the graffiti was meant to indicate – whether it was simply to mark that the individuals had passed a season drying cod, or something else!)
The text reads: P.S. Horton arrived here, May 24, 1907. We don’t know how long he stayed though, or what he did, based solely on the graffiti…photo by Gretchen Pineo
Our second to last stop of the day was in Saint-Majorique, where we saw the church and parsonage. The parsonage, or presbytery, was built in 1907 and is now a bed and breakfast. The Mansard roof was popular in the late 19th century, and even earlier in the United States, giving us an idea of how long it took certain architectural ideas to travel through space.
Saint-Majorique presbytery, now a bed and breakfast. Photo by Zach Violette
The church at Saint-Majorique, photo by Gretchen Pineo
Our last stop of the day was in Pointe-Navarre, where we visited a church, the Mi’gmaq cultural center and historic village, and had a wonderful dinner served by members of the local Mi’gmaq council.
Left side of the church, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, in Pointe-Navarre, photo by Gretchen Pineo
The crypt of Father Watier – you can say a prayer and light a candle, and ask Father Watier to grant your wish. Photo by Gretchen Pineo
The outdoor sanctuary, where there was space enough for everyone who wanted to worship to do so. The site is still used today by visitors. Photo by Gretchen Pineo
One of the birch bark structures in the Mi’gmaq historic village, photo by Gretchen Pineo
Thank you to all of our wonderful hosts! We’ll see you tomorrow for the South tour, where we’ll head towards Perce!