‘Raspberry Treat’, an all-night party

Archival Moment

August 22, 1898

Raspberry Recipes, 1890's.

Raspberry Recipes, 1890’s.

You would think if you listened to the critics of the late night hours on George Street, St. John’s, that it was today’s youth who invented the concept of partying throughout the night.  Partying from dusk to dawn is nothing new to the city.

In August 1898, residents of the town found every excuse to have a party, including bringing friends and colleagues together for a ‘raspberry treat.’

On Saturday, August 20, 1898 friends gathered for a ‘raspberry treat’ at Dillon’s Cottage, Freshwater. The concept of a ‘raspberry treat’ was quite simple.  The local St. John’s newspaper, The Evening Telegram reported:

“Various games were enjoyed until 10.00 o’clock when all sat down and did justice to the raspberries and cream and other delicacies so plentifully provided. Songs were then given by a number of ladies and gentlemen of the company.”

There was a tradition in Newfoundland that the first raspberries were never picked before August 15 also known as Lady Day in Newfoundland.

The report in the local paper went on to say:

Dancing formed the next part of the programme, and was kept up till daylight, when a vote of thanks was tendered to Mrs. Miller and the ladies. Before leaving for town, (St. John’s) refreshments were served, and after singing “Auld Lang Syne” the party dispersed.”

In 1898, Dillon’s Cottage, Freshwater would have been one of approximately 20 homes that were once common in the Freshwater Valley area, the area that we now know best as Mount Scio and Oxen Pond. Freshwater would be the area that is now the home of the Botanical Garden and Timble Cottage on Nagle’ Hill.

Freshwater Valley was settled primarily by Irish immigrant farmers who produced food for local consumption, particularly for St. John’s and the surrounding area. The Irish pioneers developed a farming way of life that proved prosperous from the late 1700s into the twentieth century.

Newfoundland is perfect for growing raspberries, which prefer a cooler environment. Raspberries are said to be loaded with antioxidants that help fight symptoms of aging in the body.  Mi’kmaq tradition suggests raspberries help treat diarrhea and boiling the berries and leaves produce a stimulant that helps cure mouth sores.

Why not plan an all-night raspberry treat’ Invite me along!!

Recommended Archival Collection: Search the online database for descriptions of archival records at the Rooms and  view thousands of digital photographs. Click the image to begin your search.  https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Reading: Farming the Rock: The Evolution of Commercial
Agriculture around St. John’s, Newfoundland, to 1945.  by Robert MacKinnon.  Acadiensis,  Vol. XX, No. 2 Spring, 1991.

Newfoundland architecture: From the Octagon Castle to the Fogo Island Inn

Archival Moment

August 18, 1898

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. E 19 - 31. Octagon Castle, Topsaiil.

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. E 19 – 31. Octagon Castle, Topsail.

The world press  has in recent years been  fascinated by the construction and opening of the Fogo Island Inn, a milestone in the work of The Shorefast Foundation and its founder, visionary Zita Cobb. Following a successful career in the high technology industry, Cobb returned to Fogo Island, her birthplace, to invest millions.

In August 1898, the world press was fascinated by the Octagon Castle, Topsail.

Travel writers have throughout history made their way to Newfoundland and Labrador to comment on this place, governments over the years have been actively courting travel writers as part of their tourism strategy.

In 1898 there was much excitement with the news that J.C. Baker, the Art Editor of “The World”, was in travelling in Newfoundland and he was keen to write about this place.  In particular Baker was fascinated by Octagon Castle and its owner Professor Charles Danielle.

Baker wrote to Danielle to ask that he:

“Send me details on how and why you took up your life on the borders of that delightful lake, (Rocky Pond, Topsail) in the solitude of the wilderness; I think it would make an interesting article …”

“The World”  was at the time the most successful of the New York newspapers. In 1898 it was under the direction of Joseph Pulitzer who was in an aggressive era of circulation building. In 1896, the World began using a four-color printing press; it was the first newspaper to launch a color supplement.

Professor Danielle was excited about the possibility, J.C. Baker was requesting:

“Photos of yourself at present, and some of the old ones in costume, together with photos of Octagon castle exterior and interior?”

The local press, the Evening Telegram  was reporting:

“When a journal like the New York World, with a circulation of over 700,000, thinks it’s worthwhile to illustrate and publish the Professor’s enterprise, the latter must surely be a live man, and the Octagon, a most remarkable place…”

It was indeed a remarkable place.

Professor Danielle had previous to the Octagon Castle been best known for another building that he constructed the Oriental Palace, built on the north bank of Quidi Vidi in 1893. Although he named it the Royal Pavilion, in newspaper advertisement he described it as the “Magnificent Oriental Palace.” Its interior was decorated in oriental style.  Its ballroom accommodated 1,500 people; the kitchen had four large ranges and as his advertising said.

“The attendants will be attired in oriental costumes and in harmony with the general surroundings — that none but Danielle’s has ever yet gladdened the eyes of Newfoundland with.”

It appears that Professor Danielle had a difficult relationship with his landlord (Mr. Joe Ross) at Quidi Vidi and in a fit of anger disassembled the Palace, board by board and had it carted to Rocky Pond, now called Octagon Pond.  There, he reassembled the palace in octagon style and named it Octagon Castle. The castle was envisioned as a restaurant and resort. The main building was a true octagon shape, with eight sides. It was four stories in height, covered 3,750 square feet of land and enclosed 10, 880 square feet of floor space.

Octagon Castle soon became a popular resort for the pleasure-loving public of St John’s. Societies and clubs held their picnics there, and on holidays hundreds of excursionists flocked to the castle to enjoy the boating and other amenities. Once a year Danielle provided a day’s outing for orphans from the city. To publicize the place he issued pamphlets describing its attractions and even included a list of “don’ts” to prospective clients.

“Don’t bring flasks in your pockets; the Professor keeps Strang’s, Bennett’s, and Gaden’s best. . . . Don’t bring any growlers with you; they keep me awake nights. . . . I want to implore patrons again not to bring flasks and bottles with them, and break them around the grounds. I have buried broken bottles until I can’t get a whole angle worm to catch a trout, they are all cut up in bits.”

Many stories have grown up around the proprietor of the Octagon Castle. One describes him lamenting the state of his health early in May 1901 and predicting that in a year he would “be no more.” Exactly a year later he died.

Octagon Castle was destroyed by fire in 1915.

New – Old Word: Growler, a container (as a can or pitcher) for beer bought by the measure.

Recommended Archival Collection: Search the online database for descriptions of archival records at the Rooms and  view thousands of digital photographs. Click the image to begin your search.  https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Reading:  Dictionary of Canadian Biography: http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=6657&terms=created

Recommended corner of the World:   Find yourself in one of the four corners of the earth: http://www.fogoislandinn.ca/

Weather causes theological conundrum

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

August 15, 1896

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: E 6-7 Two women making hay at Ross’s Farm, Quidi Vidi.

The weather in August of 1896 was so bad that it stirred a “theological” conundrum.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, August 15 is better known as Lady Day.  On the Christian calendar it is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. On the calendar of the Catholic Church, this day is considered a Holy Day of Obligation, encouraging the faithful attend Mass and abstain from working.

In August 1896 for the many farmers the weather was challenging.  The hay had been cut which was followed by weeks of rain, drizzle and fog.  The hay was the staple diet for an estimated 120, 000 horses, cattle and sheep in the colony. The farmers feared that the hay would be spoiled if it was soon not turned.

When the sun rose on August 15 it looked to be the perfect day for turning the hay, one of the few that  the farmers had seen that August. The farmers had choice stand by their faith or their work?

There were great sighs of relief in the churches on the morning of August 15 as the priests of the diocese went into there pulpits proclaiming a dispensation allowing the farmers to work at turning the hay on this holy day.

The priests read the notice from the bishop that read:

“Owing to the unfavorable weather of the past weeks any persons who have hay cut and in danger of being spoiled may turn it out today”  (Source: Basilica Parish, Book of Publications , August 15, 1896.

Recommended Archives: Search the online database at The Rooms Archives  for descriptions of our archival records and to view thousands of digital photographs. Click the image to begin your search: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections#sthash.gNPievth.dpuf

Recommended Reading: Cows Don’t Know It’s Sunday – Agricultural Life in St. John’s by Hilda Chaulk Murray [A study of both the work life and social life of the farmers of St. John’s this book is a tribute to the farming families who were the mainstay of the city during the first half of the twentieth century]

 

Basilica of St. John the Baptist declared a National Historic Site.

Archival Moment

August 10, 1984

Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1841

The Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s is the symbol of Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland. The structure is a testament to the faith and determination of the Irish-Catholic population of the province.

The project began under the leadership of Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, who went through great pains to secure a grant of land to build the cathedral. After making five trips to England, Fleming acquired nine acres of land on which to build the church and related buildings. Work commenced with the fencing of the land in 1838, and on the May 21, 1841 the cornerstone was laid.

Sixteen years elapsed from the time excavation work began in 1839 until the cathedral was consecrated in 1855.

On August 10, 1984 the Basilica was designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Recommended Archival Collection: Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s. http://rcsj.org/archives-research

Recommended Museum: The Basilica Cathedral Museum and Library has one of the largest collections of church related artifacts in the country and is home to one of the oldest collections of books in the province.  Tours are available during the summer season.

Recommended Reading: Fire Upon the Earth, the Life and Times of Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, O.S.F. by J.B. Darcy, Creative Publishers, St. John’s, 2003.

Recommended Website:  From Cornerstone to Consecration:  http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/basilique-basilica/en/index.html

List of National Historic Sites in Newfoundland and Labrador: http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/placestogo/nationalhistoricsites

 

 

 

The first letter from North America

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

August 3, 1527

The first letter from North America

Between 1857 and 1949 Newfoundland issued her own stamps. In all more than 300 different stamps were printed,.

Between 1857 and 1949 Newfoundland issued her own stamps. In all more than 300 different stamps were printed,.

It was at St. John’s, Newfoundland on 3 August 1527 that the first known letter was sent from North America. While in St. John’s, John Rut had written a letter to King Henry VIII on his findings and his planned voyage. The letter in part reads as follows:

Pleasing your Honourable Grace to heare of your servant John Rut with all his company here in good health thanks be to God.

The conclusion of the letter reads:

 “…the third day of August we entered into a good harbour called St. John and there we found Eleuen Saile of Normans and one Brittaine and two Portugal barks all a fishing and so we are ready to depart towards Cap de Bras that is 25 leagues ….  In the Haven of St. John the third day of August written in hast 1527, by your servant John Rut to his uttermost of his power.”

John Rut  was chosen by Henry VIII to command an expedition to America in  1527. With the ships Mary Guildford and the Samson, his goal was to find a passage to Asia around or through North America and to engage in trade when he had done so.

Henry VIII may have been a bit distracted when he got the letter, he was in the process of quietly trying to annul the marriage to his first wife  Catherine of Aragon.

Recommended Activity: Letters are fascinating and are the foundation of many family and community histories.  Take some time to look at some of the old letters that might be found in your home.  The ‘art” of writing a letter is quickly disappearing as we move to e mail and other social media as the main way to communicate.  Search the Archives: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Reading: Biography of John Rut:  http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=247&terms=de

 

St. John’s “frolicked” at the Regatta while the Empire was going to War.

Archival Moment

August 6, 1914

The Royal St. John's Regatta

The Royal St. John’s Regatta

The Annual St. John’s Regatta, now known as the Royal St. John’s Regatta, this year celebrates its 198th running at Quidi Vidi Lake. One hundred years ago, on August 5, 1914 the local newspapers reported that the event was “attended by the usual large gatherings’ but there were some who were not amused that the Regatta was going ahead as usual.

 

The Evening Telegram, the St. John’s daily newspaper reported:

“Though the energies of the Regatta Committee did not flag, there seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the spectators, part of which may be attributed to the war and part to the absence of the brigade, press and football races, which had been such an attracted in recent years.”

In Newfoundland just three days previous to the running of the Regatta (August 2, 1914) the rumors and talk of war had become a reality; the reservists of Royal Naval Reserve were called for active duty. Posters were placed throughout St. John’s notifying Newfoundland reservists to report to the Calypso as quickly as possible. Another vessel, the S.S. Kyle was dispatched to pick up reservists in various outport locations on the way south from the Labrador fishery. Notification was made to outport Magistrates that reservists are to report immediately to St. John’s. Some reservists had to walk fifty or sixty miles to the nearest steamer or railway station to catch their ride to St. John’s.

The evening before the Regatta at exactly 9:25 p.m., August 4, 1914, Newfoundland Time, a telegram was received by Governor Davidson at Government House in St. John’s, advising him that Great Britain had declared war on Germany, and that Newfoundland was thus at war.

Travelling with the naval reservists, trying to make their way into St. John’s to report for duty on the training vessell  S.S. Calypso,  were hundreds of men and women, travelling to St. John’s for the Regatta.

The day following the Regatta (August 6th, 1914) William Coaker, the founder of the Fishermen’s Protective Union and future cabinet Minister in the war-time National Government, composed of all political parties expressed his displeasure about how shameful it was that St. John’s “frolicked” at the Regatta while the Empire prepared for war.

The 1914 declaration of war in Europe cast a dark cloud over future regattas. It was decided that during times of war there would be no Regatta held, as many of Newfoundland’s fine young men would be attached to British combat units, dying for King and Country. It did not feel like a time of celebration for the citizens of Newfoundland. Between 1915 and 1918, no Regatta was held.

Shortly after the 1914 Regatta, the call for volunteers went out to the men of Newfoundland. Where the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake just one month previous held people watching the races, by September it held the canvas tents of the now famous First Five Hundred of the First Newfoundland Regiment (later renamed the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in honour of the acts of bravery displayed by Newfoundland soldiers).

The traditional song of the Regatta, “The Banks of Newfoundland” (written by Chief Justice Sir Francis Forbes in 1820), was adopted by the Regiment at this time to serve as its Regimental March. It was later adopted as the Regatta theme and came to be known as “Up the Pond”.

Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division take some time to look at “The Rowing” a series which consists of 212 b&w photographs predominantly of the Royal St. John’s Regatta races and crews, The photographs include team portraits, races underway, presentation of awards and views of the people along the shore of Quidi Vidi Lake.

Recommended Exhibit: Pleasantville: From Recreation to Military Installation. Level 2 Atrium Pleasantville before the First World War was the site of the St. John’s cricket grounds. With the declaration of war, Pleasantville quickly emerged as a tent city, the home of the storied “First 500”. It was here that the First Newfoundland Regiment recruits began preliminary military training during the months of September and October of 1914. This exhibition highlights some of the activities and training of the Blue Puttees up to their embarkation on the SS Florizel for overseas service.

Recommended Museum: Special tours and visitation to the Royal Regatta Museum are available upon request. If you wish to make a special appointment to visit the Museum, please call the Boathouse at: (709) 576 – 8921.

Recommended Web Site: The Royal St. John’s Regatta: http://regatta.nlpl.ca/php/home.php

Recommended tune ( Listen): The Banks of Newfoundland:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNVQdwzMKpA

“The rowing of women upon the lake”

Archival Moment

August 15, 1856

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. Bowring’s Ladies Championship Crew St. John’s Regatta, 1949.

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. Bowring’s Ladies Championship Crew St. John’s Regatta, 1949.

The local St. John’s newspaper, The Newfoundland Ledger on August 15, 1856 reported on a first for women at the Regatta.  The paper reported:

 “One novelty attracted some attention, the rowing of women upon the lake in two gigs, a practice hitherto not adopted in St. John’s.” 

And indeed it must have been a novelty, in 1856 the role of women in society was much different than it is today. Rowing would have been almost unthinkable and completely beyond normal convention. Yet these women risked criticism and ridicule to participate in the Annual St. John’s Regatta.

The race was the 5th and final one of the second day of the Regatta. Two crews entered – a crew of Quidi Vidi women in the “Darling” and a women’s crew from the Battery  (Southside) in the “Banshee”. These were both six oared gigs.

The Quidi Vidi women won,  the crew members were: Ellen Walsh (stroke); Mary Brace; Jennie King; Lizzie Hauton; Crissie Squires; and Jessie Needham. Robert Hennebury was the coxswain.

It was almost another century before women participated again in the St. John’s Regatta.

In 1941, members of the American military took part in the races, including crews of WAF (Women in the Air Force). Further initiatives to include women in the races were rebuffed.

A 1945 newspaper column “Notes on the Regatta” reported the decision of the Regatta Committee not to include a “Ladies’ Race” in the Victory Regatta. In 1949, the decision was overturned, and four crews of women competed in the historic event. The spectators gathered to cheer the women on numbered well over 8,000, one of the largest crowds reported at Quidi Vidi Lake.

In terms of numbers, women now dominate the St. John’s Regatta.

Recommended Archival Collection:  At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division take some time to look at  “The Rowing”  Series  which consists of 212 b&w photographs predominantly of the Royal St. John’s Regatta races and crews, The photographs include team portraits, races underway, presentation of awards and views of the people along the shore of Quidi Vidi Lake.  Search the Archives: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Museum: Special tours and visitation to the Royal Regatta Museum are available upon request. If you wish to make a special appointment to visit the Museum, please call the Boathouse at: (709) 576 – 8921.

Recommended tune (Listen): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNVQdwzMKpA

 

Women of St. John’s, defend their goats

Archival Moment

July 25, 1914

Photo Credit: The Rooms NA 24116; Teenage boy milking a goat.

Photo Credit: The Rooms NA 24116; Teenage boy milking a goat.

There was a time in Newfoundland and Labrador when most families could lay claim to owning a few farm animals, most families had a horse, a cow, a few goats and hens. They were in most cases essential to the economic survival of the family. In St. John’s, farm animals in an emerging urban environment, in July 1914, were often the source of considerable conflict.

Animals wandering about the town were such a source of tension that the city had on staff an “Impounder”.  The job title would now be animal control.

John Anderson, one of the new City Councilors appointed in 1914, was not impressed that goats were constantly in the small park near the East End Fire Hall destroying trees. He decided to start doing a little investigating. “Where is the impounder, who is he and how much salary does he get? The newly appointed Councillor asked.

Anderson was soon to discover that the “Impounder”   was paid a very respectable $36.50 per month but more interestingly was also entitled to a few bonuses. Anderson discovered that the ‘Impounder’ got an additional $2 for every horse or cow that he impounded but only 50c for a goat.

Anderson concluded because less commission was paid for catching goats “the impounder was directing his attention to the horses and cows that gave him a better income there by allowing goats to roam the city unmolested and destroy what property they liked.

Anderson decided to have a few conversations with the impounder to discover that there were a couple of more issues to consider.   He reported that “he had learned on various occasions from the impounder that it was almost an impossibility to catch a goat” The goats that wandered about the town munching on the grass in the parks and on private property were quick and agile. It was much easier to catch a horse or cow.

The impounder also reported that another problem that he encountered were the women of St. John’s. The impounder reported ‘when he did succeed in catching a goat, one the women of the neighbourhood would attack him and that in all cases he would have to surrender the goat to the woman.’

Women were quite determined to defend their goats. It was these goats that were often the source of the families’ milk and cheese.

The Council has little sympathy of the impounder, Anderson suggested he was “making a bonanza of it” and that in the future he would have to give a more strict accounting as to how many animals he had impounded.

The disdain and dislike that some had for goats that wandered about the city damaging property especially private property was palpable. In 1855 Thomas MacDonald was dragged before the courts for shooting the goat of his neighbor, James Cochrane. In 1880 William & Albert Hann sued their neighbor Charles D. Chambers for damages done to their property. They later killed the goat.

 Did you know that according to St. John’s Animal Control bylaw (#1514), that you are permitted to have your own goats (ducks and chickens), they all fall under the same bylaw as your friendly neighborhood dog and cat.

Did you know that “animal shelters” evolved from “pounds” , which were used in colonial towns to round up and hold wandering livestock that could be redeemed from the “impounder” for a fee. Because an economic value was placed on these animals, (horses, cows, goats) they were often reclaimed. When the system began to be used to impound wandering dogs and cats, these animals were often killed because little monetary value was placed on them.

Recommended Archival Collection: [Fonds GN 170] Newfoundland and Labrador court records collection. You will find some amusing and not so amusing antics of goats and their flustered neighbours.

Recommended: Support the work of the SPCA. The vision of the SPCA is to prevent animal cruelty; educate about humane treatment of animals; provide shelter and love to abandoned and abused animals; and encourage adoption to suitable homes. Read More: http://spcastjohns.org/index.php

Goats in Song. Have you heard about the the goat in the town of Mobile on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland. Sing along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APJgbBS-840

One man’s journey to build the Basilica

Archival Moment

Recommended Tour:  Join Paul Rowe  in  his  special Tour and Play  “Fleming”  One Man’s Journey to Build the Basilica and Unite a Nation.    Time: Tuesday – Saturday  at Noon   from  July 5 – August 27, 2016.  All Welcome:  $12 Admission; $10 Students and Seniors. Cash Only Please. Tickets Available 30 Minutes Before Showing.

Basilica Interior - Rooms Exhibit 016Journey back to 1843 and experience an unforgettable one-man play and guided tour of the Basilica – Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Join Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, interpreted by actor Paul Rowe, as he guides you through the Basilica.

One of the most influential Newfoundlanders of his time, Bishop Fleming is brought to life as you witness his tireless efforts to construct the largest cathedral to date in the New World. As Bishop Fleming recounts the early days of the Basilica, you’ll learn about its social and cultural significance, and about the formative and often turbulent history of the young Colony of Newfoundland.

See how citizens of all faiths came together to construct this National Historic Site as you explore its remarkable halls.

Bishop buried, the legends survive.

July 18, 1850

Basilica 1841

Basilica 1841

On July 18, 1850  Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming who was responsible for building the Roman Catholic Cathedral (now the Basilica)  in the town of St. John’s  was buried in the  crypt of the new Cathedral.

The newspaper of the day reported that an estimated 10,000 people lined to streets to bow their heads in respect as the funeral procession passed through the streets.  Having circled the town, the  procession returned to the Cathedral that was still under construction, where after some concluding prayers, the coffin was enclosed in an oaken shell, lined with lead and interred in the vault under the main altar where it rests to this day.

Fleming’s greatest domestic projects were:

The recruiting of two orders of Irish religious women (the Presentation Congregation and the Sisters of Mercy) to work as teachers.

The construction of the Cathedral (now Basilica) it was the largest building project in 19th century Newfoundland and is now  the definitive icon of Newfoundland Catholicism.

During the winter of 1835 Fleming lived in a fishing room at Petty Harbour, administering smallpox vaccine to the whole community of Catholics and Anglicans, and remaining in quarantine with them when no physician or other clergyman would go there.

Fleming was instrumental in enforcing the Emancipation Act for Irish Catholics in Newfoundland in 1832.

The legend of the ‘Pink, White and Green’

The Pink, White and Green

The Pink, White and Green

In popular “legend”, Fleming is credited with creating the “Pink, white and green” tricolour flag of Newfoundland. It is told that during annual wood hauls for the Anglican cathedral and Roman Catholic cathedral, considerable rivalry developed between the two groups involved. The Protestant English marked their wood piles with the pink flag of the Natives’ Society, while the Catholic Irish used green banners. The threat of violence was such that Bishop Fleming intervened, and persuaded them to adopt a common flag, on which the pink and green would be separated by a white stripe to symbolize peace. The pink symbolized the Tudor Rose of England (The Protestants) and the Green symbolized St. Patrick’s Emblem of Ireland (The Catholics). The White is taken from St. Andrew’s Cross (St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Fishermen and Scotland). This legend, it’s symbolism and origins, have all been disproven by historical evidence. In reality, the Newfoundland “pink, white and green” tricolour didn’t appear until at least 41 years after the inception of the Irish tricolour and was almost certainly based on the Irish flag.

The legend of the Basilica Land

There is “legend’, that the exact amount of land allowed for the basilica cathedral to be built was to be determined by how much land the parishioners could fence in one day. This gave rise to the story that hundreds of Catholics showed up offering help with picks and shovels. In actual fact, the land acreage had been clearly defined in the terms of agreement.

Person of Canadian National Historic Significance

On 9 September 2005, the 150th anniversary of the consecration of Fleming’s cathedral, a plaque was unveiled by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designating Bishop Fleming as a person of Canadian National Historic Significance.

Recommended Reading: Fire Upon the Earth, the Life and Times of Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, by J.B. Darcy, C.F.C. Creative Publishers, 2003.

Recommended Archival Collection:   Explore MG 250 at the Rooms Provincial Archives Division. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches and sermons of Bishop Fleming, 1838-1845.

Recommended Tour:  Join Paul Rowe  in  his  special Tour and Play  “Fleming”  One Man’s Journey to Build the Basilica and Unite a Nation.    Time: Tuesday – Saturday  at Noon   from  July 5 – August 27 .   All Welcome:  $12 Admission; $10 Students and Seniors. Cash Only Please. Tickets Available 30 Minutes Before Showing.