Tag Archives: winter

No flying saucers in Victoria Park

Archival Moment

February 1916

City outlaws crazy carpets and flying saucers.

City outlaws crazy carpets and flying saucers.

Signage declaring new regulations about sliding on the hills in St. John’s has been posted in public places throughout the city. The signage declares a whole raft of rules about what can and cannot be done when snow sliding.

Some think that this is a new  conversation, but the reality is that regulations about snow sliding or sledding in St. John’s started 100 years ago.

In 1916 “skating or sliding down the hills” was on the agenda of Newfoundland legislators, so much so  that the lawmakers opted to pass legislation about sliding.

In Chapter 51 of the Consolidated Acts, 1916 under the chapter title “Of Nuisances and Municipal Regulations” Section 14 the Act reads:

“The stipendiary magistrate may make regulations for preventing persons from coasting, skating or sliding down the hills or highways or streets …”

The focus of the legislation in 1916 was on the  “… skating or sliding down the hills or highways or streets…”  

There was a time when the ‘townies’ loved nothing more than grabbing their sleigh for a ride down of the steep hills of the city. The practice was however quite dangerous.

The local newspapers reported on an almost daily basis about individuals being injured on the hills of the town.

On January 14, 1916 the Evening Telegram reported:

“Boy Injured while sliding over Prescott Street”  Yesterday after noon,  newsboy met with a painful accident. He collided with another sled resulting in a deep wound being inflicted in his leg. The injured youth was brought to a nearby drug store for treatment and was later conveyed home and attended by a doctor. “

On February 18, 1916 under the headline “Dangerous practice the sliding of children” the Telegram reported:

“The sliding of children on the city heights is a very dangerous practice particularly on those hills near the street car rails. This morning two children of Hutching’s Street narrowly escaped being killed by a passing street car. The sled on which the youngsters were seated passing in front of the car’s fender by a couple of feet. “

The new signage posted on St. John’s hills and parks  (including Victoria Park) owned by the city comes after the city of St. John’s had to review  its liability in the wake of the city of Hamilton, Ontario being sued following an injury at a popular sledding hill . The City of Sudbury, Ontario in response to the same lawsuit responded by fencing off a sliding hill and banning tobogganing on public land outright.

Almost 100 years following the initial conversation about snow sliding on the hills of St. John’s the conversation continues. The warning signs in Victoria Park read no  “crazy carpets and flying saucers.”

Learn more about Victoria Park, St. John’s: Read More:

Learn more about Victoria Park:  https://www.facebook.com/VPRenewal/

Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives. The consolidated statutes of Newfoundland : being a consolidation of the statute law of the colony down to and including the session of the Legislature in the year 1916 / printed and published by and under the authority of the Governor in Council, and proclaimed under the authority of the Act 9 and 10, George V., cap. X., 1918.

If Candlemas Day be sunny and bright …

ARCHIVAL MOMENT 

February 2, 1871 

Febryary 2 is Candlemas Day - Blessing of the candles that are used during he year.

February 2 is Candlemas Day – Blessing of the candles that are used during the year.

 

Some of the best insights into the history of families and communities in this province can be garnered from the pages of the hundreds of diaries that have been deposited into archives in the province. In the diaries of Edward Morris, Mr. Morris observed on February 2, 1871.

Fine morning, light frost, wind from the north, north west. Streets frozen again but no cold such as we have had. The day fine enough but the walking very rough.  Attended at the Cathedral in the morning at the ceremonies of Candlemas Day ….”

February 2 is “Candlemas”  Day.

The ceremony of Candlemas Day that Mr. Morris observed was the blessing of the annual supply of the Church’s candles.  Beeswax candles were blessed by being sprinkled with holy water and having incense swung around them, and then the candles distributed to everyone in the church. Then there was a procession in which people carried lighted candles while the choir sang. The procession represents the entry of Jesus as light of the world into the temple.

In Newfoundland there is an established tradition that on this day a blessed candle would be lit and the mother of the household would bless the children in the home with the candle.  The wax was allowed to drip on the head (hat) and shoulders and on the shoes of the children.

Every fishing boat would also have a blessed candle. These candles would be taken out and lit during a gale or storm.

WINTER IS HALF OVER

This day also used to have great significance on the calendar, because the date lies half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so it marks the day upon which winter is half over!  As Candlemas traditions evolved, many people embraced the legend that if the sun shone on the second day of February, an animal would see its shadow and there would be at least six more weeks of winter.

You may know the rhyme:

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright,Winter again will show its might. If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away. (Fox version)

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight. If Candlemas day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again. (Traditional)

In Branch, St. Mary’s Bay an expression that is particular to Candlemas Day was the expression:

Half your prog and half your hay,

Eat your supper by the light of the day.

The expression calls on families, now that we are half way through winter, to take stock of their (prog)  food supplies in their root cellars  and feed for the animals (hay).   Just to insure  that there is enough to get you through the winter.

Recommended Archival Collection:   Edward Morris Diaries 1851-1887. Edward Morris was a businessman, politician, and office-holder; born in 1813 at Waterford (Republic of Ireland). He moved to St John’s, Newfoundland in 1832.  On January 1, 1851 he began to keep a daily diary that he continued until his death on 3 April 1887.