Newfoundland – Day 7, St. John’s

I was mostly on my own today – giving the pugs some more rest because we are going on an adventure on Sunday.

Bagel Cafe for breakfast because they were voted best breakfast in St John’s. Explored the history of railway in Newfoundland and how it knitted the country.

The pugs and I climbed “Barter’s Hill” to go to a local community park. There was a traditional folk song festival and Memorial University. I went to the afternoon session called “Ghosts and Gallows”

Ended the evening at the Arts and Culture Centre for a concert with Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.

The decor of the Bagel Cafe is not what you would expect. It looked more like a gypsy tea leaf reading room – all dark with stained glass and Christmas lights.

Sitting in a little booth enclosed by walls – felt like a private dining area. It does have a certain eye appeal.

The menu was amazing and takes awhile to choose a breakfast item. The suggestion at the bottom was the Cape Spear Touton.

A touton is a flattened fried dough which is the base, then baked beans, salt cod cake, eggs and bacon. Crosby Molasses rounds out the flavouring. Huge mug of coffee. Yes, it was the best, if not most unusual breakfast.

After breakfast I headed over to the Railway Museum. It was about a 30 minute walk so good exercise to work off the breakfast. Passed this Apothecary. Built is 1922 as a drug store. It is now a museum that has items from the late 19th and early 20th century. Unfortunately, not open on the weekend.

The Railway Costal Museum building. This was the original train station for St. John’s.

The building also has the marker to KM Zero of the Trans Canada Trail.

There was a kid’s birthday party going on at one end so I went to these exhibits. The staff had put Halloween masks on the dummies.

Each exhibit has a description of what was being displayed.

The dining car porter.

The mailroom. They did not work for the Railway. They were employees of the Royal Mail and only they could be in this car.

At one time this was the unofficial flag of Newfoundland in 1843. The story goes that sealers would chop wood for their church before going out to sea. The Protestants would mark their firewood with a pink flag. The Catholics used a green flag. Antagonism between the two grew.

In 1843 the bishop was asked to intervene. He tied his white handkerchief between the green and pink and said “Go in peace”.

There is a model train set the goes around the province showing different points of interest.

The train wasn’t running. They told me it was under repair but I think they just did not want to run it with all the kids there. There were signs all over saying not to lean on the display case. This is the Humbermouth station at Cornerbrook.

The Lewis Hills at 814 metres making it the highest point in Newfoundland.

Now for something completely different – R2D2. Went over to the Arts and Culture Centre at Memorial University. They were having a 1 day festival of stories and traditional songs of Newfoundland.

However there was a Bump in the Night event for the kids at the library. R2 was part of the event.

On the far right is singer Eleanor Dawson who is also the founder of the folk festival. Next to her is singer Mary Ellen Wright. Then storytellers Gary Green and Tom Powers. They did round robins until the time was up. The theme was Ghosts and Gallows.

Went to a local park with the pugs when I got back. However it was quite a steep climb from the hotel – not very far away but uphill all the way.

“Are we there yet?”

At least the park is flat. I let Eve off the leash and she jumped all around the place, happy to explore. Raisin was just fine with staying in one spot.

Had dinner at The Merchant which is another of Chef Jeremy Charies’ restaurants. The special was salmon tartar which was a refreshing change from the fried cod and fish and chips.

I went back to the Arts and Culture Centre for the evening concert. This piece on the wall caught my eye. It’s called Juniper’s Visit.

In 1985 I was a volunteer at University of Toronto’s radio station CIUT. I had an Arts and Entertainment talk show. I would interview little known and alternative artists; At the time, Newfoundland music WAS alternative.

I had the chance to interview Kevin Blackmore. His band, Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, were playing Toronto. After all this time I saw that he was giving a concert so managed to get a ticket to the sold out show.

We were not allowed to bring out our phones or cameras during the performance. Here is the stage of the theatre.

The group does a combination of music and comedy. For example, they did a rendition of Deep Purple’s Whiter Shade of Pale. Starting of with a solemn, opera like beginning with violin. Kevin then did the verse again using Donald Duck’s voice and used a duck call for the instrumental. Guess you had to be there.

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