It's always September 7th in Charlottetown.

On July 15th & 16th I stalked (with permission) the Confederate Players in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The players were formed in 1989 as part of the 125th celebration of the Charlottetown Conference and they have been running as a summer programme ever since.  They have fallen under the supervision of several different bodies over the years but are currently affiliated with the Confederation Centre.  Province House in the downtown is where the Players can be found doing three types of interpretive work.  They perform several scripted vignettes as historical characters (such as John. A Macdonald, George-Etienne Cartier, etc), and mingle with tourists around Province House, Victorian Row and along Great George Street, also in character. Additionally, they give several tours a day in period dress but as themselves.  These tours include information about historical areas of the downtown, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and the replica of the chamber in Province House in which the Charlottetown Conference took place.  This replica has been build because the whole of Province House will be under renovation for the next 3-5 years.

The Confederation Player's mid-day Vignette. 

The Confederation Player's mid-day Vignette. 

Tour of Province House/Confederation Centre by Confederation Player in costume.

Tour of Province House/Confederation Centre by Confederation Player in costume.

The Confederation Players interest me for several reasons. They are not Parks Canada interpreters although Province House is a Parks Canada site and has its own (non-costumed) interpreters onsite who can also talk to tourists about the history of Province House and Confederation Centre.  Similarly, although they are under the Confederation Centre umbrella they operate largely independently of the Centre's theatre programming.  What does this mean for them, and for the historical narrative(s) they animate? If they are not Parks Canada how does their training differ? How much or how little autonomy do they have from the Confederation Centre? What exactly does 'sharing resources' mean?

Also, this replica space! This replica space! It seems like this project will have me looking at a lot of inauthentic spaces offering authentic experiences.

Replica Province House Chamber in the Confederation Centre.

Replica Province House Chamber in the Confederation Centre.

   

Pies of Canada: Episode Two

Oddly there hasn't been much pie happening on my trip but I found some today and I am going to give it 🍁🍁🍁/5. The pie was from Coffee in the Cove just outside L'Anse aux Meadow National Historic Site in Newfoundland.  The only pie on offer was Partridge Berry* which looked like blueberry. I was hoping it would be like my favourite pie - Saskatoon (which is named for the Saskatoon berry not the capital of Saskatchewan).  It was a bit like that - kinna blueberry-ish but a bit perfume-y. The crust was pretty good and it came with whipped cream.  Also, the scenery was lovely. 

*I later found out the Partridge Berry is the regional name for Lingonberry so there you go....

I have a musket dilema...

On August 8th I will be participating in the Battle of Fort William in Thunder Bay and I need a musket.  I didn't think this would be difficult. I have a friend with a stage fighting armoury.  I ticked off the box for "bring my own musket" fired off an email to my armoury buddy....and was asked what kind of musket I needed.  French? English? Metis combo? Oh dear.  All the information I have been given about the event has emphasized it's commitment to authenticity.   I will be in an barrack rebuild, I will be eating historically accurate food, in a replica uniform so I do not want to be the nerd rolling up to the party with the wrong musket thereby jeopardizing the realism of the battle.  And yet, as a woman I would have NEVER been a solider.  And whatsmore...the 1812 fighting did not come north to Fort William.  This programme was developed to commemorate the war's 200th anniversary and when it proved popular was added to the yearly schedule.  Will my inaccurate musket really be an obstacle?

 

Pies of Canada: Episode One

As I drive across the country this summer I am going to eat and rate pies.  Mostly for my own amusement.  The rating system will be out of 5 🍁.  I hope to have a pie rating two or three times a month. 

First up, apple pie from the Big Apple in Colborne, Ontario.   This roadside attraction is one of the landmarks between Toronto and Kingston so I have driven by it a lot, however, I have only been twice.  The first time was nearly 20 years ago when I was going to check out Queen's for the first time.  I remember it being busy, smelling like pie and having a conveyer belt/factory situation going on.  The second time was last week on my way to Ottawa for the SSHRC Congress at U of Ottawa.  I had two friends in the car.  One, from Ottawa had never been but had heard about it. The other, American had been warned he would be taking part if he wanted a ride to Ottawa.  

The building has lost the factory vibe and the pie was not on conveyer belts or being served by anyone.  It was in a plexiglass cupboard and there was a microwave if we wanted to heat it up. The whole building has been barfed on by kitchy, 'old-timey' souvenirs and had a food court with burgers and pizza in one corner.  We all agreed this didn't bode well.  And we were right.  We tried the classic apple and the maple apple.  We were not impressed.  It was the crust.  It was flavourless, and crumbly and a bit like cardboard.  The filling wasn't super either and had a suspiciously gelatinous coating.  The maple was actually better...but not much.  Overall we decided on 🍁.5/5.  We did get to take silly pictures of the apple and look at some goats...so not all was lost. 

This is the classic apple.  

This is the classic apple.  

The old holding up the big thing gag.

The old holding up the big thing gag.