new flickr pool – Historic Huronia

Today I set up a photo pool on flickr: Historic Huronia pool. Purpose is to hold photos on the history of the Huronia area, historic places, buildings, and events. Huronia is most of Simcoe County in Ontario, Canada…..the home of the Huron (or Wendat) native peoples and was a major area of contact between first peoples and the French in the 1600s. The reconstructed fortified French mission of Ste. Marie among the Hurons is located just east of Midland, Ontario.

You can find it about 100 miles north of Toronto and has the towns of Midland, Penetang, and Tay and Tiny Townships… it also extends a little further south towards Barrie. Samuel Champlain may have first entered the area over at Orillia. Nowadays it is cottage country, farming country and some light industry. Another major historic site is Discovery Harbour, a 19th century British Army and Navy post with reconstructed buildings.

another blog – for the Huronia Museum

Helping to supplement the Huronia Museum communications/participation I set up a blog: Huronia Museum Blog. Huronia Museum (HM) in Midland, Ontario, Canada consists of the museum building (housing collections & art gallery) & the Huron/Ouendat (Wendat) village (palisade & longhouse), is open year round & has nearly one million objects. HM receives some 20,000 visitors each year. The collections hold artifacts of native history & maritime history. HM provides educational programmes for schools & adults. Established in 1947.

Abraham Lincoln – drawing

Abraham Lincoln

Originally uploaded by canuckshutterer (W.J. Gibson)

looking through my drawing images

from 2001 after I had completed my course and stopped drawing for awhile

there are lots of problems with this final result – I rushed it

patience is not my strong suit

Sir Winston Churchill – drawing

Sir Winston Churchill

Originally uploaded by canuckshutterer (W.J. Gibson)

I drew this basing it from a small strongly backlit photograph in a paperback biography of Churchill.

He is one of my heroes. Without him the twentieth century would have been the triumph of Nazism.

not a very good drawing but catches a little of his face and look.

about 4″ x 4″

The Writer’s Almanac

If you search for that you will find the site and then can arrange to receive a daily email with a poem, and some literary note, usually a writer’s birthday and a micro-bio note, from Garrison Keillor. It usually arrives in my inbox arround 4:30 AM and is a delightful and educational way to start the day. Highly recommended.

Grosse Île – a poem

Grosse Île is an island in the St. Lawrence River downstream from Ville de Quebec. It has had a fascinating history including biological weapons research during World War II (anthrax), but less alarmingly, it was the quarrantine immigration station for Quebec. In other words, it was Canada’s Ellis Island. Actually Ellis Island was America’s Grosse Île. Irish and other immigrants entered Canada at this point at the time of the Potato Famine, 1848. It continued to be used as an immigration depot into the 20th century. Today you can visit the island, Parks Canada manages the island. It is a moving experience to tour the site.

Grosse Île

We are guided through the Reception Hall,
lose the sound of the St. Lawrence River.
Gape at the baggage cages,
the immigrants’ luggage and clothing
packed on these
for disinfection
in the steam and sulphur

Our guide explains why the shower stalls
have wire mesh roofs.
To keep the people from climbing out.
I look inside the galvanized grey casing
and stare at the shower tube and the three
wrap-around shower pipes
and I step back.

Later we walk down the trail
to the Irish cemetery
from 1847,
the famine year,
the big death year.

There is still one building from then.
One old cover shed still there.

Later I read how the government debated
the costs of sheds to cover the immigrants,
to get them out of the tents and the open air.
Not enough money for milk and bread.
For medical supplies.
The doctors and nurses, the nuns and priests
falling sick, dying.

How the St. Lawrence was full of ships
anchored, waiting with their sick, and dying
with their dead lying in the bunks of the crowded
stinking lower decks.
Where family members were too frightened.
To touch their own dead, for burial.

I read the list of those who died.
Unknown Dutch man
Unknown Irish child
There was one William Gibson,
Captain of a ship out of Liverpool,
his ship with sick and dead
in 1847.

Blue Tyger Series #2 Grosse Île and Other Poems by William J. Gibson Copyright © William Joseph Gibson 1998, 2007 All rights reserved. published by Alburnum Press Victoria Harbour & Callander, Ontario First printed in Victoria Harbour, Ontario Canada First Printing: April 1998 Alburnum Press