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Turtle Mountain

The mountain that moves once moved so much that seventy to ninety people were buried underneath it. On 29 April 1903 Turtle Mountain in Alberta had a rockslide that sent 90 million tons of limestone rolling down the side. It became one of Canada’s most deadly and largest slides in history. Now, as the eastern part of Frank, Alberta remains covered in limestone, it is an eerie and desolate place to visit. With the amount of bodies never recovered and the tragedy that occurred, reports of hauntings in the area are considerable.

Turtle Mountain, Alberta, 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

Native Nations of the Blackfoot and K’Tunaxa called Turtle Mountain, “the mountain that moves.” It was said that they would not even camp near this mountain because of how unstable it was. Yet, when colonization began, settlers saw that Turtle Mountain was also rich in coal, a resource that was integral to the development of Alberta. The town of Frank was then built right beside the mountain and a mine was placed inside.

The structure of Turtle Mountain is incredibly unsafe. Limestone and coal are weak in structure and movement of the mountain caused an inverted V shape where water ran through. This opened up more fissures and gaps where water would freeze and unfreeze, causing more internal pressure. Added to the weak structure, the mining activity did not help the integrity. The winter of 1903 had significantly high amounts of snow and in April 1903 it was unseasonably warm, causing the huge amounts of snow to melt. On 28 April 1903 all the water refroze and the pressure inside the mountain was too much. The mountain broke and a rockslide occurred.

Seventy to ninety people were buried and most remain buried to this day. Twenty-three people survived, many of them children. The eastern part of Frank was buried, two kilometres of track of the Canadian Pacific Railway was covered and the coal mine completely caved in. The Frank Slide, as it is known, remains as one of the most devastating avalanches in Canadian history. People, such as Lillian Clark, had her entire family buried. Adults threw their babies to the surface while they were being buried. Gladys Ennis, who was twenty-seven months old, was one of these babies. Her mother had cleaned out the mud from her mouth and nose before passing away. Gladys Ennis was the last known survivor of the Frank Slide, having passed away in 1995.

Aerial View of Slide at Frank, Alberta, 1922 – Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-052095

As with any tragedy, spiritual activity in the area is high. There can be a very eerie feeling when driving passed a landslide where people remain buried. People have reported seeing strange grey mist over the debris. Others have talked about ghostly figures who wander the rocks. It is said that they are apparitions of people who had survived the slide and are still trying to find their buried loved ones. Whatever the case, Turtle Mountain is a place that is both beautiful and creepy.

The slide that buried up to ninety people was one of the deadliest in Canada. While the primary reasoning for the avalanche points to the geological structure of the mountain, weather and human activity within it also are high secondary factors. Ghost inhabit the area as tragedy makes it difficult to move on. Now, Alberta has a monitoring program to record the mountain that moves to ensure that something like this does not happen again.

Bibliography

Bonikowsky, Laura Neilson. “Frank Slide: Canada’s Deadliest Rockslide.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (April 28, 2013). Edited March 4, 2015. Accessed April 15, 2019. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/frank-slide-feature

“Frank Slide.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 15, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Slide

Martin, Russ. “Canada’s Top Five Haunted Travel Hot Spots.” In Postmedia News (October 6, 2011). Accessed April 22, 2019. www.canada.com/Canada+five+haunted+travel+spots/5603662/story/html

RETROactive. “Haunted Heritage.” Retroactive: Exploring Alberta’s Past (October 28, 2015). Accessed April 28, 2019. albertashistoricplaces.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/haunted-heritage/

Sutherland, Joel A. “Spirits of the Slide.” In Haunted Canada 6: More Terrifying True Stories, 1091-1117. Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada Ltd, 2016. Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition.

“Turtle Mountain (Alberta).” Wikipedia. Accessed April 15, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Mountain_(Alberta)

Ung, Karen. “The Day Turtle Mountain Moved.” Explore Southwest Alberta (2014). Accessed April 24, 2019. http://www.exploresouthwestalberta.ca/the-day-turtle-mountain-moved

Turtle Mountain, Alberta, 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations
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The Galt Museum

The Galt, 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

            The Province of Alberta has a less established written history and because of this, it can be difficult to find any tales of hauntings and ghosts. From the Maritimes to Ontario and in British Columbia there are massive amounts of history, written history that is, that was recorded. Especially when colonization began, there tends to be a lot more stories of hauntings. The colonization of Alberta began a bit later than the East Coast and British Columbia and so we see that ghost stories don’t pop up until a bit later.

            This isn’t to say that Alberta lacks in any way. The culture and landscape of this prairie province is phenomenal. It is a beautiful place to visit. It is, however, just a bit more difficult to find well established and told ghost stories. There is one in particular that catches the eye and that is the story of the Galt Museum in Lethbridge.

            Lethbridge was a city built on the coal industry. Most people who live there worked for the Alberta Railway and the Coal Company. The Coal Company was founded and owned by the Galt family, who were also considered one of the founding members of the city itself. The Galts had an enormous role to play in the development of Lethbridge.

Galt Museum, June 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

            Due to the coal industry and the influx of settlers on the land, there was a need for a hospital or a health centre of some kind. People, mainly workers, were being treated privately, which was costly on the individual’s part. So, Sir Alexander Galt invested in making the first public hospital in his city to treat his workers and others. In the 1890s a hospital was built and it was named the Sir Alexander Galt Hospital.

            The hospital had around sixty-five beds and it was quite small. In 1908-10 there became a greater need to expand as more and more regular citizens began seeking health care. An addition of a new wing was initiated by Sir Alexander Galt’s son, Elliot Torrance Galt, and it was opened by Sir Wilfrid Laurier on 1 September 1910. At this time the Galt School of Nursing was also opened to educate and supply more nurses. By 1930, another thirty-five beds were added to accommodate the growing population.

            However, in 1955 a brand new municipal hospital was opened in Lethbridge. The Galt Hospital became a long-term rehabilitation centre for the next ten years. Afterwards, a part of the building became known as the Galt Museum while the other part became the Lethbridge Health Unit. Now, the building is mostly the Galt Museum.

            The Galt Museum was established before it was moved to the old Galt Hospital. It was created in 1964 as the first civic museum of the area. It was curated by George McKillop and held in the former Bowmen Elementary School. Up until 1971 it was run by The Lethbridge and District Historical Society. It grew until it could no longer fit its space and the old hospital needed a new use. So, the museum was moved into the old Galt Hospital and was called the Galt Museum.

A Part of the Old Galt Hospital, 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

            But, as with many old hospitals, the buildings of the Galt Hospital are considered haunted. As a place where lives often end and sorrow lingers, hospitals are considered hotspots for ghosts and hauntings. The old Galt Hospital is no exception.

            The first possible haunting is a ghost named George. It is believed that George was a sixty-year-old farmer from outside of Lethbridge in a town called Magrath. His full name was George Benjamin Bailey. He had come to the hospital to get his appendix removed in the 1930s and when he was wheeled into the elevator he had only gotten in halfway when the doors closed on the bed and the elevator began to rise. The wheels were caught on the outside and the nurse was not able to pull the bed fully into the elevator. George slid headfirst off the bed to the bottom of the elevator shaft. Surprisingly, he didn’t actually die immediately. He was up walking and laughing about what had happened that day. He did, however, die a few days later from head injuries.

            The second possible haunting is in the old children’s ward. There are two possible ghosts: Sarah and Alexander, who are also thought to be of native heritage. It is unsure who they are or why they are there but they like to wave at people walking outside from the upstairs window when the museum has long since closed. There are times when people hear the laughter and chatter of children while they are in the building.

            People have also reported lights turning off and on, footsteps in the hallways and hearing conversations coming from empty rooms. The most off putting is the reports of shadow people watching workers do their job.

            Is the Galt Museum haunted by old patients of the hospital? People are positive that George at least haunts it. Old hospitals can hold a lot of heavy energy and tragedy within it, so hospitals are known as prime locations for hauntings. The Galt Museum may hold more than artifacts from the past, it may also contain the people from the past too.

The Front of the Galt Museum June 8, 2016 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

Bibliography

 “Galt Hospital Hauntings.” Galt Museum and Archives (October 31, 2009). Accessed April 12, 2019. www.galtmuseum.com/articles/2009/10/galt-hospital-hauntings.html

“Galt Hospital – 100 Years.” Galt Museum and Archives (September 11, 2010). www.galtmuseum.com/exhibit/galt-hospital-100-years

“Galt Museum and Archives.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 12, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galt_Museum_%26_Archives

Parks Canada. “Sir Alexander Galt Hospital.” Canada’s Historic Places. Accessed April 12, 2019. www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11623

Richardson, Harriet. “Galt Hospital, Lethbridge, Alberta.” Historic Hospitals (March 3, 2018). Accessed April 12, 2019. historic-hospitals.com/2018/03/03/galt-hospital-lethbridge-alberta/

Sutherland, Joel A. “Ghosts on Display.” In Haunted Canada 7: Chilling True Tales, 600-642. Toronto, Ontario: Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2017. Amazon Kindle ebook version.

Vonkeman, Anine and Growson, Belinda. “The Galt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge – Engaging Events, Archives, Artifacts, and… Ghosts?” Suncruiser Media (April 15, 2014). Accessed April 12, 2019. suncruisermedia.com/Home/rv-travel/the-galt-museum-/

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Le Loup-Garou

There is a creature that has terrorized many villages across Europe before it made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. This creature hides among regular humans during the day and most nights but on the nights of the full moon, it cannot hide any longer. It attacks livestock and takes the form of a giant humanoid wolf. In English it is the Werewolf, in French it is called Le Loup-Garou. In 1700s Québec le Loup-Garou was considered a very real fear and now it is considered an old French legend.


On the Saint-Laurent River – James Pattison Cockburn, crédit: Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, no d’acc 1934-39

            Le Loup-Garou terrorized the area of Québec for years but 21 July 1766 the Québec Gazette reported a werewolf attack at St. Rock, near Cap. Mouraska. Le Loup-Garou took the form of a beggar, asking for work and promising to do things that he could not do. Then at night a loup-garou would terrorize the village, destroying livestock all around the area. 2 December 1767 le Loup-Garou had returned, this time in Kamouraska and Québec City. Le Loup-Garou allegedly caused considerable destruction to the city and when the citizens attacked it and hurt it, le Loup-Garou just came back angrier.

            What happened after that? Did le Loup-Garou die? Were the citizens victorious?

            No one seems to know. It was as if the creature just disappeared. It was never reported again in a major newspaper but rumours of it surrounded the province of Québec.

            Now le Loup-Garou has become a folktale in Québec and there a two popular stories involving a Loup-Garou. Interestingly enough, both versions involve a man named Hubert who ends up being the werewolf.

            The first tale of le Loup-Garou comes from a small unknown village. In this village there was a miller by the name of Joachim Crête. Crête hired a stranger, who had shown up at his door, named Hubert. Hubert was a reliable hard-worker who did not ask for too much. After work every night the two of them would drink and play checkers, they were known for being too excessive in their drinking. Afterwards, Hubert would leave the house into the dead of night. Crête wasn’t suspicious of the behaviour, but he did think it was a little odd.

            Then a loup-garou began mauling sheep around the town. Hubert asked the miller what he thought of these stories and Crête just laughed, calling them silly rumours. It couldn’t be more than a pack of wolves.

            But one night the mill broke. The miller and Hubert went to fix it but the mill just wouldn’t budge. The miller lost track of Hubert and went back inside, deciding to fix the mill in the morning when they had light. Then a huge black dog, the size of a human, with massive fangs and glowing red eyes entered his house. Crête called for Hubert and the dog responded. It was at that moment that the miller believed his worker to be le Loup-Garou.

Crête fell to his knees to pray and that is when Hubert sprang on him. The miller grabs a sickle from the wall and cut off le Loup-Garou’s ear, as this is considered one way to kill a loup-garou. The beast disappeared and Hubert reappeared moments later, but he was missing an ear. The miller was hit with realization and Hubert fled from the area, never to be heard from again.

The second tale begins with a hunter and trapper named Hubert Sauvageau (French for savage) and his apprentice André. The two of them make a camp in the woods with a stranger name Léo. Rumours of a loup-garou were prominent at the time and Hubert asks André if he knows how to spot one and what to do if faced with one. Hubert tells him what he should do and gives him a good luck charm. If a werewolf attacks, André is to throw the good luck charm at the white spot in the middle of his head. The three of them tuck into their beds to go to sleep. Hubert leaves the camp when he believes the other two are asleep, but André is woken by Hubert’s movements.

There is howling and rustling in the forest around the camp and a massive white wolf appears. It drags a deer passed André and the sleeping Léo. It begins to eat the deer near the camp. As dawn comes, the wolf gets up and goes into the forest with Hubert reappearing moments later, instantly going to sleep in his bed.

André is convinced that his mentor is le Loup-Garou and wakes up Léo, telling him everything he had seen. He shows Léo the carcass of the deer but there are no tracks around it. It is said that a loup-garou never leaves tracks behind. Léo becomes convinced and they discuss what to do.

When Hubert awakens, the other two of them confront him. He admits that he is le Loup-Garou but he would never hurt them, they had proof of that last night. But Léo is not convinced and says Hubert can’t make any promises. Hubert asks them not to tell but Léo says he cannot keep it a secret and that he would kill a loup-garou if necessary.

The next night le Loup-Garou comes back and goes to attack Léo. André throws the good luck charm at the spot on le Loup-Garou’s forehead, drawing blood. It turns back into Hubert who thanks André for freeing him of the curse.

Le Loup-Garou – credit: Library and Archives Canada; Copyright: Canada Post Corporation

What do the Quebecois believe makes a person a loup-garou?

Well, it is said that anyone who misses their Easter duties seven years in a row is immediately cursed to be a loup-garou. In some cases, the only way to save this cursed person is to know who they are in their human form and draw its blood when they are a loup-garou. Or as previously stated, cutting off an ear of a loup-garou will destroy. A loup-garou can be very dangerous if it is not saved or killed.

In the area of Québec, it was truly believed that a loup-garou was terrorizing them and mauling the livestock. Whether it was a loup-garou or just a pack of wild animals is unknown for people who believe in the supernatural. Now le Loup-Garou lives as a folk legend in Québec culture. So when you go out in the wilds of Québec always be aware of the natural and supernatural dangers that lurk in the trees.

Bibliography

DStaff. “Werewolf-Legend of Quebec.” DME: Documystere (July 25, 2012). Updated February 12, 2014. Accessed April 11, 2019. documystere.com/monstres-creatures/loup-garou-legende-du-quebec/

Friedman, Amy and Johnson, Meredith. “The Loup Garou (A French Canadian Tale). Uexpress (February 28, 1999). Accessed April 11, 2019. www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/1999/2/28/the-loup-garou-a-french-canadian

Langlois, Hubert. “Beware the ‘loup-garou’.” CBC Archives: Quebec Now (December 25, 1973. Radio Show. Accessed April 11, 2019. www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/monsters-and-myths-beware-the-loup-garou

Schmitz, Nancy. “Loup-Garou.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (March 12, 2007). Edited January 21, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2019. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/loup-garou

Summers, Ken. “Beastly Burdens: Investigating the Menacing Loup-Garou, Quebec’s Werewolf.” Week in Weird (November 8, 2011). Accessed April 11, 2019. weekinweird.com/2011/11/08/beastly-burdens-werewolf-quebec/

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Place Royale

Québec City is known for its beautiful old buildings and a feel of old European style buildings in North America. The buildings have been restored and maintained for several hundreds of years and it is impossible to tell what is actually older than the 1900s or what has been restored. Québec City, and Québec itself, has a strict cultural policy and maintaining its heritage buildings is incredibly important. Old Québec has been through a lot: fires, the English siege and the occupation of the English. The landscape and buildings have changed, but even if they are new buildings, the ghosts that are said to haunt the area have not. There is one place in particular that is considered very haunted: Place Royale and the surrounding area of Lower Québec.

In the early 1600s Samuel de Champlain began construction of the first habitation of Québec. It was built near the Saint Lawrence River to become an important trading post for the Kingdom of France. The habitation had buildings surrounded by a moat to keep it safe. It was during the building of this first habitation that an assassination attempt on Champlain was made and an act of treason against the French monarchy was planned.

Plan for The Settlement of Québec, 1613 – illustration found on Library and Archives Canada

The secondary locksmith of Québec, Jean Duval, along with four other men from the settlement, planned to kill Champlain and offer the Québec post to the Basques and Spaniards. Champlain was warned by a sailor and he invited the five men to his ship. They were all arrested and thrown in jail. Duval, being the leader, was punished immediately. He was hung and then beheaded. His head was put on a spike in the middle of the habitation so everyone around it, or living above, would see it. It was left as a warning to not go against Champlain and the King of France.

In the 1630s to the 1640s the site around the habitation grew and the moat was filled in. The growth included a town square called Place du Marché, later to be known as Place Royale. In 1682 a major fire destroyed most of what is considered Old, Lower Québec. It was after that time that new fire regulations were implemented in hopes to sedate any future fires. Buildings were rebuilt, but this time with stone rather than wood.

A Painting of Place Royale – Crédit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-33-650

In 1686 Intendent Jean Bochart de Champigny thought that Place du Marché was the perfect place for a royal square. A place dedicated to King Louis XIV, the Sun King, like one that would be found in France during the time. Champigny had a bust of the King erected in the middle of Place du Marché, hoping it would become the Place Royale of New France. In the end it did, but just not at that time. The bust of King Louis XIV was removed as it was causing a disruption in the traffic. It was erected once more in the 1930s when France gifted a new bust of King Louis XIV to Québec City.

Place du Marché was still considered a prime spot for a Place Royale. It was the square where everything and everyone was. Merchants were there, booths set up, decrees were posted by the King’s Storehouse and even executions were held in this little square. For Monseignor François de Laval thought it was perfect and wanted to build a church. In 1688 the church was finally built under the eye of Monseignor de Saint Vallier, it is called Notre Dame des Victoires. After this it was finally considered a Place Royale.

Notre Dame Des Victoires Cathedral, 2019 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

Many buildings were destroyed during the English siege of Québec City in 1759 and many buildings have a noticeably British influence in architecture. Some of the buildings still hold a French taste to them. Even if the architecture is newer, the haunted feeling still surrounds the area of Lower Québec. It is in Place Royale and around Notre Dame des Victoires where people feel the most haunted. They feel as if the people who were executed there still watch them during the night. Even if the architecture has been renovated and restored, or is completely different from the 1600s, the ghosts who wander the square have not changed. Many believe Duval is one of these spirits lingering in Old Québec. With a city as old as Québec it’s not a wonder that something from the past has held on.

Bibliography

Cadeau, Carman. “How to Not Kill Samuel de Champlain.” All About Canadian History (May 23, 2017). Accessed April 9, 2019. cdnhistorybits.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/failed-assassination-of-samuel-de-champlain/

CBC “The Plot Against Champlain.” Le Canada: A People’s History/Une Histoire Populaire (2001). Accessed April 9, 2019. www.cbc.ca/history/EPCONTENTSE1EP2CH4PA5LE.html

Couvrette, Sébastien. “Place-Royale: Where Quebec City Began.” Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America: Québec from Past to Present (2007). Accessed April 9, 2019. www.ameriquefrancaise.org/en/article-653/Place-Royale:_Where_Quebec_City_Began.html

Grignon, Marc. “Place Royale.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (February 7, 2006). Edited March 4, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2019. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/place-royale

“Habitation de Québec.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 9, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitation_de_Québec

Heritage Québec. “Place-Royale: Birthplace of French America.” Ville de Québec: l’accent d’Amérique (2019). Accessed April 9, 2019. www.ville.quebec.qu.ca/en/citoyens/patrimoine/quartiers/vieux_quebec/interet/place_royale.aspx

Marsh, James H. “Samuel de Champlain and the Founding of Quebec.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (July 2, 2013). Edited March 4, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2019. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/champlain-and-the-founding-of-quebec-feature

Sutherland, Joel A. “The Hangman’s Knot.” In Haunted Canada 4: More True Tales of Terror, 101-104. Toronto, Ontario: Scholastic Canada Ltd, 2014. Amazon Kindle ebook version.

Trudel, Marcel. “Duval, Jean.” In Dictionary of Canadian Biography Volume 1, 1966. Revised in 1979. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Accessed April 9, 2019. www.biographi.ca/en/bio/duval_jean_1E.html

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La Dame Blanche

Almost every rural area has a legend involving a Lady in White spirit. A Weeping Lady. A reason not to pick up hitchhikers. A vengeful spirit. These ladies haunt the area and surrounding areas where they died. Sometimes they can be terrifying but sometimes they are nothing more than an urban legend fueled by historic events or the fact that violence against a woman by men closest to her is so prevalent it is not unlikely that she might be murdered by them. In Canada, the most popular and well-known is La Dame Blanche at Montmorency Falls in Québec.

La Dame Blanche’s story starts in 1759 in the town of Côte-de-Beaupré. Tensions between the French and the English were very high. In Europe the two countries were engaged in what would be known after as The Seven-Years-War. This war spilled out of Europe and onto the North American continent, namely in Canada.

View of Montmorency Falls from Lévis, 2019 – original photo by Piercing Moon Creations

Two lovers refused to let the tension and war disturb their romance. The lovers were Mathilde Robin and Louis Tessier. The two of them fell deeply in love. They would always take walks along Montmorency Falls and had planned to have their wedding there. When they finally got engaged, Mathilde sewed herself the most beautiful, white wedding dress. There did not seem to be anything that would ruin their day. But, as most ghost stories begin, what was supposed to be the happiest day became a day of tragedy.

On 31 July 1759 the English attacked, under the command of General James Wolfe, Montmorency Falls. The women and children hid in the forest while the men helped the French soldiers, led by Commander Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. The Battle of Montmorency Falls lasted a few days and the French came out victorious. It was a happy day for everyone but Mathilde.

As the men returned Mathilde searched for Louis but she could not find him. She ran to his farm thinking maybe he had gone home first. He was not there. She asked all the men and the soldiers but no one had seen him. That was until Montcalm came to her and told her the news. Louis had not survived. He had died at the foot of Montmorency Falls.

Devastated, Mathilde ran to her home and put on her wedding dress. She went to the falls where she was supposed to get married, where Louis had died and where just days before they had taken their romantic walks. Crying and heartbroken, she jumped from the top, killing herself.

Her veil was caught by the wind and settled onto a new rock, just left of Montmorency Falls. There, it turned into a new waterfall called The Veil of the Bride, or more commonly known as Chute de la Dame Blanche, after Mathilde. Mathilde is seen wandering the area of Montmorency Falls, crying for her lost love. She is known as La Dame Blanche as she is seen dressed in her white wedding dress in the mist of the falls. She does not interact with the living and it is warned that the living should not interact or touch her or else they will die a gruesome death.

Location of Chute de la Dame Blanche and Chute Montmorency from Google Maps, 2019

While the Battle of Montmorency Falls in 1759 was a real battle and happened just before the Battle of The Plains of Abraham, there is no evidence of Mathilde or Louis being real people during this time. This suggests that it is just a legend from a pivotal point in Canadian history. A legend of a heartbroken woman and the effects of war on loved ones. It is the creation of Québec’s, and possibly all of Canada’s, most popular White Lady story.

What is a White Lady, a Weeping Woman or a Woman in White exactly?

White Ladies are common legends in rural areas and are most often linked to a local tragedy. In the case of Mathilde, the tragedy was the French loss at the Plains of Abraham and the Seven-Years-War to the English and the effect of war on women.

White Ladies are called this because they dress all in white and are either semi-transparent or fully transparent. White is both symbolic of death and purity in Western culture. White is the colour of bones and ash. White is also what brides dress in when they get married. It is thought that White Ladies are only seen in white not just because they have died but also because they are innocent. The events surrounding them are what led them to die, but they are often pure being who was gone before their time.

There are two common types of White Ladies. The first are the most common, especially in the media. These ones are the ones who are betrayed by a lover or a male close to them. They are either killed by the male or commit suicide because they were betrayed. The second are ones who have died of broken hearts and are seen weeping at the scene of their death. While the first usually seeks revenge, the latter is often just trying to find her lost love. It is due to the first one that White Ladies can be seen as harbingers of death but usually only to the people who are similar to those who killed her. An example, if a man cheated on his wife and she killed herself, she would exact revenge only on unfaithful men. Only men who bear some resemblance to the person who had initially hurt her.

White Ladies are very active spirits and are often seen haunting their grave sites or trying to find their loves. Commonly they are found on the side of the road or in hotels. Generally, they do not like scaring or harming the living but of course there are vindictive ones who will scare and harm and like it. They can be exorcised from their place of haunting but sometimes they just pretend to be exorcised and will resurface when the coast is clear. They are very attached to their hauntings.

Mathilde Robin is considered to be one of these spirits. She died of a broken heart and is considered a local legend seen dressed solely in white. She is never harmful but is just seen weeping at Montmorency Falls. She may not have been a real person but her story has come from a time when tragedy was striking and crucially changing New France. Thus, she has become an important figure of what war can do, not just to soldiers but to those left alive.

Bibliography

Duranti, Krista. “The Legend of the Woman in White.” Exemplore (November 26, 2018). Accessed April 7, 2019. exemplore.com/paranormal/The-Woman-in-White-A-Legend

Evans, David. “Chute Montmorency.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (February 7, 2006). Edited March 4, 2015. Accessed April 7, 2019. thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/chute-montmorency

Fédération des Québécois de souche. “Légende de la Dame Blanche.” Fédération des Québécois d’origine (March 27, 2013). Accessed April 7, 2019. quebecoisdesouche.info/legende-de-la-dame-blanche

Grand Québec. “Legende la Dame Blanche.” GrandQuebec: Le Québéc dévoile ses mystères (July 2, 2017). Accessed April 7, 2019. grandquebec.com/legends-du-quebec/legende-dame-blanche/

Iles, Judika. “White Lady (1).” In Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods and Goddess, 1006-1007. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 2009.

Sutherland, Joel A. “La Dame Blanche.” In Haunted Canada 5: Terrifying True Stories, 699-737. Toronto, Ontario: Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2015. Amazon Kindle Edition.

Tison, Marie. “The White Lady of the Montmorency Falls.” La Presse (March 10, 2014). Accessed April 7, 2019. https://www.lapresse.ca/voyage/destinations/quebec/201403/10/01-4746265-la-dame-blanche-de-la-chute-montmorency.php

“White Lady (Ghost).” Wikipedia. Accessed April 7, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Lady_(ghost)

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Glooscap and Winpe

Oral traditions are important and our ability to listen, truly listen, to another person as they talk to us is something that is incredibly valuable. It can be respectful to truly listen to someone as it means you are learning about the person who is talking, their worldview and the wisdom they contain about topics you may never think about.

            Words and writing contain a wisdom as well and there is a lot that can be learned from written stories. An oral story is different. It is personal. It is someone in front of you, someone real, who has feelings and lives as you do. To hear someone tell a story is to be a part of their life, their teaching and to provide them with an open, listening mind. It is in this way that oral traditions are important.

            There is time, effort and care put into telling and listening to stories. A person can copy what is written and place it in another book or on the Internet. A voiced story cannot be truly copied. It is personal, it holds nuances specific to that person. It is not something that can be duplicated.

            Before Europeans colonized Canada the tribes that lived across the land told their legends orally. They had writings, drawings, pictograms, but the heart of the culture was the spoken word. It was important to listen to the Elders and take in every word. It was spiritual and it was respectful. The tales told were told with a reason and were part of the life. While tales were changed from tribe to tribe, maybe just in the spelling or in a critical part of the legend, they still held a significant weight for the tribe it was being told in. Stories change but the feeling, the spiritual emphasis and the cultural importance remains.

            It was during the process of colonization, and later assimilation, that Native tribes lost stories. Being punished for speaking their mother tongue or being stolen from their tribes and lands, legends could not always be passed down to the next generation. Now, in the age of the Internet and an emphasis on academia, to fit in we read, write, type and regurgitate information from one site to the next. It is difficult to just sit down and listen to a story when reading alone is easier. Is it better? I cannot answer that as it would be hypocritical of me as I type and share a story online, but it is a thoughtful question.

            The Beothuk was a tribe that was wiped out from disease and killing. They are now extinct. Almost all of their legends and culture is gone. Finding a religious or spiritual legend from the Beothuk is next to impossible. It is as if they have been erased and that is devastating. It is due to this that I have chosen a story from the Mi’kmaq. What had happened to the Beothuk should never happen to any other people or culture.

Demasduit, reputed to be the last Beothuk who died in 1820 from Tuberculosis – original portrait by Lady Henrietta Martha Hamilton, Library and Archives Canada / acc. no. 1977-14-1

            So now, I want to tell a legend from the Mi’kmaq, specifically the Loon People of Newfoundland and urge us to go and listen to the people living around us so memories and culture are not lost. To hear from them is to not speak for them, but to listen. Listen to the culture around us and open ourselves up. There is a lot to learn. I write this now, not to take the story from them and to tell it my own way, but because I feel the importance of it and I want to share what I have learned in my own research. However, seek out primary sources, what I share is not exact and the memories are much more precise coming from a primary source.

The Story of Glooscap and Winpe

In Mi’kmaq culture, the hero of many stories is The Great Chief – Glooscap. Glooscap was brought to life by Creator, a being who transcends the binary of man and woman, Creator is all. Creator struck the land of Wabanaki – the Atlantic Seaboard and home to the Mi’kmaqs, Malecites, Penobscots and Passamaquoddies – with lightning. Glooscap was formed, in the shape of a male human, out of the sand. Creator sent a second bolt of lightning and Glooscap was given life. He could see the world around him but he could not move, so he asked Creator to allow him to learn about his new world. Creator sent a third bolt of lightning down and freed Glooscap, allowing him to move. In another tale he is said to have come to Wabanaki on the back of a turtle. In any tale he comes to Wabanaki to watch and learn about the world around him.

            Glooscap relied on the respect and wisdom from his relatives and Elders. In doing so, they gave him great spiritual strength. He passes this knowledge onto the Mi’kmaq and becomes the central figure and hero in their legends. From tribe to tribe stories of Glooscap are told.

           Winpe on the other hand was a being of evil. In the majority of tales Winpe is portrayed as a man, however sometimes she is a sorceress. He is a sorcerer and the ruler of the Northern Sea. Winpe is most likely a giant. Winpe left suffering wherever he went and he was jealous of Glooscap who was more powerful than he was. Winpe either challenges Glooscap to a battle and then steals Glooscap’s family or just kidnaps his family outright. In the beginning of this tale, Winpe puts Grandmother and Marten in a large canoe and paddles away with his two captives, luring Glooscap into a challenge.

Icebergs off Cape Race, Newfoundland in 1894 – original drawing by Henry Ash

            Glooscap calls out for his dogs, who Winpe has now shrunken down to the size of mice, and Grandmother sets them in a dish and floats them back to Glooscap. Glooscap waits, it is unsure for how long, before he is able to go after his family. He goes to the water and chants for a whale. The largest one, Bootsup, comes to the surface and Glooscap gets on top. Bootsup carries him across the bay where there is a teepee with a man and a woman. They tell Glooscap of Winpe’s evil doings and tell him to eat cranberries around Winpe as it will help him to see a trail of Winpe’s magic.

            Glooscap gets off Bootsup’s back and continues on his journey. He comes across an old camp of Winpe where an old woman is now camping. She complains of Winpe and the cold and begs Glooscap to help her make a fire. Before he sets down to help her, he eats a cranberry. Seeing that she is one of Winpe’s witches, he puts her in a deep sleep. After, he continues on his way.

            He meets two beautiful women. The two of them try to seduce him and slip a magic noose around his neck. This noose would take away his power and strength. While his dogs were still the size of mice, they could grow as large as bears. The two dogs magically grew and protected Glooscap from the maidens.

            Glooscap may have met many more obstacles along the way, it is not really certain. When he finally got to Winpe’s camp he was angry to see how his family had been treated. Winpe was cruel. Grandmother and Marten sat in tattered clothes and Winpe has starved them. Glooscap tries to free his family without the sorcerer seeing him but he is unsuccessful. When Winpe sees him the two of them begin a battle, or a game of tokohon. Glooscap wins and destroys Winpe to not allow evil onto the world and his people. Glooscap takes tokohon to teach his people, later it is renamed lacrosse.

            The people of K’Taqmkuk – Newfoundland – rejoice as Winpe is finally gone and they are freed from his cruelty. They serve a large feast to Glooscap and his family, treating them royally. As Glooscap and his family leave he tells the people of K’Taqmkuk to call him if he is needed. The call is the call of a loon. This is why the Newfoundland people are called the “Loon People” and how the Mi’kmaq learned lacrosse.

The Great Speckled Loon of Newfoundland, 1735 – original picture by Eleazar Albin – Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-2523 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana

Bibliography

Arcturus Publishing. “How Glooscap Conquered his Enemies (Mi’kmaq).” In Native American Myths and Legends. London, Ontario: Arcturus Holdings Limited, 2017. Accessed April 3, 2019. Google Books Edition.

Augustine, Stephen. “Mi’kmaq Knowledge in the Mi’kmaq Creation Story: Lasting Words and Deeds.” Micmaw Spirit, (April 8, 1977). Accessed April 3, 2019. www.muiniskw.org/pgCulture3a.htm

“Legendary Native American Figures: Winpe.” Native Languages of the Americas, (2015). Accessed April 3, 2019. www.native-languages.org/winpe.htm

Partridge, Emelyn Newcomb. “How Glooscap Conquered His Enemies.” In Glooscap the Great Chief and Other Stories: Legends of the Micmacs, 247-256. New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1913. Accessed April 3, 2019. archive.org/details/glooscapgreatchi00part/page/247

Spicer, Stanley T. “Legend of Glooscap.” Glooscap Legends – St. George’s Indian Band, (2019). Accessed April 3, 2019. www.sgibnl.ca/legend-of-glooscap/

Welker, Glenn. “Glooscap and Winpe.” American Indian Heritage Foundation, (1996). Accessed April 3, 2019. www.indians.org/welker/winpe.htm

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The Five Fishermen Restaurant

What is now a popular seafood restaurant on Canada’s East Coast used to be a school, a warehouse and even a funeral home. The popular restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia is called: The Five Fishermen Restaurant. This restaurant is said to have a lot of paranormal activity and there are a ton of restless spirits lingering in it. For a building that is approximately 200 years old and has played a role in some of the greatest human tragedies of the twentieth century, it is not a wonder why people believe this restaurant to be haunted.

Citadel and Harbour in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1914 – photo by Library and Archives Canada

            The building that now holds The Five Fishermen Restaurant is located on Argyle Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was first used as a school – The National School. The school opened its doors in 1818 by parishioners of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church. The most interesting aspect of this school was that it was the first school in Canada to offer free accessible education. The parishioners put an emphasis on teaching religion and giving education to poor children in the area. It was not long before the school could not keep up with the growing population and the number of children being enrolled. The school moved into Dalhousie College and the building is said to have been bought by Anna Leonowens.

            This is where the history of this building begins to get a bit hazy. It is said that Anna Leonowens bought the building in 1903 for her school of arts and stayed there for 54 years. However, this would contradict the story that it was a funeral parlour in the early 1900s. All the sources point to Leonowens’ having purchased the building but there are no concrete dates, so it will be included in this, although highlighted that there are some issues with this part of the story.

            Anna Leonowens was the former tutor to the King of Siam. She is widely known, not just in Canada, for her ability in the arts. She bought the old National School and turned it into The Halifax Victorian School of Art. It was incredibly popular and had to move when it became a part of The Nova Scotia College of Art. Or possibly before that. The history of this art school is particularly unclear during this time.

            It is known that after The Halifax Victorian School of Art moved, John Snow and his family purchased the building a turned it into a funeral home – The John Snow and Company Funeral Home. This parlor had a significant role in two great human travesties of the time: the sinking of the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion. It was April 1912 when the Titanic hit an iceberg and went down. While many ships had tried to save the bodies of those who perished, many third class passengers and crew members were not brought back to shore, they were put back into the sea because of the lack of embalming materials. It was only really the rich who made it to John Snow’s Funeral Home to be prepared for funeral services and only about fifty-nine actually made it back to their families to be buried. Those who were brought to Halifax and could not be identified, approximately 129, were buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

            It was 1917 and the First World War was raging in Europe. Halifax, being a port city, was a major port for the war. Troops, supplies and munitions would be shipped from Halifax over to Europe. It was a busy time in the ports of Halifax. In the morning of 6 December 1917 two ships, the Norwegian Imo and the French Mont Blanc collided. The Mont Blanc was filled with highly explosive munitions: pitric acid, TNT, high octane gasoline and gun cotton. The pitric acid set ablaze instantly and the crew abandoned ship. They tried to warn people but onlookers just began to crowd. The Halifax Fire Department was quick to respond but it was too late. The Mont Blanc exploded.

Damage caused by the Halifax Explosion at the north end of Campbell Road in 1917 – photo by Library and Archives Canada / C-003625B

            1, 800 people were killed. 9, 000 people were injured, 200 of them blinded. Almost all of the northern part of Halifax was destroyed. The sound blast could be heard miles away. John Snow’s funeral parlour’s windows shattered, but the company stayed opened. They conducted the funeral services for those who had died in the explosion. They did approximately thirty to forty funeral services a day and coffins were piled high outside their parlor. It is said that after this disaster, the ghost stories really began.

Coffins Outside John Snow & Co. after Halifax Explosion – photo by Nova Scotia Archives and Records

            In 1975, The Five Fishermen Restaurant opened and there have been no shortages of hauntings in the restaurant. In fact, it is said to have a high amount of activity. Glasses will fly off shelves, cutlery will fall off tables, sinks will turn on by themselves and the swinging doors to the kitchen open and close by themselves. There are cold pockets in the air and people feel ghosts moving through them. Some employees or late night guests hear voices and their names being called.

            There have been sightings of apparitions. Once an employee saw just a grey mist in the form of a person floating towards her, she did not stay long to find out what it was. The second was a full body apparition of a man. The employees thought he was a customer and went to help but he vanished before their eyes.

            In the restaurant there is always tapping and crashing noises that the employees have mostly gotten used to. Sometimes there are things you just cannot get used to and that is physically being touched by a ghost. An employed had reported being touched on the shoulder by a ghost but when they looked around no one was there. Another reported being brushed on the cheek by something. When she went to serve a table they asked who had slapped her as she had a red handprint on her face where something had brushed her cheek. Confused, she said no one had slapped her, no one had actually even touched her. These are just a few tales from The Five Fishermen Restaurant.

            What had begun as a school is now considered one of the most haunted restaurants in all of Canada. Considering it had been a funeral home to two devastating events, especially the Halifax Explosion where almost all of the victims were dealt with by The John Snow and Co. Funeral Home alone. The sudden accidents and deaths linger on in the area, and inside the restaurant. While it is said that the most activity happened before and after during the open hours, there are times when both customers and employees witness the hauntings of The Five Fishermen Restaurant.

View of Halifax Harbour and Dartmouth in 1914 – photo by John Woodruff/Library and Archives Canada/PA-

Bibliography

Bundale, Brett. “Ghost Stories from Halifax Restaurant That Once Served as The Titanic’s Morgue.” Global News (May 8, 2017). Accessed March 29, 2019. globalnews.ca/news/3434202/eerie-encounters-at-the-five-fishermen-a-historic-halifax-eatery/

Halifax History. “Five Haunted Places in Halifax That You Have to Experience.” Discover Halifax (October 11, 2016). Accessed March 29, 2019. discoverhalifaxns.com/haunted-halifax-spookiest-things-to-do/

History.com Editors. “The Great Halifax Explosion.” HISTORY (July 20, 2010). Updated August 21, 2018). Accessed March 29, 2019. www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-great-halifax-explosion

“History of Five Fishermen.” The Five Fishermen Restaurant. Accessed March 29, 2019. www.fivefishermen.com/history/

Horodyski, Kate. “The Story Behind Canada’s ‘Ghost Restaurant’ The Five Fishermen.” Culture Trip (September 26, 2017). Accessed March 29, 2019. theculturetrip.com/north-america/articles/the-story-behind-canadas-ghost-restaurant-the-five-fishermen/

Kernaghan, Lois and Smulders, Marilyn. “Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (October 31, 2012). Updated by Daniel Baird, December 9, 2016. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/nova-scotia-college-of-art-and-design

Matthews, Diana L. “The Recovery Effort.” A Look Thru Time: Looking Through the Cracks of Time (April 24, 2012). Accessed March 29, 2019. alookthrutime.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-recovery-effort/

SamR and artsytari. “Five Fishermen Restaurant.” Atlas Obscura (2019). Accessed March 29, 2019. www.atlasobscura.com/places/five-fishermen-restaurant

“Sinking of the RMS Titanic.” Wikipedia. Accessed March 29, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_RMS_Titanic

Sutherland, Joel A. “Dining with the Dead.” In Haunted Canada 4: More True Tales of Terror, 80-84. Toronto, Ontario: Scholastic Canada Ltd, 2014. Amazon Kindle ebook version.

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Nancy Coyle

           Newfoundland was the last province to join Canadian Confederation in 1949, but it was one of the first areas to hold colonizers. Newfoundland, in particular St. John’s, was a rough place to live in the nineteenth century. There was a low population, alcohol was cheap, there were always people arriving and leaving, and unwanted bodies were piling up in the streets with no one dealing with them. No one until Nancy Coyle prepared and buried the unknown and discarded. It was not long until her good deed turned against her and she was called a sorceress, shunned by the society she had been helping. Although the 1840s have been over for a long time, no one is really certain if Coyle has left with it.

St. John’s Newfoundland before 1892 – Library and Archives Canada / C-021355

            In the early 1800s, St. Johns had a small population and relied heavily on a single industry economy – the fisheries. Landowners were often absent and no one wanted to pay municipal taxes, so, Newfoundland and St. John’s were reliant on their colonial government to take care of things. The military garrison and the clergy were essential for keeping peace and taking care of the citizen safety. Only a handful of police constables had even been hired in 1812, were paid from tavern licenses and had minimal responsibilities. The military was also essential for fire control, even though a voluntary fire brigade had formed in the 1820s with compulsory payments from landowners and businesses. Their equipment was poor, only getting slightly better in 1846 when private brigades developed, tied to churches and business, who helped pay for the equipment. Newfoundland had no real social structure during this time and without it, it was hard to properly give care to its citizens. It was not even until 1855 that Newfoundland was given full responsible government.

            St. John’s was a particularly difficult place to live in the early nineteenth century. The social help and authority was severely lacking. One significant social service missing was morgues and a place for preparing and burying the dead. Burying the dead was left to families and for those who did not have families, well, they just began piling up. No one wanted to deal with them. The bodies mainly belonged to those who had died on ships – there were a lot of foreign vessels where the dead did not have their family on it or just could not be identified, so they were left on the street. Prisoners who had been executed, or died in prison, had no one who wanted or could bury them and no morgue, so they were piling up. Patients from insane asylums who had passed in the mental hospital’s care, were dumped on the street, no one took care of them. These were the common bodies left on the streets of St. John’s.

St. John’s Water Street 1886 – original photo by Library and Archives Canada / PA-139016

            In 1840 the Colonial Government hired Nancy Coyle, with a standing salary, to prepare the bodies for burial. Coyle was skilled at her job and would prepare them right in her own home. Some said she was so skilled that she could bring people back to life.

            While there is some truth to people “coming back to life,” it was more likely that the people waking up had been knocked out, drank too much, had sick or something else that may have been scientifically unknown at the time. The population at this time was also incredibly superstitious so they pointed at her and called her a sorceress. It was not long after the first two bodies “came back to life” that she was ostracized from St. John’s society.

            The first body to rise again was a Dutch sailor who coffin she had been nailing closed. He woke up suddenly and sat up. Stunned and not knowing what else to do, she gave him a drink of whiskey and he went on his way. The second one was a mental patient from the insane asylum, John Murphy. She had laid his body on the table in her parlor, intending to work on him the next day, before heading to bed. Unable to sleep due to the noises coming from that area of her house, she went to investigate. It was John, he had woken up. As soon as she opened the door, he fled from her house. For days after he was seen walking the streets of St. John’s yelling and talking to himself.

            Once these two events transpired, Nancy was no longer welcome with the living. She died friendless and alone in her house. All the time she spent on unwanted, discarded bodies, no one did the same for her. No one even really knows what happened to her body and if she was buried, she does not have a marked grave.

            Now she is said to just wander. People see her wearing an old-fashioned red cloak, going through the cemeteries of St. John’s, most often of Trinity Church. Sometimes she can even be seen pulling a hearse drawn by a horse. These are the places she supposedly haunts. It is said that even in death she continues to watch over the people buried in the cemeteries. She never interacts with the living, not since being ostracized, her only concern seems to be the dead.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Trinity, Newfoundland – photo found at http://parkscanadahistory.com/series/chs/25/chs25-1j3.htm

            Nancy Coyle cared for those who had no one else left to care for them. It was a time in Newfoundland that lacked basic social necessities to offer proper services for their population. Individuals often did the work that present day governments oversee. In Coyle’s case, the work she did made her an outcast. She lived and still “lives” taking care of the unwanted and forgotten. Something no one gave to her.

Bibliography

Archived Canadian Confederation. “Newfoundland.” Libraries and Archives Canada, (May 2, 2005). Accessed March 26, 2019. www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/confederation/023001-3060-e.html

Collier, Keith. “St. John’s ,1815-2010.” Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador, (2011). Accessed March 26, 2019.  www. heritage.nf.ca/articles/society/st-johns-nl.php

Enkguy. “Newfoundland and Labrador.” 21Ghosts, (April 27, 2016). Accessed March 26, 2019. 21ghosts.info/newfoundland-and-labrador

“History of Newfoundland and Labrador.” Wikipedia. Accessed March 26, 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Newfoundland_and_Labrador#19th_century

Summers, W.F. “Newfoundland and Labrador.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, (September 12, 2010). Updated by Melvin Baker, Jacqueline Mcissac, and Erin James-abra in January 19, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2019. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/newfoundland-and-labrador

Sutherland, Joel A. “Queen of the Dead.” In Haunted Canada 5: Terrifying True Stories, 945-988. Toronto, Ontario: Scholastic Canada Ltd. 2015. Amazon Kindle ebook version.

Women’s History Group. “Nancy Coyle (1840s).” Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador: The Women’s History Walking Tour Booklet, (1999), updated August 2013. Accessed March 26, 2019. www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/society/nancy-coyle.php