Considering we have been in the “Maritime Provinces,” it is not surprising that we have seen lots of fishing villages and lighthouses. But we have been a little surprised at the number and size of the churches, especially in areas with small populations.
Eglise Ste-Marie in Church Point, Nova Scotia was built from 1902 to 1903 by 1500 volunteers under the direction of local craftsman Leo Melianson. Leo could neither read nor write but had found architectural drawings of a European gothic cathedral. He created the largest wood church in North America. The murals painted at the apex of each arch were done by Louis St. Hilaire. Louis was frightened by heights, so he took a bottle of wine with him to fortify his courage. It doesn’t seem to have affected his painting skills. The pillars are each 70-foot tall red spruce logs coated with plaster. There are 41 stained glass windows that were imported from France. They were packed between bags of molasses to keep them from breaking in transit.
Getting weary, we decided to change our plans yet again. Instead of driving north around the Bay of Fundy, we stopped early in Digby in order to take the Ferry to St. John, New Brunswick the next morning.
Checking to make sure there was space, we asked the ticket seller for restaurant recommendations, especially for pie. Unanimous opinion was for the Boardwalk Café. Digby is another tourist town with lots of restaurants. They claim the Digby scallops are world famous. The scallops were very good, but the rhubarb custard pie was the best I have ever had. Learning they were not open for dinner, I bought a second piece to take with me. Even the crust was special. Alie says they are still using lard for shortening up here.
We visited Bear River, a little inland town that was a 19th century ship building center. We saw a winery there, but the town was principally interesting because the Bear River is a trickle at low tide and a substantial river at high tide.
We next drove through Annapolis Royal which was founded in 1605, two years before Jamestown, Virginia. Passing through with the intent to come back, we stopped at the Annapolis Tidal Generating Station built in 1986 to
harness the power of the Fundy tides. It used an already existing causeway and dike and cost 33 million dollars. Although it produces very cheap electricity, it still has not paid for itself. They are now experimenting with generators submerged directly in the bay. The first attempts had good news and bad news. The power of the tides was even more than expected, but it tore up the fins of the turbines. Research goes on.
We did not go on. We were weary and went back to spend our last night in Canada in Digby.