2018 Canada Trip travel blog

Silver Dart at Alexander Grahm Bell Historic Site


Today was another beautiful day. Breakfast was at 8:00. This morning we ate with Gail & Joyce. The were both college professors, one teaching Spanish and the other chemistry. They are neighbors who travel together.

We left the hotel at 9:00 for our 5 minute drive to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Michael from the center joined us on the bus to give a quick background about Bell.

Alexander was born in Scotland, his fatherly then moved the family to Ontario. Alexander moved to Boston to teach the deaf. He invented the telephone in 1876, and the next year he married one of his star pupils, Mabel Hubbard. They lived in D.C.. He hated the parties, and all the attention.

On a trip to Cape Breton, they bought Beinn Bhreagh where they lived and he built his laboratories. He was a founder of the National Geographic Society, and was its president in 1897. He had taught Helen Keller as a child and Helen credited Bell with her abilities to communicate.

I did not realize how many things he had his fingers in. Besides the telephone, Bell was involved in aviation experiments through the Aerial Experiment Association (Silver Dart airplane), the HD-4 hydrofoil, and more. He also made improvements on other invention, such as the photograph by Edison, the plane by the Wright brothers, etc.

On our journey Kim showed the movie "for you, Mr. Bell" on the way to our next stop. This reiterated what we had observed and learned at the Historic Site. Then Kim told us about gun control in Canada since someone had asked the question previously. Obviously, Canada is not a gun nation like the US.

Kim then talked about how Canada would not have existed without the railroad. To keep British Columbia from becoming a US territory, John A. MacDonald, the first Premier of Canada, told BC if they became part of the new nation, he would have a railroad built within a year to connect the west coast with the east coast.

Before we entered the Canso Causeway to leave Cape Breton behind, Kim ran into the visitor center to pickup certificates of the Order of the Good Time for us. Our certificates had our names printed upon it! One of the requirements for membership is to have visited Nova Scotia, so we all qualified.

Then on the other side of the causeway, we had lunch at The Cove where our dining room had a nice view overlooking the Strait of Canso looking back at Cape Breton. Jean and I both enjoyed the hamburger platter for a change of pace.

On the way to the Millbrook Heritage and Cultural Centre we played and finished the two truths/one lie game and then corrected our two quizzes. Our scores were: on the maritime quiz 17/25 and on the fun facts questionnaire 29/35. We were not the winners. But we had won the PEI bingo.

At the heritage center we sat in a semi circle to hear three people of the First Nation Mi'kmaq tribe. The young woman told us about the peoples. The majority of the Mi'kmaq can be found in the Atlantic Provinces and out on the Gaspé Peninsula as well as the northeastern region of Maine. In the 2016 census, 60,000+ answered the Canadian census. This number does not include those in northern Maine nor others who have moved to other areas of the world. They call their national territory Mi'kma'ki.

The Mi'kmaq had no written language until one was put together by a French man. Their language has no nouns, only verbs that describes what an item does. For example, a skunk is "farts stinky gas."

They then performed their nation's anthem, which espouses we are all the same throughout the four directions of the world, north, south, east, west. After the anthem, they demonstrated smudging, which is a cleansing of the soul. She used a bowl with four "medicines" that are lit and then blown out leaving a smoldering smoke that you pull over your eyes, then your mouth, then your heart. Next, the holder of the bowl uses an eagle feather to send the smoke over the rest of your body as you slowly turn. After she was done demonstrating on her fellow tribe member, anyone could then do the ceremony.

We arrived at the hotel about 4:45. We had a debriefing meeting at 5:40 in the conference room where Kim announced the winners of the contests, asked us to share our most memorable moment and any complaints. She talked about the importance of the trip survey, to evaluate both good and bad, since that is how Grand Circle can improve the trip.

Jean was upset that our luggage had still not arrived since she had wanted to change for dinner. Seems there was only one bellhop. Just before we were to get on the coach, we saw our luggage on a luggage cart. So we went over to the bellhop and removed our bags and took them upstairs, dropped them off and quickly returned to board the coach.

We left the hotel on the coach at 6:30 to head to Le Bistro for our farewell dinner. We sat with Anita and talked about travel experiences. I had the chicken entrée and Jean had the Beef Bourguigon entrée. Skip played a couple of songs on the guitar for the group before we all said our goodbyes. I handed our driver, Bob a tip which was above what he would receive from the company. And, I am sure others did the same. He always went over and above for everyone. I also handed Kim her tip and received a hug.

We were now done with the trip and were on our own again. We prepared for our departure tomorrow and hit the sack.

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