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Unique event in Newfoundland (long)
Poster: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Bergman)
TIME TRAVELERS WANTED
Alright folks, here's the chance of a lifetime -- several lifetimes,
actually. It's the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's landfall in North
America on the caravelle Matthew, and Canada is celebrating that event in
a style which SCAers should all find somewhat familiar. How would you like
to spend the July 4 holiday week in Newfoundland? Read on.
How many times do you have the opportunity to eat 15th century food (wait,
keep reading) with a bunch of people wearing 15th century clothes (no,
*really*, keep reading!) while being entertained by 15th century
entertainers (KEEP READING!!!) ON BOARD A 15th CENTURY SHIP? That's right,
they've built a replica of the Matthew and it will be circumnavigating
Newfoundland this summer. There's a HUGE celebration going on over, around,
and in it, including morris dancing at dawn at the easternmost point in
North America on Canada Day (Canada's sort-of-Fourth-of-July). Some
CABOT HISTORY . (All tourist info taken from the Cabot 500 website at
http://www.cabot500.nf.ca/default.htm. Check here for LOTS more
"In 1497, King Henry VII commissioned Giovanni Caboto, an Italian
sailor, to sail west and claim new lands for England. The voyage led to an
unexpected new land - not the Far East, as Caboto had hoped, but the
eastern coast of an immense continent. Giovanni Caboto would go down
in history as John Cabot, the explorer who claimed the New Founde Land
for a British King.
John Cabot sailed to "New Founde Lande" on the Matthew, a classic 15th
century caravelle. A replica of the Matthew was built in Bristol, England,
using shipbuilding techniques true to the 15 century.
The History of Newfoundland and Labrador is the focal point of
celebration through 1997. Cabot Tower, constructed for the 400th
anniversary of John Cabot's voyage, is a treasured National Historic
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador established the John
Cabot 500th Anniversary Celebration to plan, organize and oversee
events marking the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage to the
New World. The Celebration has a specific mandate to develop a calendar
of national and international calibre events.
The Celebration anticipates an additional 60,000 people will visit
Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997. This is a unique event in
Newfoundland and Labrador's history, and is the only event of this
magnitude planned for 1997 anywhere in Canada."
Lynn Noel, sea musician, living history researcher, former Parks Canada
naturalist (at Gros Morne National Park) and longtime friend of
Newfoundland, is looking for folks to hell-ride up to St. John's and join
in the celebrations. The exact schedule will depend on who signs on for
the trip, but here's a draft itinerary. NOTE: Departure times are flexible
depending on ferry schedules. The latest possible ferry to catch the Canada
Day festivities is 11:30 pm Sunday, June 29, which involves leaving Boston
NO LATER THAN 5 PM SATURDAY IF WE DRIVE ALL NIGHT! To catch the June 29
concert of the King's Singers with a 650-voice choir, back this up to 5 pm
Thursday, June 26 or Saturday, June 28 (see NOTE) Depart Boston to
Endewearde (NH/ME) and Sydney, NS (850 mi, approx 18 hours drive time).
Ferry from Sydney , NS to Argentia OR Port-aux-Basques, NFLD. Drive from
Argentia to St. John's (4-6 hours) OR from Port-aux-Basques to St. John's
(10 hours). Camp en route. NOTICE: Ferry schedules are the issue here. The
Argentia ferry leaves at 7 am and arrives at 9 pm MWF ONLY so we would
have to leave Boston on Thursday morning and drive straight through. It is
a 14-hour crossing (with GREAT pelagic birding!) and costs $118 each way.
The Port-aux-Basques ferry leaves 3x daily and is a 6-hour crossing, but
requires you drive 10 hours across the island of Newfoundland (which is
spectacular). This ferry is $59 each way but costs more in gas, so it comes
(optional) Sunday June 29 arrive St. John's for VOICES 500 CONCERT Grande
Finale Concert 8 p.m. St. John's Memorial Stadium. The King's Singers from
England in a retrospective of choral music from 1497 - 1997. A 600-voice
adult massed choir in Carl Orff's CARMINA BURANA with the Newfoundland and
Windsor Symphony Orchestras, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, plus a 350-voice
massed youth choir with the Festival Orchestra conducted by Doreen Rao in
CROSSINGS by Gary Kulesha. Tickets: A section $30, B section $25 ,Child A
or B $20
Monday, June 30 Free day in St. John's (see
http://www.mun.ca/nfld/st-john's.html for more information)
Tuesday, July 1 CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS Dance in the dawn with the Toronto
Morris Men and watch the Matthew sail into a spectacular natural harbour
from Signal Hill! Then take in the celebrations dockside and/or go
pubsinging with the morris dancers and local musicians. There are street
theatre possibilities and/or English or Italian garb is encouraged. Public
boardings of the Matthew 10-6 daily; Lynn has friends in St. John's that
may help with getting "backstage."
"The capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador is also one of the oldest
Europea settlements on the continent. A spectacular natural amphitheatre
formed by the harbour will be the setting on Canada's national day as
dignitories assemble July 1s Historic Signal Hill, the site of the first
Trans Atlantic wireless transmission will be the vantage point to witness
the modest but mighty ship make her way through the Narrows. Thousands of
people will come to the waterfront to celebrate Canada Day and tour the
Matthew. For six days, the vessel will be the focal point of a carnival of
special events held on the harbour apron and St. John's historic downtown.
Businesses, shops, restaurants and pubs will feature Italian and British
themes and highlight our historic, commercial and cultural links. Symphony,
choir, drama and dance performances will be held dockside."
Wednesday-Thursday, July 2-3 TERRA NOVA NATIONAL PARK Continue on with Lynn
to Canada's easternmost National Park for a tour of Newfoundland's natural
areas and a special concert by Lynn at Terra Nova Thursday evening on the
history and future of the North Atlantic fishery. Or stay in St. John's for
more Cabot 500 events; your choice. (Van will go to Terra Nova; public
transport and local buses are available).
Friday, July 4 MATTHEW GALA Return to St. John's four-star Hotel
Newfoundland for a gala evening of traditional medieval fare and
entertainment. Executive Chef Giles Stonehouse and pastry Sous Chef of the
Swallow Royal Hotel, Bristol, England exchange their talents with Hotel
Newfoundland Executive Chef Steve Watson and pastry Sous Chef Boyd Hancock.
Entertainment highlights include a special presentation by the Rising Tide
Theatre (featuring Jim Payne, who headlined at Mystic in 1995) and dancing
to the accompaniment of the Commanders Orchestra. Complimentary cocktail
reception provided by Hotel Newfoundland. Costume, Black Tie, or business
attire. Sponsored by Friends and Lobbyists of the Waterford RIver, Quidi
Vidi Rennies River Development Foundation, St. John's Harbour ACAP,
Virginia River Conservation Society.
Saturday, July 5 or Sunday, July 6 Return to Boston as above, arriving
Monday or Tuesday depending on ferries and group schedules.
LOGISTICS Transportation (mileage plus ferries roundtrip) is approx.
$100/person assuming a full van of10 people (higher if fewer go; mimimum is
4 people at $250 each). The feast itself costs $65 USD and the concert $20
USD; the rest of the activities are free or cheap. Camping is available at
all sites for about $7/night US per person; B&Bs and hostels are available
but may be booked up. Meals will be handled communally and cheaply based on
group tastes. Drivers are especially wanted, but anyone can sign on. The
more that go, the lower the cost of transportation. Folks that live along
the way, and could thus leap into the car at 8 in the morning having slept
all night instead of driving all night are *especially* desirable! If
interested, contact me (Michael Bergman) for further details or Lynn Noel,
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