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In your own backyard

To some extent most of us take our own town or city for granted. Parisians are blasé about the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, New Yorkers yawn at the Empire State Building and Times Square, and many Montrealers have never visited the Botanical Gardens and only bother going to the Jazz Festival, the TamTams or the Francofolies when they have visitors in town.  No matter how interesting or beautiful the place we live is, being there and seeing it day after day can blind us to things that people from away might find remarkable.

Not just for tourists

Residents of the Town of Parrsboro know the surrounding landscape is gorgeous because all the brochures, websites and tourists say so but knowing is not the same as feeling.  If you live in Parrsboro and haven’t walked in a forest or on a beach lately, turn off the telly, pull on those boots and go reacquaint yourself with the beauty that surrounds you!

 

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And if you don’t feel like tromping on a beach or through a wood, just go for a stroll through the town itself and take a good look at the homes your neighbours (and maybe you) live in.  Stroll along Main Street and check out the Town Hall, the Manning Block, and (of course!), the former Customs House, Armoury and Post Office.

Once spring returns, it is also a great idea to visit (or revisit!) the Ottawa House. Built around 1773, the building is best known as the summer home of Sir Charles Tupper, Canada’s sixth Prime Minister. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of historically-minded townsfolk, the building is now home to the Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum which contains an assemblage of over 450 artifacts which are on display in an open and friendly environment.  Stepping through the rooms of this historic building takes you from time period to time period, from walking the decks of a schooner to entering the summer boudoir of Mrs Tupper.

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From the huge windows overlooking the front verandah you can also enjoy the magnificence of the Minas Basin with its daily 40 foot tides – or better yet, when you finish touring the house, walk down to the beach(es) which (in our opinion) are among the nicest in the Fundy region.

Time for a change?

For such a small place, Parrsboro has a shockingly large number of heritage buildings. They are private homes, churches, Bed & Breakfasts, commercial and public buildings. There are so many buildings of historical and/or architectural significance that in 1989, to celebrate 100 years of incorporation as a Town, the Centennial Committee published a 407 page book, Heritage Homes and History of Parrsboro, which gives a pictorial and historical tour of many of the older homes.  Though initially amazed that such a small town could have enough significant buildings to create such a book, on our walks about town we have since noticed many remarkable buildings that are not even in the book!

If you don’t already live in Parrsboro, perhaps you should consider a change.  These beautiful buildings do sometimes come on the market and are often more affordable than you might think.

So why not sell that Toronto or Vancouver condo and bank the difference so you can afford to devote more time to your passions.

Come settle by the sea and join Parrsboro’s growing community of artists and writers.

Hopewell Rocks

The reddish cliffs of the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick offer another spectacular landscape in which to experience Fundy’s tides.

 

Hopewell Rocks

 

I left my footprints on the ocean floor,

Knowing they would be no more

When Fundy’s tide has swept them clean.

No trace that I have been

Standing in the mud and sand

Gazing at this Wonderland

Of sculpted rocks and fissures deep,

Where rushing waters come and sweep

With relentless force of spray

All the yesterdays away.

I wondered then, “Who came before?”

How many other footprints on the ocean floor?

 

Or was there once an upward thrust

When ocean floor turned into mountain crust.

 

Did dinosaurs then in murderous play,

Leave their victims in the clay?

Again perhaps, more recently

When land was covered by invading sea,

A fish swam slowly down to rest

On self-same spot my foot will press,

And musing thus, it came to me

That we are children of the sea.

Twas long before the age of man;

A creature left the ocean floor

To make its home on solid shore,

But locked within its memory

Was its bondage to the sea.

 

That sea comes crashing over sand and stone

Claiming what it calls its own.

I left my footprints on the ocean floor

Knowing they would be no more

When Fundy’s tide has swept them clean.

 

By: Elizabeth D’Ambrosio 2012

(Published previously in: Twigs & Leaves. Volume V. 2012, Broken Rules Press)

Elizabeth D'AmbrosioElizabeth D’Ambrosio was born in Germany in 1920 and immigrated to Canada as a child. A member of the Greenwood Poets since 2009, she regales her audiences with humorous poems as well as those that move the spirit and strike at heartstrings. Elizabeth is an avid speechwriter, bridge player, traveller, and painter. Her editorials and poetry have been published in the Montreal Gazette, on CBC, on the poetry website www.poetsagainstwar.ca , and in several chapbooks, namely, “Passages,” published by the Greenwood Centre for Living History, “Twigs & Leaves” published by Broken Rules Press, and Memories, a self-publication. 

Six weeks of Bay of Fundy Tides

Parrsboro is a coastal town on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s highest tides. It is amazing to watch, like seeing a bathtub repeatedly fill and empty. Check out this great video we found on Earthquake Dinosaurs, a site about a rich find of fossilized dinosaur bones on the cliffs of Parrsboro…