PREFACE TO CHUCKMAN’S ILES DE LA MADELEINE (Magdalen Islands)   Leave a comment

The Magdalen Islands have been a place of fascination all my adult life, though I never visited them until now. Their location is extraordinary, sitting almost in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, surrounded, at considerable distances, with Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, the Gaspé Peninsula, and Newfoundland. Their physical geography, the element most capturing my imagination, is also extraordinary.

I first saw the islands from an airliner about forty years ago and was fascinated by their shape which resembles two long lagoons or bays surrounded by great, miles-long stretches of beach. The archipelago of islands, with a total of less than 80 square miles of land, is dotted along this structure. Add to those considerations that the remarkable Jacques Cartier was the first European to land there (1534) and that after the British expulsion of Acadians (1755-64) during the Seven Years War, the islands became home to some of them, and you have powerful historical associations appealing greatly to me. Perhaps it is best I didn’t go until now because the modern road system allows you to go anywhere except Entry Island, a place of about a hundred inhabitants of Scottish and Irish origin.

What you notice most about homes on the islands is their great variety of color, a kaleidoscope of colors. Then you notice how modest in size the homes are, and, except where there are special needs as for livestock, there are almost no fences anywhere. Children can run across fields to get to the beaches. Fishing boats feature heavily at several locations, as do clotheslines, the wash flapping in the wind being almost an iconic sight. All this, plus doubtless the delicious sea air, produces people of notable friendliness and gentleness. It is said no doors are locked and bikes are safe where you leave them. Provisions for bikes, moreover, are better than in many places, including Ontario. I don’t want to try describing things too closely: that’s what the pictures are for, so please enjoy them. Thanks, once again, to Marjorie – whose name many there found as beautiful as I do – for making it all possible.

Please note that all rights for the images on this site belong to John Chuckman. Non-commercial use of them, crediting the site, is welcome by the author.

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Posted October 4, 2014 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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