Guid­ing Lights

Kids from all over meet at Cape Spear

Kayak (Canada) - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by Allyson Gul­liver Il­lus­trated by Scott Chantler

Juli­ette tried (again) and failed (again) to push her long hair out of her eyes. Cape Spear must be the windi­est place in Canada as well as the far­thest east. “Prends ma photo, papa!” she called. Be­hind her, the sign de­clared “Le point le plus à l’est de l’Amérique du Nord” and the ocean stretched away for­ever.

Just as her dad was about to take the pic­ture, two boys ran into him as they raced to­ward the sign. “Sorry sir,” stam­mered Hasan, out of breath from the race. “I wanted to be the first one here to take my pic­ture at the most east­ern — hey!” he shouted, as the other boy pushed past him.

Liam made a face. “You snooze, you lose!” he said, push­ing his back against the fence. “I’m farther east than you are!”

Hasan rolled his eyes. “I don’t believe this! I just met you in the park­ing lot and al­ready you have to beat me?” Liam looked wor­ried un­til he saw Hasan’s grin.

“Mais, papa . . .” Juli­ette said, rais­ing her eye­brows.

“Uh, ex­cusez-moi madame. Uh, made­moi­selle. Est-ce que c’est pos­si­ble pour nous . . .” he trailed off, un­cer­tain what to say next.

“Don’t worry — I speak English,” said Juli­ette with a smile. “And my papa does, too. Where are you from?” “Ontario. Near Wind­sor,” said Hasan. “St. John’s,” said Liam.

A new girl ap­proached the other kids. “You should shake hands to in­tro­duce your­selves prop­erly,” she said. As Hasan and Liam stepped to­ward Juli­ette, hands out­stretched, the new girl darted into their place against the fence.

“You snooze, you lose, just like you said your­self,” the girl said. “C’mon mum — take my pic­ture!” she called as her mother made her way down the stairs to­ward the group.

The four kids stared at each other, and then burst out laugh­ing. “I can’t believe you fell for that!” said the girl. “I’m Emily, and I’m from near Victoria, B.C. A place called Sooke.” “That’s so far away!” said Juli­ette. “Ex­actly!” said Emily. “We live al­most as far west as you can get in Canada, so we wanted to come as far east as we could for July 1. I mean, Canada’s only go­ing to turn 150 once, right?”

“That’s what we thought, too!” said Hasan.

“We, too!” said Juli­ette. “Wait . . .us, too?”

“Doesn’t mat­ter,” said Liam, look­ing proud to be a New­found­lan­der. “You came to the right place. We’re out here all the time. I just think it’s re­ally cool that when you look out there,” he waved to­ward the ocean, “the next piece of land is Ire­land.”

“The phare . . . sorry, the light­house is kind of strange, though,” said Juli­ette. “It’s just a block with a thing on top. Not like Pointe-au-Père, the one near me. It’s one of the tallest in the coun­try. And it’s very im­por­tant. Without it, ships would be smashed on the rocks.”

Liam looked in­dig­nant, but be­fore he could say any­thing, Emily spoke up. “Well, I think Fis­gard Light­house near us is just as good. It was the first one on the West Coast. Plus it has a fort all around it!”

“Well, Cape Spear was pretty im­por­tant in the Sec­ond World War. This is where peo­ple watched for Ger­man sub­marines. The guns are still there,” he said, point­ing along the path.

The kids hadn’t no­ticed a young woman in a green shirt, beige pants and hik­ing boots who’d come up to the group.

“Hi guys! I'm Kelly. I heard you talk­ing about light­houses. Isn’t it great that Cana­di­ans have so many to ex­plore?”

Emily turned to Hasan with a pre­tend­sad face. “Not for you, Ontario boy.”

Hasan raised a fin­ger. “Don’t be so sure, B.C. girl! I have a light­house just down the road from me on Bois Blanc Is­land. It’s not as fancy as the ones you guys have, but it’s still cool.”

Kelly smiled. “You’re all pretty lucky, I’d say. Light­houses guided ships to safety. They watched for at­tack­ers. Canada wouldn’t be the same without them.”

She pointed to the sign. “Come on — all four of you get over there and I’ll take your pic­ture at the most east­erly point in North Amer­ica. To­gether! Maybe some­day you can visit each other’s light­houses.”

Juli­ette, Hasan, Liam and Emily jos­tled around un­der the sign and fi­nally found their places. “What should we say?” Liam asked Kelly.

But be­fore she could an­swer, the four new friends had the same idea. “Three, two, one!” they shouted. “Happy Birth­day, Canada!”

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