In praise of the Carbonear boardwalk
And in every step my eyes hold wonder, I bend on my knee to thank mother earth. The sounds of love and peace, It’s a great pleasure for me, to live in this wonderland. — An excerpt from a poem by Shweta Banerjee
It’s the 12th of July, one of the most beautiful days of the summer so far. Under blue skies, fluffy white clouds and a pleasant temperature of 78 degrees, I find myself in a virtual wonderland of pleasant sounds, beautiful scenery and magnificent flora and fauna. I am walking the boardwalk in Carbonear. A 360 degree wooden delight constructed years past by skilled hands.
It is difficult to describe the beauty as we stroll leisurely along the well-maintained circular platform constructed using pressure treated lumber that circles the lake with its skirt of lilypads, tall grass, water lilies, buttercups, dandelions, pussy willows and a vast array of other greenery of which I don’t know the names.
In great shape
I am a big fan of boardwalks. My wife and I make a point to avail of them whenever we can. Carbonear is my favourite for a number of reasons. It is in great shape. It has the Atlantic ocean on one side and the western hills on the other. Nearby in the historic old town holds the famous premises of John Rorke & Sons, one of the many Carbonear merchants that made the town what it is today, along with the Moores, the Finns, the Saunders and Howells, the Powells and of course at the other end “The Compass,” our community (weekly) newspaper long credited for reflecting Carbonear and its history to Newfoundland and to the public at large throughout Conception and Trinity bays.
As we strolled along there were other walkers enjoying the afternoon there. One young lady was feeding the ducks and a brood of ducklings. We were cooled by the spray from the water fountain airborne as the warm westerly wind caressed our faces.
Where else can one find such tranquility that’s free for the taking? The residents of Carbonear and surrounding areas are lucky to have this facility in their midst. The old rusty CNR engine sitting on the narrow gage tracks is worth seeing. Talk about a piece of history one can touch as one strolls along the walkway. It is both beautiful to see and sad to touch. A subject for some playwright to present as a drama in the adjacent Arts and Culture centre (the Carbonear theatre, it is called). How about a title like: “The killing of our railway — in two acts?” Where is that skilled Donna Butt? At the very least, have your picture taken near it. It is an icon. A symbol of a tragic and one might say “neglectful” past.
Others need restoration
Some of the other popular boardwalks we frequent are not in the fine shape the Carbonear one is. The one in Winterton (Backside Park) i.e. is rapidly breaking down. Attempts to repair it are underway but it will take a lot of money and a long time to restore it to what it was. I hope the money is provided to keep it up. It is a jewel in a superb location around a lake near the town.
I observed the boardwalk in Carbonear is constructed from four-inch width lumber as apposed to the wider planks used elsewhere. Perhaps that is why there is no rot to be seen. Water runs off faster and obviously the boards dry out more quickly. It is noticeably well nailed too.
I wish our hometown would find the means — the government support and the co-operation of its residents — to build a similar boardwalk around the lake in Clarke’s Beach. What a great addition to our community that would make.
Carbonear has been a favourite place of mine to visit since I was a very young lad. As I grow older it still occupies a “special place” in my heart. The boardwalk beacons and I am quick to respond.
It is a jewel in the crown of this historic Conception Bay North town. Remember friends the old adage: use it or lose it.
Thanks Carbonear for the opportunity to walk it and to enjoy all the things it offers in the way of natural beauty.