Fish­ing stages grab spotlight

Wooden Boat Mu­seum shines spotlight on sea­side sheds

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON We­blink: http://wood­en­boat­mu­seum.com editor@CBN­com­pass.ca

The Wooden Boat Mu­seum of New­found­land and Labrador re­cently launched a new ex­hibit fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of fish­ing stages to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. It in­cludes a map iden­ti­fy­ing the lo­ca­tion of 51 stages that used to oc­cupy the shore­line of Win­ter­ton. Only three of those 51 stages re­main to­day, two of which are pic­tured above.

A few decades ago in Win­ter­ton, lo­cal har­vesters oc­cu­pied more than 50 fish­ing stages along the shore.

To­day, there are only five, but the lo­cal Wooden Boat Mu­seum of New­found­land and Labrador is mak­ing sure peo­ple don’t for­get about their his­toric value to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

This sum­mer, a new ex­hibit — “They Came for the Fish and Stayed for the Stages” —shines a light on those small build­ings el­e­vated on plat­forms along the edge of the shore.

Wal­lace Pin­horn, a pro­fes­sional engi­neer who serves on the mu­seum’s board of di­rec­tors, came up with the ini­tial idea for cre­at­ing a fish­ing stage-cen­tric ex­hibit. Over 100 peo­ple came out for its for­mal un­veil­ing June 27.

“It was es­sen­tially the heart of the eco­nomic drive here on the is­land,” Jeremy Har­num told The Com­pass dur­ing a re­cent tour of the new ex­hibit. He’s the mu­seum’s man­ager and a folk­lorist who helped con­duct re­search for the ex­hibit.

Sev­eral pan­els were cre­ated for the ex­hibit, in­clud­ing a large aerial im­age that maps out 51 fish­ing stages that ex­isted at one point in Win­ter­ton. An archival in­ter­view with the late Ray­mond Par­rott pro­vided the in­forma- tion nec­es­sary to iden­tify those stages. Peo­ple can use a touch­screen de­vice nearby to learn about the peo­ple who owned the stages and their an­ces­tors.

Only three of those 51 fish­ing stages are left, with two oth­ers built in 2010. As Har­num de­scribes it, fish­ing stages be­came less of a ne­ces­sity for har­vesters once com­pa­nies started to use re­frig­er­a­tion and fac­tory freez­ers.

“Peo­ple kept a few just for fish­ing sup­plies, but they weren’t for the pro­cess­ing any­more,” he said.

Har­num in­ter­viewed John Pin­horn last De­cem­ber to learn about the Pin­horn fam­ily stage, and he also gained per­spec­tive from Pin­horn’s niece, Rhoda Head.

“He’s grown up around it, and it’s some­thing that I’m so far dis­con­nected from, and to hear that from his per­spec­tive as a 93year-old man now to say this is how things were, it was in­ter­est­ing. I was cap­ti­vated the en­tire time I was speak­ing to him, and to be able to get that from him was im­por­tant … to mark down and pre­serve that.”

Although he may not have grown up in an en­vi­ron­ment where fish­ing stages were a big part of the here-and-now, Har­num does have some roots in the fish­ery — a point made ap­par­ent in the ex­hibit it­self. Jeremy’s un­cle, Abe Har­num, built a model fish­ing stage dis­played in the cor­ner of the room where the new ex­hibit is set up.

“It was here in our mu­seum, so when we put to­gether the room, I said, “Hmm. That makes sense. I can just slide that out here and it fits in.’”

Mu­seum folk­lorist Crys­tal Braye han­dled the writ­ing for the ex­hibit. Board mem­ber Bruce Whitelaw did the de­sign and lay­out work, and mu­seum boat builder Jerome Can­ning took care of much of the phys­i­cal labour in­volved in set­ting up the ex­hibit.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

“They Came for the Fish and Stayed for the Stages” is a new ex­hibit at the Wooden Boat Mu­seum of New­found­land and Labrador, lo­cated in Win­ter­ton.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Only five tra­di­tional fish­ing stages still ex­ist in Win­ter­ton.

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