Recalling Minas Basin ferry boats and apple blossom festivities in 1936
“I am going through my mother’s things and came across a 1936 newspaper clipping with a column called ‘Annapolis Blossoms’, Michele Landry wrote earlier this fall. “This was penned under the pseudonym Amethyst Agate, my great aunt whose surname was Ogilvie.”
Landry was hoping I could shed some light on the article, perhaps determine which newspaper Annapolis Blossoms was published in, so more of the columns the great aunt wrote could be unearthed.
“The writing is delightful,” said Landry “and I would like to read more (of them).”
I assumed the article was a feature celebrating the Apple Blossom Festival and it likely appeared in The Advertiser, the Hants Journal or the Berwick paper, The Register; or possibly it was a supplement which was published as a feature in The Advertiser right from the start of the Apple Blossom Festival.
I suggested this in replying to Landry and asked if I could see a copy of the column — which I’m glad I did since the lady who wrote Annapolis Blossoms observed what it was like travelling on the ferry that once plied the waters of Minas Basin, and to take in an early blossom festival.
Many of the seniors who read this column will know instantly that the Minas Basin ferry I’m referring to is the MV Kipawo.
Built in New Brunswick in 1925 or 1926 (sources vary on the date) the Kipawo began service in the Minas Basin in the latter year, sailing daily on a tide-based schedule between ports in Kingsport, Parrsboro and Wolfville.
“The two-hour trip on the boat Kipawo was a treat,” wrote the columnist, indicating she likely boarded the ferry in Parrsboro. “Majestic Cape Blomidon was the chief attraction. With a light breeze and the salt tang of the sea, time sped all too quickly and we were at the pier in Kingsport.”
We soon learn that the writer’s destination was the Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville. But first, there was a stop at the Lookoff, where we learn that in 1936 there was a steel observation platform “where the view is lovely in apple blossom time.” A stop in Canning on Saturday evening for shopping followed and the writer observed that “it is a small town with up-to-date stores.”
Most interesting of all are the looks the writer provides of the Apple Blossom Festival, which at the time was only a few years old. After a train trip to Kentville, the festival’s school pageant, held on a Monday, was attended.
“The school children donned their costumes and with flags and banners, marched to the park. After the pageant, the floats with bands from surrounding towns and colleges paraded. They were rare and lovely and seemed endless.”
All in all, this is an interesting firsthand glimpse of the blossom festival in its early days and a glimpse — or two — of what it was like to travel on a Minas Basin ferry. I like the closing lines, wherein the writer notes that “the train goes on the wharf at Kingsport and the Kipawo was there, as it was her day to stay over.”
My thanks to Michele Landry for providing this most interesting pursuit. Personal glimpses of the blossom festival and the ferry in 1936 are rare.