Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Lower Town's Waterfront

A couple of evenings ago I needed to drive back to Annapolis Royal to pick up a few things at the grocery store. For all intents, this was a fairly standard trip down the Granville Road. While I was driving, I noticed that there was an interesting coloured band of clouds hanging over Annapolis Royal. Since I was facing a somewhat eastern direction, I was not expecting to see so much colour at this time of day. I have occasionally seen this vista as the sun rises in the morning and there are indeed some spectacular colours but not usually in the evening. Since I have littered this blog with images looking across the Annapolis Basin from the opposite side, I figured that this would be a good opportunity to get some images of the Annapolis Royal waterfront.

This quiet scene was once the economic engine of Annapolis Royal. In the 19th century schooners, barques, brigs, ships and assorted other vessels would be lined up looking to load or unload merchandise at one of the many wharves. Along the shore you would find warehouses to store produce from the Annapolis Valley and salt fish. Huge piles of lumber seemed to fill every vacant space. In the shipyards, skilled craftsmen were producing wooden vessels to meet an ever growing need.

It is hard to see the signs of this activity today. All but one of the wharves have vanished. The rocks and rotting logs which are exposed at low tide are the only reminders of these facilities. We still have a fleet of wooden scallop boats, but the tall ships have been gone for a long time. Thankfully, many of the houses remain. Many of these houses have graced the waterfront of the lower town since the 1770s. These buildings have been there through the population influx of the Loyalists. They stood proud during the boom times of the golden age of sail. When the shipping boom went bust after WWI, these houses took on a more humble appearance, but they remained a key part of the waterfront. Today, these houses are a key element in what makes Annapolis Royal a charming tourism destination. They are a constant reminder that, despite the vagaries of economic fluctuations, the sun does not set on this scene.

All for now,

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