Ok, I will admit it. Like most people who live in Canada there are some modern conveniences that I just take for granted. Included in the list are electric light, heat, water and the ability to get easily across the Annapolis River via the causeway. While I would say that this is not a particularly bold list, my assumptions of easy living were tested today. I have made due without without each of these things at various times in the past. There is a reason that we have kerosene lamps, canned food and bottled water at our house. I also work at the O'Dell House Museum where I frequently discuss the differences between life in the 1860s and today. Among the key differences are the lack of running water, electric light and a bridge across the Annapolis River. Simply put, I should know better.
Today was a day away from work, a vacation of sorts. Things were rolling along very nicely until about 9:30am when the power flicked a couple of times and went off. There was a fairly strong wind blowing and power outages are not uncommon so I really did not think much about it. I called the power company and learned that the power was due to come back on about 3:00pm. Figuring that I could head to Annapolis Royal for a warm lunch, I packed our 2 year old daughter in the car and headed out. When we got to the corner of the Granville Road and Highway 1, there was a large truck blocking the road and a man waving cars away. The reason for the blockage was that some power poles had snapped on the causeway and the crews were repairing the lines. Now, for those who do not know the local geography, the Annapolis River Causeway is the only way across the river in Annapolis Royal. The next closest crossing is in Bridgetown which is a 40 minute round trip. I made the turn away from Annapolis Royal but, I only went a few houses down before I turned around and headed toward home. When I turned into Granville Ferry, I decided that I really needed to run a few errands and go to the bank so I decided to turn around again and travel to Bridgetown so I could cross the river. The trip to Bridgetown was uneventful but, just as I was crossing the bridge I heard the CBC news tell me that because of the power outage that the local elementary school would be sending classes home at 11:30. I had just over a half hour to retrace my steps so that I could meet our six year old as he was getting off the bus at home. With a bit of frustration creeping into my day I turned the car and headed for home. About five minutes later I heard a sad voice coming from the back seat. "Daddy my sick" was quickly followed by an eruption of sorts. We pulled to the side of the road, cleaned things as well as we could and forged on to meet the bus. Of course, a sick child in a car when you are trying to get somewhere quickly is bound to be sick more than once. We were able to get home just before the bus but, this put me in the position of two children needing lunch and no electricity to cook with. Thankfully cheese sandwiches came to the rescue. Power finally came back on at about 7:30pm but our well decided that it was enjoying the rest. Unlike those on a municipal water system, if you have a power outage with a well you are without water as well as electricity. After some moments of panic and mental calculations about the cost of a new pump, a neighbour was able to give me a couple of hints to get things working again.
The archival images in this post were taken in November 1961 by local photographer Tommy Rose. The first image shows the Annapolis River causeway shortly after completion. The other two images show the Annapolis Royal to Granville Ferry bridge after its collapse. To be clear, only one span collapsed. These pictures show the remaining spans when they were being taken down. After the collapse if local residents were looking to cross the river they were forced to make the same trek to Bridgetown that I attempted to make today.
All for now,