We live right on a river. It’s fabulous for a whole variety of reasons—and on fine weekends in the summer and fall recreational canoeists and kayakers wave and cheerfully greet us as they paddle downriver and we sip red wine on the deck: all very pleasant.
"Our annual (local) travel issue was never more significant."
World-wide travel generally is experiencing a boom—a seven per cent hike last year.
But American President Donald Trump’s persistent bellicosity—and, most significantly, the “Muslim ban” last year, resulted in an approximately four per cent decrease in foreign visitor travel to the United States in 2017—so that then becomes an 11 per cent deficiency, resulting in $4.6 billion in lost spending and 40,000 lost jobs.
"Our (perhaps naïve) thinking continues to be that respectful people can agree to disagree..."
It is usual and conventional for magazines to feature an Editor’s Letter at the front, usually highlighting what is inside—and (we find) often boring.
It has always been our view that if you have the privilege (and the responsibility) of speaking to half a million people, then you probably should have something to say. We decided early in the life of this publication that we would try to do that—to make people think, to generate and stimulate conversation and an exchange of ideas and opinions. It is always useful to be exposed to the views, experience and knowledge of others. We consider that function to be an important element of what we do—part of the service if you will.
"Let’s halt the political correctness police at the Quebec border"
It was just one of life’s ugly moments. Downstairs from our offices at the time was a small food court. Behind the counter of one of the vendors was a lovely, gregarious gal with a still fairly healthy Newfoundland accent—and accordingly, she called just about every customer “my love”.
One of our staff just happened to be present when a female customer, clearly unfamiliar with Newfoundland familiarity, took loud offence. The precise wording was sexual in nature and horribly abusive and best not quoted here, but the poor darlin’ behind the counter was mortified.
"...robust and unintimidated women are taking up outdoor recreational pursuits at an accelerated pace."
We have a nice little piece inside on a traditional annual cold month distraction in this part of the world—harvesting those delicious, and plentiful, smelts.
But all of these stories remind us, painfully, that young people are just not into the outdoors as much these days, preferring instead to mindlessly, and addictively, peruse their electronic devices.
Indeed, the overall male participation in outdoor activities has been in general decline for several decades now.
“...it’s a huge industry vital to the economy of three of the four Atlantic provinces...”
We were in the Netherlands (quite) a few years ago a couple of days after the tail end of a hurricane had blasted its way across that flat expanse of lowland. The patches of trees (only a few hundred acres each) that represent all that is forested in that heavily agricultural country were seriously damaged with limbs and blowdowns all over the place.
But by the time we arrived two days later it had all been fastidiously cleaned up: there wasn’t a twig on the ground anywhere—so precious are those rare tracts of forested land in this tiny, crowded country. Human nature dictates that we treasure what’s scarce.
“...there are some things that weren’t broken and perhaps should never have been fixed.”
We studiously try hard not to preach (for it’s condescending and counter-productive) but we do try to put subtle points in front of you along the way. Among them is the fact that traditions and values and all those things related to them have developed through a long progression of social evolution. In other words, society has determined, through an extended process of collective wisdom, that those things are correct and necessary and good.
So we should never dispose of them lightly and move on merely because it’s “hip” or “cool”.
It’s sad in so many ways.
We have a piece inside this issue describing life on a coastal boat servicing outports on the south coast of Newfoundland. Visiting those isolated communities is something relatively few have experienced. We are happy to say we are among them: our first of a dozen visits was 40 years or so ago.
Perhaps the most lasting first impression was delight at the happiest kids we had ever seen. Rosy-cheeked with semi-permanent devilish grins, they seemed to revel in complete freedom.
...You understand that people are what matter and that there are no “ordinary” people...
We emerged, grateful, from the 2017 Atlantic Journalism Awards event in St. John’s in early May with three prizes—two gold and one silver: not bad.
But the experience jogged an interesting memory.
In early 2003 we were interviewed by the Ryerson School Review of Journalism. The resulting article described our editorial content as “watered down” and “sweet but shallow”.
How many modern kids have heard a loon from a tent?
Our daughter delighted us recently by announcing that she and her husband were shopping for camping gear, intent on ensuring their two tots experience nature and the outdoors as they develop.
We have a wee bit of a tribute inside this issue, a salute of sorts (starting on page 38), to a culture and a lifestyle we seem to be steadily losing. An intimate appreciation of our northern woods and waters and the inherent outdoorsy skills that accompany that are fading into obscure history. The accumulated knowledge and experience of quite a few generations are being buried in cemeteries all across the region. It’s a downright shame.