The one where I finally find a way to hang my collection of ephemera on the wall...

Back last year, when my friends Luisa and Olle put their Malmö apartment up for sale, they had some lovely photos taken by their real estate agent, including this one of the wall in their living room, a photo that, as it happened, featured a number of the pieces of printing I’d sent them over the years:

I closely associate such a wall-of-ephemera with Olle and Luisa, and I’ve always been jealous of their sophisticated Scandanavian hanging system that makes it possible.

I tried my hand at something similar in the old Reinvented HQ on Fitzroy Street using 3M damage free hooks and a roll of twine, but I was never satisified, neither with the tautness nor with the fact that it eventually all came tumbling down.

This summer, with a collection of my own printed ephemera growing by the month, I resolved to find a solution and, after banging away in Google with search phrases like “wire rope hanging system,” I found my way to Ikea’s Digniet curtain wire, which seemed like exactly the Scandanavian hanging system I was looking for. I ordered three sets – if I was going to solve this problem, I was going to solve it everywhere – and they arrived a few weeks ago.

Tonight I finally managed to assemble the screws and anchors (not included by Ikea), electric drill and level, and, along with a handy installation guide from a woman in California and I set to work. Thirty minutes later, this is where I’ve ended up:

Dignitet Wire at Reinventorium

The work is mostly by others, the exception being the alphabet book on the far-right, which is perhaps my favourite of all the things I’ve printed, and the Thor washing machine two spots to the left (from a letterpress engraving loaned to me by Ian Scott), which I’ve always liked. Otherwise there are a few pieces from the Gaspereau Wayzgoose, some colourful letters from Drukkerijmuseum Meppel and a few of my favourite calendar pages from the letterpress calendars I’ve collected over the years.

The Digniet curtain wire system’s instructions are a little complicated to parse, being delivered in traditional “why use words when complex illustrations will do?” Ikea fashion:

The news about the screws and anchors not being included is the only information delivered with words – in 29 languages, no less! The customer is advised “for advice on suitable screw-systems, contact your local specialised dealer,” wording that makes me perhaps thankful that they opted for the illustrations rather than the words for the rest of the story.

Once I parsed the instructions – something aided greatly by the advice from California – it all turned out to be rather ingenious and very satisfyingly taut when tightened. I’m very happy with the result.

Now, to find a place for the other two…

Haszard's Gazette now Online

Since launching a few years ago, IslandNewspapers.ca would have been more accurately named without the final “s,” as The Guardian was the only newspaper you’d find there.

That all changed this week with the introduction of Haszard’s Gazette – “Farmer’s Journal and Commercial Advertiser” – covering the years from 1851 to 1857, a period that predates The Guardian by almost 40 years.

Here’s how it’s described there:

Haszard’s Gazette was established by James D. Haszard in 1851. Haszard had previously been the Queen’s Printer, and, on being displaced from this office by Edward Whelan, he immediately began the publication of his own paper, Haszard’s Gazette. He published it himself until 1853, when he retired in favour of his son, George T. Haszard. Several other publishers and editors followed. Haszard’s Gazette printed some foreign and local news, fiction, anecdotes and advertisements. It was largely nonpolitical, but its viewpoint did vary under its different editors Reform, biblical instruction in the schools and temperance were all discussed in Haszard’s Gazette. In March of 1857, Haszard’s Gazette was merged with the Protector and Christian Witness.

It’s a welcome addition to the almost 70 years of The Guardian now digitized and searchable, and I encourage you to take it out for a ride.

Island Chocolates Factory Coffee

If I was writing my list of best things on Prince Edward Island, somewhere near the top would have to be the Factory Coffee from Island Chocolates in Victoria.

It’s a chocolate-lined glass filled with coffee and topped with whipped cream. And it’s pure heaven: I literally have dreams about it.

I’ve cut way, way back on sugar over the past 2 years, to the point where the amount of chocolate I consume in a year would fit in the palm of one hand. The Factory Coffee is one of the few things I make an exception for.

Do yourself a favour: some day this summer head out to Victoria, order yourself one, find a seat on the front porch, and drink it slowly.

Island Chocolates Factory Coffee

The Last Bear in Marshfield

So not only was R.P. Haythorne Prince Edward Island’s Premier-that-time-forgot, but he was also involved in the hunt for the last bear in Marshfield, as he reported in The Examiner on July 27, 1863 (a letter that appears in the excellent Marshfield and area: A Grand Legacy:

To the Editor of the Examiner.
Sir:—

Rumors of a Bear being amongst us have been current for some time past, which received tangible confirmation by the slaughter of certain sheep and lambs on the farms of Mr. Alexander Stewart and others. Being disturbed in that direction, Bruin shifted his quarters to the farm of R. P. Haythorne, Esqr., where on Thursday night last, he destroyed five sheep and a lamb. Measures were immediately adopted for a general hunt; and on the same afternoon between thirty and forty persons, resident in the neighborhood, met at St. Cuthbert’s Mills for that purpose.

The hunt was joined by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor and Mr. Atkinson, and by several gentlemen from Charlottetown. After a long and tedious search, the bear was at length started [sic] on the western side of Gough’s Creek, and fired at without success. He re-crossed the creek and in an incredibly short space of time had crossed the St. Peter’s Road, in the vicinity of the Marshfield School House, where he was headed by Mr. Alexander Robertson and his sons and some others. The fatal shot was fired near the schoolhouse by Mr. James Wyatt. The animal proved to be a full grown male, of enormous dimensions, and was estimated by experienced judges to weigh not less than 300 lbs. The skin, it was unanimously voted by the assembled hunters, should be presented to His Excellency.

Your obedient servant,
R. P. HAYTHORNE. 1863.

I am happy to report that since my missive lamenting the lack of recognition for Premier Haythorne in this year of Confederation memorializing that word has come in from Marshfield that there is, in fact, an event planned:

A display board will be established to preset the details of the life of Premier Robert Poore Haythorne on the site of his Haythorne family home. Premier Haythorne’s provincial government negotiated the terms under which PEI would enter Canadian confederation with the Canadian government of Sir John A. MacDonald. A community celebration will occur at the unveiling.

I can think of no better kickoff for the drive to rename a significant Island building after Haythorne, and invite all Haythornites to make an effect to attend this event.

Robert Poore Haythorne

Who’s ever heard of Robert Poore Haythorne? Certainly not me. Perhaps it’s because I lack a Prince Edward Island public school education, but I’ve never heard mention of the man who, says his official biography, “could be regarded as being the true Father of Confederation.”

Many of the figures of Confederation are honoured here in Charlottetown: Coles has a building named after him, Gray had a ferry. Even Palmer, an anti-confederate, has Palmer’s Lane.

But there’s no Haythorne Building or Haythorne Boulevard or Haythorne Centre for the Arts.

Sure, Haythorne “in extending the railway, and placing the Island in an extreme financial situation, brought the Island to a point where union with Canada was necessary,” but Palmer and Coles “fought a bloodless duel with pistols” and we venerate them nonetheless.

Haythorne, by all reports, was a wise and sensible man; the Dictionary of Canadian Biography writes:

The writers of his obituaries described Haythorne as an “estimable neighbour” and an example of a “reasonable man” who assisted the “struggle for freedom from proprietory bondage.” He would have welcomed these summations of a life.

Perhaps, in this year of ceaseless celebration of Confederation, we should consider celebrating the man who brought us to the point where it was inevitable and negotiated its terms, despite his own misgivings about the very idea.

The Guardian, May 6, 1891, Page 3