Next Stop: Random Passage

Today the team visited Random Passage, a site built for the production of a CBC show of the same name and based on a book written by Bernice Morgan.   Constructed on the site of a resettled town called White Point, the film set is a convincing replica of a typical early 1800′s fishing village and was constructed using historically accurate details and materials.

The buildings form the basis of a small community, each having a purpose in the story and representing improvements in traditional building techniques and styles as they developed over time.  One such building was the staging shed where the cod were processed.  Set over the water our tour guide Dora explained the work involved in de-boing and salting the cod and preparing for drying on the flakes.  Hard work for a day’s dinner.

An enthralling blend of fiction and fact, Dora kept us entertained for over an hour as we toured through the buildings, hearing about the characters of Random Passage and how their lives mirrored those of real life community members.  Dora even shared some of her personal history with us, explaining her life growing up without electricity until the age of 10.  It was great to take a step back in time, to better understand the struggles that Newfoundlanders had to endure and learn how important the fishing industry was to the community’s survival.

After the tour of the site, we had a fantastic lunch (read partridgeberry pudding) at the Random Passage School house followed by an ugly stick demonstration (video to come!) and an explanation of mummering, a practice where people would travel from house to house dressed in costume and with their faces covered in pillow cases, singing and dancing while the neighbours would guess at their identities.  Upon their eventual success with a correct guess, neighbours and mummers would share a glass of ‘cheer’ – why don’t we do this in Ontario?

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