In response to an invitation for contribution to the Caribou Harbour Memory Factory - a web portal developed by artist and York University professor Katherine Knight - visual artist Cheryl Rondeau performs her latest cycling intervention. Caribou Harbour Memory Factory is a virtual mechanism intended to explore the cultural and physical geography of Caribou Harbour, Nova Scotia. For her contribution, Rondeau discovers the region from a number of different conceptual entry points – represented by one the following municipal demarcations: Truro; Pugwash; Cape George Point; Caribou River; and Murray River in Prince Edward Island. Cycling from each point back to Caribou Harbour, she collects information - in the form of accumulated ephemera, shared anecdotes and captured photo/video - in an attempt to illustrate and examine terrain, culture and history. This is ultimately a process of getting there one preoccupied with the in between and taking account of its effects on perception. The use of the body in displacement is central to the project – the body becomes deeply integrated and engaged physically in the experience of discovery – of Caribou Harbour, its communities and its varied histories.

The five entry points with route and details:

Prologue: 2009.08.17 In preparation - Toronto <> Kettleby

Stage 1: 2009.08.22 Murray River PEI > Caribou Harbour NS - 49km (includes Ferry ride between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia)

Stage 2: 2009.08.24 Truro NS > Caribou Harbour NS - 71km

Stage 3: 2009.08.25 Cape George Point > Caribou Harbour - 110km

Stage 4: 2009.08.26 Caribou River > Caribou Harbour AND Pictou > Caribou Harbour -

Stage 5: 2009.08.27 Pugwash > Caribou Harbour - 104km

Cheryl Rondeau would like to acknowledge the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada through the funding of the Caribou Harbour Memory Factory project.

Special thanks to Katherine Knight, David Craig, Peter Williams of East Wind Cycle, William Huffman and the members of the communities traversed in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for their generosity (the counties of Pictou, Antigonish, Colchester and Southern Kings County, PEI).

2009.08.27: Pugwash > Caribou Harbour

10h45 - I'm in Pugwash with a beautiful clear sky about 15°C and winds out of the west at 24km/h. I decide to start my journey from the Thinker's Lodge, on the edge of Pugwash Harbour. The location of the Thinkers' Conference on Disarmament, which has been taking place here since 1957. Amazing for such a small, unassuming town. Very picturesque. It doesn't take long before I am out of Pugwash and passing by farms. There are many along route #6, or the Sunrise Trail which follows the Northumberland Shore.

For details on the route taken please click here

Click on any image to enlarge

11h41 - I come across the Wallace and Area museum. Formerly the home of shipbuilder James B. Davison, it is now houses the relics of what used to be a thriving industry in the area, along with fishing. The museum staff I speak with inform me that they also maintain nine kilometres of trails and heritage gardens which visitors are welcome to enjoy. Unfortunately on my timeline this is not possible. I do inquire though if their mandate reaches as far east as Caribou Harbour or if they would have any information. It doesn't and thus they do not have any information on its history. They know it mainly for the ferry, having passed through to take it.

13h04 - I arrive in Tatamagouche a very quaint tourist town. One of the town's claim to fame is the Train Station Inn, where the former rail station and abandoned rail cars have been transformed into a Bed and Breakfast. It was purchased by the current owner in 1974 saving it from the planned demolition. All of this information was provided by the staff during my visit. They seem very proud to boast about their community's ability to preserve their history and heritage sites.
They then ask me where I am headed and they tell me that Caribou has some beautiful beaches which I should definitely visit. As for any other information they can offer ... there is the ferry to PEI that leaves from Caribou.

13h25 - There is the Fraser Cultural Centre not too far from the Inn, that I check out. It is home to the Anna Swan Museum. Hailed as the tallest woman in the world, she was born in Millbrook in 1846, not too far from Tatamagouche. The museum is bustling with tourist taking in a local art show also currently on exhibit. I chat with a volunteer of the centre about the various exhibit and then ask her for any advice about getting to Caribou. Unfortunately she has never visited and knows little about it.

15h11 - Passing through the town of River John I find a Tourism bureau, where I stop and ask about the area's history etc. The young woman working at the bureau is very friendly and tells me that there used to be a properous shipbuilding industry along with fishing and farming but since the shipbuilding has died tourism is what they are counting on to revive the community as many have left to find work in the cities. She provides some good advice on what roads to avoid approaching Caribou Harbour but as for her knowledge of the community that surrounds it and what takes place. Well there are the beaches, she really like Waterside beach close to Caribou Island.

15h47 - back on the road with about than 38km to go. There are less and less farmlands at least along the road I am traveling. I no longer pass through towns. It is quiet, very peaceful just the rustling of the trees.

16h44 - I turn off Sunrise Trail and onto Shore Road about 22km to go ... I am surrounded by trees. It seems forever that I am alone no cars no houses, no farms, just me and the road and the trees. I feel like the only woman in the world - or the only human in the world - no one but me.

It only lasts for about 30 minutes, or has it been 30 minutes? Time seems flattened, everything happening at once. Not sure how far I have gone since last checking my speedometer. What time is it? I am currently cycling toward the east and the sun is behind me so it must be nearing evening. The rustling of the trees is overtaken by the engine of a car speeding past me.

I am brought back to reality. The car turns into the entrance for Waterside beach. Isn't this the west end of Caribou? so I must be about 15 km from my destination. I am still surrounded by trees, eventually pass a couple of farms. But unlike the previous towns I have passed through today I realize that there is no café, or restaurant, or Inn, or museum close by the beach or within the town of Caribou. No where for me to stop. So I keep pedaling, enjoying the peace and tranquility that it offers, with only the trees speaking to me.

Then it hits me, didn't someone tell me Herring season starts Monday. There isn't just lobster to be caught here in Caribou.

17h24 - I have arrived.

20090826: Pictou > Caribou Harbour

17h46 - I start another short journey. This time I will explore the approach from Pictou NS. A quaint town very close to Caribou Harbour. I take the roads closest to the waterfront, check out the view. I meet up with a few tourists. Most of the people I spoke to were passing through having taken the ferry from PEI and on to another destination. They were all that familiar with the area.

For details of my route please click here

As I approach the west end of town I stop to chat with a couple of women who have just left Sharon's Restaurant. I enquire about Caribou Harbour and they tell me there isn't much there but lobsters and the ferry. Beautiful spot though.

18h10 - On my exit from Pictou I see a man leaving a convenience store and ask him if the road I am currently on will take me to Caribou Harbour. He asks me if I am going to the ferry or the camp ground. I explain where it is I am staying and he is very helpful in providing me with detailed directions. He tells me he lives near the area and that there isn't much to do. Most people are there for the ferry or for the campgrounds. There is also a really nice beach too.

I continue along and find the camp ground he mentions.

18h36 - I find Caribou Harbour.

20090826: Caribou River > Caribou Harbour

15h08 - A bit of a late start due to some blogging mishaps uploading video etc.... Fortunately I had a very short distance to do in approaching Caribou Harbour. I made a slight change from my original route plan. Instead of starting from Caribou Island I decided to start by Caribou River. It seemed fitting to go from one body of water to another.
Just as I start my route I run into Jay who is visiting a friend in the area. It is her four summer in Caribou River and just loves it. She has also been able to reconnect with her family history and informs me that the street we are currently on, Grant Street, was named after her great, great, great grandfather who had settled here. She is one of the only family members now back in the area, most having left as soon as they were old enough to "find their fortune". The family home was sold off leaving no place to call "home". She is fortunate to have her friend with property here who allows her "squatters rights" each summer.

For details of my route please click here

15h35 - I run into another woman, Julie, who has lived in the area for a number of years, having spent much of her time in Pictou prior to where she now calls home. Again she loves it here she finds a huge sense of community among the locals, specifically with the fishermen. Her son spent last summer working with them and became very aware of how supportive they are of each other. Although they are very competitive, each have their 'territory' staked out. Anyone who breaches these unwritten territorial boundaries can expect their cages cut. She is also happy to see that the lobster fishing business and the PEI Ferry able to co-exist. As she sees it both are necessary for the posterity of the region. Now if only the tourism industry could be a bit more organised, it's a beautiful location to visit.

16h00 - my ride ends at the very end of Blaine MacKeil Road in Caribou Harbou. The view from here is breathtaking.

2009.08.25: Cape George Point, NS > Caribou Harbour, NS

10h53 - Start my eastern departure point at Cape George Point. The weather is perfect, sunny, about 15˚C with a subtle wind (NW 7km/h). A beautiful place to start, the view is spectacular. Definitely a must see if ever in the area.

For details of my route please click here

For about the first 30km of my ride the route is rolling and mostly up hill. Up to this point quiet again no one nothing trees, trees, trees, oh, and the odd church.

11h47 - I discover a food stand at the edge of the road, the Sunset Cabana. I must stop. A teenager is inside listening to dance music. I inquire on directions. He's not quite sure how to get to Caribou as he has never been, but tells me I'm heading in the right direction. All he knows about Caribou is the ferry.

At about 35km the route starts to plateau, just when I am starting to feel strong pangs of hunger.

12h45 - Make a pit stop to refuel at Linsmore Café and Store. The young woman who rings in my order of fish and chips asks me where I'm heading. I tell her and she's amazed. "That's a long way, and aren't you scared of the bears?" Turns out there are constant sitings on the road. Fortunately for me I have yet to see one. As for my destination she has never been, just passed through on her way to the PEI ferry.

13h15 - Back on the road it is nice and flat now and still very quiet.

14h12 - Traffic has picked, I'm seeing more vehicles as well as the odd person walking on the street! I stop and ask a gentleman about directions. He laughs "Why Caribou Harbour, nothing there." I mention that there's lobster and that I heard it was once home to a huge lobster processing plant. He knew of it but that was many years ago, the jobs are gone, just the ferry now. I thank him for his help and he wishes me a safe ride.

15h47 - I'm in the town of New Glasgow, what a change of scenery so I decide to stop and take some video of the downtown from the bridge that crosses the East River of Pictou. A woman enquires what I am doing and tell her about my project. She's intrigued and wonders why Caribou Harbour as there isn't much there now. She does have a faint memory as a child hearing about the lobster processing plant as some of her relatives worked there but she was young and work was not a subject of interest at family gatherings so doesn't have much to offer me in the way of stories.

My thoughts wander it’s beautiful here, serene, tranquil almost too tranquil. There are so few signs, so few markers along the route. So little information readily available. It is easy to feel you are in another world, one of the present only. What has taken place in the past is irrelevant.

16h13 - The Sobey Art Foundation, the gates are open and cycle in only to find no one. Turns out the foundation is not open Tuesdays ...

17h20 - I have arrived.

2009.08.24: Truro, NS > Caribou Harbour, NS

Prior to my departure Katherine, my host and director of the Caribou Harbour Memory Factory, takes me to 'the' department store of Truro, Margolians. It is the place to shop and people come from all over to shop. As much as I would like to hang out and check out the various departments I am anxious to get on the road.

10h53 - Start out of Truro - known as the hub of Nova Scotia - with winds out of the east at 17km/h, temperature of about 14˚C and rain, which comes and goes throughout the rest of the ride.

For details of route taken pleas click HERE

11h15 - From about this point on all I see are trees. Hwy 4 "the old highway" is nice and quiet. It is so serene - no homes, no businesses, no signs, just trees ... and rain. I cycle along with the odd car or truck passing by maybe every ten minutes or so.

12h52 - I reach the summit of Mount Thom, or more accurately the entrance to the Mount Thom quarry. As much as I was enjoying the solitude, by this point I was ready to find a place to stop. As there is absolutely nothing I decide to take a break at the side of the road near the quarry and as it turns out so does someone else. The owner of the pickup truck asks me if I am heading toward Truro. I inform him of my destination and he responds "Should head back to Truro the rain has stopped there and, there is nothing to do in Caribou". I smile wish him luck trying to get his pickup started again, as he slides under its chassis.

13h38 - Finally I find a store along this old highway. I have to stop even if I don't need anything. Its tiny and cramped, I find the beverages and go to the cash. The cashier, a very pleasant woman, asks me how I am doing and where I am heading. "Caribou Harbour, have you been?"
Nope, but I am sure there is plenty to see, people to meet and things to do. Enjoy your stay"

14h50 - re-entering civilization. There are more cars on the road as I go along highway 675 into Pictou, as well as homes and businesses and the pulp mill.

15h28 - Arrive at Caribou Harbour, the rain has stopped.

2009.08.23: hurricane Bill arrived

No cycling today instead stayed inside and watched the rain fall.

2009.08.22: Murray River, Prince Edward Island > Caribou, Nova Scotia

Late start today as I had to reassemble bike after my hectic flight into Halifax. Also ran into a few problems with the mounting gear for my rear rack. Bungee cord will have to hold it together until I can find a bike shop.
*click on any image to enlarge

14h30 - I catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island on the way to my first departure point, Murray River PEI.

16h39- Officially start my journey out of Murray River PEI to Caribou Ferry. Amazing sun, 31°C, SW winds 20km/h. Roads are in great shape! Headwind not so much fun.

To view route I took click here

Short journey, along the way I stop and enquire on directions and what there is to do once I have approached Caribou Harbour. One women volunteering at a local artisan shop, has only passed through in her car on her way from the ferry to elsewhere in Nova Scotia. As far as she is concerned Pictou would be much more interesting for me. All she has noticed of Caribou and its harbour is a wharf, a cluster of houses and, of course, the ferry dock. nothing else. I'm curious to know though how involved she is with the local arts community, is she an artist herself. Bashfully she replies not yet but by this time next year she expects "yes". She has just been invited to sell her paintings in the shop, up until now she has focused on needlepoint and jewelry making but is looking forward to doing some plein air painting in the fall. The landscape here is perfect for it.
As with our budding artist when I ask others about Caribou Harbour the responses are similar. "not much there you should visit Pictou it is the biggest city nearby". One person working on the ferry was very impressed with the museum in Pictou, she strongly recommended I visit.

As I approach Caribou Harbour on the ferry from PEI I wonder if I should stop at that point. Do I actually go into Caribou Harbour. Will see how I feel about once I get back on the bike.


In preparation for the gathering of information on the Approach to Caribou Harbour I thought I would take a cue from artist Stanley Brouwn and his project This way Brouwn where, in 1961, he would stand on a street corner and ask passersby to jot down on a piece of paper the directions to another point in the city. The actual location gets lost in the varying details provided by the various individuals who complied.

A selection of questions I plan to ask individuals in order to engage in conversation about Caribou Harbour and what lies in between ...

- On my way to Caribou Harbour do you know how to get there?
- -Have you been to Caribou Harbour? (if so) Any advice on way to get there? if possible ask why they have been.
- What are the roads like, the scenery?
- Any thing I should check out along the way and once I have arrived?
I should make sure to have these questions with me while on the road possibly in the flap of the map book cover.
ON Thursday 13 August I performed a test run with my camera equipment on my touring bike. Decided to do a roundtrip from downtown Toronto to Kettleby.

For route details click here KETTLEBY

It turned out to be a beautiful, warm, sunny day. 27˚C, winds NE 11km/h
Unfortunately the trip was over shadowed by the lingering smells of rotting garbage yet to be picked up two weeks after the city worker's strike ended. what a long and dirty process.

Would have had more to offer but needed to take some time off the bike to recovery from a minor cycling accident. Need to be back in shape and ready for my first stage on Saturday, 22 August.