Lighthouse Dispatches by Paul Morralee
Famous Visitor comes to the Island
The shuttle returned to Porphyry Island with another group of people ready to disembark to start a new adventure.
One visitor Jean E. Pendziwol, author of a top-ten best seller, “The Lightkeeper’s Daughters” surprised the guests with her appearance as many were attending a book club gathering.
The banners were up and the BBQ set for the guests, as this was a day of celebration for The Great Trail (TransCanada Trail).
Porphyry Island is part of the Lake Superior Water Trail, that’s starts in Thunder Bay’s Lorne Allard Fisherman’s Park and ends in Sault Ste. Marie 750km away.
The national celebration at Porphyry was to identify one-stop on the Great Trail that kayakers and canoeists can now visit.
Paddlers will be assisted by new signage that was produced to showcase the local and regional histories, while also acclimatizing the public to the issues specific to water safety on Lake Superior.
Eight members of the Catherine Street Book Society were on board to learn more about the water trail, but were also excited to learn more about the history of the island.
The tour of the island began with a brief outline of how the lighthouse group –Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior (CLLS) — had acquired, and how today it manages the leased property. This was followed by an extensive tour of the main site, light tower, mini-museum and the Gordon Graham Gallery.
A short clip by CBC Television’s series “Heartland”, introduced by Sylvia Tyson, focuses on the life of a light keeper in the early 1980’s, was shown.
After the short film was presented, Jean E. Pendziwol did a book reading from her recently published book to a quiet and attentive crowd.
Hiking back down the trail, Paul Capon, Chair of CLLS cooked hamburgers and hot dogs, while others brought appetizers and deserts for everyone to share.
When the conversation lulled for a moment, presentations were made and a short speech was given about the significant of the Lake Superior Water Trial and how it works with the lighthouse trail across the north-shore.
Michel Dumont our Artist in Residence also provided a sneak peak of his work of a hand carved ceramic tile mosaic of a map of Porphyry Island, decorated on an animal form.
The detail of the hand crafted tile pieces were organized to provide a guide map to many of the beautiful things to see on the island.
When the shuttle returned to pick-up the next load, guests were reluctant to leave as everyone knew there was even more to be discover than time would allow.
Luckily for most they have a copy of the “Lightkeeper’s Daughters” to refresh their memory in the winter months.
Our weekend ended with heavy southeastern winds, two-metre waves, and a few logs on the fire at the keeper’s dwelling.
Next week we will look at some of the visitors that came this past summer and share how the community continues to come together to support history, economy and good-will on Lake Superior.