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Gwen Tuinman

Novelist Speaker Advocate

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Canadian History

Nova Scotia’s Bessie Hall: Mariner and Heroine

I’ve been reading Women at Sea in the Age of Sail by Donal Baird, a fascinating account of seafaring women from Canada’s east coast in the 1800s. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, I was drawn to the book at a Halifax book store in 2018.

Gender roles of the Victorian era barred women’s aspirations taking to the sea for the purpose of being part of a ship’s working crew. None the less, a number of women in the 1800s travelled along with their husbands for some semblance of family life rather than be left behind to raise children alone. They often gave birth at sea without the care of doctor or midwife, suffered the lack of female companionship, and endured stormy weather and shipwrecks.

Continue reading “Nova Scotia’s Bessie Hall: Mariner and Heroine”

Part 2: The War of 1812 with Historical Author, Tom Taylor and Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger

Welcome to part two of a special episode of The Wellspring Podcast recorded at Lynde House Museum in Whitby, Ontario where I was joined by Tom Taylor, historical fiction author and War of 1812 aficionado and museum curator, Monica Effenberger.

Lynde House Museum is the perfect backdrop to our discussion of the War of 1812. As we heard from Tom and Monica in part one, the Lynde family often hosted General Isaac Brock and played an important role in the War of 1812. Today’s discussion takes us deeper in to the legend of this hero of history, General Isaac Brock.

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast episode of Part 2: The War of 1812 with Historical Author Tom Taylor & Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger.

[Continue below to The Wellspring Podcast transcript.]

Continue reading “Part 2: The War of 1812 with Historical Author, Tom Taylor and Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger”

Part 1: The War of 1812 with Historical Author Tom Taylor & Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger

One of the great aspects of collecting inspiration for my writing, is the opportunity to interview historical experts for The Wellspring Podcast. Recently, I had the pleasure of discussing the War of 1812 and General Isaac Brock with historical author, Tom Taylor and museum curator, Monica Effenberger. It was a delightful conversation, at Lynde House Museum,  packed with historical insights and delectable anecdotes. Enjoy!

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast episode of Part 1: The War of 1812 with Historical Author Tom Taylor & Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger.

[Continue below to The Wellspring Podcast transcript.]

Continue reading “Part 1: The War of 1812 with Historical Author Tom Taylor & Lynde House Museum Curator, Monica Effenberger”

How Settlers Cleared Their Land

Among the settler families’ first concerns was clearing trees from their allotments so land could be cultivated and crops grown. The prospect of such an undertaking must have been daunting. The second-growth forests of today are very different from the dense forests and huge trees our fore-bearers encountered. Colonel Strickland wrote about measuring a tree 11 feet in diameter with “the trunk rising like a majestic column, towering upwards for sixty or seventy feet before branching off its mighty head.”

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of How Settlers Cleared Their Land.

Continue reading “How Settlers Cleared Their Land”

Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards

What must food growing have been like for the earliest newcomers to Upper Canada? Many families arrived with a sack of seed and little else.This spring when we cleared more ground for planting vegetables, I thought about how much more difficult the task must have been for the earliest settlers. Before planting food, settlers first had to cut down an army of trees and remove obstacles  like roots and boulders. I certainly didn’t have to contend with such challenges. Our garden plot will generate produce to can or freeze, but nothing sufficient to sustain us until the next growing season. Plants are just beginning to yield and August is half over.

(Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards.) Continue reading “Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards”

Curating Wonder–Chaudière Falls: 1800s Watercolour Paintings

chaudierie-falls

Continue reading “Curating Wonder–Chaudière Falls: 1800s Watercolour Paintings”

Delving Deeper — Early Emigrants to North America: Trials on Departure

Migration_from_Ireland_to_the_United_States-1 lead photo

In 1830, my earliest Irish ancestors arrived Bytown, Upper Canada, now known as Ottawa, Ontario. I’ve often wondered what the experience must have been like, leaving a known country for one entirely unknown. Continue reading “Delving Deeper — Early Emigrants to North America: Trials on Departure”

Curating Wonder — Knitting for the Troops in WW1

women knitting socks for soldiers Continue reading “Curating Wonder — Knitting for the Troops in WW1”

Laura Berton: Teacher in the Klondike

i married the yukon

A gold mine has been sitting on my shelf for years in the form of a slim book about great Canadians. Only recently did I discover a chapter about Laura Beatrice Berton: Lady Teacher in Dawson City. I went on to read the full account of her experience, I Married the Klondike. Continue reading “Laura Berton: Teacher in the Klondike”

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