"No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the wonder of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are." -Dean Koontz, the horror story novelist who sometimes allows his down trodden characters to experience something beyond fear as they attempt their quests.
However, Koontz also admits that if you want to get to Heaven you have to get through life and you need some padding for the hard knocks along the way. In our case, some of those tribulations have been physical since we did a bit of "self-storage" before we called in professional movers to take charge of the heavy duty stuff. Our three moves since 2015 have led to financial and mental stress, largely brought on by butting heads with four different absentee landlords, three of whom were VRBO fans. Thank what gods there be for our three children who loaned us the use of their vacation home and contributed even more materially than that to our support.
Above, Cathy, the bookish one described by lawn-mower man as "the hippie.' Allison was characterized as "motorcycle girl." Neither of those descriptives does them justice. The family cottage at Black Point has lights and shadows for R&R. But this holds true for the entire Province in which "the quick" are corporeally stranded until our times runs down and out. The Mackays in Canada have have always quested after ownership of a home stone.
The worst shadow to fall over Clan Mackay, situated in north western Scotland was the Highland Clearances. The "eviction of the Gael" which occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, caused the emigration of a significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands to lands overseas. It resulted from enclosures of common lands and a change from farming to sheep raising, an agricultural revolution largely carried out by hereditary aristocratic landowners. Elizabeth Gordon and her husband Lord Stafford lived in the Netherlands. She toured her inherited lands in Sutherland shire in 1805. One of the best documented clearances clearances was from the land of the Duchess of Sutherland, carried out by her factor Patrick Sellar
The Sutherlands carried out extensive clearances between Sellar personally supervised the eviction of any who showed reluctance to go, and the burning of cleared houses to prevent re-occupation. Tenants were generally treated according to due process of law, being served with notices of eviction and given time (typically three months) to vacate. However, many were reluctant to leave, did not obey the eviction notices, and were evicted using extreme force. The motive was improvement of the estate's business model to allow for more profitable exploits, if not sheep farming, the creation of deer hunting preserves or tourism.
Being absentee lairds of the land, the Lord and Lady Sutherland were slow to react to reports about Sellar's character. Too late in the game, she wrote: "The more I hear and see of Sellar the more I am convinced that he is not to be trusted more than he is at present. He is so exceedingly greedy and harsh with the people, there are very heavy complaints against him from Strathnaver." In due course Sellar was dismissed from his post. Finding no work or land in Glasgow, Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Mackay left Scotland for Second Falls, New Brunswick in 1828.
Colonel Hugh Mackay's limestone slab on the grounds of the Anglican Church at St. George, New Brunswick. Alexander and his wife Mary (Matheson) might not have fared well except for the friendship of this Revolutionary War soldier who received Land Grant #1 up the Maguguadavic River from St. George. He was active as a lumber baron and Tory politician and at death deeded over almost 1000 acres of his land "to my good friend." The little stone shown inset, stands near by, and remembers Alexander's infant son Eric Hugh, who died at birth.
And so some of North America's founding mother and fathers of every state and nation were driven from their homes and left the evils of the Old World behind! Not quite! Some of my own ancestors acquired more material goods and real estate than they could properly manage. The trouble with humans is that they are innately incapable of knowing when their actual need turns into greed. "There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." - Mahatma Gandhi. The level playing field of ancestral dreams remains remote. The reviled "underground economy" of Nova Scotia is neither there nor "under the table." In Nova Scotia, as elsewhere, this inequitable market is in plain sight on the internet.
That pie chart dates from 2913. StasCan says that the underground economy is comprised of "market-based economic activities, whether legal or illegal, that escape measurement because of their hidden, illegal or informal nature,” and also notes that “some illegal activities, such as those related to drugs and prostitution, have been excluded” from its results. That government agency said, "Canada’s underground economy totaled $45.6-billion in 2013, or about 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product." How they would actually measure this activity is in question. Back then:
"Three industries – residential construction, retail trade, and accommodation and food services – accounted for more than half of underground economic activity." Back then, rent, room and board "do-it-yourselfers" made up about 10% of this unmeasurable economic growth.
News reports since then suggest it has become a growth sector of this pie. There is some legislation in place to restrict some of these activities, but there is little staff or government interest (at any level) in enforcement. Much of this growth can be attributed to two vacation web technologies: Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and Air Bed and Breakfast (Airbnb)."A vacation rental is the renting out of a furnished apartment, house, or professionally managed resort-condominium complex on a temporary basis to tourists as an alternative to a hotel. The term vacation rental is mainly used in the US... Evercore estimates the global addressable vacation rental market to be $100 billion, with two-thirds of the market 'for rent by owner'."
In November 2015, Expedia bought HomeAway (which also owns VRBO and many other vacation rental brands) to compete with Airbnb and Tripz.com. Expedia.com is a travel website which can be used to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages and various attractions and services via the internet or telephone agents. It was launched by Microsoft in 2001. In July 2001, USA Networks, Inc. bought Expedia from Microsoft. HomeAway, Inc.has more than 2,000,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries.
At this late date, I thought that the acronym Airbnb might stand for Air New Brunswick, possibly a defunct fly-by-night airline. Just kidding! Airbnb has been around since 2008 but operated without profit until last year. Bloomberg noted that.
"It takes a commission of 6 percent to 12 percent from guest fees, in addition to a small fee it charges hosts. The company has no expenses related to maintaining and cleaning the properties... Revenue at Airbnb increased more than 80 percent during 2016, said one of the people close to the company, even as cities like San Francisco and New York passed laws that would enforce limits on the number of nights hosts can list their properties."
TripAdvisor, headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, is the largest travel web site in the world, with more than 315 million members and over 500 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses.It was a spin off from Expedia which went public in 2011.TripAdvisor has been the subject of controversy for allowing unsubstantiated anonymous reviews to be posted about any hotel, B&B, inn, or restaurant. In the past R&R have encountered instances of what others have called SNAD, "Significantly Not As Described". A greater concern is that people may create false accounts, and advertise vacation homes which they do not own. This can lead to unsuspecting customers' booking and paying for a vacation, only to find on arrival that the rental does not exist.
Airbnb is a persuasive advertiser, but it has been criticized on its claim that it is primarily service to convenience resident out-of-town home owners for very short periods of time. David Wachsmuth, a professor in the School of Urban Planning at McGill University in Montreal, gathered a team which assembled data on 14,000 entire properties rented for 60 days or more per year on Airbnb in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Montreal has the most active listings of those three cities.
His research led him to the conclusion that about 10% of owners, who had multiple listings were taking home half the profit. He described these property management firms were "basically running hotels." People can reside in these places for months without paying taxes as they would have to do in a regulated building. On Twitter, author and critic Steven Hill, notes that while Airbnb now claims to be collecting taxes, that is only in a few American cities where they have been under pressure from legitimate businesses directed through politicians.
One would think that the elected leaders of any community might want to protect the residential housing stock. After all this is not the 1800s or even the early 1900s, and long time residents form the social and economic basis for having a city, town or village. The game, however, goes on and the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act has no teeth. Further, there is no Vacation Residential Tenancies Act, so vacationers sometimes face uncomfortable, expensive situations. Our first advice: If there is no street address given on the web site, move on! Dal Legal Aid setup to help university students characterizes the Tenancies Act as "The Landlord's Act: profit seems to be more important than safety, affordability and comfort."
Tourism is big in Nova Scotia. At first it was only the very wealthy who commuted to Nova Scotia by steamboat and took trains to grand vacation hotels. Henry Ford's production of inexpensive automobiles democratized motor tourism and this was further advanced by the development of commercial airlines and mammoth ocean-going cruise ships.The province is expecting abut $4-billion in business in this sector by 2020. This is the subject for a much expanded essay.
Landlords win 80% of hearings raised under the Tenancies Act according to Dal Legal. There are indeed Renters From Hell but there are also Landlords Form Hell,although they do not get as much notice on the World Wide Web. Some conventional home insurers suggest that home insurance has slip clauses when it comes to long-term rental to strangers.
R&R had to move suddenly at the end of November 2015 when the septic system in their rural rental failed. They were taken in by false advertising and moved to Mahone Bay in December 2015. These days we pay no attention to any website claims and will never again rent from an absentee landlord through and absentee property manager. We moved out in May, 2016 and into a another temporary second-story apartment, which went into receivership. When the mortgage holder repossessed, it we were evicted in June, 2017. Four moves from three properties in three years was expensive in terms finances and angst and Ruth's ability to work on-line was seriously impeded.
In the same neighbourhood, a rent-by-owner place owned locally. Mahone Bay is a tourist town and for varying reasons people like to vacation here. This place actually gives you a street address and tells you what will be charged. The tourist season is about four months long and typically resident renters can find accommodation in the shoulder seasons and winter. They typically pay about $700- $900 plus lights, heat, sewer and water charges. Still the cost is less than in high season although not affordable for retirees on a fixed income or those at the low end of the salary scale. Of course, this is a relatively inexpensive place for a family vacation if the visitors have American money.
There is an admitted affordable housing crisis in Mahone Bay according to the media, but the town council is not overly concerned. This screen shot was taken in 2016 when there were 129 rental possibilities in the village. It currently has1,o36 permanent residents living in 501 of its 571 private dwellings. The median income of $36, 374 suggests that there are quite a few residents who need affordable rentals. Those VRBO rental rates have increased this year.
These Airbnb prices date from 2017. You can rent a night in at attic for $56 and a garden shed cottage for $89. From the above stats you can see that about 70 residences are not primary residences and we can name some which are obviously cash cows. The last rental apartment we occupied has been gussied up as a vacation haven and will bring the owner several times more income than he could realize from any full-time local resident. At that, it is on the second floor, can only be entered from the rear of the building, and has no ground floor associated property associated with it aside from a parking lot.
Of course eviction is only a complete disaster in a situation where there is no family or other form of external support.
"Knock Knock" is the fourth episode of the tenth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who
"As Bill and some friends are searching for a house to rent and not pleased by the houses they've visited; a mysterious landlord appears with this very cheap and enormous house which they take the offer and move to the new house. But all its not as it seems as the wood creaks, the house traps them, Bill and The Doctor are separated from each other and some bizarre and macabre force is taking the life of each one of the people of the house. Is this cause of the mysterious landlord? Has this happened before? Can Bill and her friends can survive the evilness of the house?"
Vicky had some of these problems with Buckingham Palace and knew just what to do. She was not yet born when the Mackays were evicted. from there tenant farms.
The citizens of the United States of America used to be characterized as "ugly Americans" or "uncouth Americans" and now, as "stupid Americans." Their noted historian Alfred McCoy (dialectic form of Mackay) guesses that,“The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, may already be tattered and fading by 2025 and, except for the finger pointing, could be over by 2030... The technological and educational shifts coming together means that there are all kinds of ways for the U.S. to lose power. Either with a bang or a whimper. But by 2030, it’s pretty much over for our global dominion.” Donald Trump will be remembered as the ultimate absentee landlord.
"Coincidental" may suggest that homo saps are not as imaginative as they think. As a biological technician for The federal Department of Fisheries in the 1960s, Rod had the Saint John River and Harbour beat as well as stands at Lorneville, Chance Harbour and Habour By Chance and Lepreau.
Black Beach, N.B. was across an embayment from Chance Harbour and actually had black sand seeded with placer gold. While Rod worked for Fisheries in this vicinity, the family was installed in a cottage south of this hill. Cathy and Allison visited the place this summer. It was confiscated to build a nearby coal-burning power plant. The seven cottages which once stood there are now an archaeological site, or will be at some time in the future.
The Mackay cottage was built at Blackhall's Beach on Anglican Church land. Blackhall was the resident Oak Bay priest for several decades. Three cottages were in place on neighbouring land when when Rod's grandather K had the place constructed. It was very much like the Torey cottage, but constructed later, early in the World War II era. Rod stained the shingles green in a 15 gallon pail and helped nail them in place as a very young fellow. He was there when those autographs and messages were posted on the living room wall near the radio shelf. His oldest daughter posted this notice on Facebook. Richard is his youngest surviving brother. The land was rented from the church under a 99-year lease at $100 per year. Winter weather used to be very extreme and that probably stressed the structure more than the one at Black Point. "Rick's" retirement home is upscale by contrast. Rod, Anne and family spent one summer here long ago, but the four kids probably do not remember as they were quite small.
The first Mackay cottage was actually built at Second Falls, N.B., about the year 1828, a modest homestead held by the family when Rod was a child. In style it was a Cape Cod, a low, broad, single-story frame building with a moderately steep pitched gabled roof, a large central chimney, and very little ornamentation. Originating in New England in the 17th century, the simple symmetric design was constructed of local materials to withstand severe weather. The only variation from this representation was in the summer kitchen which was added to the right gabled end of the house. The homes of other ancestors from the period of early settlement were of more recent construction, possibly due to a forest fire which swept the area in the early 20th century. It no longer stands.
When Rod was courting Anne Torey of New Glasgow, N.S., back in the 1950s, he visited the Tory homestead on several occasions. The main building there was closer the American prototype seen above. Outbuildings were late additions. The third generation consisted of six brothers. Jon remained at home to tend the family farm and care for his parents but the others sought adventure in other parts of Nova Scotia. One of them ventured further afield. They were prominent enough to have a history written about their goings-on. There were two sisters. Anne's mother's folk were Scot's settlers of East River, Pictou County, and equally successful materially speaking.
Text by Rod's daughter. Anne's grandfather is at top, right. His wife, Bella Adams, from the Miramichi, N.B. is front row, second form left. He established a book and toy shop in downtown New Glasgow, which supported his family until a trusted clerk made off with a significant sum of money and bankrupted the business. The family had enough political pull to make it possible for the son to become an employee of the Federal Department of Customs & Excise. He and his wife and daughter Anne, moved out of a rental on the other side of Brookside avenue into the Edwardian, family home. Harold became the breadwinner, and possible because of his father's experience, a careful, frugal bean-counter, with a keen interest in amassing money.
Ruth and Rod drove past on August 13, 2017. Harold created that addition in the late 1940s. The original home was modest and probably would classify as an Edwardian Cottage.
Anne took this photograph of her father in the back yard soon after our marriage back in 1958. In most respects he was a quiet, rational gentleman, although hardly a Saint Francis of Assisi. My grandfather K had a similar association with chipmunks and squirrels and showed Rod how to entice them to take peanuts from the hand or a shirt pocket. If they had a shared defect it was paternalism, but that is another long sad tale in each case. His wife Eunice (Mackay) Torey was a registered nurse, but she was not allowed to practice after they married. Further, he believed that individuals wasted their money by becoming "book-bound" or overly-educated. Frank Sobey, he pointed out, had never graduated from high school.
Eleanor Anne Torey was the only daughter of Harold and Eunice Torey. Born in 1936, she was in Grade 1 at the nearby Brown School in 1942, and had vague recollections of the World War II era. Rising through the ranks to become Collector of Customs, Harold had secure employment at a decent middle class wage by the 1950s. Ruth lived at home when she went to work as a secretary for Maritime Steel at the age of 20, and was able to afford tailor-made clothing and stylish accouterments. As a youngster she was brought up in New Glasgow, a dirty-old coal-burning town, and suffered from respiratory infections which interfered with her schooling.
She hated the name Eleanor and preferred to be known as "Anne with an 'E'", especially after reading Anne of Green Gables and Little Anne Of Canada. Initially the family vacationed at Miss Patterson's Guest Home in Tatamagouche, but must have purchased the cottage at Black Point while she was still an elementary school kid, since she recalls seeing flashes from the war at sea at the cottage. Unlike thunder and lightning storms there was no noise. At right, her high school graduation picture. She had enough academic credits to ensure a place in the BA (Secretarial) programme at Mount Allison University entering as a sophomore. She did well in all subjects except History. She was technically in her third year when she switched to Applied Arts in 1954-55. Her intention was to become a craftswoman and possibly an occupational therapist.
The Torey cottage identification plaque. As mentioned elsewhere, summer brought contagion to children in the form of tuberculosis and poliomyelitis. Those who could afford to protect their children from these diseases, moved families to the less populous countryside in July and August. The breadwinner had to work in town but Harold's wife and daughter were in a much less dangerous spot where the population was extremely low. That changed when treatments for these diseases were developed in the 1950s. Mr. Torey was distressed at Anne's liberal ideas (which he blamed on college educators) and would not finance her for the two years needed for certification. That is why she went to work, and that is part of the reason she married in 1958.
The original cottage was built to suit a couple rather than a family. It had a square floor plan, was situated in a treeless field at the height of land (1). The front entrance (2) to the porch was open as were front and side areas which ultimately housed windows. The Mackay cottage at Oak Bay was similarly constructed. The main door (3) on the front elevation was within the porch. Glass paned-windows (4) were inserted on the each of the four interior walls. A simple stove pipe serviced a wood cook stove. Before very long screens and later sliding windows were added to the porch, and an addition was added to accomodate Rod and Anne's and there four children. Running water, an indoor toilet and bathroom and electricity were added. The kitchen (5) was at the back.
Rod never wished to grow up and neither did Anne. He had attended Teachers' College in Fredericton, graduated with a First Class License and taught unsuccessfully for one term at the age of seventeen. He worked briefly for his dad as a bookkeeper and a year as the sole news reporter for the St. Croix Courier in St. Stephen, N.B. He also operated a small corner grocery store before meeting Anne and marrying her in 1958. This was made possible when he made another stab at teaching in Fredericton Junction at the age of 22. The family settled in to a former coach-stop building at Tracy, where they remained in a happy state for a decade.
Those were the years when Rod and Anne and family had great fun in New Glasgow and at Black Point. At left, on the beach! The family saw more of the cottage since Rod was in search of additional certification which increased his teachers' salary. This was accomplished in night school at nearby NUB Fredericton and summer schools, which took up six of eight holiday weeks. Back then there salaries were only paid on a ten-month basis, but summer school students were encouraged with the offering of a government grant. Still, a tough road to a university degree.
Here is the interesting aside... Rod took these photos of Harold and Eunice weaving at the cottage on opposite ends of the porch. In the 1960s, Nova Scotia decided to develop "cottage crafts" to allow women living in rural areas a chance to supplement family income while remaining at home. Mary Black, who wrote Key To Weaving was hired by the province teach weaving of cloth in the towns and villages. Anne's mum signed on and at first rented a loom. Left as an onlooker, Harold taught himself to weave on the folding loom seen at left. These looms were purchased when the dynamic duo found sale for their products at local craft shows. Anne would have learned to weave at Mount A in her second year at Applied Arts. Her parents were a decade before releasing one of six looms they purchased for her use, and she taught herself using Black's book. Her edges were better than theirs!
When Sunbury West Regional High School at Fredeericton Junction closed, Rod was given the option of reassignment in Oromocto High a long distance away and a massive super-school. He resigned and spent a couple of years helping his younger brother Art establish a biological supply company at St. Stephen in the late 1960s. The above photo is from that time.
That didn't work out and neither did a stint with the Department of Fisheries in Halifax as a biological technician. Field work kept him from his family and although the job paid well... That is Rod's dad with Allison Anne and Cathryn Moira. Wish there were more photos like these!
This photo of Harold with his grandchildren at the cottage is earlier. The red ensign used to be hoisted on that flagpole every morning and brought down at dusk. Anne created the dresses and pants for the children. As you can see, this was once a very rural setting with a great view of the Atlantic and only one near neighbour.It was warm with a great breeze blowing that Sunday. The kids were dressed for churching at the Presbyterian edifice in Little Harbour. Rod has promised to attempt painting this for Ruth.
In the 1970s, Rod made what the Torey;s considered a very bad careerer move by taking up the fine and applied art of painting pictures. When he helped decorate Market Square in St. John, David and Cathryn helped his complete this 12x28 ft mural illustrating the "Landing of the Loyalists at St. John." Rod's mum and dad were not thrilled, but it was a good move in terms of what most folk think of as sanity.
At the end of that peculiar decade, which is a story recounted elsewhere, Harold displayed his sample place mats. Anne was weaving mundane stuff but would like to have gone into tartans, but only wove woolen tartan throws while her dad was alive. His place mats were now outselling those of his wife and she was not pleased.
Black point was then more of a promontory than at present, and Rod took photos which were turned into paintings in the winter months. They were popular although he never had more than nominal representation in Pictou County.
This was how the Reid farmhouse looked then. They were the closest neighbours, but not close enough to be annoying even if they had hosted noisy parties, which was not their thing/In fact folks used to be very polite and friendly.
Mr and Mrs. Robert Mackenzie and their son George lived just down the hill, a bit further away closer The Front. Photos of this place, an original land grant, led to paintings which were very popular.
Obviously, R&A and family visited the cottage in winter. In this case, Anne and her dad are seen walking in from Little Harbour Road preparing to open the place for Christmas Dinner.
On the way in Rod took this photo of a beached lobster fishing boat...
and turned it into a painting. An old digital photo and therefore fuzzy!
Fall at Black Point. A serene, empty land and seascape. The sea remains!
The Mackenzie farm in its prime. The barn decayed because George, who inherited the property, was allergic to cows.
Rod painted numerous large paintings featuring the Mackenzie buildings. At left, Cathy looks on.
Rod did very well painting the Mackenzie farm!
This was the view of The Strait from the cottage. The evergreens were all planted by R&A and were not impressive at that time.
A view of the Grant cottage in late summer.
It was unassuming, which cannot be said for the Grant compound of the present. Pictou Island is seen in the background.
Here is Rod's only closeup. Note the crow on the roof.
The Mackenzie barns in Robert's time. Another painting.
There were foxes under the cottage.
No one intends to age.
But all of us do. Anne died from cancer in May, 1995 after a long struggle. She was 58 years of age.
Lights and shadows. One crow sorrow.
Rainbow over Chance Harbour. There is hope?
Rod misrepresented is age in courting Ruth Brown who he married in 1998.
By this time, when they visited with their daughters, at Black Point, Rod, as well as the landscape, had undergone mass wasting. By then, he had survived a triple bypass.
No one feared bathing in The Chance. "The times they are a changing!"