We crossed the border from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia and very shortly found ourselves in Springhill - Our first visit was to the Anne Murray Museum where my wife Ann ended up buying CD's by Anne and her daughter Dawn who also is extremely talented.
Many of us are old enough to remember those tragic days back in 1956 and '58 when word came from Springhill that disaster had hit the mines and there would, no doubt, be human lives lost. The incident in "56 was cause as a shift of miners were being brought out of one of the mines and a cable snapped and rail cars carrying the miners descended back into the mine causing sparks that ended up with an explosion with terrible results - many lives lost!! A major shift in the mine which was commonly referred to as a "Bump" (the floor rose up to impact the ceiling) was the cause of the '58 disaster. The final death toll was well over 100, however but there was a silver lining - rescue workers refused to give up trying to find survivors and on, if I remember correctly, the fifth and ninth days they were successful in finding groups of miners starving and thirsty but happy to be alive.
Ann & I were part of a group to descend into the '58 mine, albeit only 350/400 ft. and got a true feeling as to what coal miners experienced every working day of their lives. While we were being told about those infamous days the lights were intentionally shut off and the experience of absolute darkness descended upon us - we were reminded that the miners who had survived a mile or so below the surface had endured that darkness for more than a week while eating nothing and drinking their own urine!!
I find it very hard to believe that human beings can carry on under such terrible conditions!! Oh, and by the way, back then it was perfectly o.k. to have 13, 14 and 15 year old boys helping with the wooden shoring of the walls and ceilings - many of them never saw daylight again.
While glad we had learned and experienced so much about the Springhill mining disasters, we were relieved to hit the road and eventually reach North Sydney, N.S. where we would take the ferry over to Canada's best kept secret, NEWFOUNDLAND !!
What follows, I'm sure, will be very interesting to those on the blog who have never visited our most easterly province!!