History is alive at the museum for Canal Days

Photographic artist Stephen Brule shoots a family portrait at the museum on Saturday.

Looking around the Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum grounds Saturday Aug. 5/2017, you could see living history in every corner.

Historical reenactors from the War of 1812, native warriors, pirates, the Niagara Antique Power Association and more were demonstrating living history, sharing their love of history with Canal Days visitors.

For photographic artist Stephen Brule, Chaser of Light, the people who wanted to participate in his love of old fashioned photography kept him busy throughout the day.

There wasn’t a dull moment as people came to see him, talk about the old camera, have their individual and family portrait shot and then watch it all magically appear as he developed the tintype right in front of their faces.

“It really has been a great turnout so far,” Brule said.

“I think people are really drawn to this due to the uniqueness, it has a really different, unique look compared to today’s modern digital photographs,” he said. “What I really enjoy about this is it is a one-of-a-kind physical object.”

“We take hundreds of pictures now with digital and we don’t take the time to reflect back on them whereas with this type of photography, it is a one-of-a-kind physical object, you can hold it, you can show it to people, “ he said. “For people it becomes a personal precious object.”

Tintype photography is one of the earliest forms of photography, images are produced on a single sheet of metal which was coated with a light sensitive emulsion producing a final image, unlike negatives which can be reprinted in an enlarger, a tintype produces the final positive image

Tintypes were very popular methods of instant photography at fairs and carnivals, it could easily be developed and handed immediately to the customer.

This type of photography can also be seen at the museum’s Exposure 150 a photographic history of Port Colborne exhibit.

But, as it is Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival, the museum has lots to celebrate. Inside the L.R. Wilson Archives are the photos from Glen Moore’s Marine photography exhibit, Terry Hughes’ Rails and Marine Exhibit, outside there’s the Friends of Point Abino Lighthouse presentation.

But, the love of marine history really shows in the model ship display, many build by Philip Main. He has a few hand built ship models in the display, including Canada’s Bluenose II, but, it’s his current work that is really quite interesting.

Model ship builder Philip Main discusses his latest project, a Spanish Galleon that had sunk off the shores of Labrador in 1565, at the museum Saturday.

“This is a model of the Spanish Galleon San Juan,” he said Saturday when talking about the model ship project he has brought with him this weekend.

“People never knew that the Spanish had ever come to Canada exploring,” he said. “It wasn’t until the 1970’s when this ship was discovered off the shores of Labrador that people learned that the Spanish had come to Canada in its early history.”

The ship was sunk in 1565. Its hold still had the barrels of whale oil processed in Labrador which was being shipped to Spain when it went down.

The museum grounds were full of people Saturday, Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum curator Stephanie Powell Baswick was very excited to see such a wonderful turnout.

“This has been a fantastic turnout, it’s a great year,” she said. “With Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. sponsoring the gates, we’ve seen a lot of new faces today as well as welcomed back many of our regulars.”

Canal Days at the museum continues Sunday August 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Monday August 7.

For more information on the museum’s attractions and the whole festival, see the Canal Days website: http://portcolborne.ca/page/canal_days .



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