Halifax woman shares memories of growing up on Georges Island
HALIFAX -- Parks Canada’s tours to Georges Island are proving to be extremely popular, with all of the tour tickets sold out just one weekend into operations.
For most, Georges Island is a mystifying part of Halifax Harbour. But for Dale Veinot, it was her childhood playground.
“I went in all the tunnels that were there,” reminisces Veinot, who was born in 1945.
From 1946 to 1964, Veinot and her family had the whole island to themselves.
Her father, Victor Matthews, and mother, Ethel, moved the family there full time when Victor became stationed as the island’s lighthouse keeper.
Veinot was just a baby when her family first moved to the island, but eventually helped her father with his lighthouse keeper duties when she became a bit older.
“I’d go walk up, zoom up and zoom down,” recalls Veinot. “It’s a wonder I’m not dead.”
Adventure was always nearby for Veinot and her siblings growing up on the island.
There was a hazard or two as well, like the time she fell into a large hole.
“I was doing something stupid and I fell all the way down there like that. It was hard getting up those bricks,” she recalls.
At six years old, Veinot had the distinction of having the only car in the middle of the harbour.
A newspaper clipping from 1951 said she didn’t have any sidewalks to drive on, but a barrier of lobster traps made sure she didn’t drive off the wharf.
Veinot and her family would often travel back and forth between the island and the mainland, including boat trips to school in Halifax.
“Dad would take me over to Pier 20 or Kings Wharf,” she says.
There was no electricity on the island either -- a lack of convenience the family didn’t mind.
“We had the stove, which we put a lot of wood in, and we had a furnace,” says Veinot.
Since moving off the island in 1964, she has returned several times over the years, keeping watch over her childhood home.
She penned a poem in 1966 titled "Our Island Home," writing: “Quite a place to spend my life, 18 years of exploring and delight.”
For now, Veinot says she’s content to find any boat in the harbour that would like to take her to Georges Island for a visit. After all, she is a local.