Katie Long Beach, Newfoundland and Labrador
Vista Regional Heritage FairProject:
The Resilient Newfoundlander and Labradorian
Newfoundland and Labrador has a well known reputation of being a resilient place with strong and resilient people. My project looks at this resiliency, and in particular the story of my Great - Grandfather Wilson Vey, who along with his crew and passengers survived being lost at sea in the stormy Atlantic Ocean for 9 days and nights in 1933 in a small fishing schooner.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
When I researched my Great - Grandfather and his survival of the shipwreck, I was so surprised at how strong these men were, and how they refused to give up, even with little hope of rescue. They were so resourceful, in how they kept alive and afloat in the raging Atlantic Ocean. I also discovered that the incredible story made headlines in international newspapers, which is amazing to me as they were from such a small community.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
I think it is very important for all of us to learn about our heritage, and our ancestors, as we can learn so much. I have learned so much about the resiliency of the people of our province when faced with difficult events. Personally, for me learning about my Great- Grandfather's story has taught me to be strong, to work hard, to try my best and to never give up even when things don't go the way I plan. It has been a very inspiring lesson for me.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
Like my Great - Grandfather Wilson Vey, I still live in the same tiny rural community and love the rural way of life. However, I learned that times were much harder back then. The biggest differences are in the way we travel, get our supplies, job opportunities, and telecommunications. Also, with respect to the fishery, fishermen had little technology on their fishing vessels to help make their jobs safer, as there were no engines, no GPS, no radios, no phones, little search and rescue technology and no detailed weather forecasts like today.