Stag Hotel Signboard

Originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

In his publication entitled Black Nova Scotians John N. Grant (1980:31) described how the Stag Hotel 1, an Inn located in Preston, was sometimes the terminus of Lt. Governor Joseph Howe’s carriage drives.” (p. 31.) Stag Hotel is a clever play on words as the proprietor was William Deer, an African Canadian.

This inn is referred to at length in Manette’s thesis (1990) where she describes and quotes Mrs. Deer. It is also in Brown’s Illustrated History of Canada (Brown 1987: 287) but no mention is made of the fact that the owners were black.

The book by John N. Grant entitled Black Nova Scotians was produced by Nova Scotia Communications and Information Centre and published by the Nova Scotia Museum as part of the Education Resource Service Program presenting the history of the Black Nova Scotians both as a people and as an important chapter in the history of Nova Scotia. It asserts the unique heritage of Black Nova Scotians. It traces the history from the arrival of the first Black Loyalists in 1793, the Refugees of the War of 1812 through the period of slavery examinging the role of education and religion. Grant underlines the fact that mainstream white educators overlooked the existence of black history.

The Stag Hotel, was popular with Halifax sportsmen for its hunting and fishing. On May 28, 1873, Joseph Howe — ex-premier and new Lieutenant-Governor of the province — visited it for sentimental reasons. But the long drive was too much for his failing health, and he died three days later (Brown 1987: 287).”We inserted this image of a mid-19th century oil painting by an anonymous artist into a Google generated map of Preston, Nova Scotia. This image was uploaded from my Flickr account and is geotagged to a spot near the Black Cultural Centre in Cherrybrook, Nova Scotia. I am not sure of the exact location of the Stag Hotel in Preston although I know it is ten miles east of Dartmouth.

The words on the sign were written by Colonel William Charnley. He described the Stag Hotel kept by William Dear:

“Outside the House looks somewhat queer, Only Look-in, and there’s no fear, But you’ll find Inside, the best of Cheer, Brandy, Whiskey, Hop, Spruce, Ginger Beer, Clean Beds and food for Horses here: Round about, both far and near, Are Streams for Trout, and Woods for Deer. To suit the Public taste, ’tis clear, Bill Dear will Labour, so will his dearest dear (Brown 1987: 287) .”


Grant also included an illustration of the sign and the inn in his Black Nova Scotians.
Grant’s (1980) helpful publication is a useful complement to Winks’ drier read. I have incorporated many of my notes from this book into my chronology. In 1783, after the American Revolution, 50,000 Loyalists came to Maritimes. 3,000 were Black. Many, both black and white were disillusioned. Life was so difficult that many whites Loyalists chose to go back to the United States. The Black Loyalists couldn’t. In Nova Scotia Black Loyalists who had been promised land were having great difficulty. Thomas Peters, a former sergeant with the Black Pioneers, went to England with a petition for land grants that had been denied Black Loyalists. Some of the most industrious Black Loyalists emigrated at that time to Sierre Leone from Nova Scotia. In 1796 543 Maroons arrived in Nova Scotia. Maroons had waged war with Britain for 140 years (1655 – 1796) in Jamaica. In Halifax the Maroons built Citadel Hill fortifications. Wentworth ordered special uniforms for them and named the officers but the Maroons had control of their own hierarchy. Money ran out and the Maroons became increasingly impatient with continual discomfort and hardships. The Maroons, as well, eventually agreed to go to Sierre Leone. They left in 1801. Only a few remained. Slavery did exist in Nova Scotia but by 1810 it was largely a dead issue. Although not completely abolished until the 1830’s the law would not assist slave-owners to catch runaway slaves. During the War of 1812-1814 Cochrane promised freedom to to Chesapeake Bay area slaves who crossed over to British lines. He had planned to recruit the newly freed slaves to the army. The Black troops `the Colonial Marines’ produced the desired effect on the side of the British. Many of them, 1500-2000 would later come to Nova Scotia. Their first winter was extremely difficult. The land given to them was not rich enough for agriculture but they had no other alternatives. The war economy of Nova Scotia was booming. But after the war was the slowdown. The 1815 smallpox epidemic added to the difficulties. In 1820s ome of the Colonial Marines were sent to Ireland Island in Bermuda and others emigrated to Trinidad. There were a few success stories among the Black community. Mr. Campbell, a successful businessman in the 1830’s owned the chief livery stable in Halifax. His farm and stock were comparable to Lieutenant Governor Sir James Kempt. However, most remained as unskilled labourers. Cross-reference to [ Halifax Robert Field].
There is a wonderful story of the role black ministers played re: education and social change as well as an 1850 illustration of Richard Preston. There is also a beautiful story of how he found his mother in Preston. In 1901 there were 5,984 black Nova Scotians (1% of the population). In the same year there were 17,432 black Canadians. In 1873 a Depression hit Canada. Canada continued to experience the financial bust until the Klondike gold strike in the 1890’s. The boom in the West did not help the Maritimes in general and was particularly devastating for the already vulnerable black Nova Scotians.Grant concludes by celebrating the lives of seven Black Nova Scotians including champion boxer: George Dixon, Dr. W. H. Golor college president, William Hall, VC (1826-1904) and B.A. Husbands, president of Halifax Coloured Citizens Improvement League.Webliography and Bibliography

Grant, John N. 1980. Black Nova Scotians. Halifax. Nova Scotia Museum.

Manette, J. A. 1990. Revelation, Revolution, or Both: Black Art as Cultural Politics. Toronto.

Brown, Robert Craig, Ed. 1987. The Illustrated History of Canada. Toronto. Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen and Melanie G. H. 2008. “Popular 19th Century African Canadian-owned Stag Hotel and NS Premier Joseph Howe.” >> Google Docs.Uploaded by ocean.flynn on 23 Jan 08, 12.32PM MST.

Schmap is the latest of the web 2.0 technologies that heighten my connectivity on the Internet. One of my Creative Commons Flickr photos of Calgary’s Nose Hill Park was picked up by Schmap through Flickr’s powerful Search Engine Optimized tagging tools  – folksonomy for Flickr photo folks. We were planning a trip to the 12 Days of Christmas at Calgary’ Heritage Park. As I use Schmap to prepare for our outing this weekend, I feel somewhat like a 2.0 volunteer in my newly-adopted city.  

North Carolina-based Schmap has been operating since 2004 providing free digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada (with Calgary as one of its highlighted cities), Australia and New Zealand.

They also offer an innovative technology that lets bloggers insert schmapplets – a range of fully customizable map mashups and map widgets  on their personal blogs. I have tried to add the widget to Speechless but it didn’t work. Probably just as well as I am concerned that my WordPress blog is slow to open on machines that don’t have my images and files in cache.

I was never attracted to the paintings of E. H. Hughes while I worked as contract art educator at the National Gallery of Canada. It wasn’t until I lived near his home for almost two years, in the Cowichan River valley area that I began to understand that his work was a highly detailed documentation of plants, trees, geological formations, waterways and marine activity — not an attempt to express the impression of the landscape from a tourist’s point-of-view. The ubiquitous greys of the island from November through March explain the colour-challenged palettes in most of Hughes’ prints. The original paintings are rare since most of them have been sold to a unique collector in Germany. But framed expensive mass-produced prints from the original paintings (which the vast majority of people in the age of Robert Bateman — and more recently high quality giclee1 — mistake for original works of art) are prominent, particularly in the places like the family restaurant in Duncan called the Dog House.

In Canada plein art painting in cold weather is possible but uncomfortable. This small acrylic plein air sketch was painted in a couple of hours on the windy escarpment at Edelweis Point. The larger version will portray the mountains more accurately. I often find myself fantasizing about knocking on doors of stranger’s homes-with-a-view to ask for three hours of air space to paint in the off seasons. Following in the paths of plein air painters I had made up my own rules that I followed for decades. I would not paint from pictures. But I moved a lot since then. Each new Canadian region offers new visual opportunities and challenges for painting. Even the qualities of light itself, its clarity, luminosity, is different from region to region. I spent a lot of time studying the patterns of waves on the coast of Vancouver Island. Now I am confused, overwhelmed by the mountains. I want to hike their trails and see them from as many angles as is possible with easy 5-hour scrambles. These days I take digital photos on our day trips in and around Calgary to ecological reserves, public parks or even roadside in Cochrane, Canmore . . . Now I find myself painting with a laptop open beside me so that my finished painting becomes a visual tool for memory work, another way of living in and visualizing my everyday world. I also used to feel that selling mass-produced prints was dishonest and deluded an ill-informed public. Now I am just happy to have available images whatever their source or quality to compare and learn: Flickr, Google images, Virtual museums like the National Gallery of Canada’s, reproductions, etc. There aren’t any overpriced framed Giclees of specific mountain peaks from our local shopping mall galleries hanging over the sofa at home, but I will study and compare them as another way of seeing.

As I refine tags and folksonomy in the virtual world, I seek out more precise multidisciplinary taxonomies in ecosystems I inhabit. It informs the way I see, and the way that I take photographs and paint plein air. I tag my images through Google Earth, Picasa and Flickr. Adobe Photoshop provides tools that allow me to enhance or layer some images. Using, Peaks of the Canadian Rockies, and numerous other maps, images and texts I can hyperlink each mountain peak to its exact longtitude/latitude coordinates in Google Earth (and or Picasa and Flickr). In Google Earth I can link the altitude tool relative to space/ground with the height of the mountain. I can also link customized image icons and detailed information including the exact and/or Peaks of the Canadian Rockies urls. The process of social tagging or folksonomy fuels my interest in searching for the names that provide the most accurate historical, ecological, geographical information about mountain peaks, glacial erratics, medicinal plants, post-contact plants . . .

Google searches before and after help refine our understanding of the places we have visited. Public librairies, local museums and even Tim Horton’s customers provide more suggestions. Sharing using one of our many social networks is easy. Flickr provides tools for describing and commenting on details of images, adding textual information as well as refined folksonomy, geotagging and comparing photos with special interest groups. Google docs archives the unpublished notes, annotated webliographies and bibliographies and keeps track of published blogs.

In the process I learn about contributions to Alberta’s history by individuals and communities descended from First Nations, Chinese, Italians, French, Irish, British, African-Americans . . .

Of course it is a visual form of memory work. If we only relied on the printed word for knowledge claims we would find ourselves with limited perspectives provided by experts in exclusive academic disciplines who claim that their magisteria is nonoverlapping.

This is changing so rapidly in a world of integrated management. Ecohydrology combines the fields of ecological processes and hydrology that informs integrated management of watersheds. Google Earth allows nonexperts to view climatic zones, mountain ranges, massifs, river valleys, individual mountains, hillslopes, stream channels, estuaries, gullies, barchannels, recharge areas, and in some cases meter-sized features. We can fly over and zoom in on the watershed of the Athabaskan Lake and River, Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan. We can read related reports online and track changes ourselves. This kind of information has never been easier to collect and share.

The most accurate scientific information from legitimate sources provides exact terminologies and taxonomies2 that not only clarify complex issues, they are also folksonomy-friendly.


1. Limited edition archival prints where the editions are limited to a hundred or less of an original work of art and hand autographed by the artist are priced accordingly and were considered to be art collectors items. Robert Bateman is well-known for his high-priced multiple edition prints of his popular wildlife paintings. These are often purchased for a hefty price by uninformed collectors who believe they have an original work of art. With progress in digital technologies, printing inks and processes, giclees from original oil paintings can be printed on canvas that appears to have a varnished finish and priced as much as a unique original painting. Giclees on high quality water colour paper do have an archival life of over a hundred years. Their production is costly so they are priced more than a mass-produced print. Giclee archival prints are a huge improvement over the prints of the Group of Seven and Emily Carr distributed to public schools in Canada in the Post World War II years. Most of these framed prints which unfortunately still hang in public places over fifty years later, have darkened and have lost all semblance to original colours.

I now fully embrace the giclee concept as a way of sharing visual information more widely. It is yet another take on Walter Banjamin’s mechanical reproduction.

2. I looked to wikipedia under geomorphology to find the equivalent of taxonomy for mountains that I have been using to identify wildflowers, medicinal plants. According to wikipedia, “Different geomorphological processes dominate at different spatial and temporal scales. To help categorize landscape scales some geomorphologists use the following taxonomy:

Creative Commons reference:

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “How to paint mountains: Geomorphological taxonomy.” >> speechless. November 13.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “How to paint mountains: Geomorphological taxonomy.” >> Google docs. November 13.

NB: This article is supposed to be automatically re-published on speechless as changes are made in Google docs. I prefer to have both references available.

The industrial-size cries of the young heron reminded me of scenes from Jurassic Park. Their loud squawking can be heard long before you can see them.  The activity in the nest is so aggressive and loud you would think an eagle was attacking. The huge nests balance on the tops of alder trees.  This active rookery of about 50 nests is situated at c. 48°44’21.80″N, 123°37’38.78″W.  On June 17, 2007 the young were visible with the naked eye. They are awkward and seem to be over-sized for their nests which sway as they fight over food that the adult heron bring.

As we chatted we could see a steady stream of herons flying back and forth between the food sources at low tide on the Cowichan Bay estuary and the rookery at the edge of the ravine that cuts deeply behind Pritchard Road. Dell Bumstead’s mature, magical garden is at the end of Pritchard just on the edge of the ravine. Dell remembers when one flock of seventy heron flew over her garden c. 1997.

Louise was breathless with excitement and it didn’t help that Reba was pulling at the leash. As usual I was on my knees pulling out Swamp grass and clover from around the heather. She was so proud of her beautiful Labrador Retriever who had just found a trail hidden among the overgrown bushes at the end of an empty lot off Wilmot Road. It was just a few minutes from our hill-side homes overlooking Cowichan Bay. The lot was not really empty as it was completely overgrown with clover, daisies, Swamp grass, wild blackberries and dozens of other plants many of which I had been battling as weeds for the last 18 months in the garden. Here they flourished and were stunningly beautiful swaying in the breeze.

Suddenly the quiet was broken with industrial size squawking. It reminded me of the sound of raptors in Jurassic Park. As we zigzagged through patches of thorny plants we could see huge heron nests that seemed to be balanced precariously atop Alder trees that were too thin and fragile for this weight and responsibility. The loud squawking seemed to increase and decrease in lulls which I thought at first was due to our arrival or maybe even an attack of an eagle. But as I stood silently watching I could see the adult herons incessantly leaving the nests and returning with food for their offspring. The young were rowdy and ungainly and the branches thrashed as they competed for food. One graceless young heron perched precariously on a branch that bent and swayed under his weight.

All around us underfoot were trunks of trees cut long ago to clear the land to the edge of this ravine tucked in behind Pritchard. The ravine meanders with branches leading into Cowichan Bay estuary somewhere near Wessex Inn.

Roger Tory Peterson1 reminded us that the majority of flowers that grow in vacant lots and along roads in North America are aliens. Hundreds of wayside plants came from Europe. Some came from gardens but most came unseen as seeds mixed in with shipments from across the sea. The first known station for a foreign plant is often at seaports or along a railroad track. In the prairies certain flowers came at first to airfields. In 1968 Peterson had already noticed that the best place to find remnants of the disappearing prairie flowers was along the railroad right-of-way. Roadsides are relatively poor because of mowing and plant-spraying operations. Even coastal marshes have lost their flowers through ditching and draining (1986:x11).

Flowers are rooted to earth, often separated by broad barriers of unsuitable environment from other ‘stations’ of their own species. “Therefore over the centuries, subtle differences have often developed with strains that are so marked that botanists have given them varietal names. Others are ignored because they would overburden an already complex taxonomy. Or a flower, from the same seed, may be depauperate in a sterile soil or where lack of competition has favoured it in some way. Familiar flowers than can look unfamiliar. Some hybridize (Peterson 1968:xii).”

“What of the future of rare native wildflowers? Because of the attrition of habitat, some are in a precarious position. Bogs along the southern margins of glaciated country are becoming fewer and orchids requiring bog conditions are harder to find. When a forest has been cut, its shade-loving orchids may also disappear, and half a century or more may pass before succession makes the forest suitable again for them. How can they return? […] Can seeds remain viable in the soil for half a century or more, until succession renders their habitat suitable again? We know little about this (Peterson 1968:xii).”

We entered the trail that Reba had shown us and there was a third space of semi-tropical rain forest. This hidden treasure is tucked away in the village of Cowichan Bay. A small stream, that dries up in the summer, winds through this hidden ravine. It is a corridor of towering douglas fir, cedar trees and arbutus trees with dense foliage that is tucked in between developed areas on either side. Sword and maiden-hair ferns and a wide diversity of wildflowers grow in the cool, moist mini-ecosystem. A few villagers have maintained a trail with an almost invisible entrance at the end of a clearing on Wilmot. I am not sure that it is precisely located on the Flickr map but the coordinates are (48°44’23.86″N, 123°37’39.45″ W).

This is linked to my Flickr and to my Google Earth Community and will be linked to Youtube, Facebook and Google Video.

1. I usually try to separate my own phrasing from that of an author whose works I am citing. In this case these words are a blend of direct quotations from Peterson’s Introduction and my own editing to shorten and summarize. His phrases and wording are so exact, poetic and appropriate that I wanted to enhance their metaphorical quality by keeping them intact. If I included all the “” the result would be too cumbersome.


Peterson, Roger Tory. 1968. “Introduction.” in Peterson, Roger Tory, McKenny, Margaret. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America: A Visual Approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Peterson, Roger Tory. 1968. “Survival.” in Peterson, Roger Tory, McKenny, Margaret. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America: A Visual Approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
p. xii.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Taxonomy, empty lots, roadsides.” >> Speechless. June 18.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Taxonomy, empty lots, roadsides.” June 18.

This slideshow Logo Digitage Web2.0 was featured on SlideShare on June 18!

Ethnoclassification in the broadest sense refers to “how people classify and categorize the world around them (Merholz 2004).” Star (1996) used the term ethnoclassification in reference to the work of her research group who were exploring the convergence of the sociology of science and the sociology of work with digital libraries. Their work, as ethnographers in a way, involved tracing the web backwards by observing how readers and writers routinely adopt and adapt formal classification schemes with their own personal everyday classification systems in their local work spaces, filing cabinets, computer desktops, web browsers, and group-level software (Star 1996).

Faceted browse interface or faceted tagging refers to a trend in support for finding information with tags that goes beyond tag clouds. Sinha uses the example of the interface of which can be browsed under the facet of price, region, type which can be undertaken in any order: region:price or region:type (Sinha 2006). Hebig (2005) used the term structured tagging and semantic tagging. He applied the idea of faceted navigation to tagging using tags consisting of a prefix, a colon and a suffix like is:quicklink, project:ilm or via:papascott. Buzzword: structured tagging. He noted that Rainer Wasserfuhr was using colons in a similar way to create faceted tags in his bookmarks.

Folksonomies are categories, tags or key words used by writers and readers to facilitate and optimize Internet searches. The communal virtual archives is flooded with unending torrents of digital data and users need high performance search devices to optimize search engine results. The term ‘folksonomy’ (volksonomy) coined by Vander Wal in 2004, captures the spirit of a revivified Internet where users train and are trained to use free software. Although I find the term itself to be inelegant, I use it because of its brilliance. It works as a key word searching device. See (Smith 2004, Mathes 2004, Vander Wal 2007).

In his blog Vander Wal (2007) described how the term folksonomy emerged organically during insider conversation in 2004 where he considered using the prefix folk- instead of tax- in taxonomy to create the word folksonomy: a  “user-created bottom-up categorical structure development with an emergent thesaurus.”

If I type folksonomy I will probably find sites related to my own interest in connectivity/content issues. For many people Googling is already a verb used in everyday language, helping users navigate and find instead of surfing and searching for information on the Internet. I have worked with key words in bibliography software EndNote for many years. Now I can share other users searches with social bookmarking freeware such as, Swicki and Google’s own user-customized-search. Sites that are tagged with efficient, relevant tags (folksonomies) on topics that are situated within current conversations, will get more hits.
Key words: folksonomy, folksonomies, tagging, tag clouds, social bookmarking, ethnoclassification,, Flickr, wordpress categories, faceted tagging, findability, SEO, semantic tagging, taxonomy, categorization, categories, ethnoclassification:faceted tagging, folksonomy: faceted tagging, semantic web,

Webliography and bibliography

Hebig, Haiko. 2005. “Semantic tagging.” >> Accessed June 15, 2007.

Mathes, Adam. 2004. “Folksonomies, Computer Mediated Communication, LIS590CMC, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, December 2004. Accessed October 2006.

Merholz, Peter. 2004. “Metadata for the Masses.” >> Adaptive Path. October 19. Accessed June 15, 2007.

Sinha, Rashmi. 2006. “Findability with tags: Facets, clusters, and pivot browsing.” >> July 27. Accessed June 15, 2007.

Smith, Gene. 2004. “Folksonomy: Social Classification.”>> atomiq Posted in: Information Architecture on Aug 3, 2004. Accessed June 18, 2007.

Star, Susan Leigh. 1996. “Slouching toward Infrastructure.” Digital Libraries Conference Workshop. Illinois Research Group on Classification. Graduate School of Library and Information Science University of Illinois. Accessed June 15, 2007.

Vander Wal, Thomas. 2007. “Folksonomy Coinage and Definition.” February 2. Accessed June 18, 2007.

©© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Ethnoclassification, Folksonomy, Tag Clouds and Faceted Tagging.” >> Speechless. June 15.

©© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Ethnoclassification, Folksonomy, Tag Clouds and Faceted Tagging.” >> Google docs. June 15.

I created the first Adobe Photoshop digitage above called “Folksonomies” (2006) was an image I generated from my tag cloud. is one of a number of Web 2.0 technologies I have been using since September 2006. is a free social bookmarking tech tool that works with folksonomies, tagging or tag clouds. The other layers are a title layer, google generated 3-D virtual space with branching rivers as metaphors for organically emerging rhizomic pathways, a miniaturized image of Vancouver, BC’s skyline, and an altered topographical map of a site where a meteor landed. This final layer was inverted so the meteoric collision with the planet became the sun in this delicious cloud. The second is called Folksonomy II (2006) using another of my tag cloud tag as a backdrop for the BC mountains merged with a section of Friedrich’s painting of the German Romantic period.


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