Day #204 – The impactful Miners’ Museum

LOCATION:  Near Syndey, Nova Scotia in SE part of Cape Breton
CAMPGROUND:  Mira River Provincial Park.
WEATHER:  Rain clearing to mostly sunny.  High 70

It rained absolutely all night, and unfortunately we awoke to find that our leak has returned.  Darn!  The AirStream mechanics could not find the source when we were at the factory there in August. 

The sun started to peek out and we got a good walk in around the campground.  It is pretty large – with about 175 sites.  The fall colors are just starting to turn.   Fall colors and colder temps are a bit behind schedule, but we don’t mind!

The highlight of the day was a visit to the Miners’ Museum in Glace Bay.  Rather than drive through the city of Sydney, we took a 25-mile coastal road there.  Very pretty.  

The Miners’ Museum is very well-done and quite sobering.  First we walked around the outside looking at old coal-mining equipment and this memorial to coal miners who died in the mines.  It is a circle of 12 lunch boxes, the metal kind the miners took with them to the mines.  Later, we learned that they are made of metal to keep the rats out of them!!!

After looking at the exhibits, we started our tour.  We all had to don hard hats…..and I was glad we did as I bonked my head on the ceiling at least 8 times. 

The tour guide is a former miner, and a real character.  He told us the history of the mine and about his experiences.  Many of the children in the community were forced to start working in the mines when they were age 7 or so.  He said his father started at 10.  We learned about the terrible conditions  that the mining company imposed. 

The tour was about an hour long, in the rather cold mine, under the ocean, in the complete dark (without the guide’s headlight).    We started at a height of 5’5″, needing to bend over a bit and watching our heads.  By the time we were done, winding around different parts of the mine (it goes on for miles and miles), we were at 4’2″.  Our backs were killing us – and to think the miners worked like this bent over for 12 hours a day/ 6 days a week,  shoveling coal, and blasting the walls, is incredible.

We also learned about the “Men of the Deep”, coal miners who sang to occupy themselves while underground.  They were excellent singers.  Someone heard them sing at church a few years ago, and “discovered” them as musicians.  Now they tour the world singing. 

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He served grilled flank steak in chimichurri sauce, boiled potatoes, and grilled cauliflower.  All accompanied by Men of the Deep music and songs by Rita McNeil, another famous musician from Cape Breton. 

Great day!

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