Magic meets history at Dundas Harbour

Dundas Harbour in the High Arctic. This magnificent painting, 36 x 48, is now on its way to the Pacific Coast, sold to an individual of taste and refinement who checked out the new website of Sheena Fraser McGoogan . We visited this magical location numerous times while sailing in the Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada. On this occasion, afternoon
sunshine accompanied our landing under a clear blue sky. 

We hiked over a broad ridge to this abandoned
RCMP post. It faces southwest over Bernier Bay, so-called
in commemoration of a 1906 stopover by Joseph Bernier. Here we found half a
dozen beluga whales cavorting within five metres of the shoreline – an
attraction that alone was worth the price of admission.

At
the RCMP site, several buildings remain standing: a detachment building
(two-person living quarters), a separate house for Inuit hunters, two latrines,
a couple of storehouses, and a dog corral. The main residence, which presents considerable graffiti, contains a few bottles and several books, the most intriguing of which is Dog Crusoe and
His Master
by Robert Michael Ballantyne.

The RCMP erected this post in the 1920s to signal Canadian sovereignty. On the tundra beyond the dog corral is the
lay-out of yet another large square dwelling, marked out by stones (probably a
tent-like communal centre for Inuit hunters). On a hill overlooking these
buildings stands a white-fenced cemetery containing two old graves marked by
new gravestones.
Here
we stood before the graves of constables Victor Maisonneuve (1899-1926) and William
Robert Stephens (1902-1927). The first committed suicide, the second died while
hunting. Stories abound. The Hudson’s Bay Company rented this outpost briefly in the 1930s, then gave it back. The RCMP kept it open until 1951, when they moved to the less isolated Craig Harbour. Today, the Canadian Coast Guard maintains the cemetery. In 1944, during the return (westward) voyage
of the St. Roch through the Northwest Passage, Henry Larsen called in. Dundas Harbour. Here, in Sheena’s work, magic meets history and the result is magnificence. 

Leave a Comment