Saturday, September 15, 2007

Port Dover's Brave

James McDonald, Nelson Walker, Covel Rankin, James Patterson, John Wilson, John Mummery, Darryl Clement, John Walsh... Sounds like an honour roll. Now if you ask the residents of Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, they would most certainly agree as each of these men, risked and gave their lives for the livelihood of their town.

Over the years, hundreds of men and women of Port Dover and surrounding areas lost their lives as professional fisherman as they went out in the wee hours of the morning to catch Lake Erie perch. Fishing was their livlihood and they were good at it as their nets brought in a catch that that would rival catches from many other ports around. To this day, while walking down the pier, you would be hard pressed to not come across a number of folk related to these brave souls of years gone by.

At the entrance of the pier, you can find a memorial to these fishermen from years gone by who lost their lives at sea while on the job. Each and every one of the names of the fisherman that never returned to port have been engraved in stone around this memorial. While taking the time to read off the many names, you would quickly recognize many of the surnames and, upon further investigation, realize that many of today's boat crews are related to those who perished.

Now, though I may enjoy going fishing on a creek or small lake somewhere, you certainly wouldn't find me making fishing a career! The movie The Perfect Storm comes to mind when I think of topic of the dangers of professional fishing and that alone would convince me find a safer profession.

So, if you ever get the chance to walk the pier at Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, stop and take the time to read off a few of the names of the brave men and women who lost their lives while working the waters of Lake Erie. As you walk away, I have no doubt that you would hold a greater respect for those who head out to sea in order to provide for their families and their town. I know I did!

8 comments:

HeiressChild said...

hi dave, what a great post to pay tribute to the brave people who risked and lost their lives in order to provide and make a better life for others. i did see the movie "the perfect storm," and it was so sad for the ones not making it back. i love fish/seafood, yet i've never once thought about the risks involved for the fishermen. of course, now i will.

Cheryl said...

Do you live anywhere near there? I did read the book, and I have a healthy fear of the water.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I love this kind of post. The history of the ordinary man and the ordinary hero is so important to remember and are such an inspiration. Thanks.

Janice Thomson said...

What a great tribute to the hardworking man - love this Dave. The ocean is a mighty force that sometimes gobbles we frail little humans. Thanks for the info on this.

g.huner said...

Nice thoughts in your blog, Dave. I grew up in Port Dover and knew some of the men you mentioned. I live
in Amsterdam, the Netherlands now.

Hammer said...

fishing is dangerous business.

Those guys had some nerve.

Proxima Blue said...

We have the "Ballard Locks" it's where the boats come in from the saltwater to the freshwater of Lake Washington. It is also known as the Fisherman's terminal and there is a memorial to fisherman who have lost their lives. Most recently Spring 2001. The Artic Rose sank in the Bering sea and took all fifteen lives onboard.

Here is an article about it if your interested.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/155952_rose09.html

-P

Dave said...

Hi heiresschild! The memorial on the Port Dover pier sure reminded me of the perils of fishing as well.

yes Cheryl, I live less than one hour from there. We also have a cottage about a 2 minute walk from there.

Hi LGS... You are so very right. The ordinary man is what makes our history so facinating.

Hi Janice... Nature is indeed a formidible force... the oceans and lakes being a part of them. How true!

Hi g,huner... Nice to make your acquaintance! I am often amazed how and why locals from around my little burrough of Southern Ontario make it to the far corners of the earth... I have no doubt you enjoy that neck of the woods. Thanks for visiting! :-)

Hi Hammer .. Yes, nerve I have not! LOL

Hi Promima!... thanks for the article. I seem to remember this happening. Fifteen lives... most definitely tragic!