Years ago I was one of about 15 people in communities across Nova Scotia documenting the province’s built heritage. We took photos, did title deed searches and wrote up architectural descriptions for all buildings erected before 1914 in our respective towns. This was the first time I heard the word ‘vernacular’ associated with something other than language.
Vernacular architecture is based on local needs, uses local materials and reflects local realities. It is of the place. Vernacular was on the tip of my tongue when the kids and I first went to the playgrounds in the Magdalen Islands (Les Iles de la Madeleine) in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Our first trip we discovered a couple of these gems – the antithesis to off the shelf play solutions. In subsequent trips we found more. Invariably the construction material is wood and not surprisingly on Les Iles, boats are the dominant theme. These are the playgrounds we fell in love with, the ones we rush to each time we visit. I hope you’ll enjoy our photos from the beaches, schools and fishing ports of the Magdalen Islands in this Storehouse collection
We had an old boat, The Halcyon, on the Halifax waterfront for close on 20 years before it had to be removed. It was in the same league as these Magdalen Island playgrounds – sturdy, simple, well built and packed with adventure for kids.
I’m interested in hearing more about vernacular playgrounds. Give me a shout or send me some photos if there’s one in your neighbourhood.