St. Andrews by-the-Sea.
Randall White is the author of Voice of Region: On the Long Journey to
Senate Reform in Canada, Too Good to Be True: Toronto in the 1920s, and
Global Spin: Probing the Globalization Debate.
Rob Roy, a craftsman who has an exceptionally keen eye for the unusual, has produced a magnificent photographic perspective of St. Andrews by-the-Sea. This lovely little tourist town has been the subject of many photo essays over the years, but I doubt there has ever been a photographer who climbed to the top of the bell tower of All Saints Anglican Church to capture some of the architectural gems lining historic King Street. And Rob Roy had to be Johnny-on-the spot for his rare shot of a haze-shrouded St. Croix Island, where Champlain and his companions spent their first and what proved to be a deadly winter in this region. As to be expected, the slim volume features wonderfully crisp views of the often featured Fairmont Algonquin Hotel, as well as Sir William Van Horne’s legacy, his summer home on Minister’s Island, but Rob Roy ventured not just along St. Andrews’s front street with its amazing collection of unique shop signs and garishly painted exteriors. He caught local craftspeople at work as well as unaware tourists seated at the town’s most visited attraction, the wharf. He also visited Deer Island, where he did an aerial shot of the world’s largest lobster pound; Grand Manan, where he caught fishing boats tied up “like sardines in a can”; and St. George, where our eyes can feast on a two-page spread of the falls and ravine containing the remains of a 1902 powerhouse and pulp mill.
A brief but informative introduction by local author Ronald Rees spells out how the Loyalists settled here following the Revolutionary War, how the town hit its economic peak in the mid-19th century, and how a steady decline thereafter left a population of 2,000, slightly more than the 1,300 permanent residents who today are easily outnumbered by summer people. Judging by the historical references contained in the brief but useful captions accompanying each photograph, it’s safe to assume that Rees played a key role in them as well. Together, they make a great team for this stunning work.