Itís the time of year when everybody starts putting out ĎFavourites of 2004í list, so hereís the first of mine:
(scroll down to March 16th) It dealt with an experimental self-sustainable home named The ARK that was developed in 1976 by John Todd. Built at Spry Point, Cardigan, on the North Shore Prince Edward Island, its south side of glass windows faced a gorgeous view to the ocean, the ARK was, for a time, a symbol for hippies, and environmentalists around the world.
My favourite Radio Program of 2004
Was a CBC IDEAS documentary entitled Was Small Beautiful?
This was during the 70s energy crisis and the ARK quickly became a hot news story, because it reflected the concerns of a population looking for a new ĎEarth Friendlyí way to live, if only out of self interest due to soaring power costs. According to the show, about 600 visitors a week flocked to the island to visit the site.
Somehow I have managed to remain ignorant about the ARK for 28 years. This is probably my own fault, but it does seem like a fairly significant moment in Canadian History that somebody ought to have let me know about before (what does my staff of advisors think that Iím paying them for anyway?) So Iím just really grateful to have caught this show and heard about it.
I was expecting that when I Googled ĎThe ARK, Prince Edward Islandí Iíd easily discover images of it. I figured there would certainly be a picture of the water tank that sat just below the living area and was full of a few thousand trout. (The fish refuse was combined with human and plant waste in a worm composting system and used to fill the gardens in the greenhouses). I was sure tthat Iíd find at least one photo op of Trudeauís visit, or of the residents of the house but I was able to turn up very little. I have yet to do a very serious sweep of the library, however.
There was this ad for the restaurant that the ARK had been converted into during the mid-90s, and I excitedly started to make plans to visit later in the year, only to discover later that it had been demolished within the last year or so to make way for a Hotel. Sad.
For the hippies from Massachusetts that thunk the whole thing up the place was also a haven from Watergate Era USA. The show dealt with the paradox created by the contigent of 'Back To The Eartherís' who hadmoved to PEI after becoming disillusioned with modern life. The program contrasts these newcomers to the island farmers, who were embracing the technological innovations in farming and were perplexed by the hippies attitudes, but shared their love for the land. The description of the ARK's opening day celebrations were particularly cool; a first hand account of Pierre and Margaret Trudeau's helicopter dropping in, and the general feeling of optimism and change that is described as being in the air unexpectedly caused me to pine for the 70ís.
If youíre interested in hearing this program drop me a line at email@example.com.
posted by Alan