I’ve always been a sucker for primary-source research, and my work in grad school has been no exception. The past is just hilarious. Can’t wait for “Jersey Shore” to be the only trace of contemporary civilization left to historians of the future.
For your reading pleasure, here’s a column by the prolific J. V. McAree from the Globe & Mail, 8 April 1949, p 6.
“A hearty welcome to Newfoundlanders”
Two or three years ago we wrote something about the country which was interpreted as disparaging, and we had several warm letters of protest. We were probably wrong and hope we have been forgiven… As we all get to know each other better we shall like each other better, unless we are unfortunate enough to find sound reasons for our dislike. There is this to our personal credit—we have never spoken of a Newfoundlander as a Newfie, and we are on record as having protested against the use of the term by others.
There are some old misconceptions, of which most of us will have to rid our minds. One of them is that Newfoundlanders always go about with yellow oilskin coats and hats, lugging huge fish over their shoulders like the old advertisements for Scott’s Emulsion of Codliver Oil. We shall find that Newfoundlanders are really as smartly dressed as anybody else; and that their girls are well qualified to be included in the description of Toronto girls recently published in Mayfair, in an article which roused considerable indignation, but not among the girls. Among the young men we shall no doubt find some promising hockey players; and athletes to represent this country in the next Olympic games which will feature whaling boats. We should not be vastly surprised if it should turn out that the Great Canadian Novel should be written by a former Newfoundlander. Our expectation is confirmed by the thought that it is not likely to be written by anybody else.
“Home for Misfits”
Dr. Jim Campbell, an old friend of ours who spent several years in Newfoundland, tells us that the men are physically the toughest he has ever met, not because they like to be but because they have to be. They should be a welcome addition to a nation which is suspected of becoming effete and disinclined to arduous toil. Now that the Newfoundlanders are really part of us, we can afford to hold out to them the hope of doing the real hard work of the nation; something that might have proved an obstacle to the union had it been mentioned earlier. As compensation the other Provinces might consider seriously the idea of setting up a kind of Devil’s Island in Newfoundland. It is a Province of vast unoccupied spaces, and it ought to be possible to establish there a penal colony where offenders from other parts of Canada, who have found it impossible to live as law-abiding citizens, might be sent. They would be out of harm’s way and out of everybody else’s way, and might indeed find the surroundings favorable to rehabilitation. The climate of Newfoundland has bred a race of hardy enterprising men and a similar environment might have its effect upon the citizens who now mainly inhabit our penitentiaries. We are certain that a few months spent with a sealing fleet would work radical changes in them.
“Our Dog Carlo”
The first Newfoundlander we ever knew was named Carlo and it was from him we learned that Newfoundland had the distinction of being one of the two islands in the world named after a dog.[…]
We trust the union will make life easier for them in some respects at least. They have gone through hard times for generations.