The boatbuilding history of the Pardys

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Students across the province once again prepared projects for the annual Heritage Fair. It is rather unique. In most provinces the subject of history is covered, but there doesn't seem to be any emphasis to get back to their roots.

Mark Pardy’s grandfather Harry Pardy in his workshop.

In Newfoundland the students are tasked to put together the stories that shaped this province. It is a wonderful exercise that provides an opportunity for children to look back at various aspects of the life of the province's inhabitants and to realize the hardships and successes, bravery and tragedy, business and industry that has brought us to how we live today. It is not just a written essay. The students create storyboards, make models, find old pictures, and wear period attire to further illustrate what they have learned. 

In many cases, because they are delving into their stories of frontier Newfoundland, they strike up conversations with their grandparents and other senior townsfolk to get those little details about life in the past. Senior citizens seem to enjoy the exercise and as people walk through the fair it is amazing to see the items that have been pulled out of the attic or shed, the pictures that have been pulled out of dusty photo albums and the yellowed clippings of old newspaper articles that had been relegated to the bottom of a drawer of stored treasures.

Mark Pardy, a 14-year-old Grade 9 student at J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate enjoys participating in the Heritage Fair.  He has strong roots in the community that he has traced to the arrival of his ancestor William Pardy arriving in the early 1800s from Leamington, England to set up his homestead in Little Harbour. 

“This is where the story begins,” explains Mark. “The census of 1838 shows that he owned a boat. He also started a family that I have not found a lot of information on. I have learned that one of the offspring had two sons named John and Stephen.  It is the first reference that I can find to boat building. The two sons built their first boat, the 50 foot Reginald P. The boat was made during the winter of 1905 at Loon Bay with several members of the family living in make-shift house while the boat was constructed. This is my first discovery to the origins of the Pardy's reputation of being a family of boat builders.

“The Pardy family has an extensive history of boat building throughout the years. We have been known for our craftsmanship and quality of our boats. When I say ‘boats’ I am talking in a more broad term. I mean wooden boats, fiberglass boats, model boats and even paintings of boats. The Pardy's have owned many boats, some built by us, some repaired by us, and some just bought by us. But back in the 1900's if you asked a person from Twillingate who the Pardy's are they would instantly refer to the boat builders in the Pardy family. We have been in newspapers many times and our work and story's have been told in plenty of media. The Pardy's are proud boat builders who have passed down our heritage and stories throughout the generations.”

Organizations: Navy League of Canada, Grays Art School, Burnly School of Art Oregon Historical Museum Columbia River Maritime Museum Puget Sound Historical Museum Hospital Pond

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Twillingate, Little Harbour Leamington England Loon Bay Port de Grave Edmonton Abderdeen Scotland Seattle Washington

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