Environmental Symbolism In Brigus

785 Words 4 Pages
Humans, by nature, characteristically modify the landscape in which they live. Through the myriad of processes and mechanisms used to alter the landscape sometimes come deliberate alterations of symbolism or meaning. The sub-dicipline of cultural geography investigates the variation of these symbolisms, traditions, and cultural products across time and space. It is through the lens of cultural geography, especially in respect to environmental symbolism, that we can interpret the value and meaning attributed to everyday phenomena such as vegetation. It has been said that environmental symbolism is a means by which social identity, reality, and feeling are created, and this idea is central in arguing that vegetation can be interpreted as a distinctive …show more content…
It is a quaint fishing village of 750 permanent residents about 80km from St. John’s (Statistics Canada, 2011). Before diving into the types of vegetation encountered in Brigus, it is necessary to reference the history of the townsite. It is impossible to describe or relate the cultural environment and symbolism (vegetation) without first explaining the historical undertones that led to the establishment of the town (Rowntree and Conkey, 1980). Brigus was first settled in the early 1600s in concert with the nearby community of Cupids, and had a population of 35 in 1675 (Municipal Plan, 2012). Successive development led to residents raising livestock and maintaining fishing rooms on the harbour. The local physical geography of Brigus gave it the advantage of being relatively ice-free and/or the one of the first places for the ice to break up come springtime (Municipal Plan, 2012). Through this intersection of physical and cultural geography, and perhaps a bit by chance, Brigus became a principal fishing and sealing port and filled with high ranking officials and wealthy captains. The town maintains a feeling of wealth and affluence today, especially in context to the neighboring communities of Cupids and Bay Roberts; this may be attributed to the historical position of wealth in Brigus and the influx of “Townies” (people from St. John’s) building up cottages in the region. With the influx of wealth came modification of the environmental …show more content…
Apple trees were ripe with fruit, another non-native vegetation marker on the landscape. Upon reflection of the exotic species, it is easy to imagine again another union between the cultural landscape and the trees, and the question of who planted the trees is examined. It can be assumed that the wealthy male captains would be too busy commanding ships and harvesting the biological resources of the sea to concern themselves with landscaping the town. Herein lies another cultural facet relating the trees to the history and heritage of Brigus: they were likely planted by workers employed by the fisherman or by their wives. This stratified dynamic of specific roles and types of people between captains and workers clearly would shape the feel and societal culture of a town. There are hidden stories and intangible feelings associated with the types of vegetation encountered in Brigus, and it is absolutely a significant entity or element on the cultural landscape. Further, there is a great effort to maintain the historical nature and quality of Brigus, as historical preservation is referenced quite a lot in the Brigus Municipal Plan of 2012. This desire for preservation of the historic core of Brigus is, in itself, a process of commitment to environmental symbols as a means of sociocultural identity (Rowntree and Conkey,

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