A Newfoundland Renaissance Man at the Bay Of Bulls

Blogging with a view

on assignment cape spear view in the morning

The photo on the left was taken at 8:36pm and the one on the right was taken 10 am the following morning. Study the iceberg in the background, you will notice it’s toppled over and has nearly disappeared. The story goes that the iceberg was so big that the locals figured it would be there all summer.

mermaid ice berg

Meet Victor Williams, a Newfoundland renaissance man. I met Victor when I showed up at his door to borrow a fishing net so that I could scoop bits of the iceberg from the water’s edge for my drinks. Well, Victor didn’t have a fishing net, but he invited me in to have a look around his home, in his neighbourhood which is called…”Cheese and beard”, (I later looked it up on the map to confirm it) which is just down the road from the Bay of Bulls.

Anyway, the story goes something like this…to me, Victor is a classic example of a Newfoundland Renaissance man. He plays the accordion, he’s built model ships for years, he rebuilt a fiddle, he works in the woods, his home is decorated with photos of coast guard vessels and his front lawn is decorated with moose cutouts. Have a look at how this man’s culture is defined by his traditional surroundings. I was honored to have spent the afternoon poking around Victor’s home which I saw as his personal museum that reflects the strong Newfoundland culture.

Victor Williams has lived all of his eighty years in the Bay Of Bulls area.

victor williams_5

Victor built his entire house, “not one nail was pounded in by anyone else other than me!”

victor williams_6

Victor carved this double-barrel shot gun from one piece of wood. It has such a likeness to a real gun, that someone in the St. John’s Walmart called the police on Victor. “Even the police thought it was a real gun”, Victor explains.

victor with gun

Victor plays the accordion in his living room.

victor play upstairs in the living room

Victor rebuilt this fiddle, which was in pretty rough shape before he saved it.

vicotr williams

Victor builds all of his own boats, no matter what size.

victor with victori

Victor tells me the story of a tanker that once came to the Bay Of Bulls.

vicotr williams_2

Victor has built many model ships, all to size and spec.

victor with boat 1

Victor plays another song in the basement by another one of his ambitious creations.

vicotr williams_4

Victor makes his own Christmas decorations, “you should see this place around Christmas!”

victors folk art

Victor bids me farewell from his front yard. Bye Victor, that was fun….

vicotr williams_7

Later in the day, I ran into Victor in town and he told me that I needed to go back down to the beach by his house because bits of the iceberg had washed ashore. So I went back, got a small piece of ice and walked back up to Victor’s to see if he wanted half of my catch, but he declined. “We see that sort of stuff all the time!” Oh well! For me it was just a great adventure into one man’s world.

on assignment in bay of bulls with ice berg

Church Statues sit atop cannon barrels.

bay of bulls church

Crab Fishermen Finish For The Day In Petty’s Cove.

fishing team in pettys cove

pettys cove

pettys cove fishermen

Petty’s Cove

perry's cove

perry's cove


3 Responses to “A Newfoundland Renaissance Man at the Bay Of Bulls”

  1. June 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    In one word…..Awesome I really enjoyed that

  2. 2 Ian
    August 11, 2009 at 8:46 am

    These images are so good Mr. Van Horn I wish I knew you as you seem like a very interesting Person. good luck in all your endevours.

  3. 3 Joan
    September 18, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Hi Tim:
    It was awesome to read and see pictures of Victor Williams & Bay Bulls. I was raised further up the road from Bread & Cheese but I hung out with Victor’s relatives when I was a kid. Bay Bulls was and still is an awesome town to grow up in. I’m glad that you had a wonderful experience there. Happy travels

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