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Down Memory Lane: Celebrating the past on stage

The 12 people who acted in the play “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder” during the Garnish Bakeapple Festival on Aug. 11 received a standing ovation and praise all around for their performance. They were (from left) Horatio Cluett, Holly Cluett-Smith, Jessie Ann Marsh, Roger Cluett, Arthur Cluett, Fred Dodge, William Grandy, Cindy Picco, Brayden Senior, Carmendy Bambury, Justin Drowns and Jeffrey Pittman.
The 12 people who acted in the play “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder” during the Garnish Bakeapple Festival on Aug. 11 received a standing ovation and praise all around for their performance. They were (from left) Horatio Cluett, Holly Cluett-Smith, Jessie Ann Marsh, Roger Cluett, Arthur Cluett, Fred Dodge, William Grandy, Cindy Picco, Brayden Senior, Carmendy Bambury, Justin Drowns and Jeffrey Pittman.

The 25th annual Garnish Bakeapple Festival was special for a number of reasons.

As usual, all groups and organizations in the town were involved in this year’s event.

In addition to a breakfast on the wharf every morning, several new events were added in 2017, including a mummers dance, a fireworks display and cardboard boat racing in Frenchman’s Cove barasway.

One evening was dubbed “Celebrating Our People,” with emphasis being put on the seafaring tradition of Garnish.  

Marion Bonnell thanked the Garnish Bakeapple Festival committee and Horatio Cluett in particular, along with the other members of the cast, for bringing to the stage the story of her grandfather and the Grandy Dory with the play “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder.” She spoke on behalf of the 13 descendants of Stephen Leonard Grandy who were special guests at the premiere presentation of the play in Garnish.

Shipbuilding was the major employer in the community from the late 1800s right up to the 1940s. To highlight this aspect of the town’s history a play entitled “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder” was premiered.

Stephen Leonard Grandy was born at Garnish in 1884 and moved to Grand Bank as a young man for employment with G. & A. Buffett Ltd., a company selling dories locally and along the south coast of the island. 

It wasn’t long before he designed a boat that he felt better suited the Newfoundland fishery, weather and ocean conditions. This new version of the traditional dory quickly became so popular that it led him to branch out on his own along with his three sons – Max, Roy and Leonard.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the Grandy workshop in Grand Bank operated at capacity, building more than 3,000 dories.

Thirteen of Stephen Leonard Grandy’s descendents were in the audience in Garnish for the presentation of the play “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder.” They were (from left) Maud Brooks, Ethel Pardy, Stephen Bonnell, Eleanor Piercey, Benjamin Wiseman, Marion Bonnell, Simon Shea, Alice Shea, Laurie Shea, Ruth Ivany, Gordon Grandy, Jim Grandy and Harold Grandy.

The Grandy Dory gained national prominence and recognition in 1992 when it was chosen to appear on one of the Canadian quarters, indeed a fitting tribute to one of Garnish’s most famous sons.

Some 160 enthusiastic and appreciative people were on hand Aug. 11 to see the play, which was written and directed by Garnish’s own Horatio Cluett.

Included in the audience were 13 of Stephen Leonard Grandy’s descendants, including granddaughter Marion Bonnell.

After the play she spoke on behalf of her family, thanking the Garnish Bakeapple Festival committee and Cluett in particular, who was also one of the actors, for bringing to the stage the story of her grandfather and the Grandy Dory.

This year’s festival, which concluded on Aug. 13, was a big success, according to chairperson Bruch Grandy.

“We are ecstatic with the way it went,” he said. “The crowds were unreal from start to finish. Every event we had over the nine days sold out.” 

Allan Stoodley is a long-time resident of Grand Bank. He can be reached at amstoodley@hotmail.com, and he welcomes any comments on this or any other article he has written.

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