Monday, April 1, 2013

Cape Breton Shipping Marks

A century ago, if you wanted goods to be shipped to the proper location, you could not always assume that everyone handling your merchandise could read. Consequently, companies utilized shipping marks to make the task of identification easier. For example, Charles Robin and Company ran fishing stations at four locations on Cape Breton Island. Here are the shipping marks they used.

This first mark is for the Company's station at Eastern Harbour. This location corresponds to the modern town of Cheticamp, on the mainland across from Cheticamp Island. The Company's principal agent for Cape Breton had his office in this location, and most correspondence with suppliers, banks, and other business interests originated from here. 

The mark for Cheticamp indicates that goods were to be shipped to La Pointe, which is on the southwestern end of Cheticamp Island. The Robin's had their fish processing operation at this location from the late 1700s until 1903.

Arichat is on Isle Madame at the southeast end of Cape Breton Island. This location is actually the first place the Robins did business with local fishers, back in the 1760s. 

This final mark could prove confusing to those familiar with Cape Breton. Usually, Big Pond refers to a town on the East Bay section of the Bras d'Or Lake, well known as the home of the recently deceased singer, Rita MacNeil. However, the English-speaking Robins used the name Big Pond to refer to what was locally known as Grand Etang, a small village located on the north coast of Cape Breton between Cheticamp and Margaree Harbour. 

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