Land & Sea

The Oldtimers: A vintage episode that goes to the Grand Banks

This 1974 Land & Sea episode profiles two remarkable men: schooner skipper Captain Arch Thornhill and Inuit elder Martin Martin.

A 1974 Land & Sea episode about fishing in a Grand Banks schooner and hunting seal in a sealskin kayak

This episode of Land & Sea from 1974 profiles Capt. Arch Thornhill, 74, a Grand Banks skipper, and Nain elder Martin Martin, 82, who tell us stories about their lives long before the cameras rolled.

​Thornhill tells the story of his indoctrination into life on the Grand Banks. He left Grade 8 and paid a skipper $60 to take him on as a doryman, even though he wasn't much older than a child.

From that season onwards, Arch's life was entwined with wind and sails, schooners and dories, seines and codfish.

Eventually, he became a skipper, calling his crew the Pride of Newfoundland.

Dinner is held aboard a Grand Bank schooner. (CBC)

This part of the show features a trove of archival photos of life onboard a Grand Banks schooner from the Ernest Maunder Collection.

Grand Bank's harbour was traditionally filled with schooners and dories. (CBC)

Speaking in Inuktitut, Martin Martin, an Inuit elder from Nain, tells the story of his childhood, of how he made and used wooden skis, and about his first seasons hunting caribou and trapping fox by komatik.

Martin also describes how he learned to hunt seals with a kayak.

Martin Martin, an Inuk elder, walks through the streets of Nain in northern Labrador. (CBC)

As a respected elder, Martin was a leader in encouraging the Inuit to pursue their land rights and protect their culture. This part of the show features sketches and watercolours by noted visual artist Wally Brandt.