Expressions of Gaspé History: Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources for Students

This is a resource page for students interested in pursuing a project to submit to Vision’s Expressions of Gaspé History project. Here, you will find example of art and resources to connect you to online sources of Gaspé History and Culture. Although we have included some specific topics below, the following links are useful as general sources of Gaspé History:

This page is a work in progress, please check for updates on a regular basis!


For more information about the Expressions project, please click here.

Small Town Van Gogh

Dale Boyle is a musician from Belle Anse. His song “Small Town Van Gogh” is written about Tennyson Johnson, a well known Gaspé artist who died in 2006. Dale’s song is a great example of how to write a song about an historically important person.

This recording was kindly provided to Vision by Dale Boyle.

The Gespeg Micmac Nation

The Gespeg Micmac Nation has a wonderful Interpretation Site that we would encourage you to visit, although it is unfortunately closed for the winter. However, if you are searching for inspiration from Gaspesian First Nations, you can explore the videos and photos on their website to get your creativity flowing or you can visit the exhibit at the Musée de la Gaspésie until January 28th, 2018.

Other sources of information on Maritime MicMac culture can be found:

Wilbert Coffin

Who was Wilbert Coffin? Here is a story of mystery, murder, and the execution of a possibly innocent man. 60 years later, no one is quite sure what happened and the question remains: did he do it?

The following is a selection of resources about the Wilbert Coffin case. Many more are available online:

Tennyson Johnson

The following excerpt is from a blog describing one person’s experience with Tennyson Johnson. The full text can be found here: Tennyson Johnson 1928 – 2005

To all parents, teachers, and other concerned adults: The full text of this blog contains subject matter that may be inappropriate for young people. This is why Vision has chosen to reproduce some of the content. Please use your discretion in allowing your children to access the full text.



I have only seen a very small fraction of Tennyson’s work, but I feel comfortable making some general observations. In an article that appeared in the magazine Gaspesie (winter 1981) Tennyson is quoted as describing his work as “a blend of Naturalism and Impressionism.” Vermeer (the Milkmaid) and Millet (the Sowers) are examples of Naturalist painters. I don’t think these labels really apply to Tennyson. Nor is he a naïve painter. There is no use of pattern or childlike design in his work. Instead there is an attempt at using the correct colours and reasonable lines but only to a certain extent.

He painted in the Modern and Postmodern age when the painter had greater exposure to the machine-generated image. Consequently, there is possibly one simple and unique key to understanding the ensemble of Tennyson’s work: the photographic image. If you consider that the bulk of Tennyson’s work was done from photos then you can understand almost everything about the content and themes of his work. He was definitely not a plein air painter and almost always painted from photos although he would rarely admit to it. I think that he felt that Peter Paul Rubens or Da Vinci would look down on him if they knew.

Later on when he acquired a camera (maybe in the early 1990’s) he painted from his own photos. These paintings tended to mirror less the reality of Tennyson’s cultural and natural environment simply because they were not snap shots. I believe that Tennyson often worked from photos lent or given to him by friends and family. Many of the interesting details captured by an amateur’s camera in the naturalness of local settings were simply gone when Tennyson had to compose his own images. Tennyson took what the People gave him and translated it into art.

Tennyson painted what he saw. If a hydro wire crossed the view of the chapel he was painting then he put it in. If a woman’s torso was unflatteringly wide he put it in that way. If the subjects’ faces were overexposed by the flash of the camera he painted them as such. The snap shots and photos of millwrights (a classic), musicians, a dance and so forth were natural depictions of local life.”

Gaspé Artists and Artisans

The following is a list of Gaspesian artists and artisans links to their webpages.

Robin’s Store

Robin’s Store in Barachois is a tribute to the Robin, Jones and Whitman Company, a company with over 200 years of history in Gaspé. A lot of information is available on the company, here are some links pertaining specifically to Barachois:

Research by Glenn Patterson

There has been a lot of independent research on music in Gaspé, Douglastown, and Barachois conducted by Glenn Patterson over the years. This is all available online! You can look up Glenn’s research here:

Artistic Inspiration

Looking to branch out from drawing, painting, or writing for your art form? These links should give you some ideas for new and innovative ways to re-create history through art!