“I came to Canada in 1956 and I actually came to the town of Brockville.
And as a young immigrant, you try to get a new life going with all of the things that a person would like to have such as cars and, whatever, a good income. And I was only there for a few months and I learned that the better pay was on the Seaway over here where they move villages and they dug up all kinds of things. So I found a boarding house, a boarding family in the little town of Mariatown.
And being still a young immigrant out of the Netherlands it was actually very strange to me.
Anybody who knows the Dutch history, we reclaim land. Over here, they started to flood it.”
Joint interview with Juney and Henry Vyfvinkel, Interview Audio Excerpts, Lost Villages Historical Society, LVHS Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013
Came from Holland where we reclaim land. Here they flooded it.
I wish I would have painted the villages, but I was too busy making a paycheque.
Morrisburg was a ghost town with the fire department burning buildings.
Video Excerpt: Joint interview with Juney and Henry Vyfvinkel, Lost Villages Historical Society, LVHS Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013
In this video Henry Vyfvinkel recalls how he landed a construction job on the Seaway after emigrating from Holland and how strange he found it that in Netherlands people re-claim land and here they were flooding it.
The Seaway created a construction boom in Eastern Ontario and Upstate New York. Thousands of workers congregated on the area attracted by plentiful work and high wages.
Henry Vyfvinkel was young Dutch immigrant to Canada. Originally settling in Brockville, Ontario he moved to Mariatown to take construction work on the Seaway. He met his future wife Juney there.
Henry and Juney settled in Brockville, Ontario where Henry was a pillar of the local arts community. Besides his own watercolour painting practice, he established the fine arts teaching program that continues to this day at St Lawrence College in Brockville.
Henry passed away in 2014.