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History, mysteries, celebrations in Grenada, 2009

History, mysteries, celebrations and the like: Grenada’s diverse
heritage makes it the ideal all season vacation for Caribbean
Aficionados
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September 8, 2009. (St. George’s, Grenada, WI)—Canadians have a
reputation for being all season adventurous travelers. They
expect to absorb a lot of history and culture from their host
country. Grenada’s long, storied history and unique culture help
make the island the perfect ‘inclusive’ vacation for Canadian
history buffs and Caribbean culture aficionados.

Grenada’s history in the eyes of the west began in 1498 when
Christopher Columbus sailed by the island on his third voyage to
the New World. Named the island of Conception by Columbus,
Grenada finally made it onto the map.

The indigenous people of the island, the Caribs, were left alone
on Conception until 1609 when the British tried to establish a
colony. Unfortunately for the British, the Caribs scared the
British off. It was not until 1650 that the French came ashore
and attempted to take control. The French finally subdued the
Caribs in 1651 when, rather than submitting to the questionable
benefits of colonization, the remaining Caribs threw themselves
off La Morne de Sauteur (Leaper’s Hill) onto the rocks below.

Grenada went back and forth between the British and the French
for over a century until the Treaty of Versailles ceded Grenada
to the British. Grenada has been an independent country since
1974 and is a democracy based on the British parliamentary
system. Although Grenada is English-speaking, the French heritage
is evident in the surnames of many islanders and in the local
French-Patois spoken by many.

Visitors can trace the colonial history of Grenada through the
series of forts across the island. Perhaps the most famous are
the four ‘back-to-front’ forts (Forts Frederick, Adolphus, Lucas
and Mathew) begun by the French in the 1770s and completed by the
British in 1791. The forts, strategically located on the hills
and facing the horseshoe harbour actually have their cannons
trained not to the sea but instead face inland protecting Grenada
from an internal rather than external foe. Strange indeed!

As an alternate and a less strenuous activity, visitors can take
a trip to Carib’s Leap or Leaper’s Hill, the place where the
Carib’s ended their rule of the island. Located directly north of
the town of Sauteurs, the Hill is a steep cliff face that
descends vertically for more than 100 feet, that has a visitors
viewing area.

Grenada’s history is deeply connected to its spices. Known as the
‘Spice of the Caribbean,’ Grenada’s abundant nutmeg, turmeric,
vanilla bean, cocoa, allspice, clove, and cinnamon crops are the
reason the island was so sought after as a colony in the 17th and
18th centuries.

The Nutmeg Processing Station in Gouyave, which is about 40
minutes from St. George’s, offers a tour, a brief history of the
nutmeg industry, and gives a clearer picture of the many uses for
Grenada’s number one export spice. Chocoholics beware!
Grenville’s cocoa co-op details the process from pod to product
with a few free samples thrown in for good measure. Plus, Belmont
Estate is a welcome chocolate retail therapeutic excursion.

Grenada’s distinct culture is celebrated with a number of
festivals during the year. Starting in January, as a kick off for
the high season, Grenada hosts the Annual Bill Fish Tournament
that gives anglers the opportunity to catch a piece of the action
in some of the Caribbean’s best game fish waters.

Then in February, Independence Day celebrates when Grenada became
an independent country.

June comes along with the legendary Fisherman’s Birthday
Celebration held in the historic town of Gouyave. The event
begins with Church services and the blessing of boats and nets,
followed by boat races, fishing displays and late evening
parties.

Sailing festivals and regattas that run from January through to
July recall Grenada’s seafaring roots. Sailing regattas and
festivals consist of competitive races, junior races, Sunfish
races, a small boat regatta and other challenging big yacht
events for sailing enthusiasts from around the world.

Grenada’s Carnival, “Spice Mas” is a tribute to the fusion of
island French and African heritages. Based loosely on the
pre-Lenten Carnival celebrated in France, Spice Mas is Carnival
with a distinctly Grenadian twist. Beginning the end of July and
ending the second week of August, Spice Mas features Calypso
music, bright costumes, the Short Knees, and several island
traditions. Spice Mas is an amazing celebration of what it means
to be Grenadian.

For culture off the beaten path, explore Grenada’s sister islands
of Carriacou (KARRy-a-COU) and Petite Martinique for an array of
attractions and festivals unique to these islands.

Or, for a change of pace, kick back and relax on one of Grenada’s
40 notable white and black sand beaches. Grenada’s most famous
and one of the largest in the Caribbean is the stretch called
Grand Anse. This is a perfect place to walk particularly at the
end of the day when locals come to have a swim. Grand Anse Beach,
a sheltered two-mile stretch of perfect white sand, dotted with
sea grape and palm trees, just south of the capital St. George’s,
is recognized as being one of the world’s best beaches.

About Grenada Board of Tourism: The Grenada Board of Tourism was
formed in 1991 to market and promote Grenada as a preferred
Caribbean tourist destination, while also providing technical and
managerial support to industry partners. For more information on
Grenada contact the Grenada Board of Tourism office in Toronto at
416-595-1339, e-mail at tourism@grenadaconsulate.com
[tourism@grenadaconsulate.com]

How to Get to Grenada: Grenada can be reached via Air Canada
Vacations that operates a direct flight from Toronto to Grenada (
11 resorts, Sunday departure with easy connections from major
Canadian gateways, and bookings for the 2009/10 season available
at www.aircanadavacations.com
[http://www.aircanadavacations.com]) from December 20, 2009 to
April 2010. AC operates daily flights from Toronto to Barbados (
Saturday & Sunday departure from Montreal) with connections on
LIAT to Grenada and Caribbean Airlines operate regularly
scheduled flights from Toronto to Barbados and Trinidad with
connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours and Titan Tours operate
seasonal charter services (www.ggtours.ca [http://www.ggtours.ca]
and www.titantours.com [http://www.titantours.com]). West Jet
operates a flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on
LIAT to Grenada from November onwards. American Airlines operates
a non-stop flight three times per week from Miami to Grenada from
November onwards.

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