Cambridge Daily Reporter
Friends pity Dick Stoyles, hunched over his pots as he is for three or four hours, two or three times a week, doing work his nose tells him to flee.
Despite his nose, Dick has became a master of the black pudding, a hot, cheerless blend of cows blood, suet, onions and spices that has been making Newfoundland tongues dance for generations.
Dick suffers the choking, musty aroma of the boiling brew gladly. Fortunately, it tastes much better than it smells. This week Dick'll sell 700 or 800 pounds of his pudding to Newfoundland food shops across Southern Ontario.
He's gotten calls for his cooking from Calgary to California. It's a recipe that has him smiling all the way to the bank.
"I been makin' it all me life, bye," he says.
Dick spent the previous night sweating over big pots in his Main Street store. He was set to truck bulk bags of the sausage-shaped pudding to stores in Milton and Toronto, when his daughter Diane phones in sick.
"She's dead," Dick says. "Flue's got her."
Dick is like a six-foot cod in Cambridge's 10,000-strong Newfoundland community; a pillar.
He came here to stay in 1967, started his own business, and was instrumental in founding the Gait Newfoundland Club, doing more to lift spirits than you'd get from an ocean of Screech.
Dick brought Newfoundland foodstuffs to Cambridge at a time when the chain stores didn't so much as carry salted beef.
According to his monthly ad in The Downhomer, a Toronto-based publication for displaced Newfoundlanders, Stoyles' Market at 184 Main St. is the "Biggest Newfoundland Store in Ontario!''
"I should know," Dick says of the boast. "I've been in most of them sellin' me puddins."
The store houses a fish 'n chips takeout that serves some 1,200 customers a week.
It's also one of the few places a Maritimer in Cambridge can go for peppermint knobs and peanut butter kisses; a full line of Purity cookies, jams and hard biscuits from St. John's, and even Good Luck margarine.
"I guess it is better (than Mainland margarine). See? The color's different. Looks more like butter."
Unlike the Thomas Stoyles Meat Market that's run by his brother, Gordon, in Bell Island, the Cambridge store doesn't carry much in the way of meats, but both share granddad's recipe for blood pudding.
Dick stocks lots of fish cod tongues and heads, kippers and capelins and customers know when they order "Newfie steak," Dick will reach for the bologna.
Try some Landsmen Harvesters' seal meat, Dick teases.
"It looks dark and coarse like moose meat. Makes good pie. We don't call it seal pie it's flipper pie."
For the culturally minded, Dick carries a selection of music tapes: there's toothsome Dick Gardiner; the band Simani; his own favourite, Billy Dinn, and Andy Lahey, an ex-Bell Islander whose crooning at local amateur nights won such favour he's considering a Nashville, instead of bricklaying, career.
Dick, 54, was the eldest of Tom Stoyles' 12 children. He quit school at 13, married at 19 and left Bell Island in 1959 at the age of 24, following a brother to Cambridge.
Kevin Stoyles joined a number of Bell Islanders flocking to Cambridge after a layoff in the Dosco iron-ore mines in 1958. Dosco, the island's principle industry, would close the mines for good in 1967, prompting the migration of thousands more.
Galt, Preston and Hespeler the three communities that would be amalgamated as Cambridge in 1973 were textile towns, booming with factories, beckoning with jobs.
Dick worked in three factories during the 11 months he was here in 1959.
"I hated it, sir. It was an awful difference leaving beautiful little Bell Island and the ocean, and comin' to a place like this.
"I missed home. I missed the way of life. Missed all me buddies."
He returned to Bell Island, but came back to Cambridge in '67 with his wife, Elizabeth, and four children, determined to stay. This time, there would be no factory work.
"I had it in mind to set up in business, but I didn't have a pot to piss in." He worked as a meat cutter for Dutch Boy in Kitchener. In under a year, with his savings and $1,500 from the sale of his house in Bell Island, he opened Stoyles' Market on Cambridge Street. Business grew. Dick moved his store to Water street. Eight years ago, he moved to Main.
From the moment he arrived here, Dick pushed for a Newfoundland Club. Newfoundlanders had been meeting Saturday nights in various digs, including a barn owned by the agriculture society on Hobson Street. Dick argued for a club of their own.
"There's no question in my mind that if Dick Stoyles hadn't been involved in it, I don't think it would ever have gotten off the ground," says Don Squires, current president of the Newfoundland Club.
"He was always the go-getter."
Dick's group had $45,000 saved from the Saturday night dances. They bought land from Glenarin Investments for $90,000 and Dick, "dressed in me best $29 suit," went to Toronto for a loan. He returned with $160,000. The club opened in 1976.
Dick may be nostalgic for Bell Island but knows he'll never return for more than a visit.
"You go back and you lose all the good memories you had. It's very depressing," Dick says. Still you miss it. For me it's been 22 years. Now all my children are here; my grandchildren are here; my friends are here. What we have here is a Newfoundland away from home for a lot of people.
I know a lot would like to go back but they're in the same position as I am. All their roots is here now."
For Dick, the time to relax Is over lunch. The blood pudding is done cooking. Eating it's not so bad as making it, Dick says, smacking his lips.
"I love it. I think it's fantastic. But when it's cookin', I hate the smell 'o the puddin', man."