Myricks Shore, near the Tignish Run has become an increasingly busy spot for beachcombers.
But those beachcombers are not hunched over at the water’s edge like the traditional sea glass hunters; they are well up beyond the hightide mark and they are looking for painted stones.
The Victoria Day weekend got the 2018 season off to a flying start with a steady stream of painted stone hunters.
Some families have even amassed a collection of the stones. Others trade them.
But what is the origin of those stones and how do they get there?
Reliable sources claim it’s the work of an adult female disguised as just another beach-walker; she fits in, like one of the locals.
She has been dubbed, ‘The Easter Bunny,’ because of the colourful stones she leaves for children to find.
To others, she is, ‘The Ladybug Lady.’ When those stones first started showing up with startling regularity early last summer, many of them resembled ladybugs, but in a variety of colours.
Another possible alias is Karen Tuplin, mother, painter, baker, special occasions cake decorator.
Theories have it that she plants painted stones on her way up the beach and gathers smooth stones on her return. A solid basecoat of Crafters acrylic paint would await them. Then the decorative finish coats.
The Ladybug Lady has changed things up a bit. “It gets tiresome painting the same thing all the time,” The Ladybug Lady once confessed. So, there are flowers and stars and hearts and stripes getting tossed in, possibly to throw would-be detectives off her trail.
And it appears Ladybug Lady has branched out, too, reportedly having recently left painted stones on the beaches of Donahue’s Shore and Jacques Cartier Provincial Park.
But Myrick’s Shore remains her main beach. From there, it is suggested, she is able to view the scurrying the painted stone craze is causing. “It’s for the kids,” she’s been quoted.
And The Ladybug Lady has even started her own Facebook page, Ladybug Beaches.
She planted an estimated 1,800 of the stones last summer and is on track to surpass that number this year. The spring and summer months are not only when she plants the stones; it’s also when she collects, and that gives her the winter to get the next year’s decorations ready.
“I don’t care if it storms for six days, I can keep busy,” she confided.
Hiding places for the stones have included broken lobster traps, between pieces of driftwood and among the stones of inukshuks The Ladybug Lady takes the time to build when the beach is otherwise deserted.
With other people starting to paint stones and leave them behind, tracking down The Ladybug Lady could actually become more challenging, and she’s throwing the detectives further off her trail by encouraging collectors to reposition her stones on other beaches, for others to find.