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Transformation: County woman only Canadian in weight loss transformation competition

Rita Billington is looking for the community’s support.
Billington started her weight loss journey in March of 2012 and since then has lost 144 pounds.
She has now become a quarter finalist with Visalus, or Body by Vi.
“You can submit to the challenges by sending your before and after pictures under specific categories,” explains Billington. “I entered under female weight loss.”
It started with the 90-day challenge and has continued from there for Billington.
“I was unhappy with myself and was ready to make a change,” she says.
Now she is competing against three other women – both from the US – for Visalus female weight loss champion.
“The program is great. As soon as you lose 10 pounds, you can submit your results to project 10 and they donate 30 meals to overweight children,” she says.
Billington is the only Canadian in the quarter finals, vying for the Champion title.
With the quarter finalist spot comes a photo shoot, free product and free active wear created by Visalus.
“The winner of Champions contest wins a trip to Hollywood for a transformation vacation that includes a $5,000 Beverly Hills shopping spree and is featured in the upcoming Challenge magazine which is in stores all over the world.”
The winner is crowned November 17 in Atlanta, Georgia and Billington will be there.
“This has been a very easy system to follow and I will continue with it. I think that it’s good for everyone in the world,” she says.
The winner is judged based 50 per cent on results, 25 per cent on their story and the remaining 25 per cent on community voting.
“I am looking for community support,” says Billington. “It would be great to have the community behind me. A lot of people look at me and do a double take asking where the other half went. It’s like losing a whole person.”
Voting can be done at It began Monday and ends this Friday, November 8, at midnight.
“It would be an honour to represent the company as the female weight loss champion,” she says.
Billington is hosting an information session on the product on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at 111 Acadia Avenue. Information and her transformation story are available on her website at

Sunday, November 10 at 4 p..m at North End Recreation Centre, New Glasgow
Event will include – Overview presentation, product sampling, business opportunity, success stories and Q & A.
RSVP by calling or texting 902-759-5676 by 4 p.m. Saturday, November 9.
Anyone can also visit Billington’s personal website at

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Wish comes true for Pictou youngster

Pink castle balloons and a princess-themed cake filled the CIBC Bank in New Glasgow last week as the staff prepared to make a dream come true.
Reese Hawkins, 3, was given the trip of a lifetime through the CIBC Bank and the Children’s Wish Foundation.
“CIBC is committed to investing in causes that matter to our clients, employees and community. One of our strategic focuses is on kids, as well as cures and community,” explains Christine Mihailedes, district vice president of CIBC for Nova Scotia. “We are absolutely delighted to be able to invest and help children realize their dreams.”
Hawkins was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia and has since been one year clear of the disease.
“Another family in the community, Stephanie Parker and Brian Haines, their son Gabriel was diagnosed with the same form and Stephanie actually recommended Reese for the wish,” explains Kora Hanrahan, Hawkins’ mother.
Hawkins’ wish: “I wanted to go to the Disney Boat,” she says.
Cinderella was on hand to make the presentation and to celebrate, there was a princess-themed cake and castle balloons filling the bank.
Hawkins’ eyes lit up as she saw Cinderella enter the room with a special gift for her.
Hanrahan says the family is very excited and will be departing later this month. They were also given a pack full of items including a camera to take along as well as Children’s Wish Foundation T-shirts.
This is the first time a child in New Glasgow has been granted a wish through CIBC.
“This is very generous,” explains Marsha Sobey, volunteer board member for the Children’s Wish Foundation. “Different areas throughout the province have ‘high risk’ children and those are the ones chosen to have a wish granted.”
Hawkins had one wish to be granted through the Children’s Wish Foundation, according to Mihailedes, and this is what she wanted so CIBC donated $10,000 to make that happen.
“Being a lover of all things Tinkerbell, I think she made a great choice,” laughs Mihailedes. “This is a great way to realize a dream.”
Sobey adds, “We are so appreciative of CIBC; they are such a caring corporate citizen.”

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Town to pursue water treatment operator

STELLARTON – Town council has agreed to hire a full-time operator for its water treatment plant.
Council adopted the measure during a meeting on Monday. It was among three recommendations forwarded to council by the town’s water advisory committee at its most recent meeting last week.
“I think it’s something that’s long overdue,” said Coun. Ken Francis who, with Mayor Joe Gennoe and Coun. Judith MacLellan, represent council on the committee.
Two other recommendations to ask New Glasgow about supplying water during the current boil advisory and to improve the communication policy for Stellarton’s water users are being dealt with.
Town engineer Tony Addis said he already discussed how feasible it would be for New Glasgow to supply water. He said the only connection is along North Foord Street, and the possible transfer of water would depend on what volume New Glasgow could spare and the variance in water pressure between the towns. Discussions are ongoing, he said.
Addis responded to Deputy Mayor Denise Taylor’s request for a copy of the protocol by saying he uses the Department of Environment’s protocol for advising customers regarding items such as the current boil advisory.
Addis said he expects the current advisory to end on Friday. It was supposed to be Thursday, but the town’s reservoir were depleted due to a recent water break near the intersection of MacGregor Avenue and Auburn Drive.
Water advisory committee citizen appointee Ron Marks said a full-time employee should be monitoring the treatment plant’s operation “eight hours a day, five days a week.”
“Somebody’s got to be responsible for this,” he said. “No one wants to take ownership.”
Fellow citizen appointee Bob Funke agreed. “This is by far the biggest plant that does not have a full-time operator that I have seen,” he said.
Addis disagreed with having a full-time employee at the plant, and suggested instead installing an automatic alarm for any contaminants beyond set limits.
“I think it’s a more efficient way to operate the utility,” he said.
The requests came out of protracted committee meeting last Thursday that went twice its mandated one-hour length as members queried Addis on matters contained in his most recent report to the committee.
The meeting began in more than 10 minutes of silence as members poured through minutes and the contents of a report they had not received beforehand. Coun. Ken Francis asked in future for them to be received 24 hours in advance.
Addis reported on the decision to replace the membranes of 120 of the 180 modules for trapping coagulants at a cost of $120,000.
Council approved the capital allowance in October to replace them in 2014-15, while the others would be replaced the following year.
Mayor Joe Gennoe asked Addis if the membranes’ problems pertained to their not having sufficient life expectancy. Addis said age would have nothing to do with the elevated levels of organics.
The boil advisory was ordered once it was found the town had to bypass some of the membranes in order to refill its reservoir earlier this year.
As it was, Gennoe said he wasn’t boiling his drinking water, which Marks considered to be “irresponsible.”
Addis said he speaks with Department of Environment officials daily about the town’s drinking water.
“They are definitely concerned,” he said. “They have supported our action plant and are not critical of the actions taken.”
Funke subtly referred to New Glasgow, whose water utility he’s familiar with from his years at town engineer, as a way for Stellarton to develop a drinking water protocol.
“A number of utilities have developed protocols for this,” he said. “There’s a fairly robust one very close by. I don’t think Stellarton needs to re-invent the wheel.”
The next water advisory meeting is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. in council chambers.

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Town earns Communities in Bloom award … Looks ahead to 2014

NEW GLASGOW – A special award this year for New Glasgow and the close proximity of the 2014 Communities in Bloom national symposium and awards presentations in Charlottetown has the town considering how it can promote itself in conjunction with the event.
The organization will be celebrating its 20th anniversary during the event that takes place from Sept. 16 to 21. It coincides with Charlottetown’s 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference that took place in 1864 and led to Confederation in Canada three years later.
New Glasgow’s marketing and communications director Kim Dickson said next year’s symposium represents an opportunity for New Glasgow to showcase itself as a destination before and after the event.
“People want to make it a Maritime experience,” she said. “We thought of it as a strategic opportunity to promote New Glasgow as a pre-and post-conference destination.”
New Glasgow did not actually take part in this year’s national and international CIB competition, and no decision has been made on whether the town will compete next year, Dickson said.
“That will be a decision of council,” she said, while noting that the town’s CIB thrust represents part of the town’s recently released community economic development plan.
The award New Glasgow earned in Ottawa was not in the main competition, but rather for its display among national and international communities. It is called the As You Like It Award that was inspired by the late Ted Blowes, former national CIB chairman and a former mayor of Stratford, Ont. which is known for championing the playwright William Shakespeare. The award’s name is from a Shakespearian comedy.
“It is impressive for our town to receive this prestigious award and to be judged the best display among many communities from across the country and several from around the world, said Coun. Jack Lewis, chairman of New Glasgow’s CIB committee. “This was a great opportunity to showcase New Glasgow and we are honoured by this recognition.”
New Glasgow’s display included pictures of the town hall, Carmichael Park and the Riverfront Marina, as well as a picture of the New Glasgow Flourish logo that is part of a mural already been etched on the facade of New Glasgow Academy, the town’s Primary to Grade 8 school that is currently under construction.
The town also partnered with Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores to display literature pertaining to places to visit in the region.
“It’s clearly a recognition of New Glasgow’s participation in this program for the past number of years,” MacMillan said, regarding the town’s awards and its participating in CIB. “It’s grown the town’s profile and that’s very important.”
Dickson said attending the symposium was an opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices, hear impressive guest speakers and utilize the community exhibit display component to promote New Glasgow, as did other Nova Scotia communities, such as Truro, Yarmouth and Antigonish.
“It was great to have New Glasgow as part of a strong Nova Scotia presence,” she said. “It was nice to see our communities and province through others’ eyes.”

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Wind turbine step toward more renewable energy: Cameron

CHURCHVILLE – A wind tower on Irish Mountain is a product of perseverance and represents a tiny step forward toward more renewable electrical generation in the province, Peggy Cameron says.
Cameron, who grew up near the turbine sight, is vice-president of Black River Wind Limited. She joined company president Neil Livingston at the unveiling of the 80-metre wind turbine in Churchville.
Power should flow from the turbine to Nova Scotia Power this week. “If anything, it demonstrates you can do something with persistence,” Cameron said. “It’s been a long process.”
The company also has turbines in Creignish and near Mabou, where it is based.
Work started 10 years ago with wind testing and included the obstacles of financing the $15 million project and securing an agreement on the price of energy revenue with NSP, Cameron said.
She said the province needs to get serious about renewable energy and how to finance it more robustly.
Cameron is not a fan of either the Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) model because it takes so long to raise relatively little funding, nor the COMFIT regime because of the low rate of return to municipalities and other groups.
She said governments and financial institutions are far too eager to back big projects like the Maritime Link and Muskrat Falls, and the proposed bitumen pipe line to Saint John, N.B.
“We need to look at what kind of society we want in 20 years, not just a year ahead,” she said. “We’re all missing out, whether it’s wind or solar.”
Cameron graduated from East Pictou Rural High School. She has worked in other parts of the world before returning to live in Halifax 12 years ago.
The Irish Mountain site was among 10 community wind projects NSP approved three years ago to sell electricity from private sources to the grid.

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No room for women in Lion’s den?

RIVER JOHN – The Lions Club in River John remains a male-only service club.
Members refused a bid by five women in the area to join the club following a regular meeting on Sunday. It is not known why.
Sharon Johnson, whose husband Gary is a club member, said she wants to do the work she does in the community but as a member of the club, including her work on the River John Festival Days committee. She also wants the club to be more active.
“My husband is a member and has been for a good many years,” she said. “We want to be able to do things together. The point is we have to make changes, to be more active. There’s no reason why women can’t be members. You can’t use the Lions Club as a men’s club.”
Wally Sutherland is the club’s King Lion, or president. Sutherland was evasive about whether the club discussed the matter on Sunday.
“This is Lions’ business,” he said. “We don’t want to advertise it.
“I don’t have an opinion one way or the other (regarding women membership),” he said. “I’m neutral.”
The club was formed in 1970 and currently has 13 members.
It is one of three clubs in Pictou County. The others are in Stellarton and Pictou.
Zone chairman Francois Rochon said he was unaware of the women wishing to join the River John and the club’s decision.
He said, generally, if someone wants to join the club, a vote is taken to consider it.
Lions Clubs International was formed in 1917 and has nearly 1.4 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 208 countries.
The organization amended its constitution in 1986 to admit women, but River John is among the remaining all-male clubs.
By comparison, Rotary International began admitting women in 1987. Fifteen per cent of the organization’s 1.2 million members are women, including 22 per cent of members in North America.
Lions Clubs International’s main area of service is to the blind and visually impaired. Lions are estimated to have helped more than 100,000,000 people with cataract surgeries, eyeglass screenings, eye clinics and prevention of river blindness, as well as eyeglass recycling programs and many others. The organization has also help with measles vaccinations to 41,000,000 children in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Nigeria.
At its recent international convention in Hamburg, Germany, Lions district governor Scott MacKenzie noted that international president Barry Palmer of Australia stated his goal for an even split of male and female membership by 2017.
“Any allegation that membership to a Lions Club was denied strictly on gender would be treated very seriously and if supported by the facts, would not be tolerated,” he said. “The River John Lions Club has worked for its community and Lions Clubs International with great dedication for over 43 years. I am assured by their leadership that gender has not played any part in the refusal of membership of these recent applicants.”
MacKenzie said he will be meeting with the River John club in the “near future to explore the situation and arrive at a solution.”

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Potential local source for natural gas in NS

STELLARTON – A local source of natural gas from the coal seams in Pictou County may soon become a reality.
East Coast Energy Inc. based in Stellarton, announced that the company will drill a test well, in the MacLellan’s Brook area over the next two weeks.
The test comes after five years of work on the project.
“In 2011 we drilled a successful small diameter test hole,” East Coast Energy president Julie Cohen said. “Core samples verified the presence of coal bed methane of economic interest, so we are advancing with guarded optimism.”
The province gave the company industrial approval last year and announced authorization of drilling last week after the Department of Environment confirmed the company has satisfied all regulatory requirements.
The company will conduct its operation in compliance with Environmental Best Management Practices and stressed that hydraulic fracturing is not permitted.
Pictou County Chamber of Commerce president Burton Langille said the project is good news for the local economy.
“I have been impressed that East Coast Energy Inc. has found ways to support local businesses already,” he said. “I understand they have used more than 20 local businesses as they prepared to drill, and that is impressive.”
Mike Jenkins of Nova Dynamics, who was part of an energy committee struck by the chamber several years ago, said East Coast Energy’s test drilling represents one more way for Pictou County to derive potential energy savings and widen its sources of energy from natural gas.
Jenkins has long held that energy could flow from underground coal in Pictou County, without actually mining and burning it, including the Foord coal seam where East Coast Energy has permits to drill two test wells to a depth of 540 metres.
“It would be great if they could exploit that,” he said. “Natural gas is a lot cleaner. It’s a fossil fuel and we have lots of it. It’s a lot easier to use and you have quite good efficiencies from it.”
Energy Minister Andrew Younger outlined the “strict regulatory approval process” that the company must follow to ensure environmental protection. It includes all drilling applications in Nova Scotia which must go before a one-window standing committee of provincial government departments.
Drilling applications from the Department of Energy are subject to review by the department and a third-party drilling engineer, review and approval by the Department of Environment, an open house in the community, permission from the landowners and Aboriginal notification.
Department of Environment approvals include water management, process waste management and air-quality control.
Requirements from the industrial approval include erosion, sedimentation and spill control measures, industrial waste must be treated at approved facilities, air-quality control measures, water testing of all wells within one kilometre and water monitoring of all surface water within 500 metres of the drill site
East Coast Energy has tested all water wells within one kilometre of the two well sites. All 16 wells tested positive for natural gas and the results have been shared with residents.
The company has submitted an emergency response plan and will provide daily reports to the Department of Energy once drilling begins. The drilling program for the two wells is expected to take place over 30 to 40 days.
Before the company can undertake any further activities, it would have to apply to the departments of Energy and Environment for permits.

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Fire at the Acro Lounge

A fire broke out on the roof of the building that houses Acro Lounge on Archimedes Street, New Glasgow, the same building that houses Pool’n Around and Rogers.
New Glasgow firefighters are on scene and have the road blocked off to traffic while they battle the blaze.

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Illegal smokes seized

Local police agencies busted a man with approximately nine years worth of personal use unstamped cigarettes.
The Pictou County Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit, with assistance from Pictou County District RCMP, conducted a traffic stop in Abercrombie on October 29 at approximately 9:30 a.m.
Cpl. Andrew Joyce with the Pictou County District RCMP says the traffic stop was a result of intelligence-led investigation. After the stop, a search warrant was obtained and the officers found 80,000 unstamped cigarettes – or 400 bags with 200 cigarettes per bag.
“These cigarettes would have a street value of $14,000,” explains Const. Ken MacDonald with New Glasgow Regional Police Service.
As a result, a 41-year-old Pictou County man was arrested and since released. He will appear in Pictou Provincial Court on December 16.
He is being charged with possession of unstamped tobacco under the Excise Act.
“Unstamped tobacco is a large problem nation wide and is linked to major organized crime,” says Joyce. “It is taken very seriously by police and is detrimental to our society.”
This seizure was a substantial one amounting to nine years of personal use of cigarettes being taken off of the streets.

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Sobeys is fueling the food banks

Sobeys stores in the province are preparing to fill this holiday season with lots of goods through their Fill the Food Bank Fuel the Community campaign. The fourth annual campaign launched on October 24 and ends on November 6.
“This is an annual event for Sobeys stores to raise money and food for the local food banks,” explains David MacDonald, store manager.
This program is unique to Atlantic Canada and has raised more than $2.6 million to date in support of food banks across the region. It runs through the more than 300 Sobeys stores in the region as well as warehouses and office locations.
Customers at the checkout can donate $2 toward the food bank or can donate food items or purchase a ‘Hamper of Hope’ bag of food for $5 and $10.
“The biggest thing people need to know is that all of the donations of food and money will go to the closest food bank,” says MacDonald.
So all of the items and money raised at the Pictou Sobeys will go to the Pictou West Food Bank just in time for the holiday season.
Food bank use in Nova Scotia has grown by a staggering 39.3 per cent since 2008; the province has experienced the largest growth in need in Atlantic Canada. Stores will also be doing in-house fundraisers like barbecues and casual days to raise more funds.
Since January 2000, Sobeys has donated more than one million kilograms of food to FEED Nova Scotia through the company’s year-round giving programs.
According to FEED Nova Scotia, the demand is greatest for non-perishable items, including canned fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereal, flour, canned soup, rice, pasta and sauce, beans, peanut butter, and baby formula and baby food.
MacDonald says the campaign has been very successful and they are hoping that this year will be no exception.

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Action plan to fight discrimination

Since New Glasgow released its action plan against racism and discrimination, Henderson Paris, chair of the committee, has been receiving a number of questions regarding the plan and its intended purpose.
Currently the committee is made up of a representation of various groups and is looking at the ingredients of the plan and the four strategic directions as well as the 10 commitments through the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.
“To a good degree, we are and have been doing some of these things, I like to believe, but it has to be more entailed, we need more co-operation and community involvement.”
The action plan is meant as a means of getting people engaged and speaking about racism and discrimination.
“When people speak about racism and discrimination it’s a different conversation and people need to be sensitive in part to it, open minded and frank in their discussions as well as be positive,” says Paris. “We can reflect on the past but we need to be positive in our approach to the future to help our community prosper and be successful.”
Ideas and views aren’t going to change overnight and no one expects them to.
“(The Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination) was initially launched in 2004, nine years later I am happy as a town to have launched a plan to show out leadership and accountability,” he says. “My hope is that as a town we can encourage other municipalities to join this movement and reach out to us like we did with King’s County (the first community to create an action plan like this).”
Paris believes this is what the citizens want and need and it takes everyone being on board.
“The committee will give assistance to help resolve problems as well as educate the community and get people engaged,” says Paris. “We have done very well in our town, but we need to first and foremost commit to the public that we are very serious about this plan and we want to work with all people, and I stress all to show them we are sincere and committed.”
The action plan is endorsed by the town council and the hope is that citizens will see that change is coming.
“We are trying to build stronger partnerships, but people need to be patient, I have found throughout life that change doesn’t happen quickly,” laughs Paris.
The committee is there for people who feel they have been discriminated against, for example housing or accommodations, employment, etc.
Paris reminds people, this committee for the action plan is not the Human Rights Council of Nova Scotia, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“How can we resolve these issues without people having to go to the Human Rights Council?,” questions Paris. “The hope is that people will re-evaluate themselves… How can I do better? How can we do better? How can we make our community more inclusive, respectful and safer?”
Paris recalls his days in New Glasgow, in his early 20s, dealing with racism and discrimination himself, having started the Run Against Racism and engaged the local schools and Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, but he says that New Glasgow has made great gains toward eliminating racism and discrimination in the town and the county, but there is always room for improvement.
“We are a lot farther along than some communities,” he says, “and I like to think that the reason we don’t hear as much on the radio and in the news about racism and discrimination is because of the work that has been done in the community through many organizations.
“Changes certainly have happened and have been positive in relation not only to the black community but with the first nations and other communities, but we have to continue with that. This plan is a further demonstration that we are going into a new chapter with a new and more informed vision to further strengthen and enhance our community.”
The goal is reach out and hear from all ages and walks of life in the community and how things can improve.
“We need to look at the makeup of our community because it has changed,” he says. “We need to grasp it and work with people, make them feel comfortable, respected and make them want to stay. We need to re-examine what we do in our daily lives and figure out how we can make others lives more pleasant.”

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West Side residence project slated to start in two weeks

NEW GLASGOW – A project to build a 60-unit apartment complex on the former West Side School site is expected to start within the next two weeks.
Bruce Margeson and his brother Rob Margeson are building the two sections at once under W.M. Apartments of Halifax. The complex will be called The Willow due to one of the streets that border it.
A site trailer has already been placed on the lot.
“The job is to start as soon as possible,” Bruce Margeson said. “It will be in the next two weeks. We’re excited to be getting started. We’re just trying to get the paper work done.”
Test holes are being dug to confirm the location of underground sewer and water lines, based on information from the Town of New Glasgow, Margeson said.
The two sections are being erected at once, based on advice from the project’s mortgage lender, he said.
One residence will face Willow Avenue and the other will face Morrow Street.
“We estimate completing the project and people moving in not later than December 2014,” he said.
“We’re moving right along.”
The buildings will feature elevators and underground parking for all tenants and some visitors.
Both Rob and Bruce Margeson attended the West Side school.
Provisions in the applications that town council approved in August 2012 also include a crosswalk where Willow Avenue intersects Herbert Street.
All trees along the lot’s perimeter are expected to be maintained.

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When in Toronto, memories linger on

My wife and I have been in Toronto for the past week or so, visiting two of our offspring who live in Canada’s biggest city. On our schedule was a function at city hall, though I don’t believe controversial Mayor Rob Ford had any idea we were there.
It’s always great to get to Toronto because there is no city, north or south of the Canada-U.S. border that I’d rather visit. I confess I never wanted to live there. It’s too big for my everyday routines. But I love to stop by whenever possible. While there’s family there now, the Maple Leafs have been my drawing card for half a century, the Blue Jays for over three decades.
My newspaper career has taken me to such other Canadian cities as Montreal, Hamilton, Calgary and Vancouver, and I’ve covered events in U.S. cities like Boston, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Raleigh and Cincinnati. (Why would I ever wind up in Cincinnati? A World Series when Pete Rose and Johnny Bench were atop the baseball world.)
There were exciting events in those places – all those places. But for me, Toronto has always been number one.
Being a life-long Leafs fan, and a Jays fan since that franchise began, pretty much explains my loyalty to the Queen City. I probably don’t need to say more.
One thing I find, however, it’s hard to visit Toronto without thinking about long-ago experiences there. In the words of my favourite Scottish singer John McDermott, “The years roll by, (but) memories linger on.”
From Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Centre, from Exhibition Stadium to the SkyDome and now Rogers Centre, there have been plenty of things to keep the memory machine working. Despite all the hockey and ball games I’ve attended in T.O., I must admit I only watched one football game there, a Grey Cup contest in the 1970s.
While the current trip to Toronto has been basically for a family function, sports were still on my mind. When aren’t they? For starters, we just happened to be in town when Cole Harbour’s Sidney Crosby dropped by with his Pittsburgh Penguins for a Saturday evening date with the Leafs. It wasn’t the first time a visit coincided with his schedule.
Though I’ve lost count of the number of NHL and baseball games I’ve seen in Toronto, the strange thing is I hadn’t even been to the city until I was in my early 20s. Guess I’ve made up for lost time.
When it comes to hockey – to the Leafs – my first significant experiences were attending Stanley Cup games when I was scouting for the team in the 1960s. Remember the Leafs of the 1960s? All those Stanley Cup victories? I’m sure you do – if you’re old enough to be collecting old age security cheques.
It was in 1963 that I first attended Stanley Cup action. A couple of old New Glasgow buddies, Donnie Murray and Bill McCulloch were on that journey to watch the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens in the semi-finals. Toronto was defending its cup win of 1962, its first since 1951. We saw the Leafs dominate the Habs that year, before the blue and white won the finals over the Detroit Red Wings. Two cups in a row.
It was the next year’s playoffs, however, that produced the most exciting moments. That trip was made with my old Stellarton buddy, the late Sterling Bain. The Leafs were trailing the Wings 3-2 in games and, since the series could have ended in Detroit, we drove to the Motor City first. That game is often talked about because Leafs defenceman Bobby Baun unknowingly broke his leg, continued playing, and scored the winning goal in overtime.
It was on to Toronto for the finale at Maple Leaf Gardens. What a game seven it was! Johnny Bower shut out Detroit 4-0. That made it three Leafs cups in succession. I’m never able to forget that night because, of all the sports photos I’ve collected through my career, the best hockey one above my desk shows Frank Mahovlich, Andy Bathgate and myself holding the Stanley Cup in the dressing room during the post-game celebrations.
Let’s leave the hockey stories at that, because there are too many.
There’s also been the Blue Jays to keep me heading to Toronto. I love the atmosphere at Rogers Centre, especially when the roof is open and the Jays are doing well. My experience there in 2012, however, left me wondering if I should keep returning. It was in June, I attended three games, and get this: in every one of those three games, the Jays starting pitcher was injured. I must have been the jinx – so I vowed not to return in 2013. I kept my word.
Yes, memories are made when I hit Rob Ford’s big town – and I can never resist writing about them.
As you can see, the bulk of my favourite recollections, the hockey ones in particular, go back a long way. A long, long way. That was never more clearly driven home than one afternoon this summer.
Jane and I took our oldest granddaughter, Claire, to Tim Hortons for a treat. Keep this in mind: Claire is seven years old, plays minor hockey in Cole Harbour, her team wears Timbits hockey jerseys, her favourite player is Sidney Crosby (of course), and her favourite habit at Tims is to get as many Timbits from Papa as possible.
On that particular afternoon, while Claire was making Timbits disappear, I asked her, “Did you know Tim Horton was a very good hockey player?”
She looked at me, her eyes wide with surprise, and replied, “Tim Horton played hockey?”
Yes, it has been a very, very long time since Horton and the Leafs won those Stanley Cup championships.

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Langille leads Selects to Atom AA honours

MOUNT WILLIAM – Jaylen Langille scored two goals as the Pictou County Subway Selects captured the Atom AA Division honours with a 7-1 victory over the Bedford Blues on Sunday during the inaugural Subway Cup at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Keighan DeCoff, Ashley MacDonald, Olivia Fitt, Hayley Burke and Lani Coolen also scored for the Selects.
The Selects also had teams in the Peewee AA, Bantam AA and the Midget A divisions. There was a Yellow Division with four other teams from outside Pictou County in the among the 24 participating teams.
The Pictou County Female Hockey Association was hosting its first tournament, with games played at both the Wellness Centre and the recently reopened Hector Arena in Pictou.
“We had 24 teams and there has been good feedback,” tournament chairman Dave MacNeil said. “We’re very happy. It ran smoothly. This is the first of many (Subway Cup tournaments). It’s going to get bigger.”
The tournament reflects the growing support for female hockey in Pictou County and elsewhere and is also a potential a major fund-raiser for the association.
In the past five years the Subway Selects have grown from four teams to this season’s eight teams, which association officials see as evidence of girls’ desire to play hockey.

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Scotians edge Miners, get set to host Blues

TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians have pulled off a big win to add to their confidence as they prepare for their next Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League game on Sunday.
Lucas Eshleman scored twice and assisted on the other goal by Brandon Verge as the Scotians edged the Glace Bay Miners 3-2 on Sunday in Trenton.
The win kept the Scotians in a tie for third place in the league’s Sid Rowe Division on the eve of their next scheduled home game on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. against the Cumberland County Cool Blues.
The Scotians will also visit the Blues on Nov. 8 in Springhill before hosting the Strait Pirates in their next home game on Nov. 10 in Trenton.
Sunday’s win over the division-leading Miners also reversed a 7-6 loss the previous Sunday to the East Hants Penguins, in which the Scotians squandered a 4-1 lead after two periods and the Penguins scored six straight times in the third period.
Eshleman scored both of his goals in the first period, while Verge’s goal midway through the second period widened their lead and stood up as the winner once the Miners rallied in the third period.
The Miners outshot the Scotians handily in each period and enjoyed a 51-29 edge over the course of the game, but Scotians’ goalie Ben Goss was equal to the task.
Verge and Eshleman are the only Scotians on the first sheet of the league’s individual scoring race.
Verge is in a tie for third place with eight goals and seven assists, while Eshleman is tied for fifth with seven goals and six assists.
The Scotians have a task ahead of them to improve their offence and defence. Three teams have scored fewer goals than the Scotians and three teams have allowed more goals among the 11 teams in the league’s two divisions.

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Crushers eye road games before next home date

MOUNT WILLIAM – The Pictou County Weeks Crushers enter this week in second place in the Maritime Hockey League’s Eastlink Division.
They have been preparing for two road games in New Brunswick against the Campbellton Tigers on Friday and the Miramichi Timberwolves on Saturday.
A scheduled game on Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre against the Dieppe Commandos was postponed due to its coinciding with Halloween and will be played at a later date.
The Crushers won the only game they played last week when Brett Doiron scored in overtime to give them a 3-2 victory over the Summerside Western Capitals, who occupy last place in the Roger Meek Division.
They needed David Stephens’ second goal of the game with less than six minutes left in the third period to tie the game. Stephens opened the scoring in the second period.
The Crushers outshot the Capitals 44-30, including 28-14 over the final two periods and overtime.
Assistant coach Chad McDavid offered faint praise for the Crushers’ win and said it was good for the team to have last weekend to find ways to improve their game.
“At times we were good and at times not the best,” he said. “Good teams find ways to win.”
The Crushers are in second place behind the division-leading Yarmouth Mariners. They retain the league’s top offence with 71 goals and are the second least penalized team behind the Truro Bearcats.
Their power-play scoring percentage ranks second and their penalty killing efficiency is eighth.
Stephens leads the Crushers’ offence with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. John Mullally has 17 points and Garret Holmes has 16 points.
Both Crushers goalies Brandon Thibeau and Devan Tremblay have kept their goals against averages below three per game. Thibeau has a 2.95 average in 12 games and Tremblay has a 2.51 mark in two games.
The Crushers’ next home game is on Nov. 7 when they host the Bridgewater Lumberjacks.

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High achievement

The Johnny Miles Running Event weekend received the Recreation Nova Scotia Bluenose Achievement Award last Thursday evening at the organization’s awards gala in Sydney, in recognition of the event’s outstanding contributions towards recreation and a healthier future in Nova Scotia. George and Shirley Manos accepted the award on behalf of JMM Race Directors Terry and Carol Curley. Manos was one of the founders of the event along with the late Dr. John Miles Williston. The event takes place annually in mid-June and was nominated by the Town of New Glasgow. From left: Royce Williston, representing the family of the race founder Dr. John Williston; New Glasgow Councillor Nancy Dicks; Geralyn MacDonald, New Glasgow’s Director of Community Economic Development: George Manos and his wife Shirley, both long-time supporters and participants, and Norma MacLeod, Manager of Recreation for the Town of New Glasgow.The Bluenose Achievement Award is presented to volunteers or community organizations to recognize outstanding achievements in the improvement of recreation and leisure opportunities locally, regionally, or provincially. The nominee should reflect communities’ healthier future through activities and services that promote the value and benefits of recreation.

(Submitted photo)

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Trevor Redmond plans virtual run

CALGARY, ALTA. – Trevor Redmond plans to begin a virtual Cross Canada Challenge on New Year’s Day.
And he’s asking people to join him.
Redmond, who grew up in MacLellans Mountain and achieved acclaim with his ‘There and Back’ cross-Canada tour in 2009 in aid of cancer research, says he will average 21 kilometers each day for 365 days and hopes others will join him on the virtual journey whose distance is 7,700 kilometers.
“The objective of this mission is to get all Canadians moving,” he said. “I am challenging all of us to get up and get out into our communities. I want us all to move.”
Between 2006 and 2007, Redmond walked more than 11,000 kilometres solo. He followed that with his There and Back Canadian cycling tour and added another 14,632 kilometres for the same prevention, research and awareness.
“I was not out there to beat any records; I was out to beat the odds,” he said.
This time, Redmond is emphasizing fitness.
He’s asking participants to select their own self-propelled travel or other daily physical regime and measure and record the distance they’ve travelled across Canada.
“This does not require us to leave our jobs to set off down the Trans Canada Highway,” he said. “I myself will be mixing up my journey with walking, hiking, running and biking.
Those taking part can share their experiences at and retrieve information on the site.
The odds of becoming seriously ill increase with less and less physical activity,” he said. “In turn, physical activity will reduce the odds of developing a serious illness.”

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Hector Arena opens new ice surface

PICTOU – Three female hockey players felt good about skating on the new ice surface at Hector Arena.
Cassie Clarke, Jenna Reid and K.J. Emery are members of the Pictou County Peewee AA Subway Selects, who helped launch the 2013-14 season for the arena with a 5-2 victory in the first of four games played on Friday at the arena as part of the inaugural Subway Cup female hockey tournament.
“It was good,” Clarke said.
“The rink has keen ice right now,” said Emery, who scored two goals in the Selects’ win.
The games form part of a schedule that also includes the start of the minor hockey season in Pictou.
The ice making was slightly delayed after major repairs over the past several months that included installing new gravel under a new cement pad with new pipes for making the ice.
The boards were moved in to create walkways in front of the bleachers.
“It’s nice,” Reid said. “Everyone seems quite happy.”
For Craig Clarke, the resumption of hockey reflects the success and the hard work it took to get the rink’s ice ready for another season.
It comes after raising more than $300,000 in corporate and community funding toward work that cost nearly $1 million with the intent of giving the facility another 25 years to operate.
There was also between $80,000 and $100,000 worth of in-kind contributions to the project.
We were only two days late opening and under budget,” Clarke said. “The ice is really good, the doors to the benches open properly and the boards are straight.”
He praised the volunteers who helped clean up the building over the final weeks to make it ready for patrons.
“Over the last month, we wouldn’t go more than two days without people coming to clean up and help out,” he said.
The Hector Arena Commission’s next task is replacing the ice plant and raising the funds to pay for the project.

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Holton slicing the waves with musical talent

Pictou County born and raised singer-songwriter Dylan Holton took a break from the high seas to perform at the deCoste Centre recently.
Holton is fresh off the Carnival Cruise circuit, which seems to take up the bulk of his time as of late. Beginning in March of this year, Holton logged six months at sea performing on ship and touring the Caribbean. That was closely followed by a two-week cruise though the Bahamas and the near future will see him returning to the Bahamas and later the Mexican Rivera, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Now a professional musician working out of Wilmington, NC, Holton explained it was actually baseball that brought him there. A baseball scholarship saw him relocate to Alberta, and unable to bring a piano or drum set, Holton acquired a guitar to keep musical.
“(From there) I got recruited to North Carolina and played ball for three years down there,” Holton said. These three years included Holton being part of the 2008 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship team.
An old rotator cuff injury and nearly destroying an ankle on his first at bat of his senior year made Holton reconsider his baseball plans and turn to music. “It was like a new passion for me,” he said of the time.
“I was in North Carolina and when baseball finished up I started taking music more seriously. I started doing a lot of shows down there, formed a band and just got really busy. I ended up touring through California when I got the opportunity to have the job to perform on cruise ships,” Holton said.
While waiting in the Los Angeles airport for a flight to British Columbia, Holton had a chance encounter with another Nova Scotian musician who – after noodling on guitars for awhile – suggested Holton contact his agent in San Diego. Contracts were signed soon thereafter.
The cruise system, Holton said, has its challenges and rewards both as a performer and as a writer.
“From week to week there’s 4,000 new guests coming on,” Holton said, “Early in the week people start understanding the routine or the schedule of each show. Through the week I start getting a following and by the end of the week there’s a large amount of people at my shows.”
The start of a new cruise, Holton said, means a whole new audience and new group of people to connect with.
“It’s exciting every time to have new people because I’m about to show another group of people what I do and what I write and where I come from,” Holton said. “I get really excited by that.”
Prior to the cruise tours, Holton toured exclusively as an original artist, citing Jack Johnson and a collection of classic 70s singer-songwriters as his chief influences. “But now that I’m performing for so many people I’ve been learning a lot of new songs and new artists. It’s been interesting because I can start to see it influencing my original work.”
As for that original work, Holton said that living on ship provides him a lot of time to work on it. “It’s rare I perform before 5 each day so I do have a lot of down time. It’s inspiring to just be out somewhere where I’m unfamiliar with people, in a place I’ve never been before. My writing is becoming more personal because I do have more downtime for myself.”
Dylan Holton’s music is available for purchase on iTunes or through the artist’s website at

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Extraordinary show: Plaskett at the Square TONIGHT

Singer, songwriter, rocker, folker and fashionable person Joel Plaskett will be preforming an acoustic set tonight at 8 p.m. at Glasgow Square. Joining Plaskett will be a very special guest – his father, Bill Plaskett.
“Every once in a while we find a way to make music together,” Plaskett said. “I thought it would be a nice way to cap the year. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with the Emergency – 18 months ever since Scrappy Happiness came out – and I thought this would just be a great way for Dad and I to spend time together.”
Plaskett’s father previously joined him for a short acoustic tour of Ontario and contributed a number of performances to Joel’s 2009 triple album Three.
While not always directly, Plaskett cites his father, as well as his mother, as a founding musical influence upon him. “I didn’t really have a huge interest in guitar when I was young,” he said. “He was always playing around the house and socially in folk bands. Once I became a teenager, both my parents had a pretty extensive record collection, and that certainly influenced me. And once I became a teenager we moved to Halifax and I met the guys I formed Thrush Hermit with and the desire to play music socially sprung from that and I asked my dad to show me some guitar chords. When times went on a bunch of the records in his collection became a big influence on me. So I inherited his taste. I got more into rock and punk than he was but the folk basis and the guitar playing foundation he had is still something I’m influenced by today.”
The elder Plaskett’s instrument collection, especially his tenor guitar, also played a part in shaping the younger Plaskett as both a songwriter and a musician. Plaskett said he convinced his father to buy it, then promptly borrowed it taking it with him to Arizona to record 2005′s La De Da. The instrument features heavily on the song Happen Now and has, Plaskett said, and has become one of his chief songwriting tools.
Another tool in Plaskett’s songwriting box, he said, is setting boundaries and limitations. Plaskett used this tool to great effect with 2012′s Scrappy Happiness which saw him record and release a song a week for 10 weeks.
“For me, I think a really good thing to have when I’m making a record or when writing songs (is) having a frame work or limitations. Once I have a picture of a record in my mind I can eliminate songs I’ve been working on or re-frame them to work within it, but I feel like limitations can be a really good thing,” he said. “(Then) you’re not hung up on trying to over manufacturer an idea. It just becomes what it is.”
“Some songs come fast and write themselves pretty quickly,” Plaskett said. “If I get a little metered phrase that feels like it has a bounce or a melody to it then it’s usually a quick leaping off point. And if there’s a clarity to the phrase then that usually gives me a central focus to hang the rest of the words to. Other songs, if I come at it from a different place or have a guitar hook but don’t have the vocal phrase, they might percolate longer.”
Plaskett said these rapid-fire songs tend to be popular among kids and include songs like Work Out Fine, Fashionable People, and Nowhere With You.
Although Plaskett is certainly no stranger to New Glasgow or Glasgow Square, having preformed electric sets at every other Jubilee for the past decade, the singer said he is looking forward to offering something different this time around.
“I haven’t had a bad show (in New Glasgow) and I’ve always felt a sense of community there,” Plaskett said. “The thing I’m really excited about is bringing the acoustic show with my dad there. The fact that I can get in the car and drive for an hour and half and have a show in a town like New Glasgow and be able to consistently do that and have that a part of my world and my livelihood is not something that I take for granted so the idea of going back there and putting on a different and hopefully equally entertaining show is a good challenge for me because it keeps me interested close to home, which frankly is exactly where I want to be.”

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Sunday magic at the deCoste

PICTOU – Ted Outerbridge is taking his magic back to the deCoste Centre stage on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Outerbridge – Clockwork Mysteries takes its audience on a bizarre and fascinating journey through time. Within seconds of taking the stage, the Outerbridges fuse their revolutionary illusions with split-second artistry to hold viewers spellbound. With the help of an elaborate Victorian time machine, the performers and spectators travel back in time together. The audience is invited into a mysterious clock tower equipped with a variety of timekeeping devices.
A professionally orchestrated theatrical production with over 20 custom-designed illusions and world-class lighting and set design, Outerbridge – Clockwork Mysteries is a high-energy magical adventure for both adult and family audiences.
As the largest and most successful touring illusion show in the country, it has received both the 2011 Award of Excellence from Ontario Contact and the 2010 Touring Artist of the Year award from the B.C. Touring Council.
Tickets for the show, which begins at 7 p.m., are on sale at the deCoste box office.

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Artists give ‘Reason for Hope’

Plans are in full swing for the 6th annual Reason for Hope fundraising concert this Friday, Nov. 1, and the artists performing are excited to be a part of the event.
The evening will kick off with international blues performer Alan Gerber. Fresh off a tour of British Columbia, Gerber is known for his high energy performances and has performed with the likes of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Leon Russell.
Pictou County native Wayne Nicholson will follow Gerber. This former frontman for Horse, Oakley and Granfalloon began his musical career with New Glasgow’s Nite Cult. He will be joined by his band, The Eastenders, comprised of Doug MacKay, Brian Bourne and James Logan.
New Glasgow’s own Doris Mason will also take the stage. Mason, a founding member of the Mason Chapman Band and the Cape Breton Summertime Revue, has performed throughout North America and London, England with Nova Scotia’s DRUM and as musical director of “Dream a Little Dream” with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Denny Doherty. She is in the process of recording a long awaited new album slated for release in the spring.
Winding up the evening will be Maple Blues, CCMA & ECMA award winner Matt Minglewood who will be joined by his full band. This seasoned performer – who has three gold albums to his credit – is equally comfortable rockin’ the blues, performing a country ballad or a Celtic ayre. A patriotic Canadian, Minglewood is proud to have had the opportunity to perform for Canadian troops in Dubai, Egypt, Israel and Afghanistan and is looking forward to his New Glasgow performance.
The 6th annual Reason for Hope will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Glasgow Square Theatre. This year’s event will mark the second since the passing of founder Emma Lee Stewart. It was her wish that the event continue with its mandate which is to increase public awareness, raise funds and educate in all areas of cancer prevention, awareness and care.
The evening will feature a silent auction as well as a number of door prizes. One of the featured auction items will be a one of a kind autographed guitar signed by George Canyon, Ricky Skaggs, Tom Paxton, Bobby Bare, Jonathan Edwards, Matt Andersen, Lennie Gallant and Matt Miglewood.
Tickets are $25 in advance $30 at the door and are on sale in New Glasgow at H&R Music, Glasgow Square Theatre and Yours Trudy and Ticketpro locations or online at

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Carnival moves ahead with new executive

PICTOU – The Pictou Lobster Carnival committee is ready to move forward with a fresh face.
The Carnival committee hosted its AGM for 2013 and elected a new executive committee with Shawn McNamara as chair, Dave McMullen as vice chair, John Wilson as treasurer, Tamzin Hart as secretary and Kent Corbett as executive member.
The financial report for the Carnival committee is being examined by Pictou CAO Scott Conrod for the committee, comparing 2012 and 2013. In a few short months, the Carnival committee, from May to July, raised $12,339, but that did not allow them to completely get rid of the debt.
The $25,000 line of credit was maxed out from the 2012 Lobster Carnival and there were a number of outstanding bills causing the debt to be approximately $40,000 according to Shawn McNamara, current chair of the Carnival executive.
“I think we did well, we went from roughly $40,000 in debt to approximately $10,000 in debt,” says McNamara. “We were in debt big time and we couldn’t put money in the bank because the line of credit debt would eat it up. We had too many people looking after the money but once we got a big chunk of debt paid down from a huge sponsor, we were able to put the money where it needed to go.”
McNamara says the priority now is to pay off the existing debt.
Some events were minimized this year or done away with like the fireworks, but plans are in the works to bring those back and events like the Princess Pageant and the Car Show that take care of themselves.
The numbers are still being finalized for the 2013 Carnival, but at this point it looks like it made a profit of $14,519 with sponsorship coming in around $37,234.
“Our goal is to start the carnival for its 80th anniversary with the debt whopped out and we have lots of ideas for fundraisers.”
The next Carnival meeting will take place on November 13 at 7 p.m. at which time members of the sub committees including sponsorship and events, concessions and parade will be created. All are welcome to attend.
The Pictou Lobster Carnival will take place on July 11-13.
“We had to move the Carnival ahead this year because of our contract with Hinchey’s Amusements. They have to be set up in town on the Thursday before and they can’t open until 6 p.m. With Canada Day in the middle of the week, if there is weather, Hinchey’s can’t open here on the Thursday,” explains McNamara. “We didn’t move it by choice, we had to.”
McNamara notes that when he was a councillor for Pictou, there was a committee that all county festivals were a part of so they could all keep abreast of when events were taking place. That committee no longer meets and Trenton Funfest is slated for July 11-13 as well.
“This year seems like there may be a problem, but we are trying to keep positive and work with everyone.”

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Giant Tiger prepares for Nov. 16 opening

The Tiger is moving in.
Giant Tiger is preparing to open its New Glasgow location on Saturday, November 16 bright and early.
The day will kick off at 7:40 a.m. with grand opening remarks, and the day will continue with a charity barbecue with funds going to the New Glasgow Kinsmen, free coffee and free face painting as well as photo ops with Friendly the Giant Tiger mascot, gift cards to the first 50 people as well as hourly draws for gift cards and promotions.
“We will also be sampling our Giant Value brand of food throughout the day and will have the Halifax Circus and Mr. J the magician,” explains Alison Scarlett, manager of public relations and community activation for Giant Tiger Stores Limited.
The New Glasgow Giant Tiger location will employ approximately 30 staff and people shopping at Giant Tiger will have access to their full line of fashion clothing, food, house wares as well as seasonal items.
“The nice thing about the New Glasgow location for Pictou County and the surrounding area is that they will have access to Giant Value, our full line of grocery products launched earlier this year which we have received great feedback on,” says Scarlett.
Contrary to rumor, Giant Tiger in New Glasgow will have the same access to grocery items as any other Giant Tiger store.
“People of Pictou County and surrounding areas have been asking for a Giant Tiger for some time now and we are excited to be able to bring one to the area,” she says. “We really look forward to getting to know our community and we are proud to support our community of which we are a member.”
Scarlett says a trademark of Giant Tiger is their Community Proud program, allowing the stores to become involved in the community of which they are a part and giving back. Giant Tiger donated more than $2 million to more than 700 associations and charities across Canada.
Crews began set up in the store last Thursday in preparation of the grand opening.
“The thing people in New Glasgow and Pictou County can look forward to is our everyday low prices,” says Scarlett. “Giant Tiger is known for their great policies that we are so proud to offer like ad match and penny rounding where we round down as well as our satisfaction guarantee with no time limit. We pride ourselves in customer friendly policies and are a proud member of the community and hope to become the shopping destination of choice.
Giant Tiger’s hours will be Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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