At the age of 92, Cora Dunn has found herself in the new, but long overdue, position of a first-time published poet.
Today, Dunn has a catalogue of some 400 poems – 40 of which are contained within her new book, The Green Hill Poet.
The earliest piece, Faith Through the Eyes of a Child, dates back to 1964, however, Dunn said her gift and expressive hobby first showed itself long before.
“I always did them from the time I was real small,” Dunn said of writing poems. “I’ll always remember when I was in school and this teacher came down, and we had to write a poem. So I passed it to her and she said ‘Get out of here!’ She came back and apologized and said ‘I am sorry, I owe you an apology. I thought you had copied it.’ It was way above what she expected. I’d just written it out of my head.”
As a poet, Dunn said she doesn’t have any regular or recurring themes but explained her works are simply “whatever notion hit me, anything at all.” Likewise, Dunn said she doesn’t have any particular favourite poets; she “just wrote because I like to write.”
Dunn said many of her poems – which, intentionally or not, tap into notions of family, friendship and faith – were written for family functions such as weddings, showers, baby showers and the like.
“I always looked forward to the showers,” Dunn said, “because I always wrote a poem that would go with the shower… I always wrote a verse.”
Writing poetry was never a laborious process for her, Dunn said, as the poems would come easily.
“Usually what I write down, that’s it,” Dunn said. “If I had to stop and think about it, it wouldn’t be right. And it all has to rhyme.”
While Dunn has no plans to match her 50-year back-catalogue of poems, she would be open to releasing a selection – but suggested she would leave that decision up to her family.
Dunn said she is still writing but that her output is declining.
“They don’t come as easy now,” she said, “after all I did a lot of thinking years ago.”
The poems may not come as easy to her but her daughter, Hazel Fraser, said that when they do they’re still just as well constructed and still pack the same classic poetic punch.
Fraser said her mother can still recite a favourite poem, Ode to Green Hill, nearly word for word. The ode is included in The Green Hill Poet and was published in The Advocate in August of 1976.
Another favourite piece, and a testament to the often personal and family-driven nature of Dunn’s poems is, Hello Sherri, which dates from 1985 to 86 and was written for her granddaughter, Sherri Strong, while Strong was an exchange student in Australia. Rather than write a traditional letter, Dunn opted to put her thoughts and well wishes in to verse, serialized in bursts every two weeks.
The process of choosing the poems, as well as the idea to package and print them, came from family friend Fred Jeffery. He read through the 50-year, three volume stockpile, narrowed it to the 40 pieces and also published the collection while Jeffery’s son in law Buhle Dlamini organized the layout.
“I’m proud that someone knew enough about me to do this,” Dunn said of her book and its release.
While her poems are likely enough to give anyone an informed sense of who Dunn is and what means the most to her, Dunn herself has a simpler take on things.
“I’ve enjoyed living and I had the best husband in the world,” Dunn said. “We never ever, ever had a squabble and we were married 43 years.”
NEW GLASGOW – At first, Doug Dort didn’t know what kind of treasure he’d found.
Soon it became obvious to him, based on a report he found, that New Glasgow helped more than most people may realize after the massive explosion on December 6, 1917 that destroyed much of Halifax.
Dort, who is chief of the New Glasgow Fire Department, found the Town of New Glasgow report for 1917 in a bank vault where town records are stored at the fire department building.
“As I was reading through reports I came across this one,” he said. “I didn’t realize the importance of what happened. It was never mentioned. I don’t know if towns like Truro and Kentville did the same thing, but we did.”
As the report describes, the explosion of the munitions steamer Mont Blanc occurred on the morning of December 6. The town received an urgent call by wire for surgeons, nurses, fire equipment and other help.
Dort said he’s amazed at how quickly the town pivoted from its normal routine to act in sending assistance.
A special train was provided with a locomotive, two flat cars and two passenger cars. It was provisioned for two days. The Aberdeen Hospital sent nurses. Eight surgeons responded to the call.
Equipment loaded onto the train included the town’s Lulan fire engine that remains stored at its fire hall today.
The train was ready to leave at 11 a.m. that day, and arrived in Halifax in the late afternoon. The surgeons and nurses from the local hospital remained on duty for the next two days. The nurses remained at work until the following Tuesday, the report shows.
The fire equipment sent was not required, so the fire fighters acted on patrols and some of them served as hospital orderlies through December 6 and 7.
Later, some discussion resulted in New Glasgow fitting the former West Side school as an emergency hospital to accommodate more than 100 patients. The report indicated it and would be ready to receive them by the evening of December 7.
The emergency hospital in the school was made ready within 24 hours, accommodating some 160 beds. However, a severe snowstorm enveloped Halifax and delayed the process for three days.
Eventually, a second train left New Glasgow for Halifax and transported some 80 patients back to the emergency hospital on December 8. Another train filled with patients arrived on December 11.
By January 8, 1918, just 16 patients remained at the make-shift hospital and were later transferred to the Aberdeen Hospital. Its trustees agreed to treat the patients at no expense to the Town of New Glasgow or the Halifax Relief Committee that had been formed after the explosion.
The report shows the hospital was equipped with an operating room with four tables, a dispensary, a kitchen and two “jacket” heaters and an ample supply of hot water. Wiring and a telephone were installed and food and other supplies were secured.
The report also noted that the combined number of hospital days of the patients in the makeshift hospital until it was emptied was 1,554.
Most of the patients received a complete outfit of clothing – including the latter 16 patients, but excluding military personnel outfitted by their authorities.
Bills covering the expenses to equip and operate the hospital and provision the medical train totaled $4,185.35.
MILLBROOK – A local meat and poultry processor says he is determined to reverse a ban on his killing and processing turkeys.
Gordon Fraser was ordered by the province’s turkey marketing board last summer to stop accepting turkeys for slaughter from local residents and small farm operators, who have relied on his operation – which is not licensed or inspected – and have been satisfied with his work. It has left them with no local recourse, but rather licensed and inspected operations elsewhere in the province.
“I’m still going to fight,” Fraser said. “I still think people have a right to freedom of choice. It’s not just my operation. It’s every little operation like mine. I can’t see the sense in (the ban). I feel sorry for the small farmers. I can’t turn my back on them.”
Fraser was away to an agri-business show in Regina, where his daughter lives, when the decision for ban was solidified. “People at the show were telling me not to give up.”
He said he only learned of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture’s decision at its annual general meeting on Nov. 29 not to defeat two proposals by the Pictou North Colchester Federation of Agriculture, when he returned. It asked the provincial body, in conjunction with small local meat processors, “to act as a mediator to ensure a fair resolution that allows them to remain viable by introducing a ‘tiered meat licensing system’ that will ensure health and safety to all consumers” and to lead the process leading to a complete revision of the Natural Products Marketing Act.
“I don’t know what to think,” he said. “It’s quite a disappointment.”
Fraser said he has been busier than usual since the turkey ban as people from Pictou County and elsewhere have been getting their meat and poultry processed as his establishment.
“It tells you something,” he said. “I can’t get over the support.”
PICTOU – The run-up to Christmas and a feather-light snow flurry seemed like the perfect time to celebrate work done at a tiny park and monument honouring two prominent Pictou residents.
Members of the Pictou Garden Club officially marked the completed stone work around the monument and along the sidewalk on Monday morning.
“It’s wonderful, when I think what this was and what it has become,” said Helen Scammell, who is an honorary member of the club and who has assisted with funding the Dawson project. “People can see what the Dawsons’ contribution was.”
Club members Beth Henderson and Fred Hampton also attended the dedication.
“This is the third project the garden club has done,” Henderson said, noting the Scammell Garden dedicated to Scammell at the corner of Coleraine and Denoon streets and the Pictou Academy monument near the fire hall that were the club’s previous project.
Scammell financed the Dawson project on behalf of the garden club.
Scammell Garden, Pictou Academy Monument site and the Dawson site were all garden club undertakings with her financial support, said Henderson, who co-ordinated the projects.
Hampton and Gary Fraser landscaped, built the walls along the sidewalk and fixed the stone crescent about the monument.
Mini-biographies about William and George Dawson are featured on brass plaques attached to the two fixed right-angled walls of sandstone that local stone mason Volker Klum previously fashioned and put in place. Parks Canada is responsible for the monument and paid for the display stones Klum installed.
A white lattice fence at the rear of the park has been trimmed for Christmas.
Sir John William Dawson (1820-1899) was born in Pictou and is considered one of the foremost Canadian scholars of his generation. After studies at Edinburgh, he returned to become first superintendent of education for Nova Scotia from 1850 to 1853. He was principal and professor of natural history for nearly 40 years at McGill University in Montreal, where he died. He was a founding member and first president of the Royal Society of Canada in 1882. He was knighted in 1884.
Dawson’s son, George Mercer Dawson (1849-1901), was born in Pictou and became a scholar and field geologist. He became best known for his exploration in B.C. and the Yukon, where the community of Dawson is named for him. He served with the North American Boundary Commission and for more than 20 years was with the Geological Survey of Canada and became its director in 1895. He died in Ottawa.
PICTOU – Some parents were anxious this morning after Pictou Academy was placed in a hold and secure mode.
The decision came about 8:45 a.m. as classes were to begin for the day, says Debbie Buott-Matheson, communications manager for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
The school and Celtic Family of Schools staff made the decision right away to secure the school, she said.
The hold and secure decision was made due to information received by way of social media, she said. A hold and secure means exterior doors are locked and there are no outside activities but there is free movement inside the school, she said.
RCMP were at the school investigating with staff, she said.
“It’s just a precautionary thing,” she said earlier today. “Classes are continuing.”
Students from the school were allowed to leave so long as there was a parent present, and they were escorted out of the building by a staff member.
Many parents arrived as soon as they heard the news from their children via text message or similar means, waiting anxiously at the school for word on the situation.
“I just got a text, and I got a text from their mother, I just wanted to come up here because I wasn’t sure they were allowed to leave school,” said Bruce Bronson, who has two children in Pictou Academy and one child in Dr. Thomas McCulloch School. He received a text message from his daughter telling him that the school was on lock down; she was not able to leave and she was upset.
“All parents are concerned, but I’m sure they’ve got it handled, the RCMP are up there,” Bronson said.
The hold and secure mode was lifted around 11:15 a.m.
Pictou District RCMP confirmed in a press release they are investigating the threat received by the Pictou Academy.
It says that at approximately 9:20 a.m., RCMP received a report from Pictou Academy indicating that a threat involving a firearm had been received by the school. As RCMP responded to the scene, classes continued as per normal procedures while the investigation continued.
At approximately 10:15 a.m., RCMP arrested a 20-year-old male in the Thorburn area without incident. He was taken into custody and was being interviewed in relation to this incident as of press time. RCMP can confirm that the suspect was not on school property. The investigation is continuing.
NEW GLASGOW – Police here made two arrests and charged two people with impaired driving in separate incidents early Sunday morning.
In an effort to eliminate impaired driving, New Glasgow Regional Police arrested and charged a 42-year-old man from New Glasgow at 2:50 a.m. on Stewart Street, New Glasgow.
Immediately after, they arrested and charged a 34-year-old county woman at 3 a.m. for impaired driving as well as driving without insurance and driving while her licence was revoked on East River Road.
Both will be appearing in court at a later date.
TRURO – Scotsburn Co-operative Limited announced today that it is centralizing management and administration close to its largest ice cream and novelty production facility in Truro.
Earlier this year, Scotsburn decided to focus exclusively on its growing ice cream and novelty business by selling its fluid milk division to Saputo. To implement this growth strategy effectively, Scotsburn Chief Executive Officer Doug Ettinger said it makes good business sense to bring together as many employees as possible around its major ice cream production facility in Truro.
“As Scotsburn pursues new growth opportunities across Canada and the United States, focusing our administration in one location will best position our organization, as well as the local dairy farmers and our co-operative members, for continued success,” added Ettinger.
Once Scotsburn has completed centralizing its management and administration activities, approximately 230 Scotsburn employees will be working closely as an integrated team in Truro. Eighteen positions at Scotsburn offices in Dartmouth, Scotsburn, and St. John’s NL, were transferred to Truro over the past several months. The remaining 11 positions at the co-operative’s office in Scotsburn, will be transferred to Truro over the next few months.
More than $10 million was committed last year to modernize the ice cream plant in Truro with leading-edge production technology enabling Scotsburn to pursue new growth opportunities on value-added products nationally and internationally.
Scotsburn has a long history of manufacturing ice cream in Truro, dating back to 1972 when it purchased Brookfield Dairy. The new Truro ice cream facility opened in 2001, with several expansions taking place since then to incorporate new product innovation capabilities.
ABOUT SCOTSBURN CO-OPERATIVE SERVICES LIMITED
Change in the dairy business has been the Scotsburn way ever since it was founded as a creamery in 1900 by a small group of Nova Scotia dairy farmers.
Over the past 114 years, Scotsburn has continued to change to always reflect the needs of its customers. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to the more than 300 common shareholders, including more than 100 dairy producers, who own Scotsburn as a Nova Scotia-based co-operative.
As Scotsburn continues in its second century of operation, it is implementing an innovative growth strategy focused on ice cream and frozen novelties. This strategy builds on Scotsburn’s strong position as Atlantic Canada’s largest manufacturer of ice cream and frozen novelties, some of which are produced as private label products for major retailers with distribution across Canada and throughout the world.
A New Glasgow native is among the five outstanding Nova Scotians to be officially invested into the Order of Nova Scotia for lasting contributions in the areas of medicine, mental-health support, historical research, and social issues at a ceremony held today, December 3, in Halifax.
Walter Marven Borden, poet and playwright, joined pediatrician Dr. Richard Ballon Goldbloom, psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Paul Kutcher, professor and social worker Dr. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard, and scholar and historian Ruth Holmes Whitehead in receiving the honour.
The recipients were selected by the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council from 117 nominations.
PICTOU – Youngsters in Pictou enjoyed an opportunity to learn and play various sports on Saturday during Sports Day.
Pictou Recreation and Parks and the Pictou branch of the Royal Bank of Canada presented options at three venues as part of the fourth annual RBC Sports Day in Canada that was celebrated on Saturday.
Bitterly cold weather on Saturday was cited as one reason why road hockey on Caladh Avenue did not materialize. But young people attended events at Pictou Academy and the Fisheries Training Pool.
Youth floor hockey and archery took place at the Academy, where ball hockey every Saturday at noon in the gym has been considered.
Pickleball was also offered that day at the Academy.
Swim sessions were scheduled at the pool through Saturday.
Recreation and Parks co-ordinator Michelle Young said Sports Day was an opportunity to profile programs and facilities in the town.
“I thought it went really well,” she said. “It was an opportunity for people to try different things. The free swim and cosmic swim went well.”
It was Pictou’s second year participating in Sports Day. The town plans to take part again next year, she said.
“It’s a way for people to know that they can be active during the cold months,” she said. “It’s also a great way to celebrate sports in the community and recognize what our coaches put in to our programs.”
Sports Day was showcased as a national celebration from grass-roots to high-performance to bolster community spirit and promote healthy, active living.
The RBC branch in Pictou provided $1,500 in funding for the town’s events. It’s part of the RBC Learn to Play project and its commitment to support community organizations financially to help them deliver sport and recreational programming for children and youth.
LISMORE – The sixth annual District I Fitness Challenge is under way.
Several of those who have signed up for the challenge gathered on Sunday at the Lismore Hall to register and walk a distance from the hall to Lismore Harbour and back.
“Last year we had more than 100 people participating,” organizer Don Butler said. “They did everything from playing in the snow to knitting by the fire.”
Activities also include school sports, rug hooking, art classes, walking, jogging, running, swimming yoga.
One hour of activity equals five kilometres for aerobic activities like basketball, swimming, or hockey. Less physical activity equals two kilometres for each hour.
Participants are contacted for the latest totals logged on Dec. 10, Jan. 10 and Jan. 30.
The event began as the Lismore Olympics in conjunction with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games with the challenge of accumulating the distance between Lismore and Vancouver, where the Games that were based. It also encourages people in the district to become more active.
This year, the goal is 32,000 kilometres, which represents the distance to a small village in the African country of Malawi and back. It coincides with the community’s seniors outreach group that is digging a well to provide fresh water to a village there.
Participants will gather on Feb. 15 to tally sheets and see if the group has achieve or exceeded its goal, something that has been accomplished each year.
“We plan to have a tally sheet in prominent spots throughout the district, which will provide an update on how well we are doing during the time of the challenge,” Butlers said.
Special events are being planned over the 77 days of the challenge, such as coasting, cross country skiing and skating at the outdoor rink behind the Merigomsih Fire Hall, if weather permits
ALMA – Bob Boardway’s high school soccer coaching career had ended.
Boardway confirmed last week that he would not return to helm the Northumberland Lady Nighthawks in 2015.
“I think it’s time,” he said. “I felt it would be better to tell them at the end of the season to give them time to find a coach. It’s a big commitment. It’s bigger now with more travel than when we had seven high schools.”
Boardway, who retired several years ago from coaching teams for the Northern Nova United Soccer Club, said he has no thoughts of coaching summer soccer. He said some of the last players he coached with United are graduating from NRHS in 2015, “so the time is right in that regard.”
He said a highlight for him has not been the half dozen provincial championships that teams he’s coaches have won, rather the players he’s coached who have become coaches and teachers in their adult lives after some of them starred at provincial and national levels.
“It’s great to see them giving back,” he said.
One of his examples is Jackie Fitt-Ryan, who played from Under-11 to U-17 for Northern Nova United played high school through graduation.
“She is now a wife, a mother of two, a former university player, a full-time teacher and a part-time college coach, as well as still helping with club soccer and high school boys basketball – and she still plays soccer herself,” Boardway said.
Boardway’s first coaching assignment was with a Stellarton Lions bantam baseball team in 1978. Fred MacKenzie, also a long-time coach, played first base on the team.
Boardway first coached the Stellarton Jr. High Warriors in 1981. One of his players was Scott Fraser, whose daughter Olivia Fraser was on the last NRHS team he coached this year.
“Over the years it has been baseball, hockey, softball, soccer and even basketball,” he said. “The sport did not matter. I just loved to coach, but it is time for younger people with fresh ideas, sharper vision and more energy to take over the reins.”
In more recent years, Boardway coached despite visual impairment from retinitis pigmentosa. But he kept instilling in his players the value of teamwork and chemistry.
“Over the years, whether on the playing field or in the classroom, I tried to be certain to give the teenagers the message ‘I believe in you, I trust you to use your talent to do your best,’” he said. “It may or may not have led to victories but it led to great team chemistry, a real family atmosphere and lots of trust so that young people went on to become successful citizens.”
TRENTON – The Red Hawks from Rothesay, N.B. won the 15th annual Allan Cameron Memorial boys’ high school hockey tournament by defeating the host North Nova Gryphons in the championship game before a large crowd on Sunday in Trenton.
The Gryphons had an apparent goal disallowed, while Rothesay took a 1-0 lead in the first period and led 2-0 after the second period.
NNEC pressed all through the third period but ran into penalty trouble late in the period. Rothesay scored their third goal on a 5-on-3 advantage.
Colin Holmes scored with a minute left, assisted by Ryan MacDonald, before Rothesay scored into the empty net.
The Gryphons opened the tournament with a 5-1 win over the Northumberland Nighthawks on goals by MacDonald, Chris Brooker, Duncan Byrne, Holmes, and Campbell Burrows. Assists went to Taylor Publicover and Jacob Pentz with two each, and Noah Delorey with one.
Jeremy Dooley scored for NRHS, assisted by Reed MacDonald.
Kieran MacGillivray backstopped the Gryphons to the win.
Publicover opened the scoring in the first period and Sean Duggan put North Nova ahead by two before Amherst hit the scoreboard in the second frame as the Gryphons posted a 4-1 victory in their second game. Pentz scored two goals 30 seconds apart to end the second period.
Assists in the game went to Carson Dunbar with two, Austin Mason, Delorey, Pentz, MacDonald and Duggan.
Matt Murray got the win in nets.
The Red Hawks edged the Gryphons 3-2 in their meeting on Saturday. Byrne and Pentz scored North Nova’s goals, with assists going to Dunbar and MacDonald.
The Gryphons advanced to meet the Red Hawks with a 3-1 victory over Memorial on goals by Parker Stewart, Delorey and Dunbar. Mason, Pentz, Holmes and Publicover registered assists.
The Red Hawks advanced with a 7-2 victory over Northumberland.
The Nighthawks rallied from their opening loss to the Gryphons and a 4-3 setback against Memorial with a 2-1 victory over the Dr.J.H. Gillis Royals.
North Nova will see action again this Friday when they host an exhibition game against the Tantramar Titans at 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
They are back to regular league action on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Trenton where they will host the Royals.
Oh how the time has gone by. That thought came to mind recently when I realized it was 60 hockey seasons ago that I began writing sports for a real newspaper.
I say “real newspaper” because, a couple years before that, I began publishing what I always called a family newspaper. Hugh’s Chronicle, as I called it, featured everything from NHL news, to local hockey games, to my grandmother’s bridge parties. Most Sundays, for two years, I typed that “paper” on my trusty little portable typewriter, using carbon paper to make extra copies.
In that fall 60 years ago, however, when I was in grade 11 at New Glasgow High School, Evening News sports editor Ricky Fraser hired me to write for his paper. It was mostly high school sports that I wrote for him that winter, but he sometimes had me covering senior hockey at New Glasgow Stadium and Stellarton Memorial Rink.
I already loved writing and, to make it a dream come true, I even got paid. For every column inch, I got 10 cents. Some stories got me as much as two dollars. Good money at the time.
In that 1954-55 season, the APC Hockey League was still operating. It was a senior circuit that was around most winters since the 1920s. It provided a good brand of hockey and was the ideal place for the best players around.
“APC” stood for the counties of Antigonish, Pictou and Colchester. The competing teams changed frequently but, in that particular season, there were five teams playing a 38-game schedule.
Pictou County was represented by the New Glasgow Rangers and Pictou Royals. The Truro Bearcats were there as usual, but the Antigonish Bulldogs weren’t, replaced by the Halifax Wolverines. A fifth team – on a part-time basis – was St. Francis Xavier University. The Xaverians, who also competed in intercollegiate action, played only half as many games as the other teams, but got double points for wins and ties.
When the regular season ended, New Glasgow had a 30-9-0 record to finish first, 17 points ahead of second-place Halifax. Pictou and St. FX were third and fourth respectively, with Truro out of the playoffs.
About the only thing the Rangers didn’t do was produce a scoring champion. Instead, two Wolverines topped the points race, Jackie Hollett and Allan Sullivan. New Glasgow did have four of its players in the top 10 – Ducky MacLean, Leo Fahey, Bert Dalling and Jim MacDonald, all long-time stars in the league.
The Rangers had quite a battle with the college boys in the best-of-nine semi-finals, having to play nine games before prevailing five games to three with one tie. It was such a close matchup that three of the New Glasgow wins were by one goal. The biggest margin was a 5-2 victory in the final game.
Meantime, the Royals dropped Halifax 5-3 in games, with all of Pictou’s wins being close affairs. What made it a strange series was the fact Halifax outscored Pictou 32-28, by posting 7-2, 6-2 and 8-2 verdicts.
That set up an all-Pictou County final. It didn’t develop into much of a struggle for the Rangers who took the best-of-seven affair four games to one. That allowed New Glasgow to advance to the Maritime senior playdowns.
The Rangers’ next rivals were the Kentville Wildcats, winners of the Valley Senior Hockey League. It was no contest, the APC champs taking four straight games.
But the Maritime final was an entirely different story. In fact, it was just the reverse of the Nova Scotia final. The strong Atlantic Coast Senior League winners were the Moncton Hawks and they beat the Rangers in a minimum four outings.
The New Glasgow lineup that year had many familiar names. Besides the fore-mentioned MacLean, Fahey, Dalling and MacDonald, the Rangers included Kent Storey, Nelson Wilson, Alex Robertson, Ralph Cameron, Arnie Baudoux, Doug MacLeod, Danny McFayden, Gilles Matteau, Bernie Lamonde, Larry Blackburn, Jackie MacLeod and Brian Lewis.
Remember who played in goal that year? It was the playing coach, Paul LeClerc, an import who proved to be one of the finest netminders to wear a New Glasgow uniform in those days. What he did was play all 39 regular season games, and 22 more contests in the playdowns – an ironman performance that produced a 43-17-1 record.
Pictou had some popular performers in their lineup too, including Mark Babineau, Allie Morrison, Chick Charlton, Mel Gadd, Joey Brown, Al Legere, Stan MacDougall, Vince Ryan, Jim MacNeil, Syl Bernard, Tom Mahar, Shorty Aikens, Roger Legere and Ralph Steeves. The always-popular Frankie Prozenor shared the goaltending with Roger Bessette.
I singled out the 1954-55 campaign, not just because it was the first season I covered a few games, but because it was also 60 years ago. The sad thing is that was the APC league’s last good season.
The league didn’t operate the next year, with two teams, the Pictou County Pontiacs and New Glasgow Rangers, playing as independent clubs. That was the season they were supposed to play for the provincial championship, but couldn’t agree to home ice advantage and the series everyone wanted to see was never played.
The next year – 1956-57 – saw just three teams prepared for action, the Rangers and Pontiacs joined by the Antigonish Bulldogs. The APC was just a skeleton of the league it had been previously. New Glasgow had things pretty much its way in the short schedule, then marched unmercifully through the league’s post-season, beating the Pontiacs four straight times, then spanking the Bulldogs 5-1 in games in the finals.
That was it. The long-time league disbanded and, while the Rangers went on to some fine winters in Nova Scotia and Maritime senior leagues, the APC circuit, like Humpty Dumpty, was never put back together again. It was a sad ending for those of us who loved the local rivalries it created.
Editor’s note: This is the next article in a monthly feature titled Hometown Heroes. On the first Wednesday of each month, we will highlight the achievements of someone who has Pictou County roots. Suggestions for future columns may be directed to Jackie Jardine, editor, 902-485-8014.
Dr. Kent MacDonald is a much travelled, recently appointed president of St. Francis Xavier University who cherishes his time in Pictou County.
When he visits or travels through the area, he retains the life-long urge to stop for a slice of Pictou County pizza.
MacDonald was born in Halifax and raised in New Glasgow. He remembers with fondness his time growing up, attending school in New Glasgow and playing for hockey and rugby teams that won provincial high school championships – as well as swimming and lifeguarding at the Pictou County YMCA.
“It was extremely positive,” he said. “I know my time in New Glasgow has absolutely shaped how I’ve lived. I think my view of the world comes from the time spent in Pictou County. I still have close friends there.”
MacDonald became the 18th president of St. FX when he was officially installed on Aug. 1 of this year. He graduated from St. FX with a master of education in 1993, after earning a science degree in physical education in 1986.
He completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where his research focused on higher education management. He also holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa.
MacDonald arrived at St. FX after having been the seventh president of Algonquin College, an institution with more than 20,000 students and campuses in Ottawa, Perth, Pembroke, Saudi Arabia and a newly constructed campus in Kuwait.
His roles over 16 years at Algonquin included vice-president of academics, vice-president of student services and development and dean of its school of business.
Before that, he held senior leadership positions in the private and the not-for-profit sectors, and educated in the elementary, secondary and post-secondary systems in Canada and New Zealand.
MacDonald said his decision to return to St. FX was a daunting one.
“I had opposing tensions,” he said. “I could have lived a wonderful life in Ottawa and, coming to St. FX, I realize it’s facing many challenges. But I had this calling. It took six weeks for me to accept it, and I’ve never been in this situation before. But I said I’ll never have an opportunity like I have right now. These are fleeting moments in time, and I feel really blessed to have this opportunity.”
MacDonald became the second successive St. FX graduate to become president when he succeeded Sean Riley. He said part of his discussions regarding his new role at St. FX included Riley and former presidents Rev. Malcolm MacDonnell and Rev. Dr. Gregory MacKinnon.
“I think it actually matters to be a Xaverian president,” he said. “The foundation of St. FX is extremely long and wide. My goal is to move St. FX forward and apply the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. You have to remember you inherit these places.”
Before returning to St. FX, MacDonald’s eyes focused eastward when he felt compelled to respond after a Money Sense study called New Glasgow the worst place in Canada to live and work.
“I was enjoying Ottawa, which was considered a preferred place to live,” he said. “I could have ignored it. I decided to defend it.”
To the Editor:
Re: “N.S. woodland owners raise concerns over Northern Pulp” The Advocate, November 26, 2014
So John MacDougall, executive director of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, and members of the Federation are concerned about “the negative impact [Northern Pulp's] emissions are having on Pictou County residents, the environment, and the local tourism industry.” Thank God I don’t have Mr. MacDougall’s nerve in my tooth.
Let’s talk about environmental damage and negative impact on tourism. Let’s talk about the destruction of thousands, and tens of thousands, of hectares of wildlife habitat and scenic woodlands.
Nova Scotia’s woodlands are being overcut – the Federation talks about sustainability, but I doubt they even know what it means! I have been on forestry audits throughout central Nova Scotia and the only forestry system being practised has one mantra – “cut, cut, cut,” and then cut some more. Sustainable forestry must be ecologically-sustainable forestry! You won’t find that in Nova Scotia.
Perhaps the industrial forestry industry could set up some tourist activities for next summer. How about Clearcut Picnic Days! Maybe guided tours for families and tourists – The Wildlife Habitat Destruction Tour – show families all the harvest sites where wildlife used to live!
I don’t say this snidely or as a joke! If foresters are proud of what they do, they should publish pictures of their harvest blocks, and invite the public to visit these blocks and look at the destructive aftermath – not a few selected “pretty” ones. Even crows pack a lunch when they fly over some of these harvest cuts.
So now let’s have a talk about the environmental damage and the negative impact on tourism caused by current harvesting practices. The pot calling the kettle black doesn’t change the reality.
Advent is upon us. A time of reflection and giving that is raised to another level this time of year is once again being chronicled. There are ongoing examples of kindness and thoughtfulness and examples that seem to surface and make people wonder why they didn’t think of them.
Two young girls have fashioned poems and other creations to raise money for gift cards for the Life Centre in New Glasgow.
The Rack and Cue in New Glasgow was joined by other groups to raise funds to help Fleur Mainville with her latest health challenges.
The Salvation Army has begun its Red Kettle and toy campaigns.
The United Way of Pictou County is engaging the community during its current campaign to raise funds for member organizations.
The annual Pictou County Christmas Wish telethon raised more than $80,000 last month in Pictou.
Events throughout the year speak to ways we, in Pictou County, strive to demonstrate a largesse as big as the need. Curl for Cancer in Pictou and Westville during the winter, the Relay for Life in the spring and the many walks to help address physical maladies come to mind. So does the ongoing work by food banks in New Glasgow and Pictou and the resumption of the Pictou County Fuel Fund.
When Pictou County 2020 meets and welcomes its delegates to offer what we in Pictou County have going for us, one answer is how we rally to a cause and give back.
That’s what we can do for ourselves. That’s what we’ve been doing.
Some problems are beyond our means to solve and some solutions can only be achieved beyond our boundaries.
That has been made plain in the report commissioned by Ray Ivany that has inspired the 2020 gatherings. It has also been seen in the report on tax reform presented by former Ontario cabinet minister Laurel Broten.
Lost in the discussion over lower income and corporate taxes, a spending freeze and more revenue from consumption – including a carbon tax – is a far less obvious suggestion by her for Nova Scotians to have a serious discussion about guaranteed annual income.
It’s a radical line of thinking that for too many people represents socialism. But the logic behind the suggestion is that society spends far more money to treat poverty and need than it would cost to eliminate it. We need more people to get their heads around that fact and take action.
So, let us be kind, helpful and generous now. But let us also resolve to reach out for the ultimate solutions that will allow all of us to live a life of hope and abundance.
Steve GoodwinPosted in Opinion | Leave a comment
DURHAM – The Pictou North Colchester Federation of Agriculture will keep fighting a decision to ban a local processor from butchering turkeys, Robert Parker says.
“This is not over – we’re not going away,” said Parker, a member of Pictou County Municipal Council and greenhouse operator.
His comments followed a decision last Friday by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture at its annual meeting in Truro.
Members of the federation defeated two proposals by the Pictou North Colchester federation that the provincial body, in conjunction with small local meat processors, “act as a mediator to ensure a fair resolution that allows them to remain viable by introducing a ‘tiered meat licensing system’ that will ensure health and safety to all consumers” and to lead the process leading to a complete revision of the Natural Products Marketing Act.
“These two resolutions passed unanimously at (the Pictou-North Colchester meeting,” Parker said. “We hoped the motions would get support at the Nova Scotia level.”
The local group is trying to reverse a decision by the provincial turkey marketing board to stop local processor Gordon Fraser of Milbrook from butchering turkeys, something he has been doing at his small operation for 36 years.
He was told he would be fined $5,000 if he continued slaughtering turkeys and would need to have separate buildings for killing and processing animals and poultry.
Parker said marketing boards included among provincial federation members see smaller operators as a threat, although they comprise a tiny fraction of the food produced and processed in Nova Scotia.
“We received support from neutral people, but there was a circling of the wagons by the marketing boards,” he said. “This decision will discourage new entrepreneurs to get into the farming industry.”
Parker said the decision goes beyond the ban on processing turkeys to suppliers of young poultry for smaller producers.
“This is already having an effect on other groups who supply chicks, (turkey) poults and feed to small growers,” he said. “It’s all basically being seen as wrong.”
Meanwhile, Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane said the decision not to adopt the Pictou-North Colchester resolutions will not stop her from purusing the issue.
“I’m very disappointed it turned out that way,” she said. “We know there has to be a better system in place to accommodate small producer. We’re all for health and safety, but you cannot combine big producers and small producers.”
MacFarlane said she met with Agriculture minister Keith Colwell last week regarding the issue.
She said Colwell told her that the turkey marketing board is in the process of making changes but was not certain whether those changes would actually help small producers or allow processors like Fraser to resume slaughtering turkeys in a manner he did before being banned from doing so.
The first of a hopeful series of coffeehouses took place on a recent Saturday night at Daybreak Prison Ministry’s Father’s House on Stewart Street in New Glasgow.
Anyone who has, perhaps, passed by the building throughout the years but never had cause to venture in would truly be in for a surprise. With its dimmed down lights, sizable performance area and spacious room littered with plenty of tables and chairs, it does the very rare thing of actually feeling like a coffeehouse.
The night was hosted by Halifax-based musician Andrew Gallant who regularly does work with the city’s Hope Cottage soup kitchen. And the event was put together by Gallant and Daybreak’s founder, Royce Harris.
The facility has held concerts in the past and held Christmas banquets for the community and Harris said the idea was talked about for sometime, but everything lined up recently with Gallant taking the reins as host.
About eight musicians, some from Halifax and many local, took part in the coffeehouse while it drew a crowd of about 20 people.
“Some of them are from different churches, some of them are from no church at all,” Harris said of the musicians in the crowd.
“It doesn’t have to be gospel music.”
If the coffeehouse does indeed take off, and Harris is hopeful it will, the next such event will take place in the new year, on February 28, and ideally will be held on the fourth Saturday each following month.
Hold on to your wigs and keys, blues fans, because the Pictou County Blues Society’s next show is a big one.
The Bill Stevenson Trio will be taking stage at the Whitetail Pub in Westville on Saturday, December 6. The group has been named the “Maritime to Memphis” Blues Challenge winners.
“We’ve been wanting to bring them in for a long time,” said Katie MacDonald of the Pictou County Blues Society. “We happened to have an open spot in the fall that we didn’t fill, they happened to win the Maritime to Memphis trip and we thought it was perfect timing. It fell into place perfectly.”
“He’s like an icon in the East Coast for blues and jazz,” MacDonald said. “They’ve won the Maritime to Memphis Blues Challenge and they’ll be going to Memphis in the new year to compete in the International Blues Challenge. That’s a big, big competition.”
Stevenson, as well as the trio’s Tom Easley and Geoff Arsenault, has an impressive list of stage credits from billings with Dutchie Mason, Garrett Mason and Thom Swift to Los Lobos and the Crawling King Snake himself, John Lee Hooker. Off stage, Stevenson was also the host of well regarded CBC Radio program The Ocean Limited.
Both a front man a seasoned piano and organ side man, Stevenson has cut tracks with the band Earth Opera for Elektra records and even opened for perhaps the label’s best known band, a little old combo from Los Angeles known as The Doors. Tom Easley, manning the standup, doghouse bass has netted ECMA wins with his group the Hot Toddy Trio and has seven albums to his credit. Keeping the groove on track, drummer Geoff Arsenault has toured with host of artists including Hot Toddy Trio, Thom Swift, Colin Linden and Rita MacNeil.
Already well on the PCBS’s radar, Stevenson became a “must have” for the Society a few years back when MacDonald gave some of the Trio’s music out as Christmas gifts, a move that gathered considerable positive feedback.
“That’s when we started saying ‘Okay, we’ve got to bring this band in’,” MacDonald said. “They’re all seasoned veterans; they’re not a young band so they carry a lot of history with all the bands they’ve played with, all over the world really.”
The Trio plays blues with a cool, yet subtle jazzy edge which etches itself perfectly into dance halls and is bound to scuff any checkered floor.
“I expect it to be the kind of evening where everybody’s dancing,” MacDonald said.
The Blues Society shows always have a charitable cause attached and this time around funds generated will help to offset costs related the group’s trip to Memphis where they will be competing with other blues acts on an international level.
“The East Coast Blues Society raised most of the funds;” MacDonald said, “we’re just offering some assistance.”
Advanced tickets can be purchased at The White Lotus, H&R Music, and The Whitetail Pub.
Win tickets to see the trio! Email heatherbrimicombe
Draw takes place December 4 at noon.
PICTOU— The holiday season is being celebrated at the deCoste Centre in great style with a wealth of Christmas presentations.
Tis the Season 8, featuring Bette MacDonald, Maynard Morrison and Ralph Dillon, will be onstage this week on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6. In this new show, Cape Breton characters Mary Morrison, Martin MacKinnon, Wayne Tomko, Fr. Gillis and Marjorie and Donnie are back, plus some new folks this year. The laughs are guaranteed in this irreverent take on all things festive. After each show, MacDonald will be on hand in the lobby to sign copies of her new book, Mary Morrison’s Cape Breton Christmas.
Measha Bruggergosman, world class soprano, brings her Christmas show to the Pictou stage on December 15. You might not realize it, but you already know Brueggergosman – she performed the Olympic Hymn at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, singing in both English and French. The Canadian soprano will get you in a festive mood as she performs songs from her Christmas album including holiday classics Little Drummer Boy and Joni Mitchell’s River.
Christmas in the key of blue, a show starring Matt Andersen will be on December 18. The pride of New Brunswick, Andersen is the real deal, larger than life with the heart and soul of a bluesman and the voice and talent to match. To listen to him sing, you’d swear that the blood of Muddy Waters is running through his veins. Featured will be songs from his Christmas recording “Spirit of Christmas’.
Finishing the season will be a performer in what has become a holiday tradition at the deCoste—“Dave Gunning – Home for Christmas” on December 21. After travelling extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada all fall, Gunning is home for the holidays and happy to be performing in Pictou County.
Tickets for all performances – which begin at 7 p.m. – are on sale at the deCoste Centre box office and online at www.decostecentre.ca.
New Glasgow – The Town of New Glasgow is offering free metered parking in the downtown core for the month of December to support customers and local businesses with their Christmas and holiday shopping experience as well as to help support a local worthy cause.
Any funds collected through the meters will be presented to the New Glasgow Kinsmen and Kinettes Christmas Needy Families project.
The Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs of New Glasgow, who represent all of Pictou County, quietly sponsor Christmas for 30 to 40 less fortunate families in Pictou County. In doing so, each family receives enough nutritious food to last throughout the holidays. The Kinsmen and Kinettes also purchase warm winter clothing and toys that appeared on the children’s wish lists.
“We are pleased to support to the Kinsmen and Kinettes Christmas Needy Families project,” says New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan.
“This is a difficult time of year for many people and this gesture from our community will provide some much needed assistance.”
The Glasgow Square parking lot is also free for customer parking and employees in the downtown core are encouraged to park in the free parking lot near the Farmers Market Dome.
On his 13th birthday, Ryan Dunbrack started his first solo YouTube channel by reviewing the top five episodes of the 11th doctor in the Doctor Who series.
Since then, he has not only grown in video review and vlogging (video blogging) skill, but he has also grown in viewership.
Dunbrack is now building his YouTube channel, N3RD5, into a pop culture hub that encompasses movies, television and the comic book universe.
“I think I started making the videos a few channels back in 2009,” said Dunbrack. Beginning by making videos with his dad about beywheelz and beyblade, Dunbrack managed to rack up 50,528 views on their channel.
Currently, his N3RD5 channel has 131 subscribers and a collective view total of 21,217, after joining last December. He also created a vlogging channel in August under the username Ryan the N3RD.
The process Dunbrack goes through to make a video each time he uploads to YouTube is more than just speaking to the camera and sticking it on the website. For a review video, Dunbrack picks what he will review, watches the movie or TV show, collects his thoughts on the episode and sometimes gathers speaking points, then films the video and uploads it.
The next step is the most time consuming: editing. For each video Dunbrack can spend about three hours editing it to perfection. He then must create thumbnails for the video, which he gets some help with. The final step is uploading the edited version to YouTube. Then he begins again.
For a video that is not a review, Dunbrack has to add a extra steps before he can film. He must first think of a specific topic that he would like to do and thinks others may find interesting, next he dives into research. The research may take anywhere from an hour to three or more. The process then picks up at the video filming and continues on the same.
As of November 12, Dunbrack had a few classmates at school who knew about his success online but many did not know a lot about the amount of time and effort he puts into creating videos to share with others.
“My entire class knows as of yesterday,” shared Dunbrack on November 14, referring to a presentation he gave to his class the day before for a self expression assignment. When he wasn’t sure how he would creatively express himself Dunbrack did what came natural: he turned on the record button and shared his thoughts.
“I didn’t know what these people were going to think,” he said laughing. “I’m just sitting there rubbing my face, thinking that this is the longest four minutes of my life.”
Usually Dunbrack is not around when people watch his videos, and as any creative person can relate to, it can be nerve racking to view first impressions and feedback from something that you have spent a lot of time on.
“I didn’t know that they would think that it was that good,” said Dunbrack remembering the positive feedback he received from his classmates.
Dunbrack has also begun marketing himself to other mediums as well, expanding from video to blogging with incorporated videos.
“I am very involved with movie news,” Dunbrack said. Naturally a movie and TV review site was the next step for his online growth.
Dunbrack is now a blogger for the website www.moviepilot.com where he blogs under the name Ryan Danger Dunbrack. Movie Pilot allows anyone to become a contributor but gives each contributor access to a larger collective audience that counts on the website for their latest pop culture news, reviews and predictions.
The site so far has allowed Dunbrack to amass 10,266 views on his most read story so far.
“It was a lot easier than I thought,” said Dunbrack.
Although he is only in Grade 8, Dunbrack already knows that when he graduates he would like to be a director. As for now, he’s got everything in perspective.
“I spend way too much time on YouTube,” he laughed. “I like what I am doing now.”
NEW GLASGOW – Those who enjoy playing pool combined their talents and resources to raise $1,200 to help local musician and community volunteer Fleur Mainville with her health challenges.
Peter Borden, who is president of the Pictou County Billiards Association that organized the benefit on Nov. 15 and 16, and Vernon Borden presented Mainville’s husband Andrew Heighton with the funds last Thursday at the Rack and Cue in New Glasgow.
Chris Kemp, Veronica Outerleys and Nick Kaiser are also on the executive.
Players at the Century Snooker Club in New Glasgow were among groups that supported the event.
Peter Borden related how Mainville’s father, Roger Mainville, plays in the association’s league at the Rack and Cue and was approached with the idea.
“We do a lot of benefits,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for nearly five years, although we’ve had the league for 23 years. We want to get out in the community and show our appreciation for what people have done. It’s one of the highlights of our community, how people pull together.”
He noted the George McKeigan Memorial tournament, scheduled for Jan. 18, will raise funds for palliative care in the area.
Heighton said the funds come as a welcome and pleasant surprise.
“It was really shocking,” he said. “The community has been overwhelming and we are very appreciative of the league doing this.”
PICTOU – Looking for a way to save money this holiday season?
The Town of Pictou has teamed up with Efficiency Nova Scotia to bring the annual LED Holiday Light Exchange program to the Pictou Christmas Light Up event again this year. Residents who bring two strings of traditional glass holiday lights for recycling will receive one string of LED holiday lights in exchange for free. The exchange aims to create awareness on the benefits of LEDs and encourage them to make a full switch to the more energy efficient lighting.
The Town of Pictou officially marks the beginning of the 2014 Christmas season with the annual Christmas Light-up which takes place this year on Friday, Dec. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. at the marina on the waterfront. There will be a choir performance, a live Nativity, and musical performance by the Sea Cadet Band. Everyone is encouraged to join in a candle lit song procession from the waterfront location to Market Square where the tree lighting and LED Exchange will take place at approximately 6:30 p.m.
During the tree lighting Santa, Ms. Claus and elves will make a guest appearance. The Pictou West High School Band will perform a couple of traditional songs. To keep the chill away, hot drinks will be supplied. During the evening non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Pictou Food Bank. Tax free sales will take place at participating downtown merchants on Friday.
The Community Christmas Trees display at the former Stedman’s building will open its doors again Friday at 5 p.m., drop by and enjoy the creative works of local businesses, community organizations and individuals. Grab a cup of eggnog supplied by Scotsburn Dairy, Saputo and walk through the winter wonderland.
Don’t miss the “Live Christmas Window” at The Palace. Students and community volunteers will continuously perform in a traditional Christmas scene; you may just spot someone you know.
Pictou Business and Marketing Society is excited to present their “Elf on the Shelf” Shop Local, promotion this season. Beginning this week, “Elf on the Shelf” will make a guest appearance at a downtown businesses. If you spot him, you can enter a draw to win $50. Elf will be in a different location each week over the month and each week, a $50 draw will take place. Ballot boxes will be at the town hall, Pictou Library, Ahead of Hair, Sears, Sharon’s Place, Lucas Technology and Shiretown Home and Auto. Find Pictou Business and Marketing Society on Facebook, be the first to spot Elf for the week, post a comment and win instantly an Elf DVD, book or clothes.
The annual Pictou Christmas Light is made possible through the volunteer efforts of Pictou Recreation and Parks Committee who have been busy planning the event since October. Event sponsors and partners this year are Advocate Printing and Publishing, Shiretown Dental Clinic, Tim Hortons and Peter Fraser. For more details visit www.townofpictou.ca.
“It was actually a dress that inspired the whole concept for Red,” said director and choreographer Carla Sinclair of Miss Carla’s Dance Studio. “As soon as I saw it I immediately thought (of) Little Red and it went from there. I just saw the whole production flash in front of me as soon as I saw the dress.”
While Sinclair and her dancers hold a recital each May at the end of their year, Red – a dance re-telling of the Little Red Riding Hood story – is Sinclair’s first true production. Sparked creatively from a bold, red dress that caught her eye in a costuming magazine, Sinclair built the show from scratch.
“I did some research on the stories of Little Red,” Sinclair said. “I re-read Little Red Cap – the original one – and different ones like that.”
From there and with a firm grip on the story, Sinclair moved on to choreographing the dances which will serve to convey the lion’s share of the story.
“(The dancers) will show the story through dance,” Sinclair said. “I do have a narrator, Shaun McLean, and he’ll set up each dance with a little bit of story.”
While the narration will help drive the story by setting up the scene and posing a question, the dancers do most of the heavy lifting by actually executing the story and resolving the question. The dancers’ roles will see them display a fusion of different dance styles as well as incorporating non-verbal acting into the mix.
“It’s not just a ballet,” Sinclair said, “there are lots of different kinds of dance with this. There’s contemporary, there’s hip hop, there’s jazz, as well as ballet.”
Musical selections, naturally, will match that mixture of dances and many of the pieces featured will be contemporary pop songs rather than traditional classical pieces.
Production for Red began this summer, Sinclair said, with auditions held in June and choreography beginning in July. Major rehearsals took place in September while the script – with assistance from Maggie Daley – became finalized in late November.
Sinclair said she had an interest in putting on a show of some kind in December for some time but it took a while for the project to present itself.
“I always wanted to do something in December, it’s just a lot of work. It took me a few years to be ready to do it. I just always wanted to do two shows in the year. The recital at the end is kind of showing what they’ve done all year long but this is kind of completely different,” Sinclair said. “I thought about maybe doing a Christmas show based on Christmas themes… This just seemed a little bit more interesting.”
Red will run for three shows between Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6 at Glasgow Square Theatre. Tickets are priced at $15.