Posts Tagged ‘nova scotia’

Photo: Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Halifax firm Fowler Bauld & Mitchell won a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for its work on the Halifax Central Library.

Sandy and Pat drove up to Nova Scotia from Rhode Island this year, a trip that had been on their bucket list for some time. I loved hearing their blow-by-blow account when they returned and, among other things, their enthusiasm for the Halifax Central Library, where returned books reshelve themselves with little-to-no human assistance.

I Googled around to see what I could find about the library.

CBCNews reported, “The team behind one of Halifax’s architectural diamonds has won a crown jewel of an award. Fowler Bauld & Mitchell, the Halifax-based firm that designed the Halifax Central Library, was one of 12 recipients announced Thursday of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. …

“Halifax’s library was lauded by jury members as an ‘inviting, light and playful public space.’

” ‘This outstanding new civic building is a community gathering place that responds to the diversity of its users, accommodating many more activities than the traditional library,’ the jury wrote.

” ‘The jury commends the process of early user engagement that led to the design, and the public’s embrace of the building is a testament to its value.’

“The library has been a resounding success since the day it opened, with visitor numbers far exceeding expectations. A big reason for its success was in the design process, which relied heavily on community consultation and inclusion, said [George Cotaras, the architect of record for the project]. …

“The proof that people’s opinions mattered and were considered showed on the day the library opened, said Cotaras.

” ‘They knew what it was going to be like but they had never been able to see inside and when they came in they went, “Wow,” and people were going around saying “Wow, that was my idea. I suggested that.” ‘ ” More.

Can’t help thinking that community involvement would be a good idea for every area of public life.

Photo: Anjuli Patil/CBC
A view from the second floor of the new library.

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Cousin Claire fell in love with Cape Breton, Canada, some years ago. As she does all things, she dug deep — into its history, geography, and people. (I wrote about her efforts to help protect the crumbling Gabarus seawall, here.)

Now Claire has published an oral history of one of Cape Breton’s best known residents, Mildred Gray.

From Amazon: “Mildred Gray is acknowledged as the last surviving government-employed Morse Code operator and one of the last surviving manual switchboard operators in the Canadian Maritime provinces.

“Between the 1940s through the 1970s, Mrs. Gray was a one-woman 911, information and referral service, spiritual advisor, and companion to people giving birth and people dying. This comprehensive oral history includes maps, historic photographs, a 50-page section of Highlights of Gabarus History, and an extensive bibliography.”

Claire says in her introduction, “Gabarus is a place both beautiful and real. The windswept rocky shore contrasts with the warmth of community.

“As Mrs. Gray points out, the old values still live here. Wherever you live in the world, you can learn about how to live a good life by following the story of Mrs. Gray and her community of Gabarus in guiding us all to be useful, compassionate and honorable. You will see
that Mrs. Gray and her family and neighbors, whether they are
Methodist or not, live by John Wesley’s directive to ‘Do all the
good you can. By all the means you can. … As long as ever you
can!’ ”

Find the book here.

Photo: http://www.risingtideexpeditions.ca/
Cape Breton

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I learned something new about gratitude today.

It seems that years ago the people of Boston sent emergency aid to Nova Scotia, and now every November, Nova Scotia sends Boston a Christmas tree.

Geoffrey Agombar writes in Canada’s Annapolis County Spectator, “All Nova Scotians are familiar with the legend of Boston’s speedy and heroic support when just week’s before Christmas 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour leaving 2000 dead, thousands injured, and flattening surrounding buildings. Every year since 1971, Nova Scotia has sent a big thank you card to the city in the form of a 12-16 metre tall Christmas Tree.” More.

Canada Online has a story by Susan Munroe: “For more than 40 years it’s been a Christmas tradition for the province of Nova Scotia to ship one of its biggest and best Christmas trees to Boston to thank the people of Boston for the emergency assistance they provided after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Relief from Boston was the first to arrive the day after the horrendous explosion which killed 1,900 people and wounded another 9,000. The New Englanders were also the last to leave.

“The 2012 Christmas tree is a 70-year-old, 15-metre (50-foot) white spruce donated by Paul and Jan Hicks from Jordan Bay, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia. On November 13, hundreds of children from local elementary schools attended the Christmas tree cutting ceremony, where Nova Scotia storyteller Bruce Nunn read from his book Buddy the Bluenose Reindeer and the Boston Christmas Tree Adventure.

“The tree was loaded onto a flatbed truck and made its way to Boston. It arrived on November 16, and was escorted by the Boston Police Department to the Boston Common where it is being installed. The Christmas tree will be the focal point of the annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Event on November 29. The ceremony will be televised and is expected to draw a live crowd of about 30,000. The ceremony will feature two performances from the Nova Scotian percussion ensemble Squid, and remarks from [a representative of the ailing] Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia, Frank Corbett. The RCMP and Santa Claus will be on hand, and there will be fireworks too.”

Update 4/20/13 — After the Boston Marathon tragedy, Nova Scotia is making a $50,000 donation to Massachusetts General Hospital. Read.

Photograph: The Spectator

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John is quite a rich source of blog ideas. Here’s a story he knew I’d like. It’s about a symphony for ship horns.

“The Harbour Symphony is original music written for the horns of the ships in the St. John’s harbour [Newfoundland, Canada]. This signature fanfare of the Sound Symposium transforms the ships in the harbour into an orchestra on water. Each Harbour Symphony begins with a radio countdown transmitted to the bridge of the ships by the Coast Guard where players stand at the helms of tugboats, trawlers, and ocean-going freighters.

“At the signal, a giant, floating horn section reverberates off the Southside Hills and through the streets of old St. John’s, echoing the soul of this 500 year old seaport.

“The acoustic characteristics of the bowl-shaped St. John’s Harbour encourage the sound to resonate and carry for up to 12 miles. The best place to listen is up on Signal Hill, on the Southside Hills, or in the Outer Battery. These locations give a sweeping view of the Harbour and the city. You can hear the delay of the horns as the sound travels over a mile across the water, and hear the sounds resonate against the surrounding hills.” Read more.

I wonder if Cousin Claire in Gabarus, Cape Breton, knows about this. Of course, I don’t know my geography very well. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is probably nowhere near Newfoundland. If you are better at geography, please give me an idea how far apart these places are.

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When my cousin Claire is not in Arizona, she is in Nova Scotia. Recently, she got involved in efforts to save the worn-out seawall that the little town of Gabarus depends on.  No one seems to know who has the responsibility to mend it.

“A group says their tiny community in eastern Nova Scotia and its livelihood are being placed at risk because a 70-year-old seawall that wards off the Atlantic Ocean is on the verge of collapse,” writes the Huffington Post.

“Local resident Tim Menk said finding the money to repair the structure that protects the 300-year-old village of Gabarus in Cape Breton has become a four-year battle that’s mired in the murky details of who owns the seawall.

“At stake for Gabarus is its fishing industry, road access to the village and several private homes, said Menk, an organizer with Friends of Gabarus.

” ‘We believe … it could be, as we say, one wave away from failure.’ ” Read more.

It’s the sort of thing that worries everyone who lives or works near the sea.  When I was a child, storms that ripped neighbors’ Fire Island houses out to sea made a big impression on me. You learn respect for waves.

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