It is, apparently, an experience hard to explain, but worth repeating. Eight brave souls took part in the 2010 polar bear dip in the Wallace River, where they splashed around on New Year’s Day to help ring the year in. The event was the 25th edition at Ernie Wilson’s Wentworth property. An estimated 50 people were spectators at the event. The air temperature at the time was -8 C.
School was in for more than 470 students from Grades Primary to 12 as they began classes at Oxford Regional Education Centre on Jan. 7. After a hectic first few days, principal Judy Davis said everything was running smoothly. While making such a transition mid-year is challenging due to winter weather conditions, a short lead-up time and Christmas holidays, Davis said a lot of people worked hard to pull it off well.
Coinciding with black history month, Darlene Strong opened her exhibit “The Life and Times of Sand Hill” on Jan. 26 at the Cumberland County Museum and Archives. The 10-panel exhibit explores the social, economic, and cultural time of the local black community over the past 200 years. Information was gathered from the archives, interviews and personal accounts and pictures collected by Strong.
It may be a long way from River Hebert to Port-au-Prince, but they grew closer on Sunday, Jan. 31, when River Hebert United Church hosted a benefit concert for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, featuring some of Cumberland County’s finest musical talents. Proceeds from the event went towards ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity specializing in providing emergency shelter.
Citizens concerned with theft and other crimes in Cumberland County had an opportunity to discuss those concerns with the RCMP when members of the force held public information sessions in several communities, including Oxford, Pugwash and Parrsboro. At the meeting in Oxford, one of the first concerns citizens brought up was the trafficking of illegal drugs in the community. Staff Sgt. Frank Kingston said that since the implementation of the Cumberland Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit two-and-a-half years earlier, $4.5 million of illegal drugs has been seized in Cumberland County.
Frigid temperatures could not keep snowmobile racing lovers away from Sutherlands Lake Saturday. About 80 participants from throughout the Maritimes revved up for a day of competition on the 660-foot-long lake during the fifth annual event. More than a thousand spectators took in the action throughout the day. Some huddled together for warmth while others abandoned all sense of the cold weather and cheered on racers with shouts and claps that were sometimes muffled by the layers of gloves and mittens.
A small crowd gathered at the Cumberland County municipal office on Feb. 15 for a Flag Day celebration, with Staff Sgt. Frank Kingston recalling the flag flying in the air the day he told his father he wanted to become an RCMP officer. Other participants in the ceremony included Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott, Springhill Mayor Allen Dill and Amherst deputy mayor Terry Rhindress.
When it comes to taking sides on the climate change debate, Bill Casey takes the middle ground. During a meeting at the Cumberland County Museum in Amherst, the former Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP spoke to 30 people about dykelands and rising sea levels being witnessed in Cumberland County. To emphasize his argument, Casey pointed to a Government of Canada map showing the vulnerability of rising sea levels to Cumberland County communities along the Bay of Fundy.
Daren White, one of the lucky Canadians who was selected to participate in the cross-country torch relay leading up to the Vancouver Olympics, visited Northport Elementary School Feb. 25 to share his experience and show students the torch he carried. White told the students about his adventure, which included a surprise coincidence that also saw his sister get to carry the torch, and a chance meeting with a famous fellow torch bearer, NHL star and gold medal game hero Sidney Crosby.
More than 100 participants gathered for the Cumberland Snowmobile Club’s annual poker rally in Collingwood on March 6, with people from all ages and all parts of the region enjoying the quality trails. The poker rally has been on the go for decades, with an average of $1,500-2,000 being raised each year for the club. Results of the poker rally saw first place go to Merrill White, second to Gordon Miner, and third to Tyrone Gibbons.
After 70 years of marriage, Clarence and Eva Reid have seen a lot together. The Truemanville couple, who celebrated their platinum anniversary on March 21, said there have been good times and bad times for them over the past seven decades, but their focus on the positive things has kept them going.
An early start to the maple season appeared to be followed by an early finish for local producers. West Brook’s David Dickinson said his trees had not produced anything to speak of in the previous four to five days, saying that warm weather had stopped sap from running but he was hopeful that freezing temperatures through the night would return to finish out the rest of the season.
High school students received an eyeful as police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others presented them with information on possible career avenues in emergency services. Hosted by the Pugwash detachment of the RCMP, the youth forum was held March 25, with about 275 students from Grades 7 to 12 at Pugwash District High School taking part.
Canada’s only national hunting show is coming to the Maritimes, and local guide Jamie Hicks was to be front and centre. Hicks and his wife Kelly, who operate their own guiding service, Cobequid Big Game Outfitters, hosted Canada in the Rough at their lodge in Baie Saint Anne, N.B. for what they expected to be a memorable black bear hunt. Canada n the Rough host Thomas Pigeon was scheduled to meet Hicks in Moncton, N.B. on May 26, along with the winner of the show’s “Rocky Dream Hunt” contest.
Pugwash firefighters went from having the most cramped fire hall in all of Cumberland County to having the most spacious, state-of-the-art facility the county has to offer. That fact was apparent to any of the 100 people who attended and toured the facility during its grand opening on April 10. Chief Andy Yarrow pointed out that, most importantly, the department had a safer working environment with the new facility.
As part of the celebrations leading up to the 60th anniversary of Pugwash’s annual Scottish festival, organizers with the Gathering of the Clans were looking for a special way to celebrate all that’s special about the community by holding a contest to design the Pugwash tartan. The competition was open to everyone, with only two rules: the design must be unique and it must reflect Pugwash and surrounding area.
Members of the Amherst Rotary Club converged on Camp Tidnish to clean out the cabins, the kitchen, the dining hall and every other nook and cranny around the camp in preparation for the summer season. While normally the organization would have others come in and do the cleaning, Rotarian Bob Janes said they decided to do it themselves this year to build camaraderie and give Rotary members a chance to better familiarize themselves with the camp they have owned for 70 years.
Oxley the blueberry will be seen on a stamp across Canada come 2011, when Canada Post releases its 20 stamp issues and two commemorative envelopes. Oxford deputy mayor Trish Stewart, who also sits on the tourism board for Central Nova, said the blueberry is a huge attraction that, in the summer months, easily sees 100-plus people per day stop and take pictures of it. The blueberry is owned by the Irving Circle K.
Heritage Models museum has long been filled with stories, but never with a written guidebook, until now.
The stories of the numerous models, and the man responsible for them, Reginald “Bud” Johnston, are now documented in “History in Miniature: Bud Johnston’s River Hebert, Joggins and Area Heritage Models,” the new book by local writer Jamie Heap. The book is finished and printed, and will be officially unveiled at the museum’s annual opening day event on Sunday, June 6, remarkable, considering Heap did not begin working on it until mid-August of last year. Between research and writing, the project took about six months for him to complete.
Stand up and tell them who you are. That’s the message Dr. Willard Boyle passed along to students at Pugwash District High School Thursday afternoon during a special assembly to open the school’s new technology centre. Boyle, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of the charge coupled device (CCD) with George Smith, recalled growing up in a small community north of Quebec City after being born in Amherst.
They may have been sitting in the new building since January, but students at the Oxford Regional Education Centre celebrated May 25 with its official opening. Starting outside, Grade 12 students Greg Gordon and Eric Dorn watched Education Minister Marilyn More raise the provincial flag. The two students were also the students to participate in the sod turning three years ago.
For the robotics team at Oxford Regional Education Centre, a finish of 10th out of 16 teams at the recent Robots EAST competition was excellent. The Outta Site! Competition saw schools from Atlantic Canada going head-to-head with their robots in a site remediation showdown. The aim of the game was to recover and reclaim as much industrial waste as possible in each two-minute heat. The teams were paired up with engineers, scientists and technologists to help with their creations.
The bright lights of Toronto might seem like a long way from the quiet of Joggins, but not for 13-year-old Adriaana Michels. The River Hebert District High School students will be in Canada’s largest city from July 10-18 to vie for the Miss Teen Canada World Pageant crown, after winning the title of Miss Teen Northern Nova Scotia World on May 31. Adriaana was encouraged to get involved by her mother, Bridget Michels, who came across information about it on the Internet.
As part of the campaign to showcase the Bay of Fundy as an internationally significant marine wonder, a new “whale car” was unveiled in Halifax on World Oceans Day on June 4, and was to spend the summer months traveling through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with its owner, Bay of Fundy Tourism executive director Terri McCulloch. The formerly car had become blue, featuring a custom-fitted whale fin on the roof and tail on the back, and plans were to add a spout.
It had taken 40 years, but Debbi (Canfield) MacDonald was finally going to have a chance to join her graduating class. The Amherst resident was one of hundreds of alumni expected to attend the Pugwash District High School reunion set for the weekend of Aug. 6. She and husband, Jack, along with friends David and Marsha Allen, decided to plan the reunion while wintering in Florida, and were looking forward to seeing old friends and past graduates from 1958 to 2000.
The crazy, amazing and beautiful experience that is high school can’t be described in words, said Pugwash District High School’s 2010 valedictorian Benjamin Williams. The closest to describing high school years are children’s choose-your-adventure storybooks, Williams told fellow graduates, parents and Pugwash High faculty at the school’s graduation ceremony on Monday night. Forty of the school’s 41 graduates took the stage in gowns June 28 in front of weeping parents and flashing cameras.
Fine summertime weather drove crowds out to different areas in the county to take part in the country’s 143rd birthday. Throughout the day, Pugwash’s streets were rampant with thousands going to the Gathering of the Clans festival for parades, highland music, dancing and the strong man competition. The large number of people was, no doubt, thanks to the sun, according to event co-ordinator Lisa Betts. The main draw in the morning was the parade, highlighted with the red of fire engines, Philae Shriners’ helmets and pipe bands’ kits.
Now in his fifth year of lifeguarding at Heather Beach, Zach Deutsch seems familiar with every face in the crowd and every swell that reaches the shore, but his eyes never leave the beach. And, so far, the summer season had been a great one for local beach goers. Joining Deutsch on beach patrol this year were lifeguards Regeanne Belliveau and Amherst’s Emily Matthews.
For the 11th straight year, the North Shore Antique Tractor and Engine Club held its show at the Verstraten farm in Lorneville, with a variety of activities taking place, including wagon rides, woodsman competitions, woodcarving, and farrier services (putting shoes on horses.) The local church sold desserts in the barn, while the Sunrise 4-H Club held a barbecue, with all proceeds benefiting the local organizations.
Representatives from most levels of government celebrated a redesigned Pugwash waterfront at Cyrus Eaton Park on Friday. Federal, provincial and municipal representatives, who together raised nearly $200,000 for the project, were at the ribbon-cutting on the opening day of HarbourFest to see the fruits of their labour. The project didn’t just create a beautiful park that will be enjoyed by residents and tourists but also a number of short-term jobs for the community, according to Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong.
Jessie Dowe of Warren was one of two Canadians selected to attend the World Simmental Congress in Australia in September. The veterinary student had been showing the cattle breed since 2005, and put together a Power Point presentation on the benefits of using Simmental genetics in crossbred herds as part of the application process through the Young Canadian Simmental Association.
Josh Froebe got to see a lot more of Central Nova Scotia than most this summer. The 16-year-old Pugwash native was one of the 47 cadets from across the country working to become licensed glider pilots. Asked if he could see his home community from high above the ground, he replied: “If Wentworth wasn’t in the way, I could.” Froebe has been a member of the 77 Arrowhead Squadron in Truro for four years.
Safety was the primary focus of a large federal investment to get the Wallace wharf shipshape. On Aug. 12, Cumberland-Colchester-Musqudoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong visited a worksite at the wharf to officially announce $436,000 in funding from the federal government to fund the stabilization of the aging structure. Alton Brown, spokesperson of the Wallace Harbour Authority, said there has been great concern about the deteriorating condition of the wharf in recent years.
Miniature horses have been pampered pets for kings and queens and they’ve also been put to work hauling coal in coal-mines, but these days they can often be found showing off their beauty and skills at miniature horse shows. About 20 mini-horses competed Aug. 22 at the Oxford Arena.
A $200,000 project to fix the waterfront in Pugwash was drawing rave reviews from those using the improved boardwalk. The work was needed after two storms in the fall of 2008 severely damaged the waterfront and washed away a large portion of the walkway, causing it to be closed. The village commission looked into repairing the waterfront, anf the end result was $131,000 in funding from the federal government and the province, $50,000 from Cumberland County and $19,000 from the village to complete the project.
Except for an unwelcome guest by the name of Earl who canceled Saturday’s parade with his rain and high gusts of wind, the 2010 Cumberland County Exhibition proved to be another action-packed week of family fun. The hot weather drew a lot of people out to the midway and the Oxford Arena to enjoy the rides, the livestock and the 4-H events. The exhibition gives the 189 members of 4-H in Cumberland County the opportunity to compete and qualify for the provincial show, which takes place Oct. 1-3 in Truro.
Co-operation between fire departments and Mother Nature ensured a successful open house on Sept. 12 for the River Hebert Fire Department. The even allows people to look at firefighting equipment and see how it works, and can also help with recruitment. Fire Chief George Rector said they had one fellow pick up an application during the open house and hopes more people join the fire department.
People were transported back to the free-range way of life during Open Farm Day at Holdanca Farms, which is located on Route 6, between Pugwash and Wallace. Fifty-nine farms throughout Nova Scotia, including four in Cumberland County, opened their doors to the public on Sept. 18. The 500-acre farm managed by John Duynisveld includes many species, such as 300 head of catltle, 140 sheep, 800 turkeys, 7,500 chickens, 80 ewes, a llama and a ram.
Ninety-six people turned out on Sept. 25 to remember and honour Lynda Burke with the fifth annual Lynda Burke Memorial Walk, raising close to $5,000 for a scholarship in her memory. The memorial walk began at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre and finished at Gables Lodge with lunch and photos celebrating Burke’s life. She worked at the hospital and both Gables Lodge and Centennial Villa up until her death.
She’s been retired for seven years, but Lillian Bray continued to inspire students at River Hebert Elementary School, who dedicated their annual Terry Fox Walk on Sept. 30 to her. Bray, a cancer survivor, was on hand for the walk, which continued the tradition of the small school raising big dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society. The school raised $2,215.30 for this year’s walk.
Well over 2,000 people passed through the doors at Ski Wentworth on Oct. 9-10 for the annual Festival of Colours, held every Thanksgiving at the ski hill. Chairlift rides ran throughout the weekend, while other activities included a pork roast supper at the local community centre and guided hikes to High Head, which is an 11-km hike. Saturday drew 1,200 people while over 1,000 turned out on Sunday.
Hoping to learn a thing or two from Oxford, seven representatives from Yichun City, China were in the community of 1,150 on Oct. 18 to enter into an agreement that would see the two areas twinned, as both have great interest in the blueberry industry. Oxford Mayor Lloyd Jenkins said having the city contact the town goes to show how well-known the small community is for its blueberries, and that the agreement would see “cultural exchanges, friendship and economical benefits.”
New Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie became the MLA-elect for Cumberland South after defeating two other candidates in a byelection on Oct. 26, garnering close to 60 per cent of the popular vote to hold onto what was a Tory stronghold under former MLA and cabinet minister Murray Scott. Baillie, the former CEO of Credit Union Atlantic, garnered 3,262 votes compared to 2,165 for Liberal Kenny John Jackson, while NDP candidate Scott McKee finished a distant third with only 276 votes.
When Terry Laurette began looking after the old cemetery in Linden, it didn’t him long to realize the property was in desperate need of some TLC. So began an effort to restore the headstones and bring some new life to the old cemetery that has been part of the community for about 150 years. Laurette has been digging up the old headstones and repairing them. In some cases, he has taken bleach to the stones to restore their luster while in other cases he has had to glue them back together.
The Pugwash library offers a lot to its community, but its limited space has prompted a group of local volunteers called Friends of the Pugwash Library to move ahead with a campaign to find a new home for the facility. The group has been putting on a series of fundraisers while seeking a space more suited to provide all the services offered by the Cumberland Regional Library.
With the holiday season fast approaching, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched its 2010 Project Red Ribbon campaign in Oxford on Nov. 9. Project Red Ribbon is a sign of commitment to safe and sober driving, according to MADD Atlantic region manager Susan MacAskill, who was among those on hand for the launch. She said the red ribbon serves as a memorial to those who have been killed due to the actions of an impaired driver.
Colin Brownell of Pugwash was one of four Nova Scotians to receive the Medal of Bravery from Premier Darrell Dexter on Nov. 17 at a special ceremony in Halifax. Brownell was recognized for rescuing Calvin Latta of Malagash from a burning car in May of 2009. While not one to seek attention, he said it felt good to receive the award, and that he was just thankful no one was hurt.
Both sides of the street were lined up with family and friends as they gathered to watch the annual Santa Claus parade Nov. 28 in River Hebert. People from throughout the county came to watch the parade, which featured 32 floats and a lot of local participants, including school children. The parade no longer gives out prizes for the best floats, but features a colouring contest at the school.
To the delight of kids and post office workers, Santa Claus took time out of his busy Christmas season schedule to visit the Pugwash post office on Dec. 4. Santa said that every year there seems to be more kids to make toys for so, to keep up with demand, he’s had to hire more elves than ever.
For participants in the Cornerstone Youth Project, it was an emotional day as they said goodbye to those who have become family for the past 10 months, as the program celebrated its season closing. Sponsored by the Service Canada Youth Skills Link, the Cornerstone Youth Project gives participants an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge, which will assist them to succeed in the future.
The story of Christmas was seen live and up close over two nights in Pugwash on Dec. 16-17. Co-ordinated by the seven local churches and through the efforts of countless community volunteers, “Bethlehem Live” was a tremendous success, according to Bert McWade, one of the organizers. The weather was beautiful for both nights, as more than 1,000 people came from as far as Souris, P.E.I. and the Annapolis Valley.