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EDITORIAL PANEL: Lots of positives to celebrate in Amherst

Amherst’s streets are once again filling up with visitor looking for fall foliage, heritage buildings and, of course fibres of all weights, colours and functions. Clearly, it’s time for that four-letter “F” work – fall! So, it’s probably a good time to tally up all the positive things that have happened around here lately.

1. Amherst’s downtown has never looked better! Red and white petunias cascade from every lamp post, drawing the eye the full length of both main streets. And then there are great mounds of them, almost pillars in fact, around Victoria Square. Simply walking downtown makes me feel good.
This week, I encountered a couple walking along Victoria, looking up in appreciation. We passed, and they said that they were “looking for more of those trees”.
“Which trees?” I responded.
They replied, “The statues, the ones that were actually trees rooted right in the ground”. They were from Illinois and determined to find every one of those statues before they left. I shared a couple of sites, and then of course, volunteered some directions to Amherst’ heritage buildings. After I thanked them for visiting Amherst, they commented lavishly on the flowers, they waved goodbye saying that they definitely planned to return.
Sincere thanks to all who fed, watered, and groomed those petunias so faithfully.
2. The Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury is currently enjoying a reprieve as DND has not moved forward with its divestiture. A small committee is working to make an economically feasible and viable plan to ensure the Armoury is rescued. Whatever the outcome, the Cadets and Ray Coulson’s Military Museum need a secure home. This building would be perfect: a community/tourist hub for our many historic resources and activities.
3. Walks around Amherst reveal lots of new families in older houses and there’s lots of sprucing up underway too. Try a stroll along Robie, Rupert, and East Victoria for a start. What a pleasure to see owners, new and old, taking an interest in their properties. That’s how these wonder old places have managed to stick around as long as they have to provide a unique resource that can easily turn Amherst into a business and tourism destination.
4. Another giant plus! Dayle’s Grand Market offers such variety along with a special shopping experience. Great coffee at the Crystal Café, an ever-changing inventory of profession grade crafts/gifts at Maritime Mosaic …and now …more shops have added: antiques, great clothes, shoes and baby things. One small space remains unused, but it looks like that too is about to change.
5. Depending on how you count, six new eateries are in business. They’re all good, and they’ve made their homes in heritage buildings. Victoria Faire’s international cooks on LaPlanche Street offer authentic tastes from China, Lebanon, and Jamaica ….along with amazing teas.
But best and dearest to my heart are all the exciting things related to Amherst’s heritage streetscapes.
6. Amherst Heritage Trust is ramping up for some exciting projects and plans an important meeting for Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. upstairs at the Francis Smith Meeting Room at the Police Station. Please join them. They are doing good stuff.
7. The Amherst Heritage Trust Heritage House Inventory Project continues to move right along. The 150+ photos and stories it holds are being released slowly on the Amherst Heritage Trust Facebook page. Check it out. A web page is in the works too.
8, Walking Tours are available for as long as the good weather lasts. Send a message via Amherst Heritage Trust’s Facebook page or see below.
9. Then, there’s Manasseh, our very own shop-at-home store based on local produce and home delivery …and of course, The Art of Eating is always a treat.
10. And let’s not forget 30 Church, Deanne Fitzpatricks’s Rug Hooking Studio and Mansour’s Men’s Wear (currently getting a new look). One family has been making sure life in Amherst is comfortable and fashionable for over 100 years. Thanks for all your help.
Do you have a Top 10 Good Things List for 2017? Share it via the Amherst Heritage Trust Facebook Page or via email:
To contribute to Amherst’s Heritage House Inventory or comment on this article, be in touch the same way.

Leslie Childs is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

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