Sunday, July 31, 2011

St. Ann's Bay & North Shore Community Spirit Award: the prep work & the presentation

This weekend, Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis came to our community to present us with a Community Spirit Award, one of four given to exceptional communities in Nova Scotia. Of course before the award presentation a lot of organizing work had to be done. Ruth Schneider, author of the award's application, was our contact with the Lieutenant Governor's office in coordinating the two-day visit that included visits with local artisans in their shops, a Gaelic presentation at the Gaelic Singers Hall, a lobster supper at the North Shore and District Fire Hall where the presentation took place, a church service at St. Andrew's, and a cultural event at North River Hall.

On Saturday morning I had the privilege of working with my friends Marion Thompson and Jitka Zgola in collecting from our gardens and then arranging flowers for the Fire Department lobster supper. Then I spent the afternoon with volunteer firefighters Nancy Smith, Lorraine Bona, Nancy's daughter Melanie and Don Tower preparing food for the meal. These woman & Don (and other active members) are central to every event that happens at our Fire Hall, and let me tell you it's an active department both in fire and emergency calls and fund-raising, so they work -- all volunteer -- hard and long. (They are pictured in the photos above.) By all reports the event was a brilliant success. The picture of the guy in the lobster hat with Her Honour, taken by our friend Nancy Paruch, is my brother-in-law, Alistair Watt, wearing a hat given him by his sister, Sheila. When asked why he had come to the supper as most people were representatives of one or other organization, Alistair said, I'm here to represent all crustaceans.

The pictures of Her Honour and Merrill MacInnis during the award presentation and of the presentation of the community photo gift book to Her Honour by Carol Kennedy & Lisa Finney were taken by local photographer and sunrise aficionado, Jim Steele, who accompanied the Lieutenant Governor on her community rounds.

This afternoon we're off to a cultural event, a presentation by Bev Brett's St. Ann's Bay Players of scenes from her original play, Out the Meadow, as well as some scenes from last year's production of Bedtime Stories. There will also be a dramatic reading of an epic poem commissioned by the Cabot Trail Writers Festival by area writer, Bill Conall.

For an overview of the award, here's what was said in a press release about our community award.

Lieutenant Governor’s Community Spirit Award

Featured Community:
St. Ann’s Bay/North Shore, Cape Breton

Date of Celebration:
Saturday, July 30, 6 p.m.
Lobster Supper
North Shore & District Fire Hall, Indian Brook

Along the magnificent Cabot Trail a community is thriving – literally by design.

St. Ann’s Bay/North Shore, Cape Breton Island, runs alongside the Cabot Trail with side roads from South Haven to the foot of Cape Smokey. The area is known for its beauty, its fast flowing rivers and is home to the highest waterfall in the Maritimes – North River Falls.

While the spellbinding surroundings are a reason you might visit, it’s the people, their passion and their purpose living there that could just lure you to stay. This community embodies all the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Spirit Award stands for and is the second of four communities to receive the award this year.

The community’s roots began with the Mi’kmaw people who were joined by Gaelic-speaking Scots in the 1800s, its livelihood built on lumber and fish, trapping and lobster. Today, a robust lobster fishery continues – joined by a community of widely recognized artists who create a vibrant economy from award-winning leather, writing, magazine publishing, fiddle-making, iron work, photography and theatre – which some say is ‘at the heart of the art of community collaboration’.

In addition to residents designing their own lives, this community has taken great pride in designing its future – a future built on a foundation of commitment. In 1992 a community survey asked, “Do you see yourself or your family living in this community 10 years from now? ” 82% said yes. Since then, the community has strategically focused on social development, health, education and security – knowing these all lead to economic prosperity.

St. Ann’s Bay/North Shore – “A community where people live by choice – not by circumstance.”

A New Horizon’s grant called “I have something to share” brings young and old together learn to build a 12’ Herscoff design tender. Now completed, the boat was raffled off to raise funds for the fire department.


bighillpottery said...

Well done to everyone who was involved in this wonderful event! the photographs are great and you guys did a great job with the flower arrangements!

Cheers, Linda

Susan Zettell said...

Thanks, Linda. It was all so much fun and there are many lovely stories about Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis circulating in our community now. She was gracious and charming.