Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Parish

“Mnohaya lita! Celebrating 100 Years of Ukrainian Faith in Cape Breton” is an exhibit honouring the centenary of the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Sydney, Nova Scotia. An in situ exhibit is installed and open to the public, February 2nd through November 17th 2012, at the Cape Breton Centre for Heritage and Science (The Lyceum), 225 George Street, Sydney.

The website I made features a ‘virtual exhibit’, with photography by Corey Katz.

The exhibit was curated by Dr. Marcia Ostashewski, a postdoc fellow in CBU’s department of History & Culture; and the creative director (who designed the banner on the website) was Darene Roma Yavorsky of The Word & Image Studio.

My dad grew up in the Pier, and his first school experience was a kindergarten operated from the basement of Holy Ghost Church by local Ukrainian nuns. In this picture he’s front-row-left.

AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton

AIDS Awareness Week takes place every year around the world during the last week of November concluding on December 1st, World AIDS Day.

The AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton is taking part with several events planned for next week including the flag raising and proclamation from the CBRM next Thursday, December 1st at noon.

Year-round the Coalition is hard at work promoting and providing harm-reduction services to people living with HIV/AIDS and people at risk of contracting HIV; providing a safe place for gay, lesbian, queer, trans, 2spirited & bi-identified people; and delivering educational training to youth service providers to enable them to better support queer youth who may be struggling to develop their identities in environments not always considerate of gender and sexual diversity.

Protest Songs

When marches and street parades celebrating working class solidarity began springing up with increasing regularity at the turn of the 20th century, it seemed to provide “historic proof that the workers of the world were to unite in a common cause.” That’s how J. B. McLachlan biographer David Frank put it.

Here’s how radical union organizer J.B. McLachlan himself described May Day parades in Cape Breton coal-mining towns in the 1920s:

“The workers of this land are our comrades and brothers, the capitalists of this land our robber enemies. The complete solidarity of the former is our hope, the complete extermination of the latter our aim.”

An essential part of the labour movement — in times of struggle and celebration alike — were the songs of protest that miners and steelworkers sung as they gathered and marched. 18 of those songs, the only surviving parts of which were lyrics published in the Maritime Labour Herald in the 1920s, are now brought back to life on protestsongs.ca.

Richard Mackinnon from the Centre for Cape Breton Studies at CBU worked with local musicians — like Colin Grant, Ian MacDougall from the Tom Fun Orchestra, and Nipper Macleod of the Men of the Deeps, among others — to set the lyrics to music.

The result is a collaboration of sorts, across almost a century. (Although sometimes the struggles of the past don’t seem so distant.)

CB Local Diet

Baddeck resident Alicia Lake has embarked on a month-long challenge to eat local. From September 1st to the 30th, Alicia’s diet will consist entirely of food grown or produced in Cape Breton (or manufactured using only local ingredients).

This means no oil for cooking, no chocolate, no salt, no grains, and hardest of all, no coffee! But it also means potatoes, onions and herbs from North River Organics in North Shore, garlic from Blue Marsh Farm in Nevada Valley, corn from Hanks Farm in Millville, lamb from GlenRyan Farms in Margaree, Honey Wine from Winter Winery in Scotch Lake…. and that was only day one.

Passionate about local food and how it pertains to community economic development in the region, Alicia has a firm belief that the choices we make when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families have wider social, environmental and economic implications.

“I believe that sustainable agriculture can be a foundational element for Community Economic Development, by providing health, food security, local jobs, social capital and sense of place for citizens. Purchasing local food is also a way of supporting the local economy that is available to all citizens and not only to those who can afford to invest,” she writes on her blog.

“However, since the disappearance of many producers it is no longer a simple task to purchase food that is produced only in Cape Breton. The purpose of this adventure is to demonstrate how many wonderful foods are produced here, and also to learn about the holes in our island food security.”

I set her up a with a blog, which she uses to post her daily menus, along with stories, photos, and occasional observations and discoveries along the way in her Cape Breton Local Food Adventure: cblocaldiet.ca

Alicia grew up in Iona and now lives in Baddeck with her husband and two children. She is founder and president of the Baddeck and Area Community Market, and is a Community Development Officer in the Political Science Department at CBU. She holds Bachelor degrees in both Community Studies and Political Science from Cape Breton University, and is currently pursuing an MBA in Community Economic Development at CBU.

Mabou Gardens

Remember those “Think Cape Breton First” signs? Well, their essence is distilled in these words from the new Mabou Gardens website:

“We are passionate about a few things: our family, living in Cape Breton, growing the best quality plants we can, and providing the best service to our customers. We live in and around the communities we serve. We have the privilege of being able to meet and talk directly to our customers. We can get to know what they want and need.”

I made this website a while ago, but…

“Like most things we tackle, it has taken a lot of time (and by that I mean procrastination), and effort. Gee, that sounds a lot like gardening!”

Two owners, five kids, three stores, gardening tips, weekly specials, festive wreaths, spring, summer, autumn, winter. Happy gardening.

Bras d’Or CEPI

The Bras d’Or CEPI (Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative) arose in 2003 in response to the First Nation Chiefs in Cape Breton requesting the development of an overall management plan for the Bras d’Or Lake and watershed lands, to addresses the key environmental issues of forestry, water, land use, invasive marine species, and declining fish stocks.

A fundamental part of CEPI’s process is the concept of ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’, the practice of approaching from Indigenous and Western Scientific perspectives without privileging one over the other.

Indigenous Science emphasizes reciprocity and relationship, reverence and ritual, responsibility and respect (and apparently alliteration). The Western Scientific Method is about making and testing hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and constructing explanatory and predictive models and theories.

A defining difference between the two world views is that Aboriginal peoples believe their ancestors were right on most things (hence an emphasis on tradition), whereas Westerners believe their ancestors were either mostly wrong or their ideas can always be improved upon (hence an emphasis on testing and falsifiability). But the point of ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ seems to be that practitioners themselves benefit by weaving the two perspectives together (a distinctly Indigenous concept) rather than that one perspective is improved by incorporating elements from the other (which would constitute a Eurocentric privileging of “progress” over tradition).

While there are obvious differences in the two belief systems — such as whether land and knowledge is held in trust for future generations or can be owned and exploited for personal gain — there are equally obvious points of consensus. Both knowledge systems start with observations of the natural world (pattern recognition) and are expressed in the stories we tell about our interactions with and within that world. (More on ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’, including a presentation by Albert Marshall of the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq First Nation and Dr. Cheryl Bartlett of CBU)

Right Some Good

Right Some Good? Think Celtic Colours but for foodies. This “10-day foodie adventure” brings ten world-class chefs to Cape Breton, teams each of them up with a local chef and an aspiring student chef, and asks them to create a unique twist on traditional Cape Breton cuisine, with an emphasis on seasonal and sustainable ingredients.

Tickets for the event go on sale June 20, and each event takes place at a different location on the island — from Fortress Louisbourg to the Glennora Distillery, from the Gaelic College to the Miners’ Museum.

The website I made features some pretty stunning photography: scenery shots, culture shots, and of course food shots, of both traditional and “high-tech” fare. I don’t even know what that yellow thing is in the screenshot.

Governors Pub & Eatery

Governors’ new website includes updates to the design (with a little help from Josh at Mod Creative) and the functionality. The changes — it looks better and it’s easier to get around — basically mirror the recent renovations to the pub itself.

In addition to the restaurant, the traditional-style pub has live music throughout the week, including an Irish session every Wednesday and an “Afternoon Ceilidh” on Saturdays. A patio with a harbour-view, Guinness on tap, it’s no wonder Governors has become the destination of choice for IDEAS: Powered By Passion attendees to continue the conversation.

Centre for International Studies

When I designed cbu-cis.ca, I put accessibility at the top of the list of priorities. Because of the Centre’s mandate to promote internationalization and global awareness at CBU and in the community, the website is likely to be viewed by people all over the world. This means varying levels of computer hardware, browser software, and internet accessibility. The goal was to build a website that is mostly just text (so it loads faster), but that is still highly functional and nice to look at.

The Centre’s flagship event is the Annual Social Justice Forum (formerly Human Security Forum):

A participatory forum challenging our conventional concepts of crime and punishment in the 21st century. With a view to promoting social justice and cultural integrity around the world, the forum will explore international human rights, structural violence, and race, class and gender dimensions of crime and punishment.

In addition to the annual forum, the Centre encourages the internationalization of the curriculum; coordinates educational activities on the themes of development, the environment, human rights, social justice, and peace, and more. (I’m an advisory board member.)

New Dawn Holdings

Cape Bretoners invest a hundred million dollars every year in RRSPs but less than 1% stays in Cape Breton. As New Dawn president Rankin MacSween puts it, first we send our money to Toronto, then we send our children.

What would happen if, instead, more of that money stayed in Cape Breton, to be invested in local projects, businesses, and community development initiatives?

New Dawn Holdings is trying to answer that question, by raising capital through an RRSP-eligible Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) and investing in the community, continuing its legacy of helping to create “a self-reliant people in a vibrant community”.

Check out the new website, which includes this video starring Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison, produced by Shot On Site Media.