Heritage Cape Breton Connection

Heritage Cape Breton Connection is an umbrella co-operative for historical societies and heritage groups from all over Cape Breton Island. Its mission is to “create an environment where the culture and natural heritage of Cape Breton Island thrive”.

This entails a combination of preservation and promotion of Cape Breton heritage and culture. A featured project that sets out to do both is called ‘Voices of Heritage‘, a series of 12 video interviews with key figures from the heritage sector, including influential and well-known names such as Jim St. Clair, Don Arseneau, and the late Bob Morgan.

Logo design by Kristy Read.

Who Owns This Town? Responses to New Dawn’s Public Meeting

When the money was announced for the harbour dredge I tweeted the following:

1965. (Today is the beginning of the closure of the container terminal.)

Referring of course to the year that marked the beginning of the end for the steel plant. I figure forty-odd years from now we’ll look back on the container terminal as just another relic from the fossil-fuel age. (A friend replied that since we’re living in a more environmentally friendly era, we’re bound not to make the same mistakes. I refer you to Alberta’s tar sands.)

I’ve already stated my ambivalence about the actual form any port development will take. But here’s the thing: however the port gets developed, the community should have the final say, and the community should be the primary beneficiary. For better or for worse, the community will have to deal with the consequences.

New Dawn — at an open community meeting last night — just goes that one step further and reminds us that self-determination is not a gift. It is a responsibility. If our right to self-determination is withheld, it must be taken back. But this is not to repeat the familiar refrain of victimhood. What we truly lack is not self-determination, but self-confidence.

For anyone who continues to doubt the community’s ability to determine its own future, have some faith: capacity, if and where it’s lacking, will come. But it requires us owning our resources — rather than having them liquidated — and then reinvesting the capital. In what? How about a diversified local economy? Imagine Creative Economies in arts & culture; Knowledge Economies in innovation and technology; Green-Collar Economies in agriculture and energy. Now we’re talking capacity.

No matter what happens, some of us won’t be happy with the results. That’s life. But we’re adults. We’ll deal. The distinguishing feature of an adult conversation is not that it resolves every contradiction, but that it contains them.

Below are some commentaries from friends who attended last night’s meeting.

Beaton Institute Music

Cape Breton’s four distinct musical traditions – Acadian, Mi’kmaq, Gaelic and songs of the coal mining tradition – are featured in a new website launched yesterday by the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University.

MUSIC: Cape Breton’s Diversity in Unity features over 100 songs, more than 20 videos, and more than 175 photos from the Beaton’s archives. The digitization of the materials ensures their preservation while increasing accessibility to the public. The Internet is made for projects like this.

Each page includes info about the song, a short bio of the artist and/or performer, lyrics, translations, transcripts in the case of videos, and educators’ resource guides that teachers can download and use in their classroom.

For various reasons, they couldn’t use a content management system, so the site is pure old-fashioned HTML, hand-coded, from scratch, by me.

It was a pleasure to work with the project’s team which included the Beaton’s staff. The songs were selected and re-mastered by Allister MacGillivray. Music consultants were John Alick MacPherson; Janice Tulk; Dan Doucet; and Jack O’Donnell of the Men of the Deeps. Educational consultant was Eric Favaro. Christie MacNeil did pretty much everything else.