SPARCK PARK: Steel Plant Area Renewal for the Community and Kids

The Sydney Tar Ponds cleanup is almost complete. In its place will be a new park, with walking trail, creek-side boardwalk, dog park, bike park, sports field, playground, outdoor skating, and amphitheatre.

Since the tar ponds are no more, the area needs a new name. A contest to name the park received over 200 submissions from school-age kids. Here are the 5 finalists: SydneyParkProject.ca

One of the finalists is my daughter’s grade primary class (she’s front-row right in the video above). They suggested the name SPARCK PARK, which stands for Steel Plant Area Renewal for the Community and Kids.

Voting is open to the public. You can vote daily. Voting closes midnight June 3rd. VOTE HERE.

Zadie’s grandfather worked at the steel plant for 40-odd years, around the time he returned from the war until his retirement.

For more info about the future use of the former tar ponds site, check out tarpondscleanup.ca/futureuse.

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.)