NOW LUNENBURG COUNTY_MAGAZINE_56PGS_JUNE2018

kimwalters

LUNENBURG

COUNT Y

nova scotia

LUNENBURG, LUNENBURG COUNTY

fish & feastP. 19


SKYSAIL

BRAND MARKETING

& DESIGN

THE

SMALL

BUSINESS

AGENCY

397 MAIN ST.

MAHONE BAY

BRANDING

BUSINESS COACHING

GRAPHIC DESIGN

WEB DESIGN

PACKAGING

SIGNAGE

PRODUCT LAUNCHES

INTERIOR DESIGN

SOCIAL MEDIA

PHOTOGRAPHY

VIDEOGRAPHY

fil

SKYSAILBRAND.COM


19

CONTRIBUTORS

DONNA LEON | chester basin

STACEY COLWELL | bridgewater

GLENN DURNFORD | middle lahave

MARGARET HOEGG | petite rivière

TINA HENNIGAR | mahone bay

TIM MERRY | mahone bay

JENNIFER NAUGLER | hebb’s cross

TYLA CAREY | martin’s river

HEATHER MACKENZIE-CAREY | martin’s river

BÉATRICE SCHULER | new germany

KRYSTLE RETIEFFE | mahone bay

TONY LANTZ | bridgewater

ASHTON RHODENIZER | new germany

JOHN MERCHANT | mahone bay

ADVERTISING

LYNN HENNIGAR | TINA HENNIGAR

PUBLICATION DESIGN

SKYSAIL BRAND MARKETING & DESIGN

NOW LUNENBURG COUNTY TEAM

ELSPETH MCLEAN-WILE

LYNN HENNIGAR

MICHAEL BELLIVEAU

HEATHER MACKENZIE-CAREY

VICKI MACDONALD

WAYNE FULCHER

PAUL BELLIVEAU

MARY-ANN HILTZ

TINA HENNIGAR | coordinator

LUNENBURG

COUNT Y

fish & feast

P.

ABOUT THE COVER

COVER PHOTO BY BÉATRICE SCHULER

TAKEN DURING

THE ANNUAL SOUTH SHORE COLOUR FESTIVAL

BRIDGEWATER, NOVA SCOTIA

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No parts of this publication can be used without the written permission of the publisher.

PUBLISHER NOW LUNENBURG COUNTY

lunenburg county, nova scotia 2018

NOW LUNENBURG COUNTY WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2014

AND ITS PURPOSE IS TO BUILD PATHS TOWARD A VIBRANT AND SUSTAINABLE LUNENBURG COUNTY ECONOMY

THAT WILL SUPPORT A WAY OF LIFE THAT IS CHERISHED BY NEW AND OLD RESIDENTS.

WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN OUR WORK? REACH OUT TO US. HERE’S HOW:

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NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 3


ELLIOT WAJCHENDLER and HANNAH COOK

nova scotia

PINEGROVE, LUNENBURG COUNTY

breaking new ground BY

JENNIFER NAUGLER

Submitted photo

FARMHOUSE RESTORATION

CREATES YOUTUBE FAME

Living in Toronto and having recently finished school, Hannah

Cook and Elliot Wajchendler began working in their respective

careers as interior designer and architect. After some time and

circumstance, not feeling especially satisfied with their jobs,

they eventually began talking about where their careers and

lives were headed. More importantly, where they wanted to be.

Hannah grew up in Lunenburg County with her parents and

three siblings on a chicken farm, and was feeling the pull to

come back home. Elliot was open to coming to Nova Scotia and

loved the idea of living in an area with so much nature and

space. After some deliberation, Hannah packed up all their

things and moved to NS with Elliot joining her six months later

after finishing a temporary job out west.

Their original plan was to build a tiny home to live in, but

until that happened they were staying in the 100+ year old

farmhouse on the Cook farm property. The interior designer in

Hannah and the architect in Elliot, started peeking around the

old home and immediately felt inspired to start doing some

restoring and renovating.

They started in the living room and began recording some video,

mostly for their own purposes to document the process. When

they finished, Elliot spent some time editing and then decided

to upload the video, entitled Farmhouse Restoration- $300

Living Room Reno, to YouTube and Reddit. Within 24 hours, they

had received 800 subscribers. At the one-year mark, that first

video now has over 400,000 views.

Receiving so much positive feedback, they decided to keep

going and began dedicating more time to the video process.

Renovating the farmhouse, and sharing that experience, they

have built up a large following. They currently have close to

60,000 subscribers and 2.4 million total video views. With the

money they make from ad revenue, Elliot is now a full-time

YouTuber, while Hannah has a full-time job and her own cake

decorating business on the side.

Leaving Lunenburg County for a while and coming back has

given Hannah a whole new respect for the area. When you are

young, it’s easy to say there is nothing to do here, but Hannah

says if you go looking, there is lots to do, mentioning the

beautiful trails and recent addition of craft breweries. Blown

away by the space, nature, and the convenience, the longer Elliot

is in Pinegrove, the more he loves it. They both enjoy the slower

paced lifestyle and the sense of community.

Elliot describes these times as “ground-breaking” in that there

is so much potential online. There is still work to do, but you can

really do that work from anywhere. Hannah and Elliot are both

glad this new reality allows them to build their lives, living and

working in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.

YouTube- Wabi Sabi-E- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe34EfG32ae981lvYBKpgdg/featured

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/wabisab_e/

Hannah’s Cake Designs- https://www.facebook.com/hannahscakedesigns/

4 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


ETHAN HILTZ

nova scotia

MAITLAND, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tyla Carey photo

thriving trades

BY HEATHER MACKENZIE-CAREY

MANUFACTURING A CAREER AND

A LIFE IN RURAL NOVA SCOTIA

There is something even more genuine than Ethan Hiltz’s

infectious smile. It’s his love of Lunenburg County.

Ethan grew up in Mahone Bay, graduated from Park View

Education Center and completed post-secondary education

without ever moving away. He works at ABCO in Lunenburg in a

job he loves, living where he loves.

keeps him there. In less than three years, Ethan has moved into

a management position.

Metal fabrication might not sound that exciting, but as Ethan

tours me around his workplace, I can see how proud he is of

what he’s doing, and for good reason. It is really cool stuff! This

is not some “factory job”.

Ethan isn’t going anywhere. He doesn’t feel he’s missing out on

anything. In fact, still in his 20s, Ethan just bought a house in

Maitland, in the center of Lunenburg County easily accessible to

just about every community that makes up the place he grew up.

His life is great!

Perhaps that shouldn’t sound so unusual but Ethan knows

people think it is. He has lots of friends that felt they needed to

move away to pursue careers, although he is quick to add they

all intend to come back once they have established themselves.

Ethan also has many friends who stayed. He points to lots of

opportunity in the trades.

Perhaps it’s because we have a proud Nova Scotia history of

providing quality university experiences only an hour away, that

we seem to push our youth from high school to university. Ethan

thinks that may be a mistake. He encourages people to consider

the trades that are thriving in Lunenburg County.

Ethan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after leaving highschool.

Looking through the NSCC course catalogue he hit on

something that intrigued him. When Ethan graduated from the

2-year Architectural Drafting program, he landed an interview

at ABCO and, despite the job being more mechanical drafting

than architectural drafting, the company saw a good employee,

a community spirit and a great fit. Ethan’s friend got him the

interview. Ethan’s training, talent and flexibility got him the job.

It’s the encouraging workplace and sense of community that

902-624-6378

LOCATED IN THE OLD MADERS WHARF BUILDING

643 MAIN ST., MAHONE BAY

THEMUGANDANCHORPUBLTD.COM

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 5


ckbw.ca

cjhk.ca


BURT WATHEN

nova scotia

LUNENBURG, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Submitted photo

performing arts BY

DONNA LEON

LUNENBURG ACADEMY

OF MUSICAL PERFORMANCE

Burt Wathen has found the perfect groove in a great Victorian

building, and he couldn’t be happier.

From stunning strings to smokin’ hot jazz, there’s rarely a quiet

moment at the Lunenburg Academy of Musical Performance

(LAMP).

On the third floor in a light-infused classroom, teachers and

students warm up by singing Italian madrigals. Down the

hall, two young tenors sing a duet about getting coffee. In the

kitchen, a visiting tenor unpacks a meal of authentic Korean food

he intends to share with new friends.

Wathen is founder and artistic director of LAMP. Born in Sydney

and raised in New Brunswick, Wathen is a renowned viola player

who has taught and performed on three continents.

“Burt’s goal was to create a future for this building”, says

Susan Corkum-Greek, LAMP’s general manager. “He wanted

to assemble a world-class performance school that would be

embraced by the community, and that certainly has happened”.

“LAMP can be life-changing for young artists”, says Wathen.

“It’s a place where these performers can grow, a place where

they can discover their full artistic potential”.

The building’s 200-seat auditorium overlooks Old Town

Lunenburg. The high ceilings, the wooden detailing, large,

airy practice rooms and a state of the art recording studio are

impressive. You can see the Atlantic from most classroom

windows.

Young artists from 25 countries have studied at LAMP under the

guidance of sought-after Canadian and international performing

artists. Volunteers assist with everything from airport pickups to

food and housing. Many deep bonds have been created within

these hallowed halls.

“Every artist that comes here to teach or perform has agreed to

return”, says Susan Corkum-Greek. “They love the space, they

love being beside the ocean, and they adore the community.

It’s really been a gift”.

Burt Wathen echoes that sentiment. He knows he has created

something unique with LAMP, and he’s proud to call Lunenburg

home.

Since 2014, the grand building that sits majestically above the

Town of Lunenburg has been the Academy’s home. The former

school is a Canadian architectural treasure, the only intact 19th

century academy building surviving in Nova Scotia.

LAMP offers advanced studies in performance and interpretation

in a variety of musical disciplines and styles that range from

Renaissance to Contemporary, piano, strings, chamber music,

voice and opera, composition, world music and jazz.

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 7


DONNA LEON and ROBERT RISKIN

nova scotia

CHESTER BASIN, LUNENBURG COUNTY

urban to rural

BY DONNA LEON

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Donna Leon and Robert Riskin love to tell the story of how they

found Lunenburg County.

Donna left Cape Breton after high school to study journalism

at university in Ottawa. Robert lived in Vancouver since he was

a young adult. Both former college professors and television

directors, they knew one another for 20 years before getting

together as a couple.

Donna moved west, but after four months in Vancouver, she

grew tired of the rain and heavy traffic. They bought a home

near the lake in the sunny Okanagan, but the lifestyle didn’t suit

them. So three and a half years after that move, they sold their

home and its contents, and drove across Canada. The couple

temporarily settled near Donna’s mother in Waterloo, Ontario.

Donna Leon photos

“Our goal was to find a place to truly call home”, says Robert.

“We searched properties in the GTA and eastern Ontario. But we

didn’t find the right fit”.

Midway through the year, they were offered an opportunity

to housesit a villa in Spain. It came with a cat named Bootsie.

They jumped at the chance. The two thought living in a foreign

country for three months should be enough time to figure out

their next move back in Canada.

“Few people spoke English where we were housesitting, so we

were literally on our own. We had very weak internet in the

village, so I bought a roaming package on my phone and began

to search real estate sites. I stumbled upon a listing that was

comparable to our Kelowna home, only on the east coast, and far

less expensive. We looked at one another and said, “Let’s go for

it!”, Donna recalls.

What the couple found online was a listing for the QEII hospital

Lottery’s 2017 Dream Cottage, which the winners had decided to

sell. It had been on the market for only a few weeks.

Donna quickly enlisted a cousin and her husband to travel from

Dartmouth to Chester Basin to inspect the house. They Facetimed

with Donna and Robert during a walkthrough while the

couple watched on their iPad via WiFi at a pub 5,000 kms away.

Two weeks later, and a month before their return to Canada, the

deal was done.

“I still can’t believe we bought our home without seeing it in

person, in an area neither of us knew”, says Robert. “We had to

GPS our address the day we moved in”.

They knew the transition from urban to rural would be a

paradigm shift, but after living in the Spanish countryside all

summer, they were ready for the change.

8 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

Robert says Spain conditioned them to the rural lifestyle.


“In the countryside where we stayed, we got to know the local

community, we explored the culture, visited the markets, met

the locals and found absolute authenticity and charm. The South

Shore is appealing in the same way”.

The real estate deal included the contents of the ‘cottage’, much

of which are handcrafted and custom items selected by the

home’s architectural designer.

to visit family and friends, and love hosting dinners with new

and old friends.

“We really feel as if we have won the lottery,” says Rob.

Donna echoes that sentiment. “This is a dream come true”.

“We arrived with only our luggage and my spices. I love to cook”,

says Donna. “Our home at Skipper Hill is gorgeous. We take our

coffee to the community dock and just watch the world go by.

It’s so calming. And the sunsets are stunning.

Robert says they’ve become stargazers too. “You don’t see as

many stars anywhere near a large city because of light pollution.

We walk onto the deck and are in awe of the constellations. It’s

mesmerizing”.

Nine months after moving in, the couple keeps in shape by

swimming laps at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre and

bicycling on the many trails nearby. They travel to Halifax often

“THIS IS A DREAM COME TRUE”

Donna Leon

Something for Everyone at the Market!

Farm Market | Market Kitchen | Bakery | Event Hosting

Classes | Garden Centre & Greenhouses | Picnics & Catering

www.wilesfarmmarket.com

WILEVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA 902.543.6082


The Mahone Bay Centre

45 School Street, Mahone Bay, NS

SERVING THE GREATER MAHONE BAY COMMUNITY

MEET & GREET | ORGANIZE | CREATE | DANCE | LEARN | GET FIT

ENTERTAIN & BE ENTERTAINED... AND MUCH MORE!

Governor General David Johnston visited Mahone Bay Centre in

Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

In his address to the community he said the Centre is

“both the right thing to do and the bright thing to do”.

We gratefully acknowledge the Town of Mahone Bay, the Municipality of the the District of Lunenburg, the Province of

Nova Scotia, and the Government of Canada for their kind and generous support of our citizen-owned-and-operated community centre.

We also acknowledge the generous donations of our citizen supporters.

The Mahone Bay Centre has been granted Charitable status by Canada Revenue Agency.

mahonebaycentre.org | 902 624 0890


DR. PETER WEST

nova scotia

CONQUERALL MILLS, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Submitted photo

healthy living

BY Margaret hoegg

HOW ONE SOUTH SHORE DOCTOR

IS GROWING A PREVENTATIVE

HEALTHCARE MODEL

“Live a little more slowly, produce healthy food, and produce

healthy humans.” These are words to live by for Dr. Peter West.

Five years ago, Dr. West was working overtime at the Saint

John Hospital in New Brunswick, dividing his time between the

intensive care and medical teaching units. It was intense, and he

periodically suffered burnout.

Things changed suddenly for his family when their farmer left

the area. Secure access to healthy, fresh food had become even

more important with two young children to consider.

“We had been really interested in food before we came

down,” said Dr. West. “I had worked in the obesity clinic in

Saint John and so I had an interest in food that would make

people healthy.”

Then a friend sent them a link to the perfect house on a fertile

drumlin in Lunenburg County. “It’s close to the ocean, close to

Halifax, and then we discovered ... how amazing this part of

Nova Scotia is,” said Dr. West. “So yeah, we just totally lucked

into it really.”

He easily got a job at the hospital in Bridgewater - just 15 km

from their new home.

“The work environment here is lovely,” he said. “Once you get

out of the city and into communities....all of a sudden if there’s

not that power disparity, there is a more collegial relationship.”

He now works part time as an ER Doctor and homesteads with

his wife and three children. They grow vegetables and fruit, raise

livestock, preserve what they can, and buy the rest from the

many local farms and food producers along the South Shore.

“We had a loose idea of, ‘we want to start growing our own food

and work a little bit less,’ but it sort of progressed,” said Dr. West.

He sees his work as a Doctor and on his homestead as

connected, just at opposite ends of the spectrum. “What I’m

trying to do here is to grow healthy children,” he said. “When

children grow up in this type of environment, eating healthy

food, they will be healthy.”

In his work, he spends much of his time treating preventable

illnesses - obesity, diabetes, and a multitude of other conditions.

He sees preventative health care as the key to a better

healthcare system.

“SO YEAH, WE JUST TOTALLY LUCKED INTO IT REALLY.”

Dr. Peter West

As a health care professional and parent, he leads by example.

He hopes that by demonstrating the benefits of biking or

walking to work, growing your own food, and finding life

work balance, he can make a positive impact. He is encouraged

by the growing community of like-minded people in

Lunenburg County.

“There seems to be this migration of young families here,”

said Dr. West. “And the reason that they’re here is the same

reason we’re here. They’re interested in getting out of cities

and growing food and living healthily and being part of the

communities that humans are really kind of supposed to

grow up in.”

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 11


BRUCE THOMPSON

nova scotia

GOLD RIVER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

on the water

BY MARGARET HOEGG

TRADITIONAL BOAT BUILDING

MAKES A COMEBACK IN RURAL

NOVA SCOTIA

It’s a trade with a long, romantic history on Nova Scotia’s South

Shore. Today, it’s a niche industry in high demand.

At Tern Boatworks in Gold River, Nova Scotia, owner Bruce

Thompson’s boatyard is so busy that he has a backlog of projects

and a shortage of skilled tradespeople.

“It’s not only boat building,” said Thompson. “Every trade that I

know is lacking skilled people.”

Thompson hires some employees through the apprenticeship

programs run by the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association. Half

a dozen apprentices have completed their program working

alongside his crew.

Thompson’s own apprenticeship was more informal. With just a

photo of the boat he built in his parent’s garage, he approached

Covey Island Boatworks, then in Petite Rivière, to express his

interest in learning the trade.

To his surprise, they hired him on the spot. “So that’s it,” he said.

“I packed everything up in the city and moved down to the South

Shore.”

“IT’S NOT ONLY BOAT BUILDING, EVERY TRADE THAT

I KNOW IS LACKING SKILLED PEOPLE.”

Bruce Thompson

12 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

Submitted photo

Thompson mentored with talented builders to learn the handson

skills and filled in the written end of things through night

courses. In five years, he had the skill and confidence to start his

own company.

“My passion to put out good work is kind of what pushes

everything,” he said. “The whole business end of it just kind of

fell in place, but it’s been a steep learning curve.”

Tern Boatworks steers clear of specializing in a single niche

aspect of the trade. He said, “we’ll do traditional boat work, we’ll

do composite boat building, and we’ll take on something that’s

completely off the wall.”

This kept his company open to opportunities such as The

Enigma, a new 34’ International One Design Class wooden

racing boat, and more unique projects, such as the 45’

submarine playground structure for Halifax Waterfront

Development Commission, which they built using the same

strip-planking method used in the Bluenose II restoration

project.

This kind of creativity and diversification is what helps his

business stay on an even keel, even in a turbulent economy.

Thompson said there is renewed interest in “new builds”.

People are looking for something handcrafted and high quality.

Traditional boat building is “an artisan trade in some ways,” he

said. “It’s something that can be beautiful and functional at the

same time.”

Lunenburg County turned out to be the perfect location for his

business and also ideal for raising a family. He and his wife live

in LaHave with their two young children.

“It’s not a community that’s dying, it’s a community that’s

thriving,” said Thompson. “I think there’s a comeback to rural

communities, especially on the South Shore.”


ANDREW BUTTON

nova scotia

BRIDGEWATER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tina Hennigar photo

startups wanted

BY MARGARET HOEGG

MASHUP LAB PROGRAM A

CATALYST FOR RURAL

ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT

Andrew Button is less concerned about the type of business

someone wants to build, and more about empowering them

to see themselves as entrepreneurs. “I’m not working with

entrepreneurs with business ideas. I’m working with people with

business ideas,” he said over coffee at his co-working space in

downtown Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

Button has worked with over 1000 entrepreneurs in rural

communities through his Mashup Lab business. His Dream

Business Incubator Program gives participants like me a six

month runway on which to launch a viable business.

The first six week “boot camp” provides us with tools and

coaching that help us develop a strategic and dynamic business

plan.

Most programs offer a traditional approach structured around

writing lengthy business plans. While it works for some sectors,

Button doesn’t feel it serves the other 95% of businesses in rural

communities.

Instead, Button has taken some of the tools and ideas proven

to be successful for digital and technology startups and looks at

how to apply them to traditional types of businesses.

“The intellectual property of Mashup Lab exists in that

translation of some of these tools,” he said, “and helping to

frame them up in the context of the businesses that most people

are trying to build in rural communities.”

A real world business needs to be responsive - when something

is no longer effective, you need to be open to trying new things.

About his own business, he said “I’ve fallen in love with the

problem I’m trying to solve. I haven’t fallen in love with the way

in which I’m trying to solve it.”

How do you know when something won’t work? When I ask

him questions along those lines, Andrew’s answer is: “your

customers will tell you.”

We meet weekly for the first six weeks, then bi-weekly for 60

days until the moment of truth: Pitch night. This is when we

each stand up in front of an audience and speak for five minutes

about our business and where we are headed.

For those who continue into the final 90 day phase, there’s also

a chance to access up to $5,000 worth of startup services, from

branding strategy to digital marketing.

The program has expanded through a recent partnership with

NSCC that allows Button to offer the Dream Business Incubator

program for free to ten people each session. Furthermore, all of

Mashup Lab’s services are accessible online, which opens it up

to almost anyone, anywhere.

Button’s innovation and elevated mindset offers something

unique and progressive in the Atlantic region. With the rise of

new technology, there is an opportunity for people to create

their ideal job and build resilient, thriving rural communities.

“All of those dynamics are putting Mashup Lab in a position to

really light a fire under some of that entrepreneurial potential

and introduce a new way of exploring business ideas in rural

Atlantic Canada.”

Find out more about Andrew Button and Mashup Lab at

www.mashuplab.ca

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 13


Bridgewater Farmers Co-op Ltd

is in the business of helping

Lunenburg County Grow!

Grow Food

Help Farmers

Sustain Communities

BRIDGEWATER FARMERS CO-OP LTD

123 Elm St, Bridgewater, NS

(902) 543-2471


SAMIR UPADHYAY

nova scotia

BRIDGEWATER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

here to stay

BY MARGARET HOEGG

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FINDS

OPPORTUNITY AND CONNECTION

IN LUNENBURG COUNTY

How did Samir Upadhyay, a young business student from India,

find himself waist deep in snow in St. John’s, Newfoundland?

“If I tell you, you won’t believe me,” said Upadhyay, “but I

literally opened [a] map and ended up going there.”

“I came to Canada as an international student in 2010,” he

said. “I finished my studies in Toronto…[and] I wanted to move

somewhere outside of Ontario to start my life after my studies.”

Tina Hennigar photos

said Upadhyay. “I try to make them feel the same about what I

feel about this town. I tell them about how welcoming it is.”

Connecting with newcomers comes naturally for him, since he

understands many of the challenges they face. He helps them

decide the best area to live, find suitable employment, and

settle their children into school.

He tells them about multicultural festivals, cultural gatherings,

and invites them to meet other newcomer families. People move

here from India, China, Germany, Russia, Mexico, and other

places - when they connect with new and familiar communities,

he said, “they get a good feeling.”

When one of his clients wants to start a business, Upadhyay

supports them however he can. He has helped someone open a

laundromat in Bridgewater, an Indian restaurant in Caledonia,

and has a client who wants to open a Syrian restaurant in the

area.

Upadhyay has lived in Toronto, Newfoundland, Halifax, and

Ottawa. His career advanced quickly in Halifax, but he wanted to

live in a smaller town.

So, when he was offered an opportunity to manage a cell phone

business in the Bridgewater Mall, he decided to give it a try.

He stayed for two years by himself, returning to India to get

married, and eventually was able to bring his wife to live with

him in Bridgewater. They both enjoy the town and the friendly,

welcoming community.

Upadhyay enjoys connecting with people and giving back to the

community. His third job is substitute bus driver for the public

transit service in Bridgewater, and he recently joined the fire

department as a volunteer.

Community connections make all the difference for newcomers

who are deciding whether or not to stay. “When you see that

someone is new,” said Upadhyay, “it doesn’t harm to just say ‘Hi.

Hello. How are you?’...It always helps.”

Every day Upadhyay meets locals and newcomers who come to

his mall kiosk to get set up with cell phones. This is where he

connected with a woman who worked as an Outreach Settlement

Staff person with the YMCA. She was about to go on maternity

leave and suggested that he apply for the position. It was a

perfect fit.

“My work is to provide a settlement service to the newcomers,”

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 15


SARA WHYNOT

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Donna Leon photo

life is a highway

BY DONNA LEON

COMMUTE TO HALIFAX

NOT SO BAD

Sara Whynot knows carpool karaoke.

Whynot loves to belt out rock ‘n roll tunes while behind the

wheel on the highway every weekday. And she has plenty of

time to sing along to local radio. It’s exactly 86 kms from Sara

Whynot’s driveway in Mahone Bay to her office in downtown

Halifax.

“My carpoolers are not remotely musical”, jokes Whynot.

She and two other women leave Mahone Bay at 6:15 sharp most

weekday mornings. Commuting takes about three hours out of

her day, and she admits it’s not for the faint of heart. But she

loves her job, so the back and forth is worth it.

“Really, there are days that I don’t even realize the drive, and

suddenly, exit 10 pops into view. That always spurs that last

cleansing breath of the work day”.

Whynot’s personal road to Mahone Bay is the stuff of romance

novels. In the summer of 1982, she was working as a medical

researcher in her home state of Virginia. Norman Whynot was

a deckhand on Bluenose ll. The couple met in a bar. They dated

long distance for five years before Sara agreed to marry Norman

and move to Canada.

“Moving away from my family in Virginia was difficult at first, but

Norman’s life was here and he didn’t want to leave. I loved him,

so I moved North. It was a fresh start that allowed me to make

my own friends and become part of the community”.

Sara Whynot’s skills in academic research were transferable

from the U.S. to Canada. She quickly landed a job as a medical

researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax. That was 30 years

ago.

“If you want to come to Mahone Bay to live, it is your choice

where you work”, says Whynot. “I get to travel to international

conferences and events, and Norman gets to work close to home.

For us, it has been the best of both worlds”.

Sara Whynot credits her husband with her success. The couple

has raised two children, now young adults, in their sprawling

historic property overlooking the bay.

“I would not have been able to just drop and go had Norman

not been there to play the role of both Mom and Dad on more

than one occasion. I owe a lot to him”.

For Sara Whynot, the commute is just distance. As she sees it,

living in picturesque Mahone Bay is like going to the cottage

every day after work.

“When I drive across the Kedy Bridge and look at the three

churches, I feel as if I’m home. I get to drive into a postcard. How

lucky am I?!”

“WHEN I DRIVE ACROSS THE KEDY BRIDGE AND LOOK AT THE THREE CHURCHES, I FEEL AS IF I’M HOME.

I GET TO DRIVE INTO A POSTCARD. HOW LUCKY AM I?!”

Sara Whynot

16 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


PAUL AUCOIN

nova scotia

PETITE RIVIÈRE, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Submitted photo

the view from here

BY MARGARET HOEGG

SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

ENJOYS THE VIEW IN

PETITE RIVIÈRE

The pace of his work hasn’t changed, but the view from Paul

Aucoin’s desk is completely different. From his basement office

in Toronto he would see people’s legs go by; now, from his

studio office in rural Lunenburg county, he watches foxes and

deer across a meadow.

It’s a quality of life that he “could have never afforded in

Toronto,” Aucoin said. “To have that window - that’s something

that’s only available here.”

Aucoin and his young family recently moved from Queen

Street West in Toronto to Petite Rivière, a village on the coast

of Lunenburg County with a steadily growing population of full

time and seasonal residents.

“Petite Rivière is so incredible as is the whole area,” said Aucoin.

“The community lived up to all expectations...It was everything

it was advertised to be and more.”

He appreciates that his two young sons will grow up in a strong,

vibrant rural community. “I’m so excited for my son for the Fall.

The school’s got a chicken coop!” he said. “[The kids here] are so

spoiled in a good way.”

Aucoin grew up in Halifax and began studying music in Nova

Scotia, which, he boasted, “has a world-renowned music

education system batting way above its average.”

He moved to Toronto in his twenties and spent the next fifteen

years touring and recording with bands such as the Sadies

and the Hylozoists. He went on to perform on recordings

with everyone from the Constantines and Feist to Blue Rodeo

and produced records for the likes of John K Samson of the

Weakerthans and Ron Sexsmith.

Aucoin’s music made way to television and film by way of the

National Parks Project, for which he worked as Musical Director

and Music Producer. Then his career took a surprising turn.

Aucoin’s years spent writing grants in the music industry led

him to small business bookkeeping and production accounting

in film and television. Today, he runs an accounting business

with 100 clients and several employees.

“WHY NOT MOVE SOMEWHERE THAT HAS SO MUCH

SPACE AND SUCH GREAT COMMUNITY?”

Paul Aucoin

The transition from Toronto to rural Nova Scotia was, he said,

“shockingly seamless.” It helped to have a job on the right side

of supply and demand. He also switched to a paperless system,

which made remote work not only possible but more enjoyable.

“I would hope there’s a renaissance of all of those skill bases

that don’t take being in the same spot,” said Aucoin.

But there is still more work to be done on rural internet.

It surprises Aucoin that more people don’t take advantage of it.

“Why not move somewhere that has so much space and such

great community?” he said. “The space is what I enjoy most.

There is so much space for life.”

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 17


902 ATHLETICS

nova scotia

BRIDGEWATER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

health & fitness

BY

TINA HENNIGAR

Tyla Carey photo

COMMUNITY DISGUISED AS A GYM

When Joel Holland moved back to Lunenburg County from

Calgary, he joined a gym. It was fine, but he was looking for

more. Joel was looking for a community who challenged him

and who he could challenge too.

CrossFit is a branded fitness regimen that is taking the health

and fitness world by storm and Joel loved it. He believed there

was a space for this regimen in Lunenburg County. Joel started

CrossFit in his garage with a group of friends. When word

caught on, he had to rent a space and soon even that wasn’t big

enough for his growing community. And make no mistake; it is

a community.

902 Athletics is on 446 York Street in Bridgewater and Joel’s

community is growing every day.

“Our members are amazing. They inspire me,” Joel has an

intensity when he speaks that just makes you believe him. Their

membership is a mix, comprised of the super strong and those

just getting started, kids and those who’ve long retired. There

are mothers, and grandmothers, teenagers and athletes and

people who just want to lose a few pounds. They workout right

along-side one another; one lifting 200 pounds, while the other

sticking with a 10lb bar. And at the end of the workout of the day

they slap sweaty hands as the team they have become.

“We have amazing people here in Lunenburg County,” Joel

says of his staff, again with conviction. He talks of the team of

coaches that make up the 902 staff as if they’re family. “Don’t

for a second think that you have to compromise to live and

work and start a business here.” Joel credits his team and his

members for helping him create this space.

18 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

The new space is comparable to any CrossFit Gym in the country,

much different from his early days in the garage when people

brought their own gear. Joel remembers bringing in Matt Van

Waychen as a CrossFit Coach. “He was so knowledgeable, and I

knew I needed him, and I knew I couldn’t pay him what he was

worth,” Joel said of Matt. Eventually, as 902 grows, he hopes

that will change. “Everyone here plays an important piece,” Joel

said. “I’m really lucky to have them”


ARTHUR GARDNER and SARAH ALLEN

nova scotia

LUNENBURG, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Stacey Colwell photo

fish & feast

BY STACEY COLWELL

A LUNENBURG COUNTY COUPLE

THINKS THEY MAY HAVE THE BEST

WORKPLACE IN THE WORLD.

Married couple Arthur Gardner and Sarah Allen fish

commercially together off the Atlantic coast near Lunenburg.

“There are beautiful sunrises and beautiful sunsets, the scenery

is always changing and you see the most amazing things,” said

Arthur Gardner, who fishes with his wife, Sarah Allen, off the

coast near Lunenburg.

“It’s heavenly out there. We call it a church. It’s hard to explain,

but when you get the right sunrise it will almost take your

breath away,” said Gardner on a chilling April morning as he sat

on his dock in picturesque Second Peninsula.

“It’s also a calming place. You’re alone with your thoughts a lot

and you can contemplate a lot of things about your life.”

In fact, he doesn’t even consider fishing a job.

“Some people get up and say, ‘I don’t want to go to work today.’

I never, ever feel that way … I’ve found something I love to do

and I’ve made it work. Life is too short.”

Their days on the ocean include scenes that could rival anything

you’ll see on the Discovery channel, from watching hundreds of

tuna and dolphins chase herring around the boat to having gulls

sit beside them and eat from their hands.

“Every now and then you see a seagull you just know is not a

bird,” said Allen, adding it sometimes feels like she’s looking at

someone’s lost soul.

“‘I think, ‘You’re somebody coming to visit.’ It’s a spiritual thing,

you can just kind of tell.”

The couple thinks more people need to spend time in nature

and disconnect from the world.

“Lunenburg County is great for that,” said Allen.

“Here, you could go to the beach and be the only one there.”

Gardner supplements his fishing income by working in forestry,

and Allen said she took over the family auto repair business

after walking away from a good, well-paying professional career

because it worked better for her lifestyle.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent happy doing what I did anymore, and I

said, ‘You know what, I live in the most beautiful place in the

world, I have a wonderful life partner, so why am I not happy?”

She ultimately made the shift because it allowed her to spend

more time with her husband and be closer to home.

“I get to meet so many awesome people, even just going to the

grocery store and knowing everyone,” said Allen.

“There’s such a nice sense of community here. I think that’s

pretty special.”

“THERE’S SUCH A NICE SENSE OF COMMUNITY HERE. I THINK THAT’S PRETTY SPECIAL.”

Sarah Allen

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 19


RHYS HARNISH

nova scotia

HUBBARDS, LUNENBURG COUNTY

a shore thing

BY DONNA LEON

IT’S OPENING DAY OF

A NEW SEASON, AND

RHYS HARNISH IS BUSY

Servers scurry past with menus, tables are being reset, and

there’s a lineup of customers at the door. Harnish deftly handles

the crowd. He knows the drill.

Roy Harnish built the Shore Club in Hubbards in 1946. Roy was

a dairy farmer, and this new venture was a dream come true. He

and his wife Lois reveled in the camaraderie, the food and the

dancing. On Saturday nights, the Club was the place to be.

Three generations later, Roy’s son Rhys and his family run the

show.

“I’ve been involved in the Shore Club since I was eight. I used to

stack lobsters and scoop ice cream”, says Harnish.

of three shows sold out in nine minutes. Rhys Harnish is proud

of the fact that performers keep coming back.

“Matt Minglewood has been playing here for 50 years. How

many musicians can say they’ve played the same venue for half

a century? And how many clubs can say they’ve hosted the same

performers for that long? He loves it”.

The venue itself hasn’t changed much in 72 years, from the

shiny hardwood floor to the large stage, or the crew out back

cooking pots of lobster and mussels. Harnish credits much of the

Club’s success to his dedicated staff.

“They’re loyal, and they rise up to the challenge of busy days. I

remember a tour bus showing up one day and we had no idea

they were coming. But we pulled it together in an hour with

some amazing stickhandling.”

The Shore Club has served more than a million suppers since

the summer of ‘46. Gentlemen don’t don their ties and sports

jackets anymore, and the ladies no longer wear their frocks to

the dance parties, but the Club’s original charm remains.

And Hubbards on a Saturday night is still the place to be.

Submitted photos

Rhys, his two sisters and brother pitched in to help their parents

keep things running smoothly. On Saturday nights, Rhys would

sneak into the crawlspace above the dance floor to watch the

band play.

“My grandfather’s house was directly across from The Shore

Club, and just behind that was a pink house that my father built

in the 40’s. We wintered there and summered above the club

when he rented out the pink house. That’s why it was easy to get

into the crawlspace,” recalls Harnish with a laugh. “It was pretty

exciting to grow up there.”

Maritime music legends play the Shore Club at least one

Saturday every year. Award-winning rocker Matt Mays’ weekend

20 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


GREATNESS IS

AN ATTITUDE.

The future is written by the doers, makers and

creators. Those who are eager to get things

done and make their mark. The world belongs

to those who never settle. And NSCC is for

those who Strive.

Start your future at nscc.ca/lunenburg


firmly planted

BY TIM MERRY

FINDING MEANING IN

LUNENBURG COUNTY

I recently found this in my diaries from 13 years ago. The year

I moved to Nova Scotia. “The world is not going to get better.

The current global chaos is going to increase. The madness we

see now will only continue to escalate, I suspect, until we hit a

massive ecological crisis. I believe human intervention has gone

too far globally to be remedied - the battle is lost. The opposite

of despair is not hope for me; the opposite of despair is action.

Nova Scotia works for me as a place to begin this new action in

my life. It is on the fringes of the madness; what has infected so

much of the world has not really hit Nova Scotia yet. It still has

slowness and simplicity in its nature. When a pond unfreezes, it

is the edges that melt first. I believe that as the world descends

further into chaos, that we will need places which hold good

human wisdom and practice.”

It felt a bit strange to read it to be honest. It does feel to me like

the chaos has only increased over the last 13 years: the number

of ecological disasters, increased economic uncertainty, massive

social unrest, the breakdown of trust between citizens and

governments, corporate greed running rampant … you don’t

need me to continue the list!

That got me to thinking about why Lunenburg County is such a

great place to be. In the midst of all this madness we can watch

from the edges and make our own decisions. It is like we are part

of it but not fully in it all. We are safe. Thank goodness. More

from my diary:

” ... a place where people can get out of the craziness of the

rat race and see the bigger picture, connect to meaning and

purpose in life, break the illusion we are being sold daily and

re-enter life with a clear insight and compassion.”

For me, that then begs the question: what are we going to do

with the relatively privileged position of safety in a globally

tumultuous time? What opportunity do we have here in

Lunenburg County to forge a way of life that is informed by the

craziness around us but not driven by it?

22 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

There are already some great examples of citizens rising to

the occasion right here in Lunenburg County. The tech startup,

Woodscamp, for example. They are disrupting the Forestry

Sector across Nova Scotia with a model that could have impact

in Forestry across North America and Europe. NOW Lunenburg

County has launched a strategy to create population growth

across our region. What we learn here could have implications

for how rural communities everywhere deal with population

decline and stalling local economies. The Lunenburg Academy of

Music Performance is bringing some of the world’s top classical

and jazz artists to us and training performers who will travel the

world with the DNA of Lunenburg county in their art. I recently

heard of an initiative to bring some of the world’s top executives

to Lunenburg County for pivotal strategic retreats. The idea is

that the culture of this place and its natural beauty will influence

these executives’ ability to be more genuine with each other and

make better big picture decisions.

These are just some of the things I am aware of—there is so

much more. Individuals, neighbours, who are stepping up to get

something done at all levels of scale. All it takes is a simple step,

as Mother Teresa said, “do small things with great love”, and

“I want my kids to grow up in A place as unpolluted

as possible by all the bullshit in the world”

— Tim Merry


TIM MERRY

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

have jobs available in our economy and we have elders actively

supporting the next generation. It’s all here. Right now.

Submitted photos

then follow them forward with a next step. More from the diary:

“I want to be involved in creating the new, set the new patterns,

experiment on the edge of human potential. I do not want some

hippy commune; it has to be REAL, rooted in the real problems

of the world, working together with local community. So much of

what is happening in the world leaves people feeling powerless.

What would it mean for us to create a place which restored

people’s sense of dignity and power? A place that makes visible

peoples’ greatness to themselves and their communities.”

I want my kids to grow up in a place as unpolluted as possible

by all the bullshit in the world. But not cut off, not a separate

little haven, a place which learns through its dealing with the

larger world. A place which learns by meeting the madness

and using it as a mirror for its own growth. Learning from the

faults of the larger world, to create a different pattern. Today,

I am firmly planted in Lunenburg County. I have created a life

that’s beginning to reflect the aspirations of my diary. Both my

wife Kate and I are able to work from home. Kate, has a thriving

accounting business while today, I am working and collaborating

Continued on page 24

It is all very aspirational isn’t it? Maybe even a bit naive? As

I read these diaries now I realize that I have had much of my

vision tempered by the reality of trying to get change done in

a pretty conservative province. However, I can’t help but find

a part of me stirring in response to my younger voice. That,

in essence, what I was pointing at here, is true and good. We

do have an opportunity here in Lunenburg County that is not

afforded to many places. We are small enough and isolated

enough to do something audacious. Why not?

And why not start here in Lunenburg County? This incredible

gem of a place within the bounds of Nova Scotia. We are 47,000

people living and working within the inspiration of outstanding

natural beauty. I am surrounded daily by creative artists,

entrepreneurial business people, active community leaders and

deep spiritual practitioners. We have kids in our schools, we

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 23


Continued from page 23

with my business partner, Tuesday Ryan-Hart, who is based

in Columbus, Ohio. We have clients in Canada, the USA and

Europe where we help collaborators and problem-solvers get

unstuck with unforgettably pivotal events, capacity-building, and

strategy that sparks significant change and moves toward equity.

Since I left my parent’s house I have lived many places in the

world and had many homes. I have always been happy to pull

into the driveway or open the front door and relax. Now though,

for the first time since I left my Mum and Dad’s village in the

UK, I turn the corner, see the three churches of Mahone Bay, and

feel at home in the town, not only the house I pull into a few

minutes later.

Tim Merry is an engagement specialist and systems change

facilitator who works with organizations from all over the world

to lead break through change. For over 20 years Tim has helped

major international businesses, government agencies, local

communities and regional collaboratives to create the conditions

for people to organize together and solve their own problems.

This piece originally appeared in the daily newspaper Chronicle

Herald and the community newspaper LighthouseNOW Progress

Bulletin.

Your local MLAs welcome you to

Lunenburg County

HUGH MACKAY

MLA, Chester - St. Margaret’s

HUGH@HUGHMACKAY.CA

902.826.0222

SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT

MLA, Lunenburg

LUNENBURGMLA@EASTLINK.CA

902.531.3095

MARK FUREY

MLA, Lunenburg West

MARKFUREY.MLA@EASTLINK.CA

902.530.3883


KARA TURNER

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Callen Singer Photography

volunteerism

BY TINA HENNIGAR

THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY

It was December and Matt Hall and Kara Turner had only just

moved into their quaint, heritage home in Mahone Bay when

they heard a knock on the door. On the other side of their door

was Allan O’Brien, who for decades had welcomed countless

new families to his town. “Come with me,” he said, and he drove

them to the Ernst Christmas Tree Lot where they picked out their

first Lunenburg County grown Christmas tree.

Although no longer with us, Allan was often the first point of

contact for families, making them feel welcome and urging them

to get involved in the community. He was often their very first

friend in Mahone Bay.

“It was harder for us to get involved and make friends in big

cities,” Kara said of her time in Calgary, Norway and London.

“But it’s far easier here.” Kara noted that an hour commute in

Calgary made it hard to find friends that weren’t colleagues.

Here, Kara got involved right away by volunteering with the

Home and School Association which seemed a perfect place

to begin for the mother of three young children. Kara quickly

became involved in many festivals in town and her circle of

friends continued to grow.

“People ask me all the time, what are the drawbacks of living

in a small town, and I honestly can’t think of any. I thought I’d

miss shopping in a big city, but I don’t. I buy less, and I care

more about what I buy,” she insisted. “As you get older you

realize, loving where you live, with friends that you love is far

more important than having stuff,” Kara said.

Kara and her family were invited to a community potluck event

at the Mahone Bay Centre, where around a hundred people had

gathered to share a meal. “They asked all the new people to

stand and introduce themselves, and then the community gave

them one big welcome,” Kara recalled with a laugh. “I couldn’t

believe it. I turned to my new friends at my table and said, ‘Can

you believe this is happening?’”

“What I’d say to new people is the more you put in the more

you get out of it. Join in. Sign up to be a part of something

and you’ll automatically meet a group of interesting, engaged

people, and you’ll feel like you’re giving back while you’re

learning about the town.” Kara urged.

Our Dementia Care Specialists have studied with Teepa

Snow, one of the world’s leading dementia experts. We

specialize in the Positive Approach® to Care philosophy on

how to communicate, approach and connect with a person

living with dementia so your loved one will experience a

better quality of life. Struggling with an issue? We offer

complimentary dementia consulting services for our clients.

Our Services include but are not limited to:

• Companionship

• Meal Prep & Groceries

• Personal Care

• Medication Reminders

• Housekeeping

• Transportation & Errands

• Respite Care

• Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care

• Attendant Care

• Palliative Care

• Nursing Care

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 25


WHO WE ARE

The Lunenburg County Community Fund (LCCF) was established

by a group of citizens who are committed to ensuring a sustainable

future for Lunenburg County.

Through the LCCF, residents,

HOW WE MAKE organizations and businesses can

keep their wealth in Lunenburg

A DIFFERENCECounty and use it to provide an

The LCCF supports initiatives immediate that impact on a specific

help sustain and improve our cause shared or create a legacy on behalf

quality of life. LCCF has supported of the residents. For example, in

the work of NOW Lunenburg 2016 a Lunenburg County donor

County and other projects contributed such as: $1 million to the LCCF for

• Livewires 4H – A grant

the

was

clean-up

provided

of the LaHave River.

for building and sign improvements to

the building used HOW for Achievement YOU Day CAN HELP

and other The LCCF’s 4-H activities. goal is to create an endowment fund of $4

• Second million. Story Women’s Annually, Centre the LCCF – The grants funds based on the

grant interest money supports earned creating from the a position endowment to to projects that

coordinate support transportation our mission. and partner All gifts, with regardless other of size, are

community valued. groups to provide access to reliable

transportation Your gift for can women. come through regular contributions,

• Bluenose as a Coastal one-time Action donation, Foundation or – as In a partnership legacy gift

with Acadia through University your and estate Michelin, or life BCAF insurance delivers outdoor

based policy. environmental If you wish education you can at the control Morton where Centre on Heckman’s Island,

Lunenburg your gift County. has All impact programs by designating take place outdoors it to and aim to provide

participants a specific with community, opportunities project to enjoy or experiential cause. learning, science,

discovery, The LCCF and being is overseen active in nature. by a local board

of directors. Your donations are tax

deductible. Speak HOW to your financial YOU CAN HELP

advisor or estate planner for advice.

Annually, the LCCF grants funds based on the interest

earned from the endowment to projects that

MANAGING support our YOUR mission. GIFT All gifts, regardless of

The LCCF is managed size, are by valued. the Community Your gift can Foundation come through

of Nova Scotia regular (CFNS), contributions, a member as of a one-time Community donation,

Foundations of or Canada, as a legacy a network gift through of 191 your community estate or life

foundations across insurance the country policy. If who you are wish all you working can control

to make an impact where your in their gift has communities. impact by designating Together, it to a

Community Foundations specific community, of Canada, project CFNS and or cause. the LCCF The LCCF

provide the knowledge is overseen and by a support local board for communities,

of directors. Your

charities and donations citizens are to tax realize deductible. their individual potential

and collective possibilities.

For For more information

or or to to donate to the LCCF

visit lunenburgcountycommunityfund.squarespace.com

visit lunenburgcountycommunityfund.ca

or contact board

or contact

chair Elspeth

board chair

MacLean-Wile

Elspeth McLean-Wile

at 902-543-6082

at 902-543-6082

and emwile@ca.inter.net

and emwile@ca.inter.net

26 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

Taking the pulse of our County

2013

THE POWER OF A COMMUNITY

FUND: INNOVATION AND LOCAL

GIVING FOR LOCAL CAUSES

Submitted photo

A community fund is the perfect way to give back to your

community. Donations of all sizes are pooled together in a

single fund to support local charitable causes, and since it’s a

permanent endowment fund, the giving continues forever.

The fund is designed to be open and flexible to address the

ever-changing needs and priorities of your community, from

environmental concerns to social change and more. It’s also

developed by members of the community for the community, so

you can be certain your investment stays local and is directed to

where it’s needed most.

The Lunenburg County Community Fund is overseen by a local

board of directors with the financial contributions managed by

the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia. What started with a

small group of concerned citizens in 2009 has since committed

$1 million to support the clean-up of the LaHave River, sparked

the launch of NOW Lunenburg County and the hiring of

Tina Hennigar, a full-time population growth coordinator, to

spearhead the initiative inspired by findings in the Ivany Report.

The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia hosts a growing

network of community funds across the province. Atlantic

Canada’s First Nations Communities have just established

the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation. The

Community Foundation of Nova Scotia’s long-term goal is to see

a community fund in every economic centre in Nova Scotia.

View a full list of our funds at cfns-fcne.ca/en/ourfunds. You can

also find out more about the Lunenburg County Community

Fund at lunenburgcountycommunityfund.squarespace.com.


LUNENBURG COUNTY TRAILS

nova scotia

LUNENBURG COUNTY

Submitted photo

tracks & trails

BY GLENN DURNFORD

YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT

A COMMUNITY BY THE

PEOPLE WHO RUN IT

I am not talking about politicians or other people in charge

of making infrastructure work, I am talking about those who

actually run on the roads and trails that crisscross Lunenburg

County.

In an area famous for so many things such as scenery, history

and great food, it is important to recognize a culture that is

focused on fitness and, in particular, running as a wellness and

social activity. This is a great indicator of the quality of the place

we call home and how people in our region are getting the most

out of living here.

As someone who took up running later in life I can attest to

the fact that success in my new sport was the result, in part,

of the great running community I found all around me. There

were lots of beginners like me running their first 5k at the

famous Lunenburg Heritage Muffin Run, where participants

who number in the hundreds are all treated to home-made

muffins when they finish. There’s also a fun, family focused

Reindeer Run in Mahone Bay in December. There are many

dedicated runners chasing elusive personal bests in other races

in the region and beyond. Lunenburg County is home to many

seasoned marathoners, some who have run well over a hundred

marathons. These veterans welcome the chance to mentor fellow

runners to encourage them to run one of the many half and full

marathons available in Nova Scotia or to perhaps achieve the

ultimate goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

Running in the county allows you to get to know the locals,

learn more about the area and see some of the greatest scenery

in the province at a pace that allows you to really soak it all in.

Our backroads twist along the shore and the traffic is always

light, our trail system enables you to cross the county in many

directions and is accessible to runners most of the year. We even

have great beaches to run on if you want to get really close to

the ocean! When the weather turns nasty, which it does every

now and then, we wait a bit for the road salt and sun to melt the

snow or we head indoors to our local indoor track which is part

of the HB Studios Sports Centre.

There are numerous locations to get a good run in around the

county. What could be better than a 5km run through the Town

of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interested a

longer route? How about a 10k run on the trail from Bridgewater

along the LaHave river towards New Germany, rural and

scenic! Fancy going a bit further, how about a 15km run from

Lunenburg to Sunnybrook and back to get some great ocean

views! Or you can run the LaHave Islands, Chester, Mahone Bay

to Indian Point, the list goes on!

The other great thing about the running community here is that

it is made up of locals as well as many people who have chosen

Lunenburg County as their new home. The diversity on some

local long weekend group runs is great for conversations and

runners have a chance to share stories and laughs along the way,

all the time building friendships with people who are connected

only by running.

IF YOU ARE A RUNNER, OR WANT TO BE,

LUNENBURG COUNTY OFFERS A COMMUNITY OF

ENTHUSIASTS TO GET OUT AND RUN WITH

Bluenose Striders Running Club on Facebook

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 27


THE HUB SOUTH SHORE

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

a better way

BY TINA HENNIGAR

WHEN MATT HALL DECIDED TO

MOVE HIS FAMILY TO LUNENBURG

COUNTY, HE WASN’T ENTIRELY SURE

WHAT HE’D DO FOR A LIVING.

After a small moment of panic followed by the calming

reassurance of his wife, Kara, he knew he’d figure it out.

As a geologist, Matt felt fairly certain he would be able to do

contract work in his field, working from home. Mahone Bay

has high speed internet, after all, and Lunenburg County is

accessible to the International Airport. These advantages are

two of the reasons he wanted to move here for a simpler life,

watching his children grow up, working closer to his young

family.

Working alone and from home also has its challenges. It was

Tyla Carey photo

during a conversation with a couple of mates who also worked

from home, when together they decided there was a better way.

Around that same time, co-working spaces were beginning to

emerge, so the three, Matt, Tim Merry and Dave Thomson, all

living and working at home in Mahone Bay, decided to follow

a similar model. They invited others to join them and quickly

outgrew their space.

They moved from a room in the Mahone Bay Centre to Main

Street, leasing the whole ground floor of Mader’s Wharf, under

the Mug and Anchor Pub. Their members are diverse. Lawyers,

editors, animators, creators and writers, if you can work from

home, you can probably work out of The Hub.

“If you don’t wish to be disturbed the universal sign is to put

your headphones on. But often you’ll see people chatting and

collaborating and working out a problem,” Matt said.

“It’s really great,” Matt said of the atmosphere of the trendy

space. “There is space to do things like this here; to solve

problems and make an impact. And we’re just downstairs from

a pub, so after-work we can have a pint,” he laughed. “Pretty

amazing really.”

“YOU’LL SEE PEOPLE CHATTING AND COLLABORATING AND WORKING OUT A PROBLEM” Matt Turner

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ANNEKE VAN BOMMEL and CAMERON MACKEAN

nova scotia

CONQUERALL MILLS, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Jason Moreland photo

crafting a life

BY MARGARET HOEGG

TORONTO ARTISTS CRAFT

A BEAUTIFUL LIFE TOGETHER

IN LUNENBURG COUNTY

Anneke van Bommel and Cameron MacLean dreamed of

someday buying a century home with enough space for their two

studios.

“We are both artists and designers that run the majority of

our businesses online,” said MacLean, “so we really could be

anywhere...we started to think, why not Nova Scotia?”

They planned a destination wedding on the South Shore and

“literally a day after the wedding during our honeymoon we

found ourselves driving closely behind our real estate agent,

looking at homes,” said van Bommel. “When we saw the home,

something clicked.”

Anneke van Bommel is an artist and educator who works

primarily in jewelry design and metalsmithing. She creates

whimsical minimalist pieces that explore themes of memory,

home, and identity.

Cameron MacLean is a certified furniture maker who creates

mostly smaller scale, minimalist interior pieces for the home,

both original designs and custom collaborations.

The two entrepreneurs started their businesses, Touchthedutch

and Offcut Studio, in Toronto in the early 2000s.

Between their studio work, their creative collaborations, and

their ongoing project of restoring their century farmhouse, the

couple dedicates their life together to their crafts and love of

design.

They love that the calmer pace of their new life allows them to

spend more time together. “We have zero transit time now,” said

van Bommel. “No subway or bike rides through gnarly traffic to

contend with. A calmer start to our days, most definitely.”

They grow their own vegetables in the summer and love having

access to small farms and food producers year-round. Van

Bommel participates in The Lunenburg Farmers Market, which

gives her opportunities to connect with her new community.

The couple takes full advantage of all Lunenburg County has to

offer. From checking out live music at the Old Confidence Lodge,

to exploring the coast, visiting antique shops or art exhibitions,

or grabbing a pint at a local microbrewery, there is always

something interesting and fun to do.

“There is a fantastic energy here, a vibrancy that is tricky to

pinpoint,” said van Bommel.

They have been surprised by some more unique Lunenburg

County traditions, such as horse and ox pulls, community

suppers, and generous neighbours. Van Bommel said, “our

neighbour has left us lobster, wine and smoked fish on our

doorstep on a number of occasions...that’s always wonderfully

surprising!”

“We were drawn to the welcoming arts community, the fantastic

farmers’ markets, the landscape and the entrepreneurial

momentum that we experienced. I would definitely encourage

others to take the leap! It’s a much calmer lifestyle and Halifax

is only an hour away!”

You can find Anneke van Bommel at touchthedutch.com and

Cameron MacLean at offcutstudio.com

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 29


MANUFACTURING

nova scotia

LUNENBURG COUNTY

tradition meets innovation

Bridgewater Metal Industries photo

BY GLENN DURNFORD

MANUFACTURING GOING STRONG

IN LUNENBURG COUNTY

We often hear from our political leaders, manufacturing is

critical to the success and vitality of any economy or region.

Manufacturers take raw materials, specialized skills and

initiative to add value to create finished products that can be

sold at a profit. That profit is returned to the region in the form

of good wages and a solid tax base.

Manufacturing takes vision, a great work ethic and smarts

to build something that is unique or of higher quality than

the competition to achieve success in local, national and

international markets.

The South Shore, and Lunenburg County in particular, is no

stranger to success in manufacturing. With a history steeped

in traditional resource-based manufacturing, the towns of

Lunenburg and Bridgewater were famous as far back as the

19th century for their products. Wooden ships, salt fish, marine

engines and propellers and lumber were some of the products

that made their mark around the planet and drove the economy

for years.

But as they say, time changes everything and so is the case with

manufacturing in Lunenburg County. Sure, we still build ships

but now many of them are made of aluminum and composites.

We produce lumber, but we do it now with a volume and

efficiency that would be the envy of any region and we do it

sustainably. We still harvest and sell fish, but now we invest

more in it and add greater value selling top quality processed

fish to a growing global client base with a strong focus on

sustainability.

30 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

After a couple of hundred years we have diversified

manufacturing in the region which has put a greater demand on

finding the skills needed to build the exciting and exotic things

now shipped out of here.

Some examples of other products being manufactured locally

in the 21st century include robust scientific deck machinery

for oceanographic vessels, passenger and light truck tires,

engineered wood siding to clad houses with a traditional look

hiding a hi-tech material, world class plastic thermoforming

equipment that utilizes unique processes reducing energy

consumption, cutting edge technology to produce carbon fiber

components for aircraft parts that are used by major aircraft

manufacturers as well as components for use on communication

satellites.

But why stop there? Some of the best video games in the

world are created in Lunenburg County, cutting edge scientific

equipment which is used to measure changes in the world’s

oceans, and we now produce value added products from locally

grown fruit and berries that line the shelves of stores across the

nation.

This focus on creativity while maintaining our love of

craftsmanship allows local manufacturers to sell to and in some

cases dominate international markets. Clients see our products

and innovation as critical to their operations. Being ideally

located on Canada’s East coast we are near one of the greatest

deep-water harbours in the world, a busy international airport

and our place in time has us saying good night to European

clients as we say good morning to clients on the west coast and

Asia.

The result of all this activity is a stable economy, with good

paying jobs and lots of spin off activity in the region.


IMAGINE...

Imagine a fuller, more authentic life, closer to nature

in a warm and welcoming community. One that offers a better

chance to find that elusive work/life balance.

The District of Lunenburg is the third largest in the province

occupying just over 1700 square kilometers. Rural in nature, the

District surrounds the Towns of Bridgewater, Mahone Bay,

and Lunenburg.

Here, small business is BIG business and you’ll find a community

of inventive, industrious people - filled with entrepreneurial spirit.

There is a good startup culture and the more relaxed way of life

means people have time to talk and collaborate. This enables a

cross-pollination of ideas on a scale not always available in larger

urban centres.

There are 135 communities in the District bearing names

handed down from French, Mi’kmaq First Nations, German,

Swiss, British, Irish, Scottish, and other early settlers who

immigrated to our area over the span of some 400 years.

A story which continues as newcomers discover the District,

and in many cases decide to make it their home.

When we lived in the city we would try to go

to the ocean once a week but that often became

once a month. Here we go once a day.

BAY OF FUNDY

Kentville

Halifax Stanfield

International Airport

Digby

Mahone Bay

Halifax

Dartmouth

Yarmouth

Shelburne

Bridgewater

Liverpool

ATLANTIC OCEAN

Lunenburg

www.LunenburgDistrict.com

District of Lunenburg


MIKE and AMELIA BISHOP

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

rediscovering paradise BY

TINA HENNIGAR

Submitted photo

MAHONE BAY COUPLE

SERVE UP MORE THAN

JUST COFFEE

It’s 6 pm and I’m setting up to interview Mike and Amelia

Bishop, the owners of The Barn Coffee and Social House in

Mahone Bay. They’d already put in a full day, and were balancing

their cash, when a lady poked her head in through the door that

was not yet locked.

“Oh, are you closing?” she asked in disappointment, anticipating

their answer.

“Yes, sorry,” Amelia apologized. “We close at 5,”

“Wait,” Mike stopped her before she left. “You want a coffee?”

He asked, holding up the pot. “It’s just going to get thrown out

anyway.

The lady and her friend gratefully added their fixings to their

coffees and left happy.

I sat back on the oversized, brown leather sofa in what feels

more like a cabin than a coffee shop, and watched the couple

continue to work in unison as we listened to The Illuminators

over their speaker. They’re a team, Mike and Amelia, and what

they have built together is very special. Over the next hour

“THIS IS MORE THAN JUST A BUSINESS TO

US, AND WE WANT TO DO MORE THAN

JUST MAKE MONEY.”

Ameila Bishop

32 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

I would grow to love them, and this place even more than I

already loved their coffee.

“This is more than just a business to us, and we want to do

more than just make money.” Amelia said of The Barn and what

they’ve managed to do here. “We want to give everyone an

experience and make everyone feel like family.”

It seems to have worked. Every day since opening has been busy.

Mike and Amelia could feel the support from the community

almost immediately, through the lineups in those early days.

They keep anticipating a slow down, but aside from a few major

snow storms, it hasn’t yet. The duo credits the social media

savvy of their team who work at The Barn. But that alone will not

create a successful business, they caution. “You can’t just have

the sizzle. You need to have something they want,” Mike insists.

“We try very hard to make people feel welcome; like they’re in

our home.”

Mike spent his childhood in Truro and later moved to Boston. He

was visiting his sister in Kentville when he met Amelia. With a

background in education and an entrepreneur at heart, he found

similar qualities in Amelia who worked in the non-profit sector,

assisting other entrepreneurs.

‘You’re opening another coffee shop? You’re not going to make

it, especially in February,’ was the advice they were given when

they announced their plan to create a coffee shop in the old barn

housed on the property beside the iconic Suttles and Seawinds

retail shop in Mahone Bay.

“We knew what we were doing was going to be special. We’re

thankful for every single person who comes through the door. As

confident as we were, it’s still surprising.” Mike said of the buzz

of The Barn.


They offer more than coffee. On the menu you’ll find specialty

coffees and decaffeinated beverages such as locally made

kombucha, as well as baked goods from local bakeries, soups

and light fair from neighbouring restaurants. Mike doesn’t see

The Barn as a competitor to other restaurants and coffee shops,

but rather, as a partner.

“IT’S LIKE REDISCOVERING PARADISE

EVERYDAY.”

Mike Bishop

“No-one is coming to Mahone Bay for a cup of coffee. They come

to shop and eat and experience all that we have to offer, so we

have to all do well,” he insists. “So many people come in and

want a restaurant, but we’re not a restaurant, so we share with

them [information] on all the other cool restaurants.”

“There is really something special happening. I feel incredibly

grateful and thankful to be here at this time and in this place,”

Mike said of living in Martin’s River. Mike said that when Amelia

began taking him around the province and they were exploring

Lunenburg County he really grew to fall in love with it. “Hirtle’s,

Queensland, and Carter’s Beach, I mean, they’re just incredible.

I said, wow, it’s like rediscovering paradise every day. It’s like

having corn flakes for the first time,” he laughed.

“WE TRY VERY HARD TO MAKE

PEOPLE FEEL WELCOME; LIKE

THEY’RE IN OUR HOME.”

Mike Bishop

Submitted photo

When you look around The Barn on any given day there are

many different types of interactions happening. A group of

school kids might be enjoying gourmet hot chocolate while a

neighbouring table is sipping an espresso. You’ll find groups

having a meeting and others sharing simple pleasantries. It

was when I was leaving that Amelia shared something rather

profound with me and I didn’t want to edit one single word. She

said, “There are people who underestimate young people. It’s

troublesome at times. But I’d love people to know that there

are a ton of us who are young and fully ready to get this job

done and just want to put their hearts and souls, our ideas,

creativity and passion and everything we’ve got into helping

to make these communities thrive. We want to do this for you.

Let us love you!” She implored. “Do you know what I mean?”

she continued, apologizing for being tired and perhaps not

articulating her thoughts as intended. But I knew exactly what

she meant. I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it myself.

It seemed like a perfect place to end it. I went home and

couldn’t sleep, and it wasn’t from drinking coffee after 6pm. I

was inspired. We are in amazing hands with these new, young

people in our community who are doing great things, creating a

new cultural vibe here. We have to support them. Let’s get out of

their way and just let them go. We need to let them love us.

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 33


DESIREE GORDON and STEFAN KIRKPATRICK

nova scotia

WEST DUBLIN, LUNENBURG COUNTY

water buffalo farm

BY STACEY COLWELL

Stacey Colwell photo

PASSIONATE ABOUT LOCAL FOOD

LOCAL PRODUCTION

Desiree Gordon has some advice for anyone who’s ever thought

about leaving the rat race behind and opening the business of

their dreams in a quiet, close-knit community by the ocean. “I

would say do it, but don’t expect to get rich,” said the 31 year

QUALITY AND INNOVATION SINCE 1947

A leading supplier and

manufacturer of engineered

metal products for processing

and marine industries.

old expectant mom who has a two year old son and works with

her husband, Stefan. “What we do is as much about lifestyle as it

is about work.”

Desiree spent a number of years in Montreal as a baker and also

tried her hand working at a sail loft, while Stefan studied fine

art and also was employed as a boat builder. Then, the couple

began what may be Nova Scotia’s first water buffalo farm in

2015 in the tiny coastal community of West Dublin. “I was on

parental leave with our son, so we thought it was as good a time

as any to become workaholics,” joked Desiree. Still, it’s been a

welcome change.

“We both wanted to be able to avoid a long commute to work

and be able to be with our son and future children as much as

possible during their formative years. We also like to take time

off in the winters and are working towards being able to travel

in the winter more.” The family always has time for lunch and

dinner together, and after their son goes to bed, Desiree and

Stefan usually eat ice cream and watch The Wire.

Last year, they opened a bakery and dairy bar in a charming old

general store that had been dormant since the 1960s. “Basically

we have to work like crazy here in the summer months when

the going is good. Then in the winter, we have to be careful with

money, but we have much more time to relax with friends and

family, said Desiree”

LUNENBURG, NOVA SCOTIA

WWW.ABCO.CA

34 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

“I love living here,” said Desiree. “Most of my friends are

entrepreneurs and artists. A lot of people balance working and

pursuing many other passion projects such as farming and

gardening. Also, people are highly active in working to keep

where we live a sustainable and thriving place.


MARLEAN RHODENIZER

nova scotia

BARSS CORNER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

a perfect fit

HOME FOR A REST

We’re Waiting

For You

Submitted photo

BY JENNIFER NAUGLER

Who knew 20 years ago that a vacation on the West Coast would

result in a new local business opening in Lunenburg County

serving all of Atlantic Canada…but that’s exactly what happened

to Marlean and the late Robert Rhodenizer. After visiting the

Murphy Wall-Bed dealer Marlean and Bob came home and began

designing and manufacturing the authentic Murphy Wall-Beds

for all of Atlantic Canada and Hide & Sleep Beds Ltd was born.

Hide & Sleep Beds was established as a family business in 1995

and continues to this day with Marlean, her daughter Debbie

and her husband Sterling Zwicker all working together in their

office and production facility in beautiful Barss Corner. Over the

years they have participated in over 150 home shows all over the

Maritimes and have enjoyed assisting their customers with the

design, delivery and installation of their Murphy Wall-Beds.

A Murphy Wall-Bed includes a standard sized mattress that tilts

effortlessly away into its own cabinet using a spring system, for

either residential or commercial use. Wall-Beds can turn any

room instantly into a place to sleep, thereby creating a dualpurpose

room. Your home-office, spare room or yoga studio can

quickly transform into a comfortable place for guests.

After bringing Murphy Wall-Beds to Lunenburg County demand

grew so quickly that, within five years, it became clear to the

Rhodenizer’s that they were going to need their own production

facility. Designed by Bob and located across from the farmhouse

where they used to live and raised their family, is now the

showroom and production facility for all the Hide & Sleep Beds

that are ordered in Atlantic Canada.

Murphy Wall-Beds are a perfect fit for those looking to downsize.

They offer a space for the grand kids to sleep-over and are a

great option for cottage owners and anyone who has guests

and not enough beds. In the age of minimalism, down-sizing,

tiny homes and more… recognizing the need for people to repurpose

spaces in their homes, cottages or office … it seems as

if Hide & Sleep Beds have been ahead their time.

It was inspiring to visit with Marlean and hear her story of the

vision and drive that created the Hide & Sleep Beds business

here so many years ago. Seeing their continued success from

their location in the middle of beautiful farm country is just

one of the things that makes living in Lunenburg County so

appealing.

Come join us as we build a healthy community

together. Our Pharmasave team is active in

building collaborative services with other health

care practitioners – we are currently engaged

in an exciting Collaborative Care Pilot

with our local physician.

If you want to be actively engaged in promoting

and providing health care in your community –

come and join ours – see you soon!

KINBURN PHARMASAVE

MAHONE BAY 902-624-8347


Submitted photos

won't you be our neighbour

BY TINA HENNIGAR

THE POWER OF THE INVITATION

In 2014 the Nova Scotia government released the report it

commissioned on the economic state of Nova Scotia, referred

to interchangeably as the “Now or Never Report” and the “Ivany

Report”. This report like so many that came before it was a

sobering look at Nova Scotia’s current economy and its future

trajectory. Elspeth McLean-Wile had a visceral response to this

call to action. Elspeth owns and operates Wiles Lake Farm Market

with her husband Peter.

Faced with a situation where she didn’t know the answer,

Elspeth chose to invite other business people she knew or knew

of to create a core-team willing to think and act differently and

figure out a way to create a better life in Lunenburg County. Now

known as NOW Lunenburg County, this group began meeting

weekly at 7:30 am, before they all went off to run their own

businesses and deal with the 101 other things that they did

36 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

in their regular lives. In those meetings they discussed how

to address some of the challenges that are facing Nova Scotia

generally and more specifically Lunenburg County. A half dozen

well meaning, passionate people can’t change the future of an

entire community alone.

So NOW Lunenburg County’s core-team also began inviting

people. They invited them to be a part of the solution; to be

part of the process, they invited them to a series of community

meetings where folks were asked to be part of the future of

Lunenburg County by rolling up their sleeves and getting to

work.

Residents, in accepting their invitation, decided that they’d

had enough of complaining about how things are and instead

demonstrated their willingness to do something about it.

Community members submitted their ideas for projects that

required support, and then they too hosted conversations where

more people joined in. Ideas such as public transportation and


more access to daycare, providing lectures for lifelong learning

and youth retention were championed. These public events,

large and small, eventually lead the NOW Team to population

growth as their key strategic direction. They began to imagine

what our community could look like if we had more people;

people to increase our talent pool, people to provide daycare

services and host lectures, more students to fill our classrooms,

and more people to ride the bus. In 2016, with a strategic

direction, determination and private funding, and not much

more than a title of Population Growth Co-ordinator, NOW

invited applications for their first paid position.

This is where my story begins: I participated in a number of

the community meetings and they left me inspired. There is

something about the vulnerability of stepping into the unknown

that excited me. I was happy with my life and in my job as a

Development Officer for our hospital foundation, but the pull to

have a positive impact on the future of Lunenburg County for my

children was bigger than me.

We had one year and not a lot of money to try and grow the

population of Lunenburg County. And I knew we wouldn’t be

successful waiting for folks to come to us. We had to be out in

the community. I wanted to work out of a mobile office, and I

had found a 1976 Boler camper that would do the job!

By the end of that first meeting together, my mobile office had

grown into a plan to travel across the country for Canada’s 150th

Anniversary, stopping in towns and cities to talk to people and

invite them to learn more about our amazing county. We had

created NOW’s first tangible project: A 36-day cross Canada Tour.

Collectively we decided that we would raise as much money as

we could and we would go as far as the money would take us.

We did make it across the country.

Our business community stepped in with sponsorships and

citizens also donated. Almost everyone wanted to be a part

of this crazy, audacious project, ultimately helping us raise

$50,000 in cash and the same in-kind, making it possible for

us to drive over 12,000 kms across our great country. We spent

36 days telling our fellow Canadians about our affordable real

estate, jobs and business opportunities. I told them about our

beaches, our incredible lifestyle, our amazing people, and the

opportunities awaiting newcomers here.

We announced our tour with lots of fanfare! However, not

everyone was bringing out bottles of champagne to help us

christen our 1976 Boler trailer. We had our share of critics, as do

all things, and cynics too! I recall a town official saying to me; “I

don’t know how welcoming I’d be if some other town drove in

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and wanted to park in my town and take our people. I think I’d

have you thrown out.”

In fact, no community threw me out. I met with town officials

and asked them what’s happening in their communities - where

should I go? They generously shared their community with me!

They introduced me to Chambers of Commerce, business leaders

and youth champions. I had dinner invitations, I was offered

booths at markets and even had a police officer redirect traffic

for me, so I could drive the wrong way down a one way street.

I gave out real estate guides, information on our schools,

athletics, locally produced wine and beer and lots of dog treats.

As a result, I met thousands of amazing Canadians. I met Laura

who lost her parents and now there’s nothing keeping her in

Edmonton anymore. She wept as she told me that she now feels

lost in this big city, and so I told her about some of the people

she’d find in Lunenburg County. Folks like Paula who moved

to Petite Rivière from Toronto. She’s a nurse, a volunteer firefighter,

and she loves her new life. Her friends visit from Toronto,

watch the sun set on the beach and say, “I wish I could do this.”

She told me how scared she was when she moved to Nova

Scotia; she laughs now “Life hasn’t been all that easy for me.

Living here has been the easiest.”

I met Liz in BC who makes and sells her own gluten free cookies,

which were amazing. She asked me how the gay and lesbian

community are treated in Lunenburg County. I connected her

with a good friend of mine who is in a long term same-sex

relationship, and hoped she’d give our community a good, but

honest review of how she and her partner are treated. I feel like

she’s respected, appreciated and loved in my community, but

does she feel that way? To my relief, she does.

And I met a lady in my hotel lobby. She was in line behind me,

eyeing my t-shirt which read; “Follow Me to Lunenburg County

Nova Scotia.” She had a warm, kind, shy smile and a bright

blue and yellow hijab covering her head. I turned and asked

her if she was familiar with Nova Scotia, and I told her about

Lunenburg County. I told her about our incredibly supportive

Muslim community. I told her about the Alis’ and the Sodes’,

two families who have several businesses and have built a small

but mighty mosque in our community. She gave me a puzzled

38 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

“...NO, IT’S NOT AN ECONOMIC BOOM, IT’S A LIFESTYLE BOOM”

Tina Hennigar


look, and I worried I had somehow insulted her. For a moment I

regretted being an extrovert.

“I’ve never been asked to move to a community before.” She

informed me in a soft voice, “I’ve only been asked to leave it.”

Her response both startled and alarmed me. Both of our eyes

welled-up and we hugged. “Well, we’d love to have you,” I

assured her. I invited everyone to create a life they love in

Lunenburg County; the young and the old, families and singles.

I asked retail workers in the mall, servers in restaurants and even

that police officer who stopped traffic for me. I asked reporters

who interviewed me, road construction workers when I was

stopped in traffic and truckers at truck stops.

And it turns out, if you invite enough people, someone is bound

to accept!

My job since my return is to reconnect with those folks I met,

and those who heard or read one of my 19 media interviews. I’ve

met people who are in the beginning stages of moving here and

even some who have arrived and are now unpacking. I consider

myself their first friend. And as any friend does, I try to ‘hook

them up’ with what they need. “You need daycare? You should

call this person.” “You need a job in the financial sector? You

need to call that company.” And “did you check out the farmers

market? The general store? What about the firemen’s breakfast?

You simply must go to the next one!”

Lunenburg County isn’t perfect, but we’re working on it. There

are still some gaps and issues, things that we all need but not

everyone has - yet. Affordable, reliable internet in some parts

of Lunenburg County is one, and more doctors is another. We

know that whether you’ve just moved here or if you’ve lived here

forever, these are two basic necessities that we all deserve. NOW

Lunenburg County is working with our communities and inviting

people to come together to work on these two issues. We’re

thinking creatively, strategically and working toward solutions.

“I’VE NEVER BEEN ASKED TO MOVE TO A

COMMUNITY BEFORE.” SHE INFORMED ME IN A SOFT

VOICE, “I’VE ONLY BEEN ASKED TO LEAVE IT.”

And that brings me to today. This magazine was born of a need

to have a gift to give people we meet. We needed something to

tell people about our industries, and our entrepreneurs, and to

show off our beaches and farms and to introduce folks to what

we believe is our best resource: our people. We hope you read

this and get a small sense of who we are. And then we want you

to give this magazine to someone else with your invitation to

them to consider life here.

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 39


Inevitably, there will be amazing people and places that we

failed to cover in this magazine. We can’t possibly do a story on

everyone, we just have too many great people! That’s where we

need our community to help. It’s up to you, and me, and every

other person in Lunenburg County to tell our own story. I am

inviting you to tell the people you meet what you love here, tell

them about our new skate park, our amazing walking trails, our

new businesses, and our thriving arts and culture community. Be

welcoming!

Tell them about the people who are doing amazing things;

people who have started businesses and created services and

experiences. Speak up and be proud of what’s going on here.

Tell people that our traditional industries are spawning new ones

such as the advances we are making in Ocean Tech. Share with

them our connection to some of the worlds most recognized

brands such as Michelin Tires, EA Sports video games, High Liner,

and Clearwater. Be proud that Stelia manufactures parts that

are found in outer space. Sing the praises of our arts and culture

community. Who better than us to tell the world who we are?

I INVITE EVERYONE TO CREATE A LIFE IN LUNENBURG

COUNTY THAT IS AS FULL AS YOU WANT IT TO BE.

Tina Hennigar

People on tour have said to me, “Why are you doing this? Are

you promoting your community because you’re experiencing

an economic boom?” I explain, no, not an economic boom, it’s

a lifestyle boom. When I interviewed dozens of newcomers

to Lunenburg County, many used the same word to describe

their new life here: “full”. Lunenburg County is full of beauty,

volunteer opportunities, things to see, places to go, and

people to connect with. You can choose a full calendar or a full

bookshelf or both.

I invite everyone to create a life in Lunenburg County that is as

full as you want it to be.

IF YOU SUCCEED,

SO DO WE

With respect, integrity & professionalism, we

relentlessly pursue high standards of

excellence in everything we do, everyday.

We are learning, we are changing and we strive

for continuous improvement.

The success of our employees, clients and

community is our measure of achievement.

Together we create a safe, accountable and

rewarding environment with a bias towards

action and high performance.

BMI ltd. is seeking

talented Skilled Trades, Labourers,

Production Operators & Administrative

professionals to join their team.

ARE YOU READY?

We are committed to

finding your best fit in our team,

so that everyone is successful.

Apply online via www.EmploymentNOW.ca

or send your resume to jobs@bmiltd.ca

For more information:

Visit: www.bmiltd.ca

Phone: 902.543.2446

Email: info@bmiltd.ca


BARRY STEVENS

nova scotia

MAHONE BAY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

bigger picture

Submitted photos

BY HEATHER MACKENZIE-CAREY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

BALANCED LIFESTYLE

Barry Stevens, the founder of Stevens Solutions and Design

(SS&D) a proudly Indigenous Company, has a secret he’s willing

to share

As a determined kid making money managing a trap line,

working in a mill, and providing farm labor, Barry learned the

art of self-reliance in Lunenburg County. With a passion for

electronics and technology design, Barry braved the culture

shock of Toronto fresh out of high school and trained as an

Engineering Technologist. He became a specialist in a small

niche market offering technology solutions to clients across

North America and beyond.

They focus on helping businesses reach their global potential

by creating customized short films, video, and websites using

3D imaging, animation technology and communication

tools. There’s a big market for this. Barry describes a web of

entrepreneurs, consultants, and industrial manufacturers that

ship product from Lunenburg County. You won’t see these

businesses. They don’t have store fronts or high-rise offices.

Unless you’re an employee, you probably don’t know where the

factories are located. With an international airport, ports and

multiple shipping options all within an easy commute, global

connectivity is alive and well in Lunenburg County.

Barry’s secret? In today’s virtual world, you can thrive in small

communities and work globally. SS&D provides a model for the

power of virtual business not only for indigenous communities

but for anyone who wants a balanced lifestyle.

https://www.stevens-solutions.com

The return home was a conscious decision. Barry portrays a sense

of awe when he describes how one doesn’t have to be wealthy to

live a lifestyle rich in free recreational pursuits all within a short

drive. Having traveled all over the world, Barry realizes what

long-term residents of Lunenburg County may take for granted.

You can kayak to remote islands, spend the afternoon on a

sailboat, be an hour’s drive or less from critical core industries,

and be a big player in the global marketplace.

Stevens Solutions and Design has grown into a family business

supporting three highly skilled people and two generations.

IN TODAY’S VIRTUAL WORLD,

YOU CAN THRIVE IN SMALL COMMUNITIES

AND WORK GLOBALLY.

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 41


RACHELLE

nova scotia

LAHAVE, LUNENBURG COUNTY

riding into a new life

BY MARGARET HOEGG

DREAMS COME TRUE

ON THE EAST COAST FOR

VANCOUVER NURSE.

Rachelle fell in love with Nova Scotia while visiting on an East

Coast bike trip.

Something told her to stay a while, so she applied for a job in

Lunenburg. She got the job, intending to return to Vancouver

after the contract. Seven years later, she’s still here.

“The job just turned out to be wonderful,” said Rachelle. “I

had great colleagues, I had great connections, and had the

opportunity to continue on by extending my contract and then

eventually it became a permanent job.”

As a nurse, she has found lots of job opportunities in Lunenburg

County, and that’s what’s allowed her to stay. She has worked in

the community with Public Health, in the hospital, in the college

setting, and now works for a non-profit.

Her current job with VON takes her all over the county. She said,

“I’ve met a lot of really interesting people. I’m always quite

amazed at how kind people are and how friendly and open they

are. It’s been really lovely.”

Rachelle reached out to the local triathlon club before moving

here. “It was so wonderful because it was a group of people who

met regularly who were very welcoming,” she said. “It’s really

easy to meet people once you make a little inroad - it seems like

it just blossoms from there.”

These connections led her to some unique opportunities, such as

wooden dory racing in Lunenburg harbour and building her own

kayak by hand.

She also bought a cottage on Cherry Hill Beach and now owns a

house on the LaHave river with her husband, who she met here.

Owning property on the water was, she said, “a dream come true

considering where I lived in Vancouver. That would have been

such a pipe dream.”

Rachelle is continually amazed by how easy it is to access the

water. “Just being able to be on the water in so many ways,” she

said, “and it’s not just for people who have a lot of means to own

a membership at a boat club...that part I love.”

She found herself invested in the success of the place she

quickly grew to love and enjoys watching the community grow.

“You know you really see the growth and you think this is so

exciting to be part of,” she said. “It’s that sense of, let’s grow this

place!”

“I would say I’m glad I took the risk of moving across the country

for a temporary contract,” she said. “I literally expected to be

here for nine months, and I haven’t been able to tear myself

away. So, taking that chance was the best thing I did.”

“I LITERALLY EXPECTED TO BE HERE FOR NINE MONTHS, AND I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TEAR MYSELF AWAY”.

Rachelle

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 43


ERIC and MARGARET POLKOWSKI

nova scotia

NEW GERMANY, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tina Hennigar photo

a radical departure

BY TINA HENNIGAR

LUNENBURG COUNTY COUPLE

‘LIVING THE DREAM’

Eric and Margaret Polkowski packed up all they owned in their

camper and reluctantly left Fort McMurray, Alberta, bound

for Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. They knew they were in

for a lifestyle change. What they hadn’t anticipated was the

friendliness of the people, the abundant local food, community

breakfasts, and the proximity to fishing and hunting they’d find

here.

Eric and Margaret were doing meaningful work as engineers

when the aftermath of the Fort McMurray forest fires forced

them to buy a camper as temporary housing. That’s when they

decided it was time for a change. It was difficult to leave, but it

turned out to be the right decision for the young couple who are

working on Margaret’s family farm.

“It was not an easy decision to leave. We really loved it! We

especially loved the people. But we wanted to leave the office.

I really didn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life,”

Margaret said. They penned a farewell email to their co-workers,

titled: Radical Departure, and then set out on an adventure

where Margaret would move back to her hometown and Eric

would make it his. “Our co-workers were super supportive.

‘Good for you guys! Living the dream!’” Margaret said from their

peaceful rented home surrounded by sprawling fields, lined with

trees and a clothes line.

The desire to live rurally is what brought them here. It’s the

sense of community that they hadn’t anticipated. Their eyes light

up as they talk about their new life and the experiences they’ve

44 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

had in just the short time since moving here. “I’d been here

before, to visit. I just don’t remember it being this pretty,” Eric

said of his new community.

“We pick up bacon from the local butcher. We get fresh eggs

down the road. Our neighbours give us the garlic that they

grow in their garden.” Margaret said with a smile. “And the

community breakfasts,” Eric chimed in. “They’re amazing!”

The two have become regulars at the Parkdale Maplewood

Community Breakfast, insisting it’s the best breakfast they’ve

ever eaten.

“I’D BEEN HERE BEFORE, TO VISIT. I JUST DON’T

REMEMBER IT BEING THIS PRETTY.”

Eric Polkowski

Eric noted that he believes there is a fair bit of opportunity here.

“But it’s a lot of work too. We’ve always been active, but even so,

this new line of work [farming] is physically challenging.”

The young, newly married couple remarked on how close

everything is compared to what they’re used to. “Here you can

get from your office to your home in the country in around 20

minutes.” Margaret remarked how that might be a big selling

feature for young people tired of the long commute. And since

they like to fish, they’ve been exploring the many good fishing

holes close by. In Alberta they were known to drive hours to find

a good hole.

“We were really satisfied with our work, in Alberta.” The couple

insisted looking at each other with a sense of pride for taking

this leap and moving to Lunenburg County. “But we don’t miss

it.” They gazed out at the horizon and smiled. “Not at all.”


DR. HUGHIE FRASER

gastroenterologist

moved to lunenburg co.

in 2010

HERE YOU CAN PRACTICE

MORE THAN MEDICINE.

we are looking for doctors to join our community!

to practice here, to care for us and become part of our community.

in exchange, you can have a full life here. you will experience our

amazing beaches and trails, eat our incredible food, enjoy our lively

arts and create a life you love in lunenburg county, nova scotia.

are you intrigued?

learn more by going to:

nowlunenburgcounty/practiceherenow

or by emailing: welcome@nowlunenburgcounty.com


46 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM

Picture yourself

here!


AMANDA RHYNO

nova scotia

BRIDGEWATER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tina Hennigar photo

nourishing a business

BY TINA HENNIGAR

GROWING A BUSINESS IN A SMALL

AREA HAS IT’S ADVANTAGES

Feeling trapped and like there was no room for change, Amanda

Rhyno left Lunenburg County after graduating high school.

Amanda traveled the world and came back to Lunenburg County

occasionally to visit her parents who still lived here. While she

always considered this home, it was later, when in her 30’s,

she felt an undercurrent of change happening. There was an

excitement you could feel in the air.

“There was a new vibe happening. It still felt familiar, but it

was the perfect blend of home and the town entering the cusp

of being recreated, and I wanted to be part of it,” Amanda said

from her Bridgewater home that she shares with her daughter

and where she grows her home-based business. Amanda creates,

markets and exports a full-line of natural products called

Nourished Natural Self-Care.

spectrum of supports. From top quality branding to … support

from Acadian Centre for Small Business. We’re really fortunate

because in smaller communities these services are easier to find,

and we don’t have to wait like you might have to do in larger

cities.” While Amanda credits Lunenburg County for its ease of

doing business, and the ability to get where you need to go in

just a few minutes, she does caution that the business hours are

limited. “It’s hard to do business after 5 pm here.”

“This is a great place to be, with an influx of multicultural events

and an emerging music scene.” Amanda insists. And she should

know. She’s traveled all around the UK, Asia, and South America.

“I’ve never met friendlier people. People want to make you

comfortable here. Why wouldn’t you want to live in a place like

that?”

“Being pregnant made me more aware of what I put on my body.

Everything I make is what I use. Turning it into a business was

a natural step,” she said, noting that once her daughter was

born, working at a job that was someone else’s dream was not

appealing to her.

“Growing a business in a small area has some advantages,”

Amanda believes. Lunenburg County is packed with a full

“IT WAS THE PERFECT BLEND OF HOME AND THE TOWN ENTERING THE CUSP OF BEING

RECREATED, AND I WANTED TO BE PART OF IT.”

Amanda Rhyno

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 47


ADAM SARTY and DEVIN FRASER

nova scotia

BRIDGEWATER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Stacey Colwell photo

craft brewing

BY STACEY COLWELL

ENTREPRENEURS FLOURISHING

IN CRAFT BREWERY BUSINESS

Business is booming in Nova Scotia’s craft beer market.

The province’s liquor commission reported sales increased by

more than one third last year to over $10 million. Nearly three

dozen small, independent breweries are thriving, mostly in rural

communities and small towns, including Bridgewater.

Adam Sarty and Devin Fraser opened a craft brewery on

Bridgewater’s main street in 2017.

“You can feel the energy coming back, there’s lots of good

things happening on the street and good ideas,” said FirkinStein

Brewery co-owner Devin Fraser as he points across the road to

an old-fashioned diner ready to open in a renovated building on

the main street of the South Shore.

“You can feel the vibe here change, a younger crowd is starting

to come around.”

The town has been growing steadily, with a population increase

of about 1,000 over the past 15 years.

FirkinStein has benefitted from that growth, along with the

community investing millions in a downtown renewal project.

In addition, Fraser and co-owner Adam Sarty have been received

with open arms by other microbreweries, much to their surprise.

“In the very beginning I honestly thought it was going to be a

competitive market,” said Fraser.

“But the moment we started, right from Day 1, it was the

extreme opposite. Every brewery is out to help you. They all want

each other to succeed because it’s not us against every other

brewery, its all us little breweries against the big guys.”

The industry encourages innovative ways to get people through

the doors, and at FirkinStein that means not only a laid-back

daytime scene and live music every weekend but everything

from dance lessons to a retro Duck Hunt video game night.

“It’s all about people just looking to have a good time,” said

Sarty. “And from what we’ve seen, there’s tons of people here

who love having a good time.”

The co-owners, who also work together at Bridgewater’s Michelin

tire plant, agreed the most surprising thing about opening their

brewery has been all the amazing people they’ve met.

“Yet that was so low on my radar,” said Fraser. “I never really

considered it at first, but in hindsight it’s been one of my

favourite parts. We’ve met pretty awesome people.”

Fraser grew up in Montreal, and said there’s simply a different

pace of life in Bridgewater.

“When I go home to visit now, I notice everybody is wound tight.

I come back to Nova Scotia, here on the South Shore, and it’s

like, ‘Let’s relax a little bit, take a second to think about things.’ I

love that. That’s my favourite thing about living here.”

“YOU CAN FEEL THE VIBE HERE CHANGE, A YOUNGER CROWD IS STARTING TO COME AROUND.”

Devin Fraser

48 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


AMANDA RING

AMANDA RING

nova scotia

CORNWALL, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tina Hennigar photo

a satisfying life

BY TINA HENNIGAR

LOCAL PRACTITIONER FINDS A

DEEPER MEANING TO HER LIFE

WHILE HELPING OTHERS

Minutes from the hustle and bustle of the 103 Highway that

connects Lunenburg County to its neighbouring counties,

you’ll find an unassuming dirt road lined with trees and nature

in all its serene glory. There you’ll find healing, peace and

reconnection. There you will be warmly greeted by Amanda Ring.

Having worked in Occupational Therapy in Ireland and

Newfoundland, Amanda’s journey brought her back here, just

outside of Mahone Bay. “It’s a safe, quiet space, where we’re

surrounded by nature. People come here and automatically feel

lighter; comforted,” she explains more about the setting she

practices yoga, Reiki and energy healing. “It’s as though you’re

stepping into another world.”

It’s a world you won’t want to leave, which might explain, at

least in part, why Amanda’s practice is doing so well.

Lunenburg County has proven to be a fantastic place to

practice. She’s booked months in advance and she’s always

expanding what she offers.

After maternity leave and struggling to find work in her

field as an Occupational Therapist, Amanda set out to offer her

gifts of healing. “People are asking questions. growing open to

mindfulness, to self-worth and self-love.” Amanda explains.

“Life coaching has evolved in this area, what is happening here

is people who are seeking greater health and healing, to live

with less pain, to have a better sleep and a deeper connection.

People are following the conventional route and not feeling

better over time; not getting at the root [cause],” Amanda speaks

of her work. “We’re so used to doing. We’ve forgotten how to

be.”

With Amanda’s help, people are rediscovering how to “be”.

Satisfying is how Amanda describes her life here - her work,

her home, her special piece of paradise in Lunenburg County,

in nature, surrounded by trees, and her yurt. She’s happy the

choices her children have had with education. Amanda’s son

and daughter participated in the Waldorf school until grades 5

and 7 when they decided they were ready for a more traditional

setting and are now attending Bayview Community School.

“Both have been amazing,” Amanda explains. The Waldorf

school offered a unique approach to learning that she believes

provided them a greater depth of empathy. “I believe that has

enabled them to transition more easily into the traditional

education setting.”

Amanda came back to Lunenburg County to find a deeper

meaning to her own life, and in turn, she is helping others to

rediscover more meaning in their own. Her commitment has

only grown, insisting, “everyone can experience a greater sense

of wholeness.”

“We have really good practitioners here, and I believe that we

can make opportunity wherever you are - if there is a need for

what you have to offer, people will find you.”

“IT’S A SAFE, QUIET SPACE, WHERE WE’RE SURROUNDED BY NATURE. PEOPLE COME HERE

AND AUTOMATICALLY FEEL LIGHTER; COMFORTED.”

Amanda Ring

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 49


BLAIR and MONICA HODGES

nova scotia

CHESTER, LUNENBURG COUNTY

love and marriage BY

TINA HENNIGAR

Submitted photo

OF THE STREAMS TO IMMIGRATE

TO CANADA, THERE IS ONE THAT

GETS TO THE HEART OF THE

MATTER, AND THAT IS MARRIAGE.

Blair Hodges of Chester met and fell in love with Monica Lama

at the beach home of their mutual friends while vacationing

in El Salvador. It was 2006 and while neither was looking for a

relationship, they couldn’t deny their connection from the first

moment they met. They stayed in touch, emailing back and forth

when Blair returned home to Nova Scotia after his vacation.

They continued their relationship over the next number of years,

Blair visiting Monica and her family many times, and everyone

growing fond of each other. Blair’s children traveled to El

Salvador to meet Monica. It was a great match all around.

Monica and Blair got married in 2011 and now live in Chester.

“Finding Monica and marrying her was the best thing I’ve done

and worth all the difficulty that it took to bring her here,” Blair

said of the years of paperwork. Together they are a team and

look after Blair’s 90 year old mother.

Blair said, “it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to really love

each other. These marriages don’t last if you’re not compatible

and don’t give the relationship the proper amount of time and

effort to get to know each other, and if at all possible, in each

other’s environment. It can feel like a constant holiday if you

don’t live ‘real life’ together”.

“Monica’s English is excellent, but even so, it’s easy for people

who don’t speak English as their first language to misinterpret

words. English is a difficult language to learn,” Blair said. “Words

can have more than one meaning. I’d encourage everyone to be

patient with someone who is new to Canada.”

Monica was visiting her family back in El Salvador when I

interviewed Blair, but he wanted us all to know that, “Latin

people are very warm and friendly,” he said of his wife. “I’d

really encourage everyone to get to know her. She’s added so

much to my life,” Blair said. “We’re all really lucky she’s here.”

50 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


NICK ORLOV OTTER and CHARLES OTTER

nova scotia

MADER’S COVE, LUNENBURG COUNTY

Tina Hennigar photo

pure goodness BY

TINA HENNIGAR

INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, CANADIAN

EMBASSY, REAL ESTATE AGENT, BANK

MANAGER, ALL INSTRUMENTAL IN

HELPING COUPLE START THEIR LIFE

IN NOVA SCOTIA.

It wasn’t initially Charles Otter and Nick Orlov Otter’s goal to

move to Nova Scotia. The agent at the Canadian Embassy in Kiev,

Ukraine, suggested Nova Scotia after the couple shared what

they wanted in their next move.

They did their research, drew a circle 100 kilometres around the

Halifax International Airport and called a real estate agent they

discovered online to help them find their new home.

“We told her what we wanted, and she totally got us,” said Nick.

They bought the house having only seen pictures of it. As Nick

drove up the long tree lined driveway in the seaside community

of Mader’s Cove, he knew it was the perfect house for them. “We

wanted a big house with lots of land with a view of the sea,”

Nick said in an interview from their private home that overlooks

beautiful Westhaver’s beach. “

Nick is from Russia and Charles from New Zealand, the two have

lived all around the world. It’s this community that they now

call home, they hope never to leave. They got married on their

property shortly after arriving. Charles’s vast experience in Hotel

Management enabled him to plan and pull off an event none of

the 45 guests from 16 different countries would soon forget.

“…after the wedding, we invited all our neighbours to join us for

a BBQ, and every single person showed up,” Charles said. “It was

incredible, the warmth and support we were shown.”

“WE NEED IMMIGRANTS IN NOVA SCOTIA.

WE NEED NEW PEOPLE, THEIR IDEAS AND

WHAT THEY BRING.”

Nick Orlov Otter

Nick and Charles are part owners of Oh My Cod restaurant

in Mahone Bay. Charles works in economic and community

development and Nick is an entrepreneur who runs his own

business in IT. Both play a significant role in the community,

volunteering for festivals and the Chamber of Commerce.

“We need immigrants in Nova Scotia. We need new people,

their ideas and what they bring.” Nick and Charles credit the

community for helping them. “At every turn we were connected

to all the right people, from our bank manager who helped us

with our mortgage, our agent who helped us find a home, even

our first taxi driver at the airport who, instead of charging me

50 dollars for a short taxi drive, put me in a hotel shuttle,” Nick

said of the kind people he’s met in this province. “It was pure

goodness.”

AFTER THE WEDDING, WE INVITED ALL OUR NEIGHBOURS TO JOIN US FOR A BBQ, AND EVERY SINGLE PERSON

SHOWED UP. IT WAS INCREDIBLE, THE WARMTH AND SUPPORT WE WERE SHOWN.”

Charles Otter

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 51


start your life in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia

HERE’S HOW

Nova Scotia’s provincial immigration programs are designed to help fill labour needs, grow the economy and build vibrant communities.

Immigration strengthens and grows the economy, grows our population, helps employers fill persistent labour gaps, revitalizes communities and

adds to Nova Scotia’s diversity. It is key to building the province and keeping communities dynamic, vibrant and strong.

novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/

Once you are ready to move to beautiful Nova Scotia you will want to apply to a Nova Scotia Nominee Program stream.

Through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, prospective immigrants who have the skills and experience targeted by Nova Scotia may be

nominated to immigrate. Review the different Nova Scotia Nominee Program streams to determine if you qualify:

ATLANTIC IMMIGRATION PILOT

• The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) is a three-year pilot project

that launched in March 2017 under the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

The AIP help addresses persistent labour gaps across the province

and provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen Nova Scotia’s

economy and grow the population through recruiting and

retaining skilled workers.

• Interest in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is strong and continues

to grow.

• The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is one option that can be used by

employers and those who wish to immigrate through the Provincial

Nominee Program.

• The Atlantic Immigration Pilot lets Atlantic employers hire qualified

candidates for jobs that they haven’t been able to fill locally. You can

be living abroad or be in Canada temporarily. You must have a job

offer before you can apply.

• You and the employer must meet requirements. If you and the

employer meet the requirements, you’ll get permanent resident

status. This means you can live and work in Canada.

• novascotiaimmigration.com/help-for-employers/atlanticimmigration-pilot/

• canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/

immigrate-canada/atlantic-immigration-pilot/how-to-immigrate

• Physician Stream facts/figures:

• This new stream makes the immigration process easier and faster

for internationally-trained doctors who have approved job offers to

move here, and live and work in our communities.

• An eligible candidate

can be processed

under this stream in

as few as five to ten

days as compared

to an average of 30

days under other

existing immigration

processes.

• It is easier and faster because this stream targets family doctors

from countries with recognized training equivalency with the

College of Family Physicians of Nova Scotia. That means we can

rely on the assessments the College of Physicians and Surgeons

of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK have

already done around education, language ability, certification, and

credential recognition and eliminate duplication.

• The new stream is part of a broader national and international

physician recruitment strategy. Immigration provides an excellent

opportunity to help fill labour gaps – including addressing the

need for more doctors.

• The Physician Stream is only open to General Physicians (NOC

3112) and Specialist Physicians (NOC 3111) with signed approved

opportunities with the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK

Health Centre. Do not apply for this stream if you do not have a

signed approved offer from the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the

IWK Health Centre in NOC 3112 or 3111.

• novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/physician

52 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


ENTREPRENEUR STREAM

The Entrepreneur Stream is for experienced business owners or senior

business managers who want to live in Nova Scotia. They must start a

new business or buy an existing business and must actively participate

in the day-to-day management of the business. After operating the

business for a year, the entrepreneur may be nominated for permanent

resident status. Application to the stream is by invitation only.

To apply you must:

• be 21 years of age or older;

• want to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively

managing a Nova Scotia business;

• have a net worth of at least $600,000 CAD;

• be able to invest at least $150,000 CAD of your own money to

establish a business in Nova Scotia;

• have at least 3 years’ experience actively managing and owning a

business (1/3 ownership

minimum) OR more

than 5 years’ experience

in a senior business

management role;

• have a score of at least 5

on the Canadian Language

Benchmark in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or

French;

• complete an online Expression of Interest;

• receive an Invitation to Apply from the Nova Scotia Office of

Immigration.

• novascotia.ca/sns/access/online-services/immigration/eoientrepreneur.asp

• novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/entrepreneur/

INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE ENTREPRENEUR

The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is for recent graduates

of a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College.

They must have already started or bought a Nova Scotia business and

operated it for at least a year. If they intend to settle in Nova Scotia, the

graduate may be nominated for permanent resident status. Application

to the stream is by invitation only.

To apply you must:

• want to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively

managing a Nova Scotia business;

• have at least one year’s continuous experience actively managing

and owning your current Nova Scotia business (100% ownership

minimum);

• have completed a degree or diploma after at least 2 academic years

of full-time, in-person study at a university in Nova Scotia or the Nova

Scotia Community College;

• ,have a valid postgraduation

work permit;

• have a score of at least 7

on the Canadian Language

Benchmark in speaking,

listening, reading and

writing in English or

French;

• complete an online Expression of Interest;

• receive an Invitation to Apply from the Nova Scotia Office of

Immigration.

• novascotia.ca/sns/access/online-services/immigration/eoiinternational-graduate.asp

• novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/international-graduateentrepreneur/

SKILLED WORKER

The Skilled Worker stream helps employers recruit foreign workers and

recently graduated international students whose skills are needed in

Nova Scotia. An employer can only hire foreign workers for positions

they have been unable to fill with permanent residents or Canadian

citizens.

To apply you must:

• have a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer;

• have 1 year of work experience related to the job. (Semi-skilled and

low-skilled workers must already have six months’ experience with

the employer.);

• be 21 to 55 years old;

• have a high school diploma;

• have the appropriate

training, skills and/or

accreditation for the

job;

• prove language ability

equal to Canadian

Language Benchmark

(CLB) Level 5 if you are a skilled worker. If your first language is

English or French, that is enough proof. Semi-skilled and low-skilled

workers must have test results to prove they meet CLB 4 even if their

first language is English or French;

• show enough financial resources to successfully settle in Nova Scotia.

novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/skilled-worker/

NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM 53


NOVA SCOTIA DEMAND: EXPRESS ENTRY

The Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream selects highly skilled

individuals who wish to live in Nova Scotia permanently. Applicants

must have a good chance of quickly finding a job in Nova Scotia’s

labour market.

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration reserves the right to consider

only certain types of occupations for nomination, depending on current

labour market needs.

Applications will only be accepted online.

Category A (for applicants with a job offer) will remain open.

To apply under Category A, you must:

• have a profile registered in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Canada’s Express Entry system;

• score 67 points or more on the stream’s six selection factors;

• have a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer for full-time skilled

work that lasts at least

one year after your

permanent resident visa

is issued. For a job offer

to be valid in Express

Entry and receive

points, employers will

usually need an LMIA

from ESDC. There are a few exceptions: cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/

skilled/exempt.asp;

• have 1 year of skilled work experience related to the job;

• have a Canadian high school credential or equivalent;

• prove language ability in English or French at Canadian Language

Benchmark 7;

• show enough financial resources to successfully settle in Nova Scotia.

novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/nova-scotia-demand-expressentry/

NOVA SCOTIA EXPERIENCE EXPRESS ENTRY

The Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream selects highly skilled

individuals who wish to live in Nova Scotia permanently. Applicants

must have at least one year of experience working in Nova Scotia in a

high skilled occupation.

To apply you must:

• have at least 1 year of work experience in Nova Scotia;

• be 21 to 55 years old;

• have a Canadian high school credential or equivalent;

• prove language ability in English or French on the Canadian

Language Benchmark (CLB). You need CLB 7 for skilled work in the

National Occupational

Classification (NOC) 0

and A. You need CLB 5

for NOC B positions;

• have a profile

registered in

Immigration, Refugees

and Citizenship Canada’s Express Entry system

novascotiaimmigration.com/move-here/nova-scotia-experienceexpress-entry/

SUPPORT FOR YOUR MOVE!

If you are getting ready to immigrate to Nova Scotia, or have just

arrived here, this is the place to start. Nova Scotia Start offers you

information and support to:

• Develop your communication skills

• Settle into your new community

• Work in Nova Scotia

• Information about how to qualify to work in your field

All our services are free of charge and they are available both before

and after you arrive in

Nova Scotia. Start here

and start now!

novascotiastart.ca/

Apply through Canadian

Government canada.ca/

en/services/immigrationcitizenship

Create a life you love in Lunenburg County!

54 NOWLUNENBURGCOUNTY.COM


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to

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Does your business have

labour gaps?

Looking to grow your company?

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Learn more at

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