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Authors: Lesley Choyce

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Nova Scotia

BOOK: Nova Scotia
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Nova Scotia

Shaped By The Sea

A Living History

New Revised Edition

Lesley Choyce

Pottersfield Press at
Smashwords

Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia,
Canada

 

Copyright © 2007 Lesley
Choyce

All
rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
used or stored or transmitted in any form or by any means –
graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying – or by
any information storage or retrieval system, without the prior
written permission of the publisher. Any requests for photocopying,
recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems of
any part of this book shall be directed in writing to the publisher
or to Access Copyright, The Canadian Licensing Agency, 1 Yonge
Street, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1E5
(
www.accesscopyright.ca
). This also applies to classroom
use.

Library and Archives Canada
Cataloguing in Publication

Choyce, Lesley, 1951-

Nova Scotia : shaped by the sea : a
living history / Lesley Choyce. – New rev. ed.

Includes index.

ISBN
978-1-897426-33-3

1. Nova Scotia – History.  I.
Title.

FC2311.C56
2007                        
971.6                  
C2007-904664-9

Cover design
by Gail
LeBlanc

Front cover photo credit: Bluenose
II Preservation Society

The original edition of this volume
was published by Viking/Penguin Canada Ltd.

Pottersfield Press acknowledges the
financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book
Publishing Industry Development Program for our publishing
activities. We also acknowledge the ongoing support of the Canada
Council for the Arts, which last year invested $20.1 million in
writing and publishing throughout Canada. We also thank the
Province of Nova Scotia for its support through the Department of
Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

Ebook editor:
Mary Ann
Archibald

Pottersfield Press

83 Leslie Road

East Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia,
Canada, B2Z 1P8

Website:
www.pottersfieldpress.com

To order phone toll-free
1-800-NIMBUS9 (1-800-646-2879)

Printed in Canada

 

“Don’t brood on what’s past, but
never forget it either.”


Thomas Raddall
 

 

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to the following who
helped make this project happen: Heather Taylor, Mary Ann
Archibald, Dana James, Emily White, Jennifer Wessel, Peggy
Amirault, Julia Swan, Gail LeBlanc, Erin Dunn, Dean Jobb, Malcolm
Ross, Claudia Pinsent, Gary Shutlak, Dan Paul, Barrie Clarke, Karen
Smith, Charles Armour, Cynthia Good, and the people of Nova
Scotia.

Contents

Introduction to the New Edition 

1 The Sea That Surrounds
Us 

2
 The Story Begins in Africa 

3
 Cold Wars and Warm-blooded
Mammals 

4
 The Land of the Mi’kmaq  

5
 Early Explorers: Myths, Legends and Maybe a Few
Facts 

6
 Sailors Westward: In Search of New
Worlds 

7
 Port Royal and the Order of Good
Cheer 

8
 A Charter for New Scotland  

9
 Carving Up Acadia  

10
 Acadia: More Than a Bargaining Chip
 

11
 Louisbourg: A Fortress City
 

12
 A Fortress for the Taking  

13
 The Acadian Way of Life  

14
 The Founding of Halifax  

15
 The Rowdy Town on the Harbour  

16
 The Creation of Lunenburg
 

17
 Empires at Odds
 

18
 The Deportation of the Acadians: “Into Utter
Misery” 

19
 The Fall of Louisbourg 

20
 The Land of Exile and Immigrants 

21
 Coastline of Conflict 

22
 Loyalists: The White and the
Black 

23
 From Rags to Royalty: Halifax Comes of
Age 

24
 1812 and After 

25
 The Golden Age of Sail  

26
 Sea Crimes of the Nineteenth Century
 

27
 Confederation: Nova Scotians Become Canadians
 

28
 The Plight of Nineteenth-century Nova Scotian Women
 

29
 The Savage Seas  

30 The Decline and Fall of the Age of Sail
 

31 Dreamers, Schemers and Telephone Screamers
 

32
 Toward the Turn of the Century
 

33
 “A Sound Past All Hearing”
 

34
 Aftermath of the Halifax Explosion
 

35
 Rum and Rum-runners  

36  The
Bluenose  

37
 A Province in Economic Ruin  

38
 Nova Scotia in the Second World War
 

39
 The Spoils of War  

40
 The Fifties and Sixties: “A Friendly Remoteness”
 

41
 The Tragedy of Africville 

42
 Unhealthy Habits, Unclean Harbours
 

43
 Coal Mining in Nova Scotia: A Chronicle of Despair
 

44
 The Death of the Fish  

45
 Fish Sheds and Federal Politics  

46 Tragedy and Beyond: The Sustainable
Province 

Bibliography
 

Illustration
Credits 

Index  

 

Introduction to
the New Edition
 

 

The
final chapter of the original edition of
Nova Scotia Shaped by the Sea
was titled “Fish Shacks and Federal Politics,” and
oddly enough, those same two things are on my mind this morning as
I reintroduce this book to a new generation of readers. It’s the
middle of June, 2007, eleven years since this story of a seabound
province saw the light of day.

   
The wind is out of the northeast for the fifth day in a row
and my neighbour, Luigi Costanzo, a windsurfer who is more than
savvy about winds, says that’s unusual. Something isn’t quite
right. This month has been cold and wet, and in times gone by, we
simply blamed that on the North Atlantic, our ally and sometimes
foe. Now, we’re starting to blame bad weather – and especially
Maritime oddities of weather – on global climate change. We realize
now that we may be in for some monumental coastal changes here. It
may not quite be “Farewell to Nova Scotia” yet, but it could be a
rough ride ahead for those like me who live a stone’s throw from
the sea.

   
Our governments have nearly universally failed to stay ahead
of the impending crisis of climate change. My first honest job in
Canada was working for the federal government as an alternate
energy consultant in 1978, heralding the sexy, brave new world of
power generated by wind, sun, tide and wave. Pierre Trudeau’s
cabinet had recognized the immense possibilities but as soon as oil
prices stabilized, the proverbial plug was pulled and we descended
into a new renewable energy Dark Age that lasted twenty-five
years.

   
But I am brooding, just as the sailor did in the classic
aforementioned song, who stares at Nova Scotia’s shores and sings,
“May your mountains dark and dreary be.” And this morning the sky
is low and dark as the moody nor’east winds drive the clouds over
the land.

   
And on the news, lo and behold, a quarrel continues between
the feds and the province over something called “The Atlantic
Accord.” Those of us on the sidelines just scratch our heads and
wonder what it’s all about. At the heart of the issue are resources
– oil in particular – that exist in the waters off Nova Scotia. Who
owns it? Canada or Nova Scotia? The Atlantic Accord preserved some
dignity for us and would have brought a tad more wealth to this
have-not province. Oil money is tainted money, I agree. But if the
oil is going to be drilled and pumped, should we not have a fair
share of the revenue?

   
Nova Scotians feel we should. Conservative MP Bill Casey put
his career on the line by siding with his fellow bluenosers and
thumbing his nose at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and he got the
boot from his party, instantly becoming a hero in the eyes of most
folks back home here.

   
Some of the shortchanged among us think that it looks like
this. Albertans had oil beneath the land, so they deserved a hefty
right to monies from that resource. But Nova Scotians have oil
beneath the coastal sea and that’s, as they say here, another
kettle of fish. This may all blow over soon and be one of those
blips not worthy of note in a history of a province. I just wanted
to share with you what is in my head today and how some themes
simply don’t drop off into the deep.

   
Oil is the wrong resource to develop anyway. We need to get
on with wind and sun, tide and wave as we should have continued
down this path in the seventies. Here on the coast, our eyes are
often on the skies and our broodiness may be brought on by those
sullen grey clouds, but it trains us to be an introspective tribe.
Today, on this occasion of reintroducing my story about Nova
Scotia, I am still looking out my window over a green and lush
marsh, the grassy dunes of the Lawrencetown Beach and the Atlantic
beyond. Waves are breaking on a shoal called Egg Island and I can
just barely make out the lighthouse of Devil’s Island at the mouth
of Halifax Harbour.

   
Eleven years is a blip in any history of any place. In an
individual’s life, however, it is a long time. My own daughters
have gone from teens to twenties, my own life has seen upheaval and
recovery. I’ve written a dozen books, hiked hundreds of coastal
kilometres, surfed over a thousand waves and pondered many
impossible questions both personal and political.

   
And every once in a while, often in a time of despair, I
abandon all responsibility and retreat. I leave the world
behind.

   
Such was the day of May 31 of this year. I
decided to take a solo hike to Fisherman’s Beach in Lower East
Chezzetcook, where I had ended the first edition
of
Nova Scotia Shaped by the
Sea
.

   
I drove inland first towards the strip mall of Porters Lake
(with its “SuperStore”) and then east towards Musquodoboit Harbour
and then south again, driving down the spine of a long tendril of
land jutting out to the sea. I had checked the tide predictions, as
one must for some of the best coastal hikes in this province, and
would arrive near low tide. Otherwise, I would have needed my
wetsuit and my surfboard.

BOOK: Nova Scotia
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ads

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