Each year for the past forty two years I have returned home to Nova Scotia. I guess you could say it tugs at my heart every year. If you want to find tranquility and have a good time, I’m betting it will yours too . It’s not just the place, it’s the people and the way of life that make it a place I long to return to as the summer draws near.
If you are thinking of going there are a few places I would recommend. Of course number one for me would be Cape Breton often named the #1 island to visit in Canada and North America. It’s a beautiful little Island with so much character and fun things to do.
Here are my TOP 10 places to visit in Cape Breton for a good time:
Louisbourg is a great little town to check out. You can stroll along the fabulous 2km Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail where you will enjoy the sounds and sights of the ocean. It is always one of my favourite things to do. A few places you might like to stay are the Louisbourg Harbour Inn a lovely B and B , where you will be treated to a fabulous place to stay, a welcoming host and great food . For a new adventure you can try the newly renovated North Star owned and operated by down to earth celebrities Justin and Colin who will no doubt make this a memorable experience you won’t soon forget. You can also enjoy a great meal at Highway 22 or the newly opened Spoondrift Cafe where you can expect a tasty meal made from some of the best locals. Of course you won’t want to miss visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg where you will take a step back in time to the 1700’s. For the past few summers I have visited the fortress and each time I enjoy something new.
2. The Miners Museum in Glace Bay is always a favourite of mine on a rainy day. You get to go down in the mines with a retired miner who will sweep you away with real stories of heroic men and women.
3. Cabot Links in Inverness is an amazing place for golfers , it’s also where my favourite beach in Nova Scotia is. You can spend hours walking up and down the beach. There is nothing like the smell of the ocean , the sound of the waves and warm sand beneath your feet while spending time with one of your best friends.
4. The Skyline Trail is worth the stop. The 6.5 km walk is definitely worth the view. It will not disappoint.
5. The beautiful village of Baddeck is a nice place to go sailing or enjoy a lobster dinner.
7. Out on the Mira. Well it’s really my number 1 as we have a bungalow (cottage) there. Nothing better than a good swim in the Mira River or a kayak ride on the 55 km ( 34 mile ) meandering river. It’s my home away from home , it feeds my soul and I love it there. Be sure to stop at Mullins Rite Stop on the Louisbourg Highway and pick up a fresh loaf of bread and some treats on your way to wherever you are staying.
OUT ON THE MIRA …
8. Sydneythe historic capital of Cape Breton. If you did not stop there on the way to Louisbourg then turn around and go back and make sure you have a bite at Flavour on the Water or Governors. A stroll along the harbour is always a good thing.
9. Cheticamp a place rich in Acadian culture. Be sure to stop by the Doryman for some music and memories.
10. The Cabot Trail is a must, but in the fall it is glorious. The 300 km loop of the trail, weaves around the incredible coast of Cape Breton with magnificent views.
I guarantee Cape Breton and all of Nova Scotia with more than 7,400 kilometres of coastline will hold a place in your heart forever and you will want to go back. Yes indeed , you must go back to see all the wonderful things it has to offer music, ceilidhs, the people , the vistas and so much more. Don’t leave home without the Doers and Dreamers guide so you can find out what is happening wherever you may travel. Cape Breton is but a beginning.
For Desmond Tutu meeting Trevor Huddleston determined the path of his life. In my own life there are many defining moments that led me to who I am today. Teachers, coaches , community members and a School Counsellor had an impact.
In grade 12 (1976) my School Counsellor Mrs. Brown gave me $100.00 towards my post secondary education. My family could not afford to pay my way. I was the first in my family to go to University so it was certainly a big deal. I did not realize at the time just how much money that was or even how incredible it was that she did that. What a gift and an impact she had on the trajectory of my life. A lacrosse scholarship and a bursary ( both recommended by community members) paid for all four years of my Bachelor of Child Study degree. How fortunate was I ?
I never underestimate the power of a small (albeit grand) gesture in forming who we are and what we choose to do in our lives. I intentionally make sure each day I work with students I keep that in mind. I intentionally pay it forward on as many occasions as I can.
All it takes is a defining moment and you might be the one that makes that happen and if someone makes that happen for you tell them.
When in Halifax a visit to the public gardens is a must. It was always one of my favourite places and my mom’s too, so I took her there today. We strolled along at a much slower pace, but got to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.
Spending Quality Time With Mom
My mom is a trooper given all of her physical challenges, I am so grateful to have this time to spend with her as soon enough I will be thousands of miles away for another year..
Today is my mom’s 81st birthday and I surprised her with a visit.Last year we got to celebrate her 80th with a big splash. It’s important to celebrate life everyday, but especially important to acknowledge all the special days. Today I got to spend time with my family. I live 4,836 km away and have for the past forty years. I come home every summer and already got to spend time with my mom , but I am still 397 km away. So today I drove to see my mom for her birthday.
Don’t forget the birthdays, the anniversaries the special occasions, but especially remember to surprise people every now and then with your presence , a gift ,a letter a note or something that will make someone’s day. It’s always been important, but especially now. Celebrate the moments , but more important celebrate the people.
Especially during this time everyone will have a story of how they got through Covid19 or what happened to them , a family member or friend.
Our role as helpers will be to listen and support, no matter the story. It won’t necessarily be easy as sometimes we may be triggered when listening to others. We are not perfect, I know I am not that’s for sure. I want to give myself an extra dose of compassion at this time as I too have had a range of emotions. Maybe you should too.
We are humans and our humanity makes us people who are often complex. Being the best person we can be is a lifetime venture, filled with many bumps along the way. Through this pandemic many will have gigantic bumps to deal with, my heart goes out to those that do.
As you and I both navigate this chapter in our lives may we do it with courage , grace , compassion and help others along the way that are struggling to the best of our ability, because everyone has a story that they may or may not be willing to share behind the smile..
Sometimes life changes from one moment to the next,that’s why it is so important to capture the moments and seize the day. I like getting up early and going to bed fairly early. That way I can catch the sunrise and the beautiful sunsets. Last night I captured this photo out on a kayak ride on the river, but it was just a moment in time until the sun went down.
This morning I caught the sunrise and took time to just breathe in the calm. Life especially during the pandemic is precarious , so when the moments come pay attention and enjoy them. I know I will.
Each day we have a new opportunity to look at our life from a new perspective. We are never sure what life will bring us as is evident from this pandemic and all that happens to people we love and know. No one gets through life without bumps along the way. No matter what challenges we may encounter , how we perceive them is up to us.
As I walk, I notice the world around me and have time to reflect on how I will deal with life. Today is my opportunity to devour all the goodness that life has to offer and so I will.
It isn’t always easy living each day to the fullest especially when life throws you some unexpected troubles or sorrows. However, when life becomes uncertain, it can be the best time to breathe deeply and take life one minute, one hour or one day at a time.
Self talk comes in handy when I am feeling uneasy. I focus, take a deep breath and say to myself, I can get through this next ten minutes if I just remain calm and remind myself that I am strong . If I focus on just getting through the day it helps. Just for Today I can … makes life more manageable for me.
Just for Today I will look for the moments to be grateful knowing that living each day with gratitude helps me to be the kind of person that I wish to be. I am grateful I got on an airplane today , even though I was nervous about doing so. I focused on my breathing and other things so that time would fly by and it did. I arrived safely at my destination knowing that I would be in my little piece of heaven Out on The Mira.
What are your best tips for living each day fully?
Although I have been away for forty years, I go home to Nova Scotia every summer to be with friends and family enjoying the great summers on the Mira River. Yes, I still call it home
This time of dealing with covid19 has been difficult for many including me and to add to that a tragedy that was unimaginable which will have a lifelong impact for many seemed as if the world was falling apart a piece at a time. Getting together in a typical Nova Scotian kitchen style party (online) was a great way to connect with others. Just a bunch of regular people, Maritmers or those connected to the maritimes getting together. Everyone was welcome to join in.
On a day before the tragedies, I happened upon a Facebook post where I saw the invitation to do a virtual choir. A little apprehensive, I thought why not do something scary and fun. Music can help in this time I thought , so I decided to jump in. I did not know a soul or really what I was about to do. I just clicked the button to join and voila they let me in. Somewhat like when I made the quick decision to move to Alberta from Dartmouth , Nova Scotia forty years ago with five boxes, five hundred dollars and did not know a single person or what to expect. I just did it without regret. Life can be like that sometimes if we take positive risks. For me and I am sure for many music can bring life into an otherwise ordinary day and for me that day it absolutely did.
Nova Scotians always seem to find a way to come together in tough times such as this beautiful tribute Nova Scotia Remembers . Music and gatherings define so many in the region.
We too came together because of covid19 and music thanks to the passion project of James Desmond aka Jaye Dee and his team Chris Whalen, Shawn Downey and Jeremy Sikkema.We Are The World Nova Scotia connected us all , adding some positivity into each of our days. Soon there will come a time where we won’t walk the beaches alone and be together.
Hopefully, your days will be just a little brighter just like it was for Pam Donahee Archibald who is a proud Nova Scotian and part of this project. Pam has a passion for music, children, and the beautiful nature her province has to offer. This project has given her an opportunity to be a part of something joyful, a way to lift others up and bring hope in a time when many of us are feeling helpless. Her hope for our world is to remember this time as a time of connecting on a meaningful level. Reminding us to take time for one another and not to take others for granted always giving each other grace. Never stop singing says Pam! Music is a powerful source to share love and peace as well as helping us stay strong together.
There are so many great people involved in this project and you can learn a little more about a few of them below:
Thank you my new found friends and collaborators. Someday soon we may all get together for a true maritime kitchen party and sing We Are The World Nova Scotian Style.
Danielle Nicole Gofton
Hannah and Zack Graham
Denise Jones Kendall
Marie Ann MacEachern
Elizabeth Mason Squires
Renee O Brien
Susan Spellman Cann
Julie and Katie Atkinson live in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia . Julie has been singing in concerts since she was about nine years old. her mom says,” I’m pretty sure she was born singing”. She is a 2020 graduate, who is praying that she will have some sort of a graduation and prom. This covid 19 situation has been hard on her as she is a social butterfly and used to being surrounded by her friends. When the opportunity to be part of the this song came along, she jumped at it.
Katie, she is a grade 8 student, who is actually loving the fact that there is no school, she plays hockey, soccer, volley ball and softball and is missing her sports quite a bit. This was a first for her. She sings a lot at home, but never in front of anyone. She dreams of being able to get on the stage like her sister, but just doesn’t have the courage. Her mom Tiffany is proud of her for wanting to be part of this project and having the courage to do so.” I couldn’t be prouder of both of my girls for being part of something that spreads a little positivity, hope and strength in this crazy world!”
Jason Biddiscombe Started playing guitar at 15. I learned how to play and write music on my own. Always looked up to Coldplay. Lived in the dark side my whole life. Dartmouth lol.
Yvonne Dawe I’m from London Ontario. My husband William Dawe is from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton. I love to sing. I’ve posted a few videos to the ultimate Nova Scotia online kitchen party. When I heard of this project I was excited to be involved. I’m in the tenor choir. I’ve grown up in a generation where if your sad sing , if your happy sing. When you hear a good song sing. I sing to my grand babies. I have 3. i still sing and dance with them. It helps keep the music in their hearts. I sent in vocals and I’m honored to be involved in this project. We can reunite to send a message we are the world. We will stay strong together no matter how far apart we live. God bless Nova Scotia and to all in the world ! We come home every year. I’ve fallen in love with Cape Breton.
Jennifer Fidgen Desmond I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, currently living on the Eastern Shore, Musquodoboit Harbour. I am Jamie’s mom ❤️ and loved his idea to do this project. He has always tried to use his music to touch someone or show what he was feeling. So yes I am a proud mom lol. I am not a great singer , but was blessed to be part of this project and be able to see all of the amazing talent and support that was shown throughout this whole journey. So thank you to all! I will also speak about Brianna Desmond, Jamie’s little sister (12) she is a singer, actress, pianist, hockey player and so much more. Her and Jamie frequently work together on little projects. She also was excited to be part or this. We all wanted to spread hope and the togetherness that we all need right now.
Lorraine Gallant I am a proud maritimer living in New Brunswick. I am a mother, grandmother, crafter, artist, and lover of music, who’s been singing publicly for 20+ years. As much as the original ‘We Are The World’ collaboration made such an impact on the world, I joined this project thinking that we could replicate a bit of hope and feelings of togetherness in our small corner of the planet to show that we can get through this together. With the situation with covid-19 and the tragedy in Nova Scotia, that is more important now than ever before.
Danielle Nicole Gofton I was born and raised here in Nova Scotia. I currently live in Eastern Passage and have loved singing since the day I could talk. Being a part of this amazing collaboration of “We Are the World” was an honour. Even if this touches just one person we have brought hope to that person. With everything happening right now with COVID-19 and the senseless tragedy here in NS, it is more important than ever that we spread a little bit of hope and love to everyone. My hope for the world is that we come away from this time not taking each other for granted. Don’t take for granted the time we have together, or who truly matters in our lives. Be humble and show your love for others in any way you know how.
Theresa Hunter I was born and raised in southern Ontario until the age of 16 where I moved with my family to beautiful New Brunswick. It is where I have settled and now raising my two beautiful daughters and step daughter with the love of my life. I am an essential worker, a Postmaster for Canada Post in Florenceville NB. I have many passions from art, fitness and outdoor adventures to music. I love playing guitar and I’m always singing my heart out, trying to overcome my fear of singing for others.
This project sparked my interest soon after I learned to play this song on guitar which I recorded as a tribute to the devastation happening all around us. I feel it is perfectly fitting for what is happening in our world right now and to think that so many can come together from far and wide to contribute to this … it really is a beautiful and meaningful way to bring people together while having to keep a distance.
I am so proud and honoured to have been a part of this collaboration of “We Are The World” from the very beginning and I hope it brings hope and light in a way to touch the hearts of so many in such tragic times. #WeAretheWorld#WeAretheChildren ❤🌎
Bill Jeffery This was a project that while we are in Newfoundland, gave me an opportunity to show support for Nova Scotia and bring people together. Having lived in Lower Sackville for five years, our family considers Nova Scotia our second home. With great support The Lonely Man Project has received from men and women in Nova Scotia, this was a great way to give back and I was so honored to be included.
Denise Jones Kendall I was born and raised on the beautiful Island of Cape Breton. 23 yrs ago, my husband, myself and our son, moved out west to Grande Prairie, Alberta. We’re so excited to say we’re working on moving back home. ☺️ Singing, animals and helping heal the hearts of others, have always been my biggest passions. I’ve kept my love of singing a secret for most of my life out of fear. When I had this beautiful opportunity to try out for this wonderful tribute, I gave it no thought and followed my heart. I wanted to be a part of something beautiful, inspiring and so full of love, and that could also help make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted my 4 beautiful pups to be in the video with me. They give me so much love. They’re a huge part of my life and I know so many others can relate to them. Coming together in tough times sends a beautiful healing ripple all around the world. It can help heal the loneliest and most broken of hearts. Life is so precious. We all need the reminder that we’re never truly alone. Someone is always there with an ear to listen and a heart full of lots of love. I’m so grateful to have been a part of so much love and with such wonderful souls. Home of my heart, Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia. 💚
Joey Laviolette I am from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. I am a Plumber, Professional boxer, a Musician and a family man that’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I started playing piano at around 14, then the guitar when I was 16 .I learned mostly from my dad who is a great guitar player. My first introduction to writing music was with rap when I was around 14. I also am a boxer who competed with the Canadian Olympic team for 3 years. I have 4 Canadian titles as an amateur and am currently the jr lightweight champion of Canada I have a great wife Lisa and an amazing 6 year old name Breah
Margaret Macdonald I was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. I have been a resident Care Worker for 35 years love taking care of seniors. I love music and animals. My hope for the world is that we don’t return to our old ways never having time for anyone or anything we know now what is important, family and friends not material things.
Marie Ann MacEachern I was born in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and now live in Cole Harbour. I have a great passion for music. I have loved to sing since I was a little girl. This project has meant so much to me and being a part of this project has brought such joy and hope to many people and families in a time when it is needed the most. Nova Scotia Strong! We Are The World and We Are All In This Together.
Kristina McCulley I’m a 20 year old yodeller, born and raised in the Annapolis valley. I’ve always been very passionate for music, participating in fundraisers, variety shows, jam sessions and contests across the maritimes. I’m so grateful to be a part of this project that has brought people across the world together. Hopefully this will strengthen us as a province and create love through all the tragic events happening. #NovaScotiaStrong
Tina Robicheau I’ve lived in NS since I was 10 yrs old. My parents were both born here and decided to move back home in April of 1978. I remembering thinking how beautiful it was and was surprised that first winter, how warm it was compared to where I was born, which was Winnipeg, MB. From as early as I can remember, my mother has been my biggest musical influence and inspiration. She would drag me around with her to different benefits all over the place. I would sing with her and the band and think … wow, this is kinda cool. I joined my high school choir along with two church choirs in my teens. Music has been a part of my life for a long time. When this opportunity came up … I did not hesitate. And with the recent tragedy involving two VON Colleges from the Colchester Branch, I felt even more of a passion to participate.
Amy Peaker I live in Victoria, B.C and have been singing since I was little. I have a passion for all kinds of music and was so proud to be part of a remake for “We Are The World”. I believe it will bring hope and strength to everyone who has lost someone. We are all in this together 💜
Tracy Webb While born in Ontario, I have lived in the Valley for most of my life, coming from generations of proud Nova Scotians (Cape Breton, Westchester, and the South Shore) and recently retired after 35 years of teaching High school sciences. Music has always been a huge part of my life, from a child to now, as I play different instruments in several groups. While not really a vocalist, I do love singing and I am so grateful to be part of this project. The idea of the original “We Are The World” still holds as much power now, if not more so, as it did in 1985. To come together and share the message of hope, of being there for each other, and supporting our communities beyond borders is so important and precious. In light of the Covid 19 paradigm affecting so many globally, and in particular, the recent horrible tragedy of 23 lost lives here at home, this song and collaboration among “strangers” sharing gifts of music from the heart is profound and poignant. My wish is that every child can grow up knowing love, that people live in gratitude for who they have in their lives, and they can live life fully each day. Do random acts of kindness, and exist in simple joy … care and empathy for others goes a long way in living peacefully. We Are The World … together ❤️
Geordy Craig I was born and raised in Ontario. but have many, many relatives in NB mostly in the Miramichi. I’ve been playing music and singing for about 15 years and love it. I was very happy to be a part of this project and being the first person to sing on this video was really amazing too. Music brings people together as you can clearly see in these times. Although I live in Ontario, I feel very connected to the East Coast and was deeply saddened by the events that happened in Nova Scotia. Knowing that people will listen to this and donate money to help people recover from losing loved ones is a great feeling too! Great job everyone on this project!
Maybe we can pick the pieces up , one piece at a time and music is a great place to start. Thank you James Desmond for caring enough to want to do make a difference and inviting us all to be a part of this virtual kitchen party..
James Desmond, also known as Jaye Dee, was born in Halifax Nova Scotia, raised in Musquodoboit Harbour. James has been writing music ever since he was 12 years old . He use to do hip hop for a long time, and then switched over to country/folk. His favourite singer is Elvis Presley. James always wanted to change the world with his music . This collaborative video came from his heart.
The Municipality of Colchester started a web page called “Heart Colchester” that shares more than a dozen links to GoFundMe pages for victims. The link in this video is for the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund and we hope you too will consider contributing in some way.
Maybe we will see you all in the next virtual kitchen party. Until then stay safe , sing to your hearts content, cuddle up or send messages to the ones you love and keep Nova Scotia and the people in your heart. We look forward to you visiting our beautiful province and the people who make it special soon.