The Silver Dart Flies Again

When the average person is asked about the accomplishments of Alexander Graham Bell he or she will probably lift up a cell phone. However in Canada he is known for his accomplishments with voice transmissin and providing the very first heavier-than-air air machine to ever fly in this country.  For over thirty years Bell spent his  summers in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, with his wife and family but he brought his work with him. This included the world’s first hydrofoil and an airplane built under his direction by the Aerial experimental Association in Hammondsport, New York.

In 1909, after successful tests in the U.S., Bell had his craft, dubbed The Silver Dart, disassembeld, crated and shipped to Nova Scotia for trials here. When assembeld the aircraft had a wingspan of 14.9 meters and weighed in at 390 kilograms including the pilot, who had to be careful about his weight.

On February 28th, the aircraft was dragged to the ice of Bras D’Or Lake by a team of horses. The plane was constructed of wood with a silk fabric covering over the wings and powered by a Curtiss, water-cooled engine that developed 40 horsepower. This engine sat on the back of the plane and the propellorwas desgned to push the craft.

The next day,  February 23rd, J.A.D. McCurdy, an engineer who worked with Bell, made history by piloting the first powered airplane a British subject within the British Empire.

If you fast-forward 100 years there is a former-Canadian astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, who just finsihed the trials of a modern Silver Dart.  Closely modeled after the original airplane Tryggvason got his version a few meters off the ground at a test run in Hamilton, Ontario. Now the “pilot to the stars” is packing up his craft and shipping it to Baddeck, Nova Scotia, to fly this crude machine into the very airspace where McCurdy thrilled Bell and a host of Canadian and foreign onlookers.

BESTT on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

“BESTT is an international coalition of businesses and trade associations from across the United States and Canada who share a common concern about the ramifications of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Our goal is to raise awareness of the important cultural and fiscal ties that exist across the 5,500 mile long border, and to help ensure public policies that promote these ties, while still addressing the legitimate security concerns of both countries.”

Well, June is fast approaching and this means that anyone entering the United States from Canada or elsewhere must present:

  • a passport;
  • a NEXUS card;
  • a FAST card; or
  • an EDL or EIC from a province or territory where a U.S.-approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented.

Closely watching the WHTI is a group called the Business for Better Economic Security for Tourism and Trade. Why because the Canada-U. S. border is like a membrane, a malleable and porous divide where billions of dollars in goods and services are transferred each year. In addition to the monetary value of the border millions of people pass across every year as well: tourists, business visitors, workers and many other foreign nationals who contribute to economy of both nations.

The meeting points of this vast transference:

  • Border crossings across the 49th parallel
  • Ferry systems on both coasts and inland waterways.
  • Airports

These ports-of-entry account for $1.2 billion dollars a day in trade and this supports 5.2 million jobs.

BESTT Position

The BESTT coalition supports secure border crossing document
solutions that:

•        Acknowledge and address the economic impact of any
proposed solution
•        Include a multi-lateral approach to border management
•        Fund extensive marketing and public awareness efforts
•        Provide a common implementation date for all types of
•        Describe a clear standard for crossing
•        Are inexpensive and easily accessible
•        Addresses the unique need for students and children, aged
sixteen and under, to be able to cross the border at a
nominal cost.

Is BESTT Being Heard?

BESTT means well and I think on a grass-roots level they are being heard. However, will a new administration in the Washington care about what they think now that the economy is the big issue? Well, BESTT is all about the economy and making it work faster with America’s trading partners, especially Canada. And any organization that keeps this lucrative and strategic relationship on the frontburner is worth an applause.

Peggy’s Cove Celebrates 200 Years

Peggy’s Cove is about one of the best known images of Canada outside a mounted policeman, a beaver or Lake Louise. It’s lighthouse, although not very tall, is the standard by which people think of the seacoast beacons. It’s hard to believe that the area will be 200 years old this summer.

Two hundred years ago King George III issued land grants to six founding families who settled the boulder-strewn, rocky point later called Peggy’s Cove. Now, on the 200th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove, there are 40 full-time residents of this community.

For the first hundred years life was simple: gardens, fishing and going inland to log and hunt. There was lots of fish: inshore pollock, cod fisheries and lobster as well as smelt and herring. Now it is lobster and mackerel that are fished by 5 full-time fishermen.

Of course Peggy’s Cove is best known for its tourism draw, bringing about 500,000 tourists each summer to visit the community.

Centennial Events

1. Geology Walk: Beginning on April 18 and every third Monday afterward visitors can attend geology walks that explain the giant boulders known as “erratics” that cover the glacially scoured granite landscape.

2. Tiptoe through the Tide Pool : A natural history walk will be held on June 11 and a Peggy’s Cove Road Arts Festival from July 1 to July 14.

2. Family Reunions: Peggy’s Cove has sent hundreds of its residents around the world. Many of them may come back for the big reunion.

For more events go to Peggy’s Cove

Liverpool Privateer Days

During the late 1700’s an act of the Imperial Parliament in England sanctioned privateering along Nova Scotia’s south shore. This was an effort to protect the local towns and villages from attacks by American ships.

Liverpool Privateer Days
Liverpool Privateer Days

The new rules let the ordinary citizens to apply for a “Letter of Marque,” which allowed them to attack and capture the ‘enemy’ vessels. If the capture was deemed legal, then the privateers shared in the money generated when the ship and cargo were sold at auction. It was a way for the local people to defend their homes.

Events celebrating this history with food, music, historical tours and other fun and games take place all over the town of Liverpool. The festival runs for four days during the first weekend in July.

For more Information contact:
Owen Hamlin
Phone: 354-4500

Halifax’s Waterfront Winterfest

From February 26 to 28th the harbour-side of Halifax will erupt into a festival that will take the edge off the long winter. The Waterfront Winterfest will feature dozens of free events including snowboard competitions, ice skating, snow carvings and an indoor children’s winter playland.

The Waterfront Winterfest web site is being constantly updated and you can also follow them on Twitter.

Here are some of the updates:

If you’re interested in volunteering for Waterfront Winterfest visit and touch base!

Parent’s night off at Waterfront Winterfest?! You bet. It’s The Sailor’s Olympics Nightwatch adventure for kids.

Check out the Waterfront Winterfest launch last week – special thanks to Breakfast Television

Take the Roof Off Winter

Take The Roof Off Winter (TTROW), is Nova Scotia’s new winter active campaign. It has been designed to point Nova Scotians of all ages in the direction of activities that will improve their health during the winter days by being outdoors and active.

On the  TTROW site you can find ideas for having fun in the outdoors this winter.  While you are on the web site make sure to sign up to be a TTROW Supporter, and use the great resources available: media materials, kids zone activities, posters, etc.

Nova Scotians can create your their own Take The Roof Off Winter event:

  • Build an outdoor rink;
  • Organize an outdoor game of ringette, broomball, curling or hockey
  • Host an ice fishing competition
  • Have a toboggan party
  • Join a bird watching club
  • Create a winter carnival
  • Snowshoe through the woods

Winter doesn’t have to be a dull affair. After the thrill of indoor activities wears off make that extra effort to get outside and get the lead out.