WESTVILLE – A once restricted map is now accessible for all to see at the Pictou County Military Museum located in Westville.
Cpl. Paul Ward of Westville is a driver in the Canadian Forces Transport Corp. and served a military tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011 and 2012. While there he was given a map of the region to use. When he was leaving the country Ward got permission from his commanding officer to take the map and some other artifacts home, but only on the condition that he keep it out of sight until the last Canadian troop left Afghanistan. Ward was one of the last soldiers to leave and, once the time was right, he donated the map to the local museum.
Ward is away again serving on another mission in another part of the world, but museum founder and president Vincent Joyce has taken care to preserve the map by getting it mounted on a plaque. The cost for the project was donated by the Staples social club at the store in New Glasgow who, when they heard about the project, decided they wanted to help.
Store manager Dana Landry said there were some eyes popping when employees saw the map.
“The fact that ‘restricted’ is written there, makes it even cooler,” Landry said.
The map is unique because instead of the Afghan street names the map shows streets called St. John’s, Fredericton and Charlottetown. Joyce explained that Canadian forces map makers had to make a special map in English so Canadian forces who didn’t know how to read or speak in the Afghan language would be able to get around. They chose the cities from their home area to provide familiar names.
Joyce said he is thrilled to be able to add this artifact to their collection.
“It’s phenomenal,” he said. “If everything that was restricted was destroyed you wouldn’t have it for the future for our children to see.”
He said Staples did a terrific job mounting the map, which had been torn before it was given to them. “Oh my, look at this,” he said upon seeing the map for the first time mounted at the store.