Seeing the big picture

John Brannen
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Historical photos from Roots Society offers glimpse into county’s past

NEW GLASGOW – Phillip MacKenzie and Clyde Macdonald are firm believers that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The pair, representing the Pictou County Roots Society, were making good on discussions they’d had with 20 local businesses Thursday about having historical photos in their establishments.

“We have lots of old and historical photographs,” said Macdonald, a lifetime member of the society. “Rather than keep them stored away, we wanted to share them.”

The idea was that willing local businesses would have the opportunity to hang a photo in their building that showed the same area many years earlier. After contacting 20 potential businesses, all were very supportive of the initiative.

“Everyone really liked the idea,” said MacKenzie, the society’s director. “It makes a businesses connection to the community even stronger.”

The society funded the initiative to the tune of $1,300 and the result was wooden mounting and size increase for each photo.

Thursday was a busy day for the photo-bearing duo as they delivered all 20 photos to the respective businesses.

TD Canada Trust in New Glasgow was one of their stops and the photo showed a bygone era. The scene was the East River looking toward the eastside of New Glasgow. On the riverbank sat the Easy Riding, a Pictou County built steam-driven riverboat fitted with paddlewheels on the sides. From 1864 to 1900, it acted as a ferry and carried regular passengers and small freight between New Glasgow and Pictou.

For Gayle MacDonald, the bank’s branch manager, she’s proud to support the heritage of the town. The wall mural of historic Provost Street in TD’s waiting area is a testament to this.

“For us, the fact we were asked is a message that the society sees us as a place of community and good corporate citizenship,” said Macdonald. “We must be doing something right.”

Another historic photo delivered yesterday was to the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame. The picture included members of the Canadian Olympic Team Executive in London in 1908 during the summer Olympics of that year.

The man seated to the far right, and vice president of the committee, was New Glasgow native J. G. ‘Garf’ Macdonald.

Clyde Macdonald said he came to be in possession of a copy of this photo when he was watching television one night.

“A professor from the University of Ottawa was trying to gather some of the relatives of 1908 Olympic teams,” he said, “He held up this very photo so I got in touch with him and we got a copy.”

MacKenzie noted that Garf Macdonald was a special figure in the 1908 Olympics.

“Not only was he an organizer for Canada’s team, but a medal-winning athlete too. Garf won a silver in the hop, step and jump, now known as the triple jump.”

Barry Trenholm, curator of the hall of fame was honoured to receive the photo.

“We have many artifacts here in the hall, but this one is in a class of its own,” he noted. “He was the first Nova Scotian to win an Olympic Medal.”

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Roots Society, TD Canada Trust, Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall University of Ottawa

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Pictou County, East River London Canada

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Recent comments

  • philipmackenzie
    February 02, 2014 - 14:00

    roy-here is the finished product delivered on time ' to 2 recipients.-Philip in ng