County resident remembers Farley Mowat as friend

Sueann Musick
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The recent passing of Farley Mowat has left a deep void in environmental crusades, says local activist Mary Gorman.


Mary Gorman and Farley Mowat

The Merigomish resident said after the passing of 92-year-old Mowat on Tuesday that she is saddened by the news and the world has lost a passionate voice for the earth.

“He was absolutely dynamic, brilliant, original, an absolute character and incredible to talk to,” she said. “His mind kept you hopping the whole time. He didn’t mince words at all. He was quite a character.”

Gorman first met Mowat a few years ago when they were both selected to be Green Heroes that filmed short documentaries on people who were making a difference in the environment.

Although known best for this literary work, Mowatt was also an activist and who encouraged people to love in unison with nature because both depended on each other to survive. 

Gorman visited his Cape Breton home with a documentary crew and a box of lobsters in 2012 and he quickly put them all to work in getting the shells opened.

“We brought a bunch of lobsters and he sent us to work cracking them outside,” she said.  “He basically handed me a hammer and said, ‘get to it’. “

“He was absolutely dynamic, brilliant, original, an absolute character and incredible to talk to." Mary Gorman

After their meeting, Gorman said she would keep in touch with Mowat by phone or mail because he never entered the world of technology or email.

“I recently intended to send mail to him because that is what he liked,” she said. “He didn’t believe in email or computers. He worked on the same typewriter he had for a very long time.”

Gorman said he was supporter of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, a group she helped found in protest over oil drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“He was fearless,” she said. “He didn’t bow down to authority and he could not be bought. He didn’t care if it was trendy or popular, he didn’t compromise. “

Gorman said she hopes he didn’t hear the news that the Newfoundland Petroleum Board was recently given the go ahead for gas exploration in the Gulf.

“This really would have upset him,” she said.

Gorman and Mowat’s Green Hero documentaries can be viewed the website,

Organizations: Seas and Shores Coalition, Newfoundland Petroleum Board

Geographic location: Merigomish, Cape Breton

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