The structure has changed, but the sense of belonging is the same for Walter Borden.
Borden, who was last in New Glasgow in 2008, took some time this week to return and revisit old places and familiar feelings.
Mayor Nancy Dicks describes Borden as one of New Glasgow's brightest shining stars. He’s an internationally recognized actor, playwright and poet. New Glasgow town council presented him a certificate at its council meeting in recognition of his accomplishments.
He then spoke to a captive audience.
“The biggest thing was walking into where I grew up – the home where I grew up,” he said. “It's so changed.”
But the feelings were the same.
“I would look at certain corners and I would feel what it was. I could feel my mother. I could feel dad. It was phenomenal. …I remembered the feeling of the house when I grew up and the same feeling is there. It’s like talking silence.”
He planned to visit other places during his visit home – places that made him.
“I’ll roam the streets and I’ll remember,” he said.
Borden is now in the process of writing his autobiography. It’s a mammoth task that he expects to fill three books. The first will cover the time period from 1942 to 1960 and his growing-up years in New Glasgow.
“That was when the foundation of everything was set. Everything that I became. Every philosophy that I knew. That led me down so many paths.”
Borden is a man who has met people he refers to as the giants of the 20th century – people he came to call friends. But anything he had to offer them, he says began at home – 250 Vale Rd., where he along with 17 other children in his family grew up.
People who Borden meets outside of Pictou County often comment how he’s “Scotian” referencing his Nova Scotia roots.
“They recognize it very quickly, I don't know what it is,” he says.
But deep inside, he knows what makes him unique is the fact that he’s from New Glasgow.
“I can say it’s very special to be from New Glasgow. It’s very, very special. I say that, because people whom I've met, have told me that because of what they saw in me.”
Education: After graduating from New Glasgow High School, Borden went on to obtain degrees from Acadia University and the Nova Scotia Teacher's College. He also trained at Circle in the Square Theatre School and the Herbert Beghof Studio in New York City.
Theatre: He has performed on stages across the country including the Neptune Theatre and the Stratford Festival.
Film and TV credits: Nurse. Fighter. Boy., The Event, Gerontophilia, Lexx and Platinum.
Awards: Borden is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the African Nova Scotia Music Association Music Heritage Award, the Portia White Prize and the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award. In 2006 he was named a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2007 received a Doctor of Civil Law from Saint Mary's University.