Roundup: National COVID snapshot, Pictou wins active county award, organist group visits South Shore, Antigonish aims for more diversity

Photo: Parks Canada

Plus: Rock of ages — the petroglyphs of Kejimkujik offer tantalizing glimpses of ancient Mi’kmaw culture and history

With government offices closed yesterday, the latest provincial COVID-19 data is unavailable. So today, we instead take a look at the national picture, and how Nova Scotia is performing compared to the rest of Canada.

Countrywide, there are 44,358 known active cases, according to the federal government’s latest numbers. Alberta remains Canada’s most diseased province, accounting for almost half of all active cases: 20,306. Nova Scotia, by contrast, has 224 active cases.

The rate of infection paints the picture even more starkly. Nationally, Canada has 117 active cases per 100,000 people. In Nova Scotia, the number is 23. In Alberta, 459 out of every 100,000 people have COVID.

So far, the pandemic has killed 27,819 people in Canada, including 97 Nova Scotians. The bulk of the deaths have been in Ontario (9,723) and Quebec (11,369).

Photo: Zack Metcalfe

Rock of ages
As Canadians learn the truth about our country’s colonial history, among the most shocking revelations for many is that this was not a largely ungoverned and uninhabited land. When European settlers arrived, Mi’kmaw culture was thriving. Among the most striking physical evidence of that are the petroglyphs at Kejimkujik National Park.

A couple of years ago, Zack Metcalfe visited the awe-inspiring works with guide Rose Meuse.

“This is rock art, a startling reminder not only that people were here in centuries past, but that they thought and felt as intensely as we do now, preserving what for them was commonplace but for us precious,” he says. “First we visited Meuse’s favourite, a simple stick-figure hunter with bow and arrow. Some suspect this particular petroglyph is among the oldest in the park because it’s so faded and rudimentary, perhaps put here when this particular slate was relatively unmarked and the bar for quality was low. Meuse says she also loves it because this hunter exudes a simple pride, one she remembers in her elders.”

Learn more in this column by Metcalfe, originally published October 2020.

Canada’s most active county
Thanks to the work of the Pictou County Trails Association, Pictou is being lauded as Canada’s most active county.

Nicholas Giacomantonio, president of the Heartland Tour, presents the association with the $2,500 on Saturday, recognizing Pictou’s country-leading rate of participation in the annual cycling event.

“In 2020, the COVID public gathering restrictions made an adaptation of the Heartland Tour to a provincewide virtual event necessary,” he says. “The success in attracting new participants from across the province has meant that virtual events will continue to be part of the tour’s future. This year, organizers in Pictou County obviously worked hard to increase participation and claim the award.”

The Pictou Advocate has more.

Laurie Boucher

Antigonish aims for more diversity
The Town of Antigonish has signed the Leadership Accord on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which aims to make the municipal workforce more diverse.

The accord is a public commitment to advance, integrate and prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizational policies, processes, and culture.

“We’re looking at different things: we want to commit to governance of practices of organizational policy,” Mayor Laurie Boucher says. “We want to make sure a lot of groups are represented. We want to make sure that when a job is posted, and certain skills are needed, it’s posted in places that wouldn’t normally be posted, so everybody gets a chance to see it.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Organists visit South Shore concert hall
Last month, a group from the Royal Canadian College of Organists went to Brooklyn, Queens County to visit Varnus Hall and try out its pipe organ. The venue has been an ongoing project for world-renowned organist Xaver Varnus, who recently bought the former church and transformed it into a classic concert hall — a rare amenity for a rural Nova Scotian community.

“We had a wonderful afternoon,” says Varnus. “It was nice for me. I haven’t met many organists that I could talk to about the profession.”

Kevin McBain interviews him for LighthouseNow.

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