Province-wide restrictions on activities in wooded areas

The Nova Scotia government issued the following news release yesterday (August 8, 2016) which goes into effect today at noon:

As fire crews battle three wildfires in Nova Scotia the province is announcing measures to prevent additional fires.

Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines announced that beginning at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 9, all travel and activities within the woods is restricted. This includes hiking, camping, fishing, and the use of off-highway vehicles. People can still access beaches and provincial parks, but trail systems will be restricted.

“We recognize these restrictions pose an inconvenience for Nova Scotians and visitors, however, our top priority has to be safety,” said Mr. Hines. “Conditions in some regions of the province haven’t been this dry in 15 years. These restrictions are being put in place to reduce the risk of additional fires.”

These restrictions also apply to forestry, mining and any commercial activity on Crown land. Those who conduct commercial activity on Crown land will require permits which can be obtained at local Department of Natural Resources offices. Hunters and fishers will also require travel permits.

Mr. Hines thanked forestry companies who have moved work to nighttime hours, which is between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. He encourages all companies and private landowners to take this approach.

“Our industry recognizes this situation requires the co-operation of everyone who uses our province’s forests,” said Jeff Bishop, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia. “We’ve asked our members to shift work to overnight to do our best to prevent any wildfires.”

Wildfires in Maitland Bridge, Annapolis Co. and Greenfield, Queens Co., are now totally contained and mapped at about 21 hectares and five hectares respectively.

The fire burning at Seven Mile Lake, Annapolis Co. has not been contained and has grown. All available resources, including planes from other provinces, continue to fight that fire, which is about 140 hectares.

“On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I’d like to thank our dedicated firefighters who are working around the clock to fight these fires,” said Mr. Hines.

The province will continue to provide updates, which can be found at www.novascotia.ca/nsfire.”

Unfortunately, this ban on activity includes the trail system in Truro’s hidden gem, Victoria Park. As of noon, access in the park is limited to only the lower area (pool, playground, and bandstand.)

With no rain in the forecast until the weekend, the risk of additional fires is just too great.

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast website

And the wall came tumbling down…

We know this makes a lot of people sad.

During the past two days, D’Arcy and the boys have been tackling a job that we’ve put off since 2009 – our stone wall. On Easter Sunday of 2009, when he turned the corner to go to church, D’Arcy discovered that part of the small section of our stone wall had washed away in heavy rain and part of it had fallen. (Story and photos here.)  At the time, he cleaned it up as best and as safely as he could, saving all the stones – in our garden – with the plan to rebuild.

Belgravia B&B was named such after we had learned that the original name of Broad Street was Belgravia Avenue. Two months after we opened, I ran into a man who had grown up in the house from the 1920’s – 1960’s who informed me that the house had been known as “Stoneycroft” from the time it was built, due to the stone wall. (Wish we had known.)

The wall is part of the house’s history.

It soon became apparent that rebuilding wouldn’t be as simple as we had hoped. The wall, 105 years old at that time (111 now), was not built on a foundation and the mortar has turned to sand over the years.

The long part of the wall has shifted as well, and half of it is leaning sharply towards the sidewalk. Last summer, we had hoped to get the entire wall fixed, so had professionals come and give us quotes.

We’re looking at a price range of $20,000. 

For a wall. A wall that’s beautiful and sentimental but, sadly, not a necessity.

We have four children to put through university.

D’Arcy & the boys spent the past two days taking down the short section of the wall that originally started to fall six years ago. They were able to save the posts, and D’Arcy graded the lawn to the sidewalk. We have planted raspberry bushes in between the posts, with the intention that they will become a hedge that gives back. We have a picture of the house from 1916 and there was originally a hedge behind the wall, so putting this one in is like returning a different piece of history of the property.

As for the long section? D’Arcy is marking provincial exams for the next two weeks, so there won’t be any work done on it until later in the month. He has an idea to try to stabilize it, but if it doesn’t work, that section will have to come down for safety reasons as well – we hate the thought of having someone sit on it, or a child climb on it, and get hurt.

Not an easy decision; one six years in the making…

We understand.

We’re sad too.

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Deconstruction begans

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What was left of the short section of wall when they started to take it down.

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Work in progress…

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Raspberry bushes are planted; sod arrives tonight. Happy to have been able to save the pillars at least.

Stoneycroft, 1916. Note the driveway used to come in off Prince Street (the address was 416 Prince Street at that time) and the hedge behind the wall. Thank you Colchester Historical Society for the photo.

Stoneycroft, now Belgravia, 1916. Note the driveway used to come in off Prince Street (the address was 416 Prince Street at that time) and the hedge behind the wall. Thank you Colchester Historical Society for the photo.

An Unexpected Accolade

This year, the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce brought back their Best of Colchester Awards. We had won as “Best B&B” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. With the return of the awards came new categories which – at first glance – we didn’t see ourselves fitting into until someone mentioned to me in passing, “I voted for you as ‘Best Home-based Business’ in the Best of Colchester awards.” Best home-based business? Upon reflection, we realized that category couldn’t fit much more perfectly!  In Nova Scotia, a B&B must be owner-occupied; Belgravia B&B is our home.

We were surprised to learn last week that we were finalists along with new local business, Leggo my Leggings, and we attended the ceremony on Thursday night. Since we are not what I first think of as a traditional home-based business, I assumed others would be of the same perception and did not expect that we would win. I was shocked when our names were called. As a result, I had to come up with some remarks on the spot which came from my heart.

I acknowledged the entrepreneurs in the room. When we first started our B&B in 2002 (this season will be Lucky #13!) I did not think of myself as an entrepreneur; I was just a young mom who was looking for an opportunity to spend more time with her children. Starting a “home-based business” was a way for me to fill that need while remaining involved in the Tourism industry in Nova Scotia.

Over the years, I have come to a new understanding of what my definition entrepreneurship is. To me, the word “entrepreneurship” means thinking creatively, recognizing and fulfilling needs, creating new opportunities, and taking risks. Someone with a home-based businesses is an entrepreneur just as much as someone who creates a business which employs 100 people. Entrepreneurship includes intrapreneurs and social entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a verb as much as it is a noun. I am, it turns out, an entrepreneur.

This change of thinking for me has taken place over a number of years. Back in 2002, that young mom never dreamed she’d  eventually end up teaching Applied Entrepreneurship – encouraging others to follow their dreams and create their own opportunities!

One year ago, the One Nova Scotia Commission released the report, “Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians” which recognizes that it is entrepreneurs who will lead the change to rebuild our economy. How energizing it was for us on Thursday night to be in a crowd filled with entrepreneurs of all types. We are grateful that the Chamber organizes the “Best of” awards each year and were pleased to be recognized with all of the other business owners, leaders, and supporters in the room that night.

Thank you to all those who took the time to vote for us!

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The Nutcracker – Truro Dance Academy

Yesterday, I was startled to realize, was six weeks until Christmas Eve.

One of our favourite Christmas traditions is seeing a performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet. This year’s production by Truro Dance Academy will take place on December 7th and 8th. We have two ballerinas participating for their first time: Olivia as a field mouse and Sarah as an attendant to the Sugar Plum Fairy. 🙂

Tickets are on sale now.

“Who We Are”

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Our son Alex has been rehearsing with Spotlight Theatre, a local community youth theatre group, for the upcoming production of “Who We Are”. This musical was written and is being directed by local talent, Margot Begin-Gillis (also director of the Truro Dance Academy where our girls dance). It features songs from a number of different musicals as the characters explore many challenging life issues. The show will be performed on July 19th at 7:00 pm, and July 20th at 2:00pm. and 7:00 pm. Tickets ($17) are available at the Marigold Cultural Centre Box Office. We hope to see you there!

Who We Are Promo Video (Did you spot our son, Alex?!)

 

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

 

Best B&B in Colchester for the fourth time!

I’ve had so much to say in the past week, but it’s been so busy here, I haven’t had a moment to write it down. I’ll try not to be too long winded. Maybe I’ll just send out the biggest piece of news for now:

WE WON BEST BED & BREAKFAST IN COLCHESTER for the fourth year in a row last night! Yippee!

Really? It never gets old. We are so grateful for the support we have from our new guests, returning guests, friends, family, and colleagues. We honestly feel so fortunate that we have so many great quality B&B’s in Colchester County and we all work so well together. When you are surrounded by great quality, it sets the bar high. Since this week has been Tourism Week in Canada, I put in a plug when we accepted our award and reminded the 250+ people in attendance that “Tourism is everybody’s business.” We support local businesses as much as possible and we send our guests to local businesses. Our guests visit  local attractions and restaurants, but also fill up with gas at our gas stations, buy medications at our pharmacies, and pack their coolers at our grocery stores. Each and every interaction they have at these businesses forms their opinion of what Nova Scotians are really like.

We were thrilled to receive this award for the 4th year in a row and would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us. It means so much!! You can see the complete list of winners by clicking on this sentence.

All of the other news will have to wait until tomorrow – we have to get breakfast organized for a full house…

Proof! Thank you to all who voted!! We think it's beautiful!

Proof! Thank you to all who voted!! We think it’s beautiful!

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The Belgravia Bed & Breakfast website

Learning Empathy

The following article appeared in the Truro Daily News on June 4th, 2013. It’s all about our son Alex’s Grade 6 class, and how almost every student in the class spent a full day in a wheelchair this term to learn empathy for a classmate who experiences life in a wheelchair. On the day Alex spent in the chair a couple of weeks ago, the class traveled by (accessible) bus to a nearby field for the day. Each child wrote a reflection piece after the experience, and Alex stated that he didn’t realize how frustrating it would be, and how much respect he has for Joe. This was a wonderful project and I think the school administration, but especially Ms. Roberts and Joe, need to be commended for offering the students the opportunity to have this valuable learning experience!

“TRURO – Tristan Rollins pushed himself along in a wheelchair and quickly discovered just how difficult it can be.

“It was tough,” he said. “It’s definitely not a walk in the park.”

Rollins spent a day in the chair as part of a project headed by his teacher, Irma Roberts, and one of his classmates, Joe Wood, who has been in a wheelchair since he was seven-years old.

Roberts’ Grade 6 class spent the month of May taking turns spending an entire day in a wheelchair as part of Sensitivity Awareness Month at the school.

Woods, who moved to Truro from Debert this year, came up with the idea and shared it with an educational assistant who works with him, Bernie Mullen.

“I thought it would be a good experience for the other students to see what it’s like to be in a wheelchair,” said Wood.

Mullen thought it was a good idea and passed it along to Roberts. Roberts was able to procure an extra wheelchair through the school and, as it turned out, the students were keen to try it.

They did everything in a wheelchair for the day, including using the bathroom and getting from floor to floor in the school with the help of an educational assistant.

Wood’s classmate, Oliva Neesh, thought spending a day in the chair would be easy because all she would have to do all day is sit. However, she found out there were challenges she wasn’t aware of.

“Sitting in the chair all day was exhausting,” she said. “All I could do was sit down, and I wanted to stretch my legs.”

Dean Sangster is also in Wood’s class. Sangster’s mother who works with people with developmental disabilities and his sister was in a wheelchair for six months due to leg surgery. He thought the experience was “fun” but got frustrated when break-time came around.

“I was in the chair on a real nice day and everybody was running around and doing cartwheels,” said Sangster.

Roberts said all of the students took part in the project except one, and of all the students who tried it, only two didn’t make it through the day in the chair.

“One girl didn’t make it because she wanted to use the steel bars in gym class,” said Sangster.

Wood said he finds other students at the junior high are aware of him and take the time to hold doors open, but outside the school the climate it a bit different.

“People will slam the door on me,” said Woods. “Sometimes that hurts because it hits the end of my toes.”

Wood said he was happy his classmates were interested to see the world from his perspective. He said he wants to help people in wheelchairs later in life through coaching wheelchair sports when he grows up.

“You can play just about any sport in a wheelchair,” he said.

“Except maybe volleyball. I play basketball now, and I’d really like to play floorball.”

“It’s really fun to watch,” added Sangster.

People with disabilities

– About ten per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority.

– In countries with life expectancies over 70 years, individuals spend on average eight years, or 11.5 per cent of their life span, living with disabilities.

– Only 45 countries have anti-discrimination and other disability-specific laws.

– The World Bank estimates 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people are disabled, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged.

– An estimated 386 million of the world’s working-age people are disabled, says the International Labour Organization. Unemployment among the disabled is as high as 80 per cent in some countries.

Source: United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

We Need Your Help!

*Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! To all of you who took the time to vote for Belgravia as “Best Bed & Breakfast” we thank you! Voting has now closed and we will find out how we did at the Truro and Colchester Chamber’s Best of Colchester Awards on June 13th. We’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out! 🙂

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Winning the “Best B&B” award in 2011 at the Best of Colchester awards

There are only two days of voting left in the Truro & Colchester Chamber’s “Best of Colchester” awards. (Voting ends Wednesday, May 15th.)  We have been fortunate to have won this award for the past three years in a row. I hate to sound greedy, but we’d really love to keep the streak going…

In order to do this, we need your votes – it doesn’t take long and you don’t need to register. You just need to click on the link to the Truro Colchester Chamber of Commerce and type Belgravia as Best Bed & Breakfast. You can do this up to five times per IP address (computer or device). You do not need to vote in each category, but if you’ve been in the area and enjoyed a certain restaurant, shop, or other business, please take a moment and vote for them as well!

We strive to be the best at what we do, offering clean, comfortable, up-to-date accommodations, and abundant fresh, local, healthy food at breakfast. We pride ourselves on providing authentic maritime hospitality and recognize that we have tough competition! Thank you for your votes – it really means so much to us!

Please Vote Belgravia for Best Bed & Breakfast in the 2013 Best of Colchester

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast Website

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Flooding in Truro

Many people who follow the news have heard that yesterday in Truro, we had the “perfect storm” which created massive flooding in our town. Hurricane Leslie, which hit Newfoundland today, was feeding a low pressure system which stalled over our area. The heavy rain (145 mm+) combined with high tide in an already swollen Salmon River, caused the dykes to be breached and the water to flow into town.

Luckily, at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, our guests were warm, cozy & dry and our home was not affected – which seemed amazing because streets very close to us, and the golf course in our neighbourhood were closed. We’ve heard stories about one friend who was rescued from her home by a canoe, other friends who were rescued from their homes in the bucket of a front end loader, and another friend’s son, who was wakeboarding in the flood water in their backyard!

I am happy to report that although this amount of water was a huge inconvenience to many, I have not heard of any injuries or worse – fatalities as a result.

Thank you to past guests, friends & family from away who have contacted us to inquire about our safety – I’m happy to report we’re all just fine!

The Joe Howe Falls in Victoria Park, Truro. Photo Credit: Truro Parks & Recreation

Fletcher’s Restaurant, located just down the street from us. Photo credit: Robb Scott

A lake at the Truro Golf Club – located on the other end of our block. Photo credit: Truro Golf Club

The first time I’ve ever seen so much flooding at the Truro Golf Club – located at the opposite end of our block. Photo credit: Truro Golf Club

Lorne Street looking South. Stanfield’s Factory on the left, the Stadium and High School on the right. Needless to say, all were evacuated! Photo credit: Tim Roland

The parking lot of the mall on Robie Street last night; this is the main artery in and out of Truro. Photo credit: Bobby Harroun

A friend’s son, wakeboarding in their backyard. Notice the water is as deep as the trampoline is high. Photo credit: Susan MacQuarrie