Truro and the Colchester Historical Society Museum and Archives

By yogie, on Thu, 13 Oct 2011 | 0 Comments

Halifax Sunrise above Purdy's Wharf and CasinoLight was just breaking when I woke at my apartment.  Out my window, I could see the rising sun reflected in a cloudy sky above Halifax Harbour.  I ran up to my rooftop and snapped a few shots of the spectacular colours above the casino and Purdy's Wharf.  Today, I was heading to Truro, the hub of Nova Scotia. Truro Tidal BoreWe had a strict schedule to keep for our first appointment.  After I had confirmed plans with the people at the Colchester Historical Society Museum, they suggested I should film the Truro tidal bore while in the area.  Brendan, the cameraman, and I left just after 7:00AM so we would be sure to have enough time.  To see the bore, we took exit 14 off the Trans Canada from Halifax and zigzagged onto Tidal Bore Road.  At the end of the road were a parking lot and small park with a few picnic tables.  There was a crowd of about twenty-five people and most, I believe, were tourists.  In fact, I overheard several people speaking German.  The tidal bore is not so much a wave but more a wisp of water that you can see approach and carry on along the Salmon River.  It's amazing to see the water level rise so quickly in just a matter of seconds.

Colchester Society Museum and ArchivesThe dark, cloudy weather was waning when we arrived at the Colchester Historical Society Museum and Archives.  The archives stands mixed in amongst other historic buildings.  It was once the Science Building of the Normal School, built in 1900-01, it was the forerunner of the Nova Scotia Teachers College.  I met Aidan Norton, the curator of the museum, and he showed me around the Planters exhibit "New Beginners" which showed many different aspects of 18th century life in Cobequid.

Old map of Great Village, Nova Scotia, circa 1889Before I was to meet Nan Harvey, the Archivist/Librarian, I met Dick, the jack-of-trades volunteer who was really passionate about local history.  He joked about everything and I liked him immediately.  He explained that the archives had records for the Colchester County including some of the early settlements in Onslow, Londonderry and Truro.  Using an early drawing of the town of Great Village, he was able to identify many of the long gone buildings.

Nan Harvey, Archivist/LibrarianUpon meeting Nan Harvey, I was very impressed at the variety of records she had selected for us to film.  She also showed me a number of county histories and genealogy publications for sale.  Amazingly, there were over 40 genealogy publications by researcher, Jane Wile.  These publications trace many of the first families to settle the area.   I also had the chance to meet a researcher and writer, Jim Smith, who had just co-authored a book, "Necessaries and Sufficiencies", that was just launched on September 17, 2011.
Tombstones at Robie Street Cemetery, Truro, Nova ScotiaI had a great time with Nan and Dick.  It's great being in the presence of people so knowledgeable of the area.  We talked about graveyards in the area before leaving for the Robie Street Cemetery.  Dick had given me a pamphlet on the graveyard, 12 interesting stones and a primitive map to where they were.  The roughly drawn map made me feel like a treasure hunter.  Many of the tombstones were decorative.  Joseph Notting, for instance, had a "rope" edge, leaf border, and a winged head with a crown.  I also remember the interesting horizontal stone for Adams G. Archibald, Truro's "Father of Confederation".

Joseph Howe Falls, Victoria Park, Truro, Nova Scotia Lastly, we stopped at Victoria Park an enjoyed the last few hours of evening light.  This park blew me away; it's one of the nicest town parks I've ever seen.  Brendan and I walked to Joseph Howe Falls along a winding narrow path, across bridges and ledges, benches and the occasional rest area.  It's wasn't the best time of year to see the falls as it was barely a trickle but I was still happy for the hike in such a beautiful spot.