It wasn’t a dramatic announcement, even though it was made in a theater setting, but it was welcomed with a resounding round of applause.
Premier Stephen McNeil made a stop in Tatamagouche on Wednesday to announce about $130,000 for the final phase of the multi-phase Creamery Square project.
The funds, coming from two departments – $80,000 from Economic and Rural Development and Tourism and $50,000 from Communities, Culture and Heritage – will be used to complete the newly named Grace Jollimore Joyce Arts Centre.
It has been about 13 years since the Creamery Square concept began to take shape as one of four areas in the rural, seaside community identified as needing to be developed.
It has not happened overnight, certainly not without tons of elbow grease supplied by tireless volunteers, but the Creamery Square has become a star attraction on the North Shore as envisioned by its founders.
An aging, vacant former creamery, donated to the community, has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind-museum and archives offering a glimpse into the community’s past from pre-dinosaur Permian Period to early settlers, boat building and famous giantess Anna Swan. Next door, a farmers’ market was constructed with complementary architectural design that has become a meeting place filled with energy and community spirit. A tremendous amount of landscape and “visitor comforts,” such as decks overlooking the waterfront and washrooms, have been created there making it an inviting place to rest, relax and learn.
In the educational offing, a boat shop with hands-on projects on the go demonstrates age-old boatbuilding techniques on an Acadian chaloupe and smaller vessels. The performing arts centre, the only one of its kind with a charming, authentic icehouse transformed into a foyer, is the final stage of this project.
Some may wonder how an arts centre in a small village with a population of about 700 people could be sustainable for the long term. If the determination shown by the group spearheading this project to this point is any indication, it will be a success far beyond anyone’s imagination. There are so many opportunities to build upon and they did not enter into this stage without a solid business case.
We look forward to the completion of the project, a symbol of what can be achieved when a community works toward a common goal.