Fisheries heritage centre proposed for Canso waterfront

By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative reporter    
November 25 2020

CANSO – The Canso Area Development Association (CADA) would like to bring a fisheries heritage centre to the Canso waterfront.

CADA president Harold Roberts spoke to The Journal about the group’s past year and ideas for the future, including the proposed centre, following CADA’s 11th annual AGM on Nov. 17 at the Canso and Area Library and Resource Centre. The fisheries heritage centre, currently in the preliminary stages of planning, would be an interactive space for sharing the area’s long fishing history.

“There is a lot of interest in that,” said Roberts. “This area is the oldest fishing port in the Maritimes dating back to 1604. We really don’t have a way of displaying, in a holistic way, our fisheries heritage.” The centre would highlight the Indigenous fisheries, early European fishing and commercial fisheries.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Parks Canada. We would like to have their support with this heritage centre,” said Roberts, noting that to, “advance this project to another level, we would have to seek out an RFP (Request for Proposals).”

The fisheries heritage centre was part of the discussion during the community visioning workshop held on Oct. 21 with Rob LeBlanc from the consulting firm Fathom Studios, regarding community enhancements that could happen through funds earmarked for the former Town of Canso from the sale of the Canso Electric Utility residuals.

"Two hundred and eighty surveys were completed and forwarded to Fathom Studios; that shows that there is a lot of interest in how that money would focus on particular projects and initiatives within the former town boundaries,” said Roberts.

In other business, CADA has helped several local organizations this past year, including a $250 donation to the Chedabucto Multi-use Trails Association, a donation to the Canso Flying Figures Skating Club to cover registration costs, and support for the Eastern Counties Rate Payers Association.

Members of CADA sit on community liaison committees with the Black Point Quarry project and the proposed Maritime Launch Services project. They also work in partnership with Municipality of the District of Guysborough recreation and public works to operate the swimming pool in Canso, which due to COVID-19 was not open this past season. They also participate in the Canso and Area Stakeholders Group and the Guysborough and Area Board of Trade.

Cape Breton – Canso MP Mike Kelloway joined the AGM by video link.