Task Force Update

2019-10-29 12:05:49 A.J.B. Johnston

Last evening at the Dartmouth Sportsplex was a public engagement session for the Cornwallis and Indigenous Commemoration Task Force.

A second session takes place tonight at the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street in Halifax.

Those of us on the Task Force are immensely grateful to everyone who has attended the different public engagement sessions. We are aiming to wrap up our work as soon as possible and make our recommendations to HRM City Council. My guess is that will happen before we have gone very far into 2020.

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Task Force on Commemoration

2019-10-20 11:16:22 A.J.B. Johnston

Public Engagement

Phase Two: October 2019

The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History is hosting phase two of public engagement to seek public input.

Residents are invited to join facilitated conversation circles to discuss how the Halifax Regional Municipality should recognize and commemorate Indigenous history. 

As part of this important discussion, participants will also be asked what we should take into consideration when commemorating history in general.

The sessions will take place as follows: 
Monday, Oct. 28 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Zatzman Sportsplex 
Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
Both facilities are accessible.

A notetaker will be present to capture the conversation at each table. 

Those interested in participating are asked confirm their attendance as space is limited for these sessions. Please RSVP online:
RSVP for Dartmouth session at Zatzman Sportsplex
RSVP for Halifax session at Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

Can’t make the engagement session? Share your thoughts via email to 

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Giovanni da Verrazzano

2019-10-19 17:56:26 A.J.B. Johnston

The Italian-born explorer who in 1524, on behalf of the French king François I, sailed along the eastern seaboard of what is now mostly the USA is greatly celebrated in Greve in Chianti, Italy.

I was in Greve recently — a delightful town — and saw commemorations of Verrazzano in several places, including in the town’s main square and on a wine label.

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Vanguard exhibit, Truro

2019-10-19 11:01:08 A.J.B. Johnston

While in Truro last evening to see “The King of Friday Night” at the Marigold Centre—how good it was to see and hear Frank MacKay in the role of Donnie Parker—my sister Elinor directed my attention to a poster on the bulletin board.

I am delighted to see that the travelling exhibit—”Vanguard”—that I wrote a few years back is now in Truro, at the Colchester Historeum. It will be there until late March.

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10 Years On

2019-09-13 11:25:07 A.J.B. Johnston

In another couple of weeks, it will be 10 years since my departure from Parks Canada. (I don’t like to say retirement because I like to think I am still working, just independently.)

Looking back and taking stock
of that decade, I see that I have published five novels and three books of
history. Not bad.

In that same 10-year time frame, I contributed story-lines and texts to exhibits such as the Black Cultural Centre; N’in na L’nu: The Mi’kmaq of PEI; VANGUARD for the NS Museum; the Colchester Historeum in Truro; and many smaller exhibit elements in Yarmouth, Pubnico, and Grand-Pré and elsewhere. Those were, if I do say so, some pretty good exhibits.

Looking ahead,
2020 should see the publication of my 20th and 21st books. One is about The
Lincolns and rock ‘n roll in Nova Scotia in the 1960s. It will be coming out
from Nimbus. I have to say that researching and writing that book was
tremendous fun. The other new book is co-authored with Jesse Francis and is
about Skmaqn-Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst NHS on PEI. Acorn Press is its
publisher. It is the second time I have worked on a book with Jesse, and both
experiences were great.

Then, I hope, 2020 may also see the revised edition of Storied Shores come out, along with, for the first time, a French version.

So, 10 years
after moving on from Parks, I’m still very much engaged in writing. I look
forward to many more projects to come.

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Updating "Storied Shores"

2019-09-13 11:21:30 A.J.B. Johnston

I am happy to report that many revisions and additions have been made to Storied Shores — whose word count is now about 5000 words more than it was when first published in 2003. It appears as if the new edition, as well as a French translation, are in the works, hopefully for 2020.

Luckily for me, just as I sent that Storied Shores manuscript off, Nimbus editor Barry Norris sent me his suggestions for the book on The Lincolns. I will be going through those comments over the next few days.

I feel pretty lucky to be able to write about both the 18th century and 20th-century rock ‘n roll.

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