Kings of Friday Night

November 2019

Nimbus Publishing has completed its design for the cover of my 20th book. Hope you like it!

I have to say that I have never had as much fun researching or writing any book as I did with this one. It was the first time I was writing about a period I had actually lived through.

Hats off to Colin Smith for the fun cover design.

Heartfelt thanks to John MacLachlan Gray for the terrific “Foreword.”

And thanks to the spirit of Frank MacKay for closing out the book with his touching “Afterword.”

Dozens of people contributed stories and images to the book. Thanks to you all.

The rest of the book—the interior layout and back cover—have not yet been designed. Nimbus expects to have the book ready for the spring of 2020.

Task Force Update

October 2019

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.

Task Force on Commemoration

October 2019

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 

Giovanni da Verrazzano

October 2019

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.

Vanguard exhibit, Truro

October 2019

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.

10 Years On

September 2019

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.