What a difference a single person can make.
We know this from countless examples in all of our lives, and yesterday in a ceremony at the Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island we were reminded of that truth yet again. I was not there, but wish I could have been, for it was an event to honour publisher and story-collector Ron Caplan. This time the honour was the Katharine McLennan Award. Previously, he had been made an member of the Order of Canada, and there have been other honours bestowed on him as well.
Ron Caplan came to Canada from the USA during a tumultuous time, when thousands of Americans were heading north to continue their young lives in what they hoped would be a better (and more peaceful) place. Canada was enriched by the mass migration of so many creative, thoughtful and hard-working souls. In Ron’s case, he chose Cape Breton Island. Over the decades that followed, first through Cape Breton’s Magazine and then with Breton Books, he has published a wealth of material about the Island and its people. All of us with a connection to Cape Breton are in his debt. Yes, he had help, he did not do everything by himself. But the vision was his. So, thanks Ron Caplan for an untold number of stories, recollections, tall tales, images, novels and histories. Thanks to you, they were not lost but presented to a wider world. A single person, a single life, and so much accomplished.