Map­ping out Round Hill.

Annapolis Valley Register - - COVER STORY - BY LAWRENCE POWELL

Local res­i­dents crowd around a large map of Round Hill.

High­way 201 cuts through Ran­dal Fred­er­ick’s car­to­graph­i­cal land­scape with sev­eral dozen pho­to­graphs of houses printed on each side of the east-west line that rep­re­sents one of the oldest roads in the coun­try.

It’s the map’s un­veil­ing Feb. 28. You can look out the win­dow of the com­mu­nity hall and see the road, the houses, the land­scape of set­tle­ment that pre­dates Con­fed­er­a­tion by much more than a cen­tury. There are Aca­dian ru­ins that go back well be­fore English oc­cu­pa­tion.

But Fred­er­ick’s map is just a phys­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of an on­line project that is lay­ers deep, pulling to­gether ge­og­ra­phy, her­itage, cul­ture, and time in such a way that his­tory comes to life and con­nects with the present in a con­tin­uum that goes straight into the future.

The map is a work in progress and the 50 or so lo­cals are en­cour­aged to mark on the map, make ad­di­tions, no­ta­tions. One man’s house is ap­par­ently miss­ing.

But as the Round Hill phase of a much larger project con­tin­ues, more lay­ers will be added, and any­one can go on­line, click on the map, and read the his­tory of a par­tic­u­lar house, who built it, the type of ar­chi­tec­ture, who the orig­i­nal owner was. There can be as much in­for­ma­tion as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can pro­vide.

The Map

The map and its on­line equiv­a­lent are parts of Ma­pan­napo­lis, the Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion’s An­napo­lis Com­mu­nity Map­ping Project started by local res­i­dents and stu­dents and staff at the Cen­tre of Geo­graph­i­cal Sci­ences (COGS) in Lawrence­town. COGS and Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion un­veiled the map­ping project early in 2016 and have been adding lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion ever since.

In 2017 the group was a fi­nal­ist for the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award for com­mu­nity plan­ning.

A sim­i­lar map for the Cen­tre­lea area has al­ready been un­veiled, and one for Granville Ferry will be launched at a public event on March 22 at 10 a.m. at the com­mu­nity hall there.

But there are many other lay­ers ac­ces­si­ble on­line, in­clud­ing Aca­dian set­tle­ments, Black Loy­al­ists, and even the many, many wharfs in An­napo­lis Royal and Granville Ferry. Click on mark­ers on the map and the story pops up.

There’s a layer for grave­yards and ceme­ter­ies, one for the 85th Bri­gade, and An­napo­lis Royal and area with eight dif­fer­ent lay­ers you can look at in­di­vid­u­ally.

COGS in­struc­tor and Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Ed Sy­mons said ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties have unique chal­lenges and in­cred­i­ble his­to­ries.

“Know­ing what we have and know­ing our past is all part of that con­cept of re­siliency – that we can move ahead with a strong un­der­stand­ing of who we are and what we are,” he said. “It’s very ex­cit­ing, and this idea of place-based learn­ing to me is re­ally good too be­cause I’d like, as we move for­ward, to in­te­grate this more into local schools. I’d love to see this get into local schools more as part of a cur­ricu­lum piece to help chil­dren in the area un­der­stand what the his­tory is of the area.”


“The ded­i­ca­tion of these vol­un­teers and their vi­sion, and their en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm was in­cred­i­ble,” said Sy­mons in ref­er­ence to the many com­mu­nity mem­bers and the Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers who gath­ered in­for­ma­tion and pho­to­graphs. “One thing I didn’t know when I said, ‘hey, let’s have a com­mu­nity map­ping course’ – what I re­ally didn’t un­der­stand – was the magic that takes place when you have in­ter­gen­er­a­tional learn­ing tak­ing place in your class­room set­ting. It was phe­nom­e­nal.”

Many of those com­mu­nity folk were se­niors, like Anne Cross­man of Cen­tre­lea who started out on her own be­fore she fig­ured there must be a bet­ter way. Phil Hyam and Ch­eryl Den Har­tog be­came in­volved in the orig­i­nal it­er­a­tion five years ago when the lay­ered map­ping was just an idea.

“They were just like stu­dents,” said Sy­mons. “Up ‘til one in the morn­ing scan­ning these doc­u­ments, putting things on maps, com­ing with ques­tions – but guid­ing the young peo­ple who also have an ad­van­tage. The se­niors brought this wealth of knowl­edge, this un­der­stand­ing, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, and pure pas­sion to the ta­ble. The stu­dents had an ad­van­tage of tech­nol­ogy, and know­ing the map­ping tech­nol­ogy. So putting these two to­gether was a beau­ti­ful thing.”

Start­ing Point

“It’s been a mas­sive amount of work, but I think it’s a start­ing point,” he said. “This is her­itage we’re show­ing to­day and it fits into a larger cul­tural piece which I think is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant. It’s go­ing to take a long time. I have a long-term vi­sion of how I’d like to see this grow.”

He said he’s got the time and the col­lege is be­hind him with the project. “They’re very ex­cited about the po­ten­tial of how this could grow and de­velop.”

Now there are hun­dreds of colour­ful lit­tle vir­tual pins mark­ing the An­napo­lis County map with hun­dreds of sig­nif­i­cant An­napo­lis County fea­tures just a click away.

Fred­er­ick ex­plained his map to the Round Hill res­i­dents. He was a COGS stu­dent when he started. He grad­u­ated last year and is back help­ing out as a vol­un­teer this year.

“We are so please to have you here to­day,” said Ma­pan­napo­lis project de­signer Heather Leblanc who in­tro­duced key project play­ers. “The turnout shows the in­ter­est that peo­ple have in their com­mu­ni­ties, in their cul­ture, in their her­itage. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary that so many peo­ple are out here and we so ap­pre­ci­ate you com­ing and see­ing what we’ve de­vel­oped in the past five years.”

An­napo­lis County

An­napo­lis County War­den Ti­mothy Habin­ski was at the map’s un­veil­ing and lauded the work done by those in­volved and the com­mu­nity’s in­ter­est.

“There is a ten­dency in gov­ern­ment, some­times, to view cul­ture and her­itage as ‘ex­tra.’ As an add-on that you slap on top once you’ve used up all the nec­es­sary money for in­fra­struc­ture and roads and those crit­i­cal things,” said Habin­ski. “We’ve never be­lieved that’s the case here. Nova Sco­tians are first and fore­most sto­ry­tellers. And the sto­ries we tell are crit­i­cal to who we choose to be­come. They’re crit­i­cal to how we chart our path now. When the Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion first ap­proached An­napo­lis County and in­di­cated the project they were look­ing for sup­port for, we were im­me­di­ately ex­cited. We saw the value of this. This is an in­cred­i­bly am­bi­tious pro­gram of es­sen­tially col­lect­ing and col­lat­ing and mak­ing ac­ces­si­ble the sto­ries that tell us how we be­came the com­mu­ni­ties that we are. And I re­ally be­lieve they are cen­tral and crit­i­cal to how we chart our path for­ward in An­napo­lis County.”

District Coun. Burt Mcneil echoed the war­den’s re­marks. “You guys have done great things with this,” he said.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to ev­ery­body. This is a great project and I’m sure there is go­ing to be more to come. I’m look­ing for­ward to it. This is a great thing for An­napo­lis County.”


Ran­dal Fred­er­ick ex­plains the Round Hill map to a packed com­mu­nity Hall Feb. 28. The Cen­tre for Geo­graph­i­cal Sci­ences and the Age Ad­van­tage As­so­ci­a­tion com­bined to pro­duce the map that seen on­line has lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion just a mouse click away.


Ran­dal Fred­er­ick was a COGS stu­dent when he started work­ing on the Ma­pan­napo­lis project. He grad­u­ated last year and re­turned as a vol­un­teer to keep work­ing on the Round Hill map. It was un­veiled Feb. 28.

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