Au­thor of ‘400 Years in 365 Days’ mak­ing a stop in New Glas­gow

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY -

Frank Sobey, Vi­ola Des­mond, Car­rie Best – even the Trailer Park Boys – have made their mark in Pic­tou County and have earned a spot in a new book doc­u­ment­ing the past and present of Nova Sco­tia.

Au­thor Leo De­veau has com­bined images and sto­ries of Nova Sco­tia’s his­tory to form the book called ‘400 Years in 365 Days.’

To mark Canada 150 he thought it would be nice to up­date the ‘Nova Sco­tia Book of Days,’ pub­lished by Shirley El­liott in 1979. He got per­mis­sion from the House of As­sem­bly, which owns the copy­right on the book, and went to work.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in his­tory,” he said.

“I looked at things in my own fam­ily and thought about how that af­fected my life. I had a grand­fa­ther who fought in World War One. If he hadn’t sur­vived I wouldn’t be here.

“The world is here be­cause many men and women lived the best lives they could. As you get older that res­onates more and you re­al­ize how pre­cious life is and pay more at­ten­tion to it.”

De­veau grew up on P.E.I. but has been a res­i­dent of Nova Sco­tia for more than 30 years, cur­rently liv­ing in Halifax.

He has an ed­u­ca­tion and li­brary back­ground and dur­ing the past sum­mer he worked as a Ti­tanic graves tour guide.

“I wore a kilt for that and got a lot of in­ter­est­ing ques­tions about kilts and his­tory, so now I wear a kilt for book signings,” he said. “It’s a bit of mar­ket­ing and his­tory.”

‘400 Years in 365 Days’ in­cludes en­tries on pol­i­tics, mil­i­tary, sports, arts and more ar­eas, ac­com­pa­nied by photos and art­work. They are di­vided through­out the book by date, so that for each day of the year, there is in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to what hap­pened his­tor­i­cally on that date.

Where The Nova Sco­tia Book of Days had a ten­dency to fo­cus pri­mar­ily on Nova Sco­tia’s Scot­tish and Bri­tish nar­ra­tive, De­veau said he has tried to in­clude more di­ver­sity in this book, such as the stand Vi­ola Des­mond took sit­ting in a whites only sec­tion of the Rose­land The­atre and the re­port­ing by Car­rie Best that brought Des­mond’s story to the pub­lic.

He also in­cludes in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple like Ed­ward Corn­wal­lis, the con­tro­ver­sial founder of Halifax. De­spite the bounty that Corn­wal­lis put on Mi’kmaq fighters, De­veau said he felt that his role in found­ing the prov­ince’s capi­tol city should be noted.

As much as he was able to fit into the printed ver­sion of his book, De­veau said he had hun­dreds of sto­ries that it just wouldn’t have been fi­nan­cially pos­si­ble to in­clude. In­stead he’s cre­ated a web­site,, where he’s posted the ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.

If oth­ers think of sto­ries of events they feel should be in­cluded, he said he’d love to hear from them.

De­veau will be at Coles, in the High­land Square Mall, to talk to peo­ple and sign his book on Nov. 18 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The book, which was pub­lished Oct. 13, can be pur­chased at Coles or on Ama­zon.

He hopes that those who read the book will leave with a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the prov­ince.

“We have an in­cred­i­bly rich his­tory.”

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