Preserving African Nova Scotian history
‘Excited’ dosn’t begin to describe how Lisa Diggs feels about the Gibson Woods church’s recent educational tourism destination designation.
It’s a project she believes will help ensure that the heritage of an African Nova Scotian community is preserved for generations to come.
Diggs said the site is associated with the Mathieu Da Costa Heritage Trail and the project “makes perfect sense” to her, especially considering that the church and the former school – now used as the community centre – have been mainstays in Gibson Woods for many years.
She uses the analogy of any well-known building: if it were to suddenly disappear, it would leave a void in the community. A lot of people would notice and miss it.
“There’s something special there, you don’t want to lose it,” Diggs said. “There are stories behind it.”
Having the church designated as an educational tourism destination means having another great attraction to show visitors to the Valley. Diggs said she has taken visitors, including family members and friends, to Gibson Woods as a cultural experience.
Diggs believes the preservation of heritage in an African Nova Scotian community like Gibson Woods is important, especially for younger people. It gives them something tangible to reflect on and connect with and this helps instil pride.