South Shore Breaker

The place that I call home

- VERNON OICKLE @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

I recently saw a post on Facebook that generated a great deal of discussion from a lot of people who had a wide array of opinions and ideas on this particular topic. They were discussing what the future holds for our community and the South Shore in general with the end of the pandemic.

In reading their comments and the ensuing debate that went on for some length, I was reminded of a column I wrote several years ago in which I described my vision of the South Shore. The argument seemed apropos so I pulled it out and rehashed my point of view.

This is only my perspectiv­e, but I am always happy to outline my view of this wonderful place we call home.

For the record, I believe the South Shore is a really great place to live, work, do business and raise a family. But I also believe this region has the potential to become a vibrant and economical­ly successful destinatio­n unlike any other place in the province. However, achieving that success will take hard work, determinat­ion, vision and a positive attitude.

On the map, the South Shore of Nova Scotia starts where the eastern edge of Lunenburg County butts up against the Halifax Regional Municipali­ty. It stretches all the way through Queens and Shelburne counties and ends in the southweste­rn region with Yarmouth County at its tip.

The Lighthouse Route officially begins at Peggy’s Cove (in the region of Halifax) and terminates at Yarmouth’s

Cape Forchu light. Along the way, it winds through Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties.

Following shoreline roads past rugged, wave-carved headlands and tranquil, islandstud­ded bays, the Lighthouse Route passes through historic towns and weathered fishing villages where legends of the sea come alive and the rhythm of life moves in harmony with the tides.

This vast geographic­al area boasts some of the oldest forests and most diverse ecosystems in North America. It is home to many world-class beaches that are comparable to some of the richest resorts in the world.

The coastline, with its rugged shores, quaint villages and secluded coves, showcases quintessen­tial Maritime settings. Postcard-perfect images greet the traveller around each corner, providing a glimpse into the past and an experience unmatched elsewhere in the province — or indeed, in the entire country.

Geographic­ally, the South Shore covers a lot of ground. But from a societal perspectiv­e, we are one people, united on many fronts. The South Shore is not just a place — it’s an experience.

It’s an eclectic mix of cultures as diverse and varied as the world itself. It’s a rich history built from the land and sea. It’s wide vistas of breathtaki­ng beauty and panoramic views of pristine, unspoiled nature. It’s the story of hardworkin­g men and women toiling in the pastures and forests to carve out a living for their families. It’s the story of wooden ships and of the women and men of steel who pilot them. It’s also the classic clash between modern living and old-world ways.

This is the place we know as the South Shore.

With a history that dates back several centuries, the South Shore’s stories, traditions, legends and superstiti­ons are as varied as the history its people share. I’ve had the pleasure to meet many of those wonderful people and to hear their stories, celebrate their successes and mourn their heartbreak­s.

The people of the South Shore are a proud, resilient bunch. Throughout the decades, they have overcome many challenges and risen up in the face of adversity. The words “give up” are not in their vocabulary.

Growing up in Liverpool,

I was fortunate to know men and women who told the stories of the people who lived there, or who were “from here,” as they put it. It is from those experience­s that my interest in, and love for, the South Shore was nurtured.

I’ve been given the wonderful chance to collect stories and facts that are unique to this area of Nova Scotia. This is a responsibi­lity I do not take lightly because this is the place I call home. So, when someone asks me what I think the future holds for the South Shore, I point out that we have much to celebrate and much for which we should be proud. Ultimately, I see a robust future for the region built through ingenuity, innovation, determinat­ion, mutual respect and hard work.

I see a future where our economy is not only built on the riches of the land and sea, but one that has also become diversifie­d to incorporat­e new and emerging technology. And I see a future that welcomes people from all over the globe and makes them feel at home.

That’s the future I envision for the South Shore and that’s the future I believe we can have if we work together and always strive to be the best we can be, or at least that’s the view from here.

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