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Road Trips: December 2010 Archives

Posted by Robert Doublett

Mainstreet is broadcast on several frequencies, at 1140 AM in Sydney for example. However we do make it to TV as well, Telile Community Television if you're in the community of Arichat on Isle Madame.

And Mainstreet is in Arichat today!

Our first stop on our road trip shows is usually a chat with someone who can tell us a bit about the area's history.

In Arichat, that person is Don Boudrot.

Don is a retired teacher who now writes a history column for the Reporter newspaper.

I spoke with him at the local historical society's office on the Arichat waterfront.

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That's amateur historian Don Boudrot in Arichat.

From a history lesson, we head now to school, to learn about a project some local teens are involved in.

A new french-language community radio station recently hit the airwaves in and around Arichat.

It's called Radio Richmond.

And the people behind the station are making an effort to involve local school kids in the programming.

In fact, three grade 10s from Ecole Beauport and their teacher have their own weekly show.

We dropped by the school to find out more.

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Jessica Samson, Danielle George and Joel Lafort are all in grade 10 at Ecole Beauport in Arichat. Margaret Ann Landry is vice principal at the school.

You can find their show on Radio Richmond at 104.1 FM.

One of the most notable landmarks in this community is Our Lady of Assumption church.

At the start of the show, we heard the sound of the church's newly-refurbished pipe organ.

The organ is quite old, and has an interesting history.

The same can be said of the church building itself.

A large wooden structure with two steeples, it was once a cathedral.

Andre Boudreau is caretaker at Our Lady of Assumption.

That's where we met him.

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If you drive just down the street from the church toward the harbour, you can look across the water at a squat, four-sided lighthouse.

A local group is hoping that will remain the case.

Margaret Herdman is chair of The Isle Madame Lighthouse Preservation Committee.

The day of our visit was a blustery one in Arichat.

So we spoke with Margaret from the shelter of the CBC van.

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As we continue our Road Trip to Arichat, we have a story especially well-suited to this time of year.

It seems a group of Christmas elves has been at work at one Arichat home in particular this season.

That home belongs to Marie Forgeron.

We met Marie and her son Wesley Forgeron in their kitchen to hear more.

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One local landmark we couldn't miss sits on the Arichat waterfront.

It's a low stone building with a peaked wooden roof.

Inside, a hearth set in the middle of the building glows orangey-red in the dark room.

Hanging on the walls, and lying on every surface, are hand-made iron tools.

The building is known as the LeNoir forge.

Once a working forge, it's since been restored as a museum.

I stopped by to get a demonstration from amateur blacksmith Richard Boudreau.

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Arichat's economy has gone through flare-ups and cool downs since the early days of the forge.

In recent history, the collapse of the ground fishery in the 1990s put a sudden damper on the area's prosperity.

But the people here have tried to find new ways to fan the flames.

Joel Bowen is chair of Development Isle Madame.

He was one of the original development officers hired back in the 90s.

We met in the LeNoir forge and he talked about the collapse, and what's happened in the community since then.

-tape coming soon

Our Mainstreet Road Trip takes us now from the LeNoir blacksmithing forge to another Arichat workshop....

The pottery studio of Jack Ouellette.

If you visit the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney you'll see Jack's work for sale.

He makes weighty bowls, platters and vases in beautiful blues and greens, often decorated with fish engravings or painted with wave-like brush-strokes.

Jack's studio is attached to his house on the Arichat waterfront.

I met him there and watched him at work at his wheel.

-tape coming soon

In the first hour of our Road Trip show, we met amateur historian Don Boudrot.

Don has done a lot of research into Arichat's history.

He's had some help with that from a family member who's memory of life in the community goes back a long way.

Don's father Lorenzo Boudreau is 87. Lorenzo joins Don and me now as we continue our conversation about Arichat's past.

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If you want to know about the people of Arichat, there's one man who has the inside picture.

Dr. Laurie MacNeil has been caring for the people in this area for close to three decades.

He's been the only permanent physician on Isle Madame for the past 13 years.

His dedication to his profession and his community has been recognized with awards from Doctors Nova Scotia and the Canadian College of Family Physicians.

Over the years, he's also volunteered his time to local sports teams, Scouts and his church.

Dr. MacNeil found time in his busy schedule to chat with me during our visit to Arichat.

We sat down in his office.

-tape coming soon

Blacksmithing and pot-throwing are two traditional skills you can see in action in Arichat today.

Another is sheep shearing.

Sarah Nettleton has been shearing since she was a girl on her parents' farm.

She now keeps just under 100 sheep on her own farm just outside the village centre.

In recent years her skill at handling sheep has had her in demand at farms across Nova Scotia and beyond.

Though these days, with four growing boys, and a rambuctious ram on her hands, she sticks pretty close to home.

I met Sarah in her barn at Rockloaf farm, and she shared some of the tricks of the trade.

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