St. Margarets Bay road sign pays it forward

The idea for a road sign prompted the community of St. Margarets Bay to pay it forward.
The idea for a road sign prompted the community of St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia, to pay it forward. 2:41

A woman from St. Margarets Bay has an unusual problem: she's struggling to spend $1,000.

It started when Fiona Ferguson noticed the picturesque village outside of Halifax was missing a road sign.

"So I had an idea to do a giant paint-by-numbers mural," she said.

When a group known as Awesome Halifax put up $1000 to fund the sign, the project seemed simple enough to do.

First, secure a local artist to do the artwork.

But painter Andrea Redmond volunteered to do it for free.

"I've been here my whole life and there's never really been something that stood out and said this is us and we're a great community," she said.

That's when the pay it forward mentality took root.

When Ferguson tried to get supplies, the hardware and paint store wouldn’t take her money.

"I said, 'No, I have a $1,000 I need to spend it.' It's burning a hole in my pocket," she said.

When Ferguson enlisted children from the bay's five schools to paint, other artists stepped in to mentor.

Soon, the community said a sense of pride began to swell.

The local veterinarian on the village’s busiest corner offered her land for free and a local construction company volunteered to erect the sign on the lot.

"Right away we got feedback and that really makes you feel warm and fuzzy right inside," said contractor Ralf Geitzen.

Then an electrician drove by and decided to install lights at no cost.

In the end, Ferguson said she had to beg people to take some money.

"I didn't think it would be that hard to actually give away money," she said.

"I knew I lived in a great community but this really proves it to me."


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