How 'community internet' unleashed a quirky dose of local pride
The creative mind behind Sackville.live shares his thoughts on building community spirit in the global village
Sitting next to a roaring fire in the "shabby chic" Middle Sackville, N.S., home he shares with his wife Terri, Chad Lindsay easily launches into an enthusiastic account of the value of community internet.
"I was thinking a lot about the old days in Sackville. We had several community newspapers, we had community television," he says. "It started to bring up a lot of good, nostalgic feelings about the community."
In the 1980s, Lindsay was on a community TV show called Teen Street. "It was bad, but we would get together and do skits on saying no to drugs and teen pregnancy," he says.
After the internet helped sink many of those local newspapers and TV outlets, he created a "community internet" hub at Sackville.live to celebrate his community's past and tell its stories today. Starting with just a phone and the internet, he went live.
He stumbled on one of his biggest hits to date while eating lunch with a friend, who asked him where a certain business was located. He told him it was on Sackville's Cobequid Road. "And then he said, 'I'd better get down to Cobequid Road,'" Lindsay says — sung to the tune of Steve Earle's Copperhead Road.
They both laughed. The idea was ready to vanish, but Lindsay remembered a vow he'd made to himself. When he got a good idea, he'd do it right away, or abandon it forever. So he wrote a parody song and shot a video mixing old Sackville footage with lyrics celebrating the glory days.
"I was terrified to upload that video because I thought everybody would laugh at me. And I think they did. But I had a lot of fun," he says.
Lisa Blackburn was one of those people laughing with him. She grew up in the area and now represents it on Halifax council. "We're sort of Halifax's little brother. Everyone loves to pick on us, but it's all very good natured," she says.
Lindsay has tapped into a lively vein of nostalgia. "It's awesome because Chad is sort of our pop culture historian," the councillor says. "He's a super-talented guy putting together some great work. And he's got some talented friends there, too."
Building the local village
While much of the internet reaches for the global village, his site celebrates the local village. "Whether the content's good or the content's bad, people know that this is made for them. This is made for you, the people that live in Sackville, Beaver Bank, Lucasville and Mount Uniacke."
Lindsay regales viewers with often hilarious stories from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
"People are remembering fondly those days. Bus services were much different — people walked. We were a little more autonomous those days," he says. "It's nice to talk about a time when we were a lot less busy and maybe didn't know how great we had it."
He's also working on a documentary about the old Sackville Winter Carnival, which ran from about 1976 to the early 1990s. It was eventually shut down by Disney lawyers, but that's another story.
The devil got involved when Lindsay found a copy of Cries at Kinsac Corner, written by Sackville Heights Junior High students in the 1970s. It collected spooky stories from Sackville and nearby Beaver Bank and Mount Uniacke. For a haunting tale about the Devil's footprint, he recruited a few friends, some red spandex, and created this local legend:
Blackburn remembers the book of spooky stories. A copy recently joined the displays at Fultz House museum. Blackburn says people "went nuts" for it — for which she credit's Lindsay's video.
Not long ago, David Michael Christian Dahr, another local, messaged him one day to ask if he wanted to collaborate.
They soon found they both love classic horror movies, and were both sad that the local Ben's Discount Bakery had closed, and somehow all that combined into this:
Lindsay plans to build a recording studio where he can bring other locals in to bring their stories to post on Sackville.live.