Nova Scotia

Jim St. Clair to be recognized for Cape Breton heritage preservation

Cape Breton historian Jim St. Clair has been recognized by the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia for his contributions to preserving heritage buildings and Island culture.

Educator, author and broadcaster dedicated to community heritage and culture

Jim St. Clair with Nova Scotia Highland Village director Rodney Chaisson as he receives a 2016 volunteer award for years of extraordinary work at the historic site. (Rodney Chaisson)

Well-known Cape Breton educator and historian Jim St. Clair has been recognized by the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia for his "contributions to built and cultural heritage" on the island.

 He will be presented with the Award of Excellence in Supporting Heritage Conservation later this year, according to a news release from Heritage Trust.

Those who nominated St. Clair for the award spoke about his dedication.

"Jim has been an ardent champion for heritage in Nova Scotia since the 1970s," wrote Rodney Chaisson, director of the Nova Scotia Highland Village in Iona, N.S.

St. Clair was the driving force behind having two historic buildings moved the highland village site, Chaisson said.

Jim St. Clair talks with Information Morning host Steve Sutherland during a segment of his weekly Then & Now column. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

The first was the historic Malagawatch Union Presbyterian Church, which was transported on a flatbed truck by road. Then there was the MacQuarrie-Fox house, which was moved by truck and barge from Troy in Inverness County.

He was also instrumental in preserving the Orangedale Train Station, Chaisson said.

Catherine Arseneau, director of the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University, said she was deeply inspired by St.Clair when she took a museum studies course from him at CBU.

"Jim brought to the classroom an enthusiasm for community heritage and culture that challenged his students to apply their learning and take action in their community," she said.

St. Clair, who is also an author and newspaper columnist, is a regular on CBC radio's Then & Now,  speaking with Information Morning Cape Breton host Steve Sutherland every Wednesday.