Nova Scotia

Lunenburg 'go away' graffiti touches a nerve with entrepreneur

The statement "go away" spraypainted on the sidewalk in Lunenburg, N.S., highlights an unfriendly attitude held by some, says a business owner.

'It is hurtful especially when you put your effort, your time, your heart into things'

Farley Blackman said this graffiti outside of his business in Lunenburg should prompt a discussion about how people can be more welcoming to those not originally from Nova Scotia. (dis.cord gallery and studio)

The statement "go away" spraypainted on the sidewalk in Lunenburg, N.S., highlights some of the unfriendly attitudes people have toward those not born in the province, says Farley Blackman. 

The graffiti was sprayed just outside the dis.cord art gallery and studio, a business Blackman owns. He feels the statement is directly targeting him as a "come from away." He spends his summers in Lunenburg and the rest of his time in the U.K.

The graffiti spelling out "go away" was spray-painted outside the dis.cord gallery and studio, whose owner only lives in Lunenburg for the summer. (dis.cord gallery and studio)

Blackman has invested a lot in the community, including buying and refurbishing the old Lunenburg Opera House. 

"It is hurtful especially when you put your effort, your time, your heart into things to have words like that written or said, it's quite painful," said Blackman. 

'Come-from-away attitudes'

He said the vast majority of people in Nova Scotia are very welcoming, but there are still problems.

"There is an undercurrent of come-from-away attitudes and I would say this is a good example of that. We have certainly noticed it in the past, whether directly [targeted] to us verbally or behind our backs when we're walking down the streets."  

Blackman said it's time for those attitudes to change and he believes it's up to community leaders to make that happen. 

"When leadership does not show strong resolve and does not admit there is a challenge and does not publicly state the need for things to shift, then things like this happen."

"To educate people on why things should be different and why people should be accepted, that's really the way forward," he said.   
Blackman said Lunenburg is an amazing community. That's why he and his family have returned there every summer for 13 years. 
"We've invested heavily in Lunenburg. Not only with money but with time and effort and our own ... hearts to be honest. We're not going away. We're there to stay." 

With files from Maritime Noon