Nova Scotia

Sandy Cove women's march immortalized in Nova Scotia Museum collection

Sandy Cove, population 65, made international headlines last month when 15 people marched in support of women's rights the same day millions of others did worldwide.

Tiny Nova Scotia village made international headlines last month when 15 people marched for women's rights

A small group turned out in the village of Sandy Cove, N.S., in support of women's rights on Jan. 21. (Submitted by Gary Wilson)

The story of a small Nova Scotia village and its mighty march for women's rights last month will be immortalized by a museum dedicated to preserving the province's cultural history.

In January, residents of Sandy Cove made international headlines when 15 people marched in support of women's rights the same day millions of others did worldwide. The village has a population of 65.

Six signs carried through the rain that day in rural Digby County have been acquired by the Nova Scotia Museum, which holds more than a million artifacts and specimens in its collections. 

"We're mandated to collect significant objects related to the human history of the province," Martin Hubley, the collection's curator, told CBC's Information Morning Halifax

'I'm with her and her and her'

The cultural history collection tells the story of the province in objects. The Sandy Cove signs were acquired this month and the museum is still discussing how they will be displayed to the public.

Three of the signs were handwritten. Two others read, "I'm with her and her and her," and, "Here's to strong women." Similar signs could be seen at the Washington, D.C., march held on Donald Trump's first full day as U.S. president.

Small march for women in N.S. village gets mighty attention

5 years ago
Duration 0:50
Thousands of people around the world are voicing their support for the small march in support of women's rights in tiny Sandy Cove, N.S.

March co-organizer Gwen Quigley Wilson said the museum's request was so "out of the blue" she had to pull the signs from her recycling bags destined for curbside collection. 

"I basically had taken them apart, taken the sticks off them and whatnot," said Quigley Wilson. "They were basically in the same condition that they had finished the march in. So we were lucky in that regard." 

Signs are of 'contemporary significance'

Hubley said the museum acted fast following the march. They knew cardboard and foam core signs wouldn't last long after an hour in January drizzle. 

"If we see something that's of contemporary significance that we're pretty sure down the road is going to be of historical significance, we make an effort to get out there and contact potential donors," he said. 

He calls it rapid response collecting. Instead of waiting 50 to 100 years for something to be in demand, collectors try to predict the historical value of objects in the moment. 

The march took place along Highway 217. (Submitted by Gary Wilson)

Thank-you cards sent from U.S.

Quigley Wilson can't answer why the march made international headlines. But she's experienced first-hand the resonating power it had online.

"It was never our intention to garner any attention other than to make that statement for ourselves," she said.

Since the march, she's received many supportive messages and even a gift basket of chocolates from four women in Los Angeles. There were also two handwritten thank-you cards, sent from people in Boston and Kentucky.

One of the thank-you cards sent to Sandy Cove was addressed to "The Marchers." (Gwen Quigley Wilson)
Quigley Wilson says she will write back to a couple of people who sent letters. (Gwen Quigley Wilson)

"It's quite touching that people would take the time to put pen to paper and put it in an envelope and put a stamp on it and mail it," she said.

"I'll be writing back to those two individuals to let them know that their message was received."

With files from Information Morning Halifax