The Great Northend Yard Sale and Art Market 2016

The Great Northend Yard Sale is back! If you:
* would like to get your yard sale on the famous map, or…
* have stuff you would like to sell and would like to borrow someone’s yard, or…
* are willing to let someone have a yard sale in your yard…
call 902-270-6013

If you would like to sell your art, tables will be set up on the lawn of the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation.

If you would like a table call 902-270-6013. First come first served on the tables!

This will be the most up to date yard sale map, updated daily!



The Great North End Yard Sale & Art Market 2015

The Great Northend Yard Sale is back! If you:
* would like to get your yard sale on the famous map, or…
* have stuff you would like to sell and would like to borrow someone’s yard, or…
* are willing to let someone have a yard sale in your yard…
email, or call 902-270-6013

If you would like to sell your art, tables will be set up on the lawn of the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation.

If you would like a table email, or call 902-270-6013. First come first served on the tables!

This will be the most up to date yard sale map, check back for updates!



As of April 2014, the Old Sydney Society, whose main office can be found in the Lyceum near the corner of George and Dorchester in Sydney’s Northend, is under the direction of a new curator. Vanessa Childs Rolls, resident of the Northend is eager to be heading up this important organization at this time.


“We see a number great opportunities now and into the future for the Old Sydney Society,” says Childs Rolls. “From exhibits that are relevant and enticing to local residents, to summer programs for youth and young adults, and a renewed emphasis on the preservation of our built heritage and architecture across the CBRM, it is an exciting time for the Society.”

Founded in 1966 by Robert (Bob) Morgan in response to the likely demolition of St. Pat’s Church, the Society began its earliest work with a heritage preservation mandate. Along with a number of students from his St. FX Extension Department classes, Dr. Morgan succeeded in saving and restoring this now familiar landmark.

Today the Society offers a number of resident and visitor experiences including Ghost Walks, Heritage/Historic Walking Tours (in cooperation with Jost House), and exhibits that explore our history with an emphasis on story. “Our stories are so important and we often don’t (or haven’t been encouraged to) acknowledge them as history, but they undoubtedly connect us to each other and to our past.” The Society is presently working on a story telling round table. The event, which will be open to the public, will consist of a panel of story tellers brought together to share stories on a particular subject, followed by an opportunity for audience members to contribute to what has been offered by panelists.

Exhibits currently on display in the Lyceum and St. Pat’s are thick with stories of the people and places of Cape Breton. A Community History: Through the Lens of Abbass Studios offers photographic glimpses into the mundane and the ceremonial of our recent past. Admission to the exhibit is by donation and the event runs through to November. St. Patrick’s Church on the Esplanade shares stories of Sydney during the First World War in War at Home.

With the Abbass exhibit now installed, The Old Sydney Society is gearing up now for an entirely new experience – summer history camps for youth. Open to those ages six and up, the camps will run every Thursday in July and August from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Each Thursday will introduce a new hands-on theme from pirates to Vikings to radio to science.

Participants will travel through stations set up at the Lyceum, Cossit House and St. Pat’s, learning as they traverse to and through some of the oldest properties in the municipality.

Cost of the camps is $25 per day (or $20 per day for members) and participants must bring their own lunch.

For Childs Rolls, the relationship between the Old Sydney Society and the Northend is an important and long standing one. “I think we’ve seen, for longer than many in the CBRM, the great and inherent value in the Northend. We’ve been a long-time advocate for heritage preservation here and were a central participant in urging the municipality to pursue the establishment of the heritage district. We know there is something quite special about this neighbourhood. We also know how quickly that can slip away. Today, we see a renewed connection between the organization and the community as key to the continued relevance of the organization and to the ongoing dialogue that is needed to ensure that our heritage assets are always valued and protected.”

Visit the Old Sydney Society’s website ( or Facebook Page ( for more information on upcoming events and schedules for Ghost Walks, Heritage/Historic Walking Tours, their History Speaks lecture series, and the youth summer camps planned for this summer. To arrange a Ghost or Walking Tour (for groups of five or more) or to register for a summer camp, call 539-1572.

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

Glen and Sammy Three

Glen Fewer in Sixty Seconds

Where were you born? Glace Bay

Where did you move to the Northend from? Port Morien

What is your occupation? Marine Biologist

What can you be found doing on a sunny Saturday afternoon?

Backyard chores or projects, but if its super sunny I may just get to the beach.

What do you like most about the Northend?

Architecture, minimal traffic, close to amenities and can’t forget the playgrounds!

Where is the best place to eat in Cape Breton?

Wherever the pot is on streaming up those snow crabs!

If you could have dinner with someone from history who would it be?

Alexander Graham Bell

Sammy Fewer in Sixty Seconds

Where were you born? Yaichung, Taiwan

Where did you move to Northend from? Port Morien

What is your occupation? Server

What can you be found doing on a sunny Saturday afternoon?

Visiting the mountains or the beach – anywhere but work.

What do you like most about the Northend? The big trees

Where is the best place to eat in Cape Breton? The Olive Tree

If you could have dinner with someone from history who would it be? Princess Diana

Glen and Sammy One

Cape Breton’s Very Own Young Naturalists Club

Growing up in the North End of Sydney can limit your exposure to nature. While we ares urrounded by old trees, there is not much around us in the way of forests or nature walks; plenty of walking trails groomed through planned planted environments, but not much in the way of trees and wilderness. The closest patch of nature can be found in the Pier, behind the mall on the Baille Ard trails or a bit further out in Sydney River. All of these destinations can be a hike for young kids. But fear not! A new group has formed to help teach your little ones to learn about and love nature. That’s right, Cape Breton now has their very own chapter of the Young Naturalists Club!

Young Naturalists One

CBU’s Chantelle Cormier and environmental educator Nadine Lefort recognized that Cape Breton did not have a Young Naturalist’s club and so decided to start one. Their goal is to familiarize kids with their natural environment through hikes, other outdoor activities and lectures. Along these lines, they have organized a series of workshops for kids that will get them outside to learn about Cape Breton’s species, forests, beaches and the great outdoors in general

The group has met for the last five months and will continue to do so. To date, they have had guest speakers in to talk about bats, teach about Mi’kmaq constellation legends, and demonstrate how to identify trees. The Cape Breton Young Naturalists have learned about gold and minerals, gone snowshoeing and learned how to identify animal tracks. Future events will include a session about birds with CBC’s Dave McCorkindale and one about rocks and fossils with geology professor, Deanne von Rooyen.

The group meets once a month, usually the first Saturday of every the month at 2PM. The location is different each month, depending on the topic. You can find the Cape Breton Young Naturalists on Facebook or visit for more information.

The Young Naturalists Club is for kids ages 7-12. The club is completely free, but for some activities, instructors ask that you remain with your kids to ensure they are not overwhelmed and have the best possible experience. There’s no formal registration and you don’t have to commit to attending every event. If you are available little northenders, join us!

The next Young Naturalists event will focus on invertebrates and will be held on June 14th at 2:00 in the stream behind CBU facilitates by Jen Cooper. The Club hopes to host a birding and beachcombing event this summer as well.

Stop the Lights

It was a blustery September afternoon back in 2010.  The roots of a towering tree on the corner of George and Dorchester Street could no longer grip the wet spongy earth, its massive lumbering trunk succumbing to the wind and water, snapping a light pole on its way down.

More than 700 of us were without power that day, returning from work and school and making contingency plans on how to get dinner on the table without the use of blenders, microwaves and George Foreman Grills. By 6pm, a collective sigh of relief could be heard as kitchen lights, printers and refrigerator hums simultaneously fired up like an orchestral warm-up.

The George-Dorchester intersection’s tri-coloured sentinel would not be restored so quickly, and for the time being, became a four-way stop.  Wasn’t that great?

It was my experience with the disabled intersection that you might wait seconds at most, before being able to get going. Once the lights were restored, I often found myself pining for the days of the four-way stop; often as I sat in the only vehicle at the red light.

So, now, what if we were to return to the old fashion stop sign? For starters, we would be moving in a direction that many North American and European cities are headed.  Kansas City just removed 37 traffic lights in one fell swoop and replaced them with stop signs. A proposal has also been put forth to get rid of 90% of the traffic lights in the U.K., and replace them with stop signs and roundabouts.

In Britain, the thinking is that when placed unnecessarily, not only do lights stop and start the traffic needlessly, making journey times slower and pollution worse, but they regularly make the intersection more dangerous. If traffic lights are removed, drivers are forced to pay more attention to their surroundings, themselves, and other drivers on the road, in order to keep themselves safe. This means that they drive with more caution, and nobody
steps on the gas to make it through a stale yellow.

Sound crazy? Britain is not alone. The City of Drachten in Northern Holland, with a population of 50,000, has slowly removed all 15 sets of traffic lights. Both residents and city planners are very happy with the result.

Here is my proposal: let’s remove the traffic lights at the corner and of George and Dorchester.  Agree or disagree?  Send me an email,

No More Iron Ore

Steel Plant

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to write this piece. I’ve been thinking about expectations around journalism and objectivity. Expectations which I tend to think are a bit silly. There’s never one side to a story. There are never two sides, although we’re often led to believe that this is indeed the hallmark of value-free reporting. There are a hundred sides, a thousand sides. There is a side for each of us that witnesses or reflects on events and their impact on our diverse and unique lives.

This is my side.

I live on George Street. I love Cape Breton. I love the Northend.

I have two small and magical little ones with bright eyes and the most beautiful smiles. Their laughter makes my heart beat.

I have so much hope for this place. To stay here, rather than pack up for destinations with more delights for our eyes and minds, is to love this place for what it is and have hope for what you know it can become.

I have hope, for instance, that we have left behind the days of hulking foreign-owned manufacturing plants.

I have hope that after years (and years) of nurturing a more local, diverse, sustainable and innovative economy, we are not going to abandon this proven new course for sexy promises and quick fixes.

The recent press release issued by the provincial government told us a few things about the proposed International Iron Beneficiation Group (affiliate of OAO Severstal) plant development (

Explicitly, it told us that this plant, if realized, would provide “good jobs” and be a “game changer” (ahem, sexy promises).

Less explicitly it told us that the company would require a rate break from Nova Scotia Power.

It didn’t tell us at all about the “significant reduction in their annual tax burden” that CBRM Economic Development Officer John Whalley noted the company would expect (Chronicle Herald:

I’m skeptical of companies that can’t make a profit (or enough of a profit) without guarantees of power rate and tax deductions. Deductions or credits not open to all. Many businesses do fine (or must do fine) without them. I suppose this is all part of our twenty-first century global business environment: which jurisdiction is willing to give up the most and accept, in return, the very least.

Here are a few other things the release didn’t mention:

Cherepovets, an industrial center 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow, is home to the Severstal steel plant, one of Russia’s largest steel plants. According to a letter from the Mayor of Cherepovets (June 2004), in 1999 the plant was responsible for more than 95 percent of industrial emissions into the town’s air. According to the 1999 State Report on the Environment, the Severstal plant was the largest contributor to air pollution of all metallurgical plants in Russia


The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Baltimore area residents and the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper recently filed a lawsuit against Severstal, owners of the Sparrows Point Steel Plant, and former plant owners, ArcelorMittal USA, for seepage of pollutants into Bear Creek and the Patapsco River. At one location beneath the plant site, benzene, a known human carcinogen, has been found in groundwater at levels 100,000 times the government’s maximum contaminant level concentrations. In 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment, issued a consent decree that required a cleanup of pollution leaking from the 2,300 acre site. But 13 years later, the terms of the decree still had not been met. According to the Baltimore Sun, “State and federal officials have cited the steel mill owners 22 times since the court decree, and fined it nearly $700,000.”


A class action lawsuit has been filed by Melvindale (Michigan) residents alleging that the Severstal’s plant emissions there are causing air pollution and dust discharge on their properties. The lawsuit was filed in Wayne County Circuit Court on behalf of Melvindale residents who live near the steel plant and who have been affected by SeverStal discharge.


In an in-depth piece recently published on news site, it was reported that while a steel worker in the US can expect to earn competitive wages with good workplace safety equipment and assurances, Severstal workers in Russia are paid what amounts to less than $300 a month. According to the reporter for the piece, “in Cherepovets, Severstal worker Nicolai Ryjov, with a cigarette between his lips, fishes scraps of slag from the flow of Severyanka, the largest steel-making furnace in the world, while protected by little more than a bell-shaped hard hat and a boiled-wool jacket.”

For Severstal workers in Cherepovets, a steel job earns a three-room walk-up in a concrete building coated with stained stucco. Home improvement is enclosing the balcony with two-by-fours. Wide streets are packed with weather-beaten sedans that smell of gasoline, sweat and antifreeze. If it’s payday, steel workers can afford beef chops and fresh-baked cookies. In between, its chicken cutlets or buckwheat kernels boiled with milk.


In the Chronicle Herald article cited above, Mr. Whalley also indicated that the proposed plant would be “back to the scale of the steel plant before its closure … back to having a steel operation and a very large import of coal on the former Sydney Steel property after a $400 million remediation.” He goes on to note that in many ways it “would be like having a coal-fired power plant right in the middle of your urban community.” Good-bye tourism. Good-bye cruise ship industry. Hello jokes about us dropping a giant steel fabrication plant on the site we fought to have remediated (from steel making) for more than twenty-five years.

This is my side. I’m sure Severstal has a side too. Something delivered by someone paid to make their industry and its by-products sound benign. Maybe they’re dedicated supporters of the World Wild Life Fund. Maybe much of their profits go to saving baby otters with lymphoma. Probably not.

All of this, if only still just a possibility, makes me angry. It makes me so angry that we think this is the best we can do. We can do so much better.

It makes me sad. It makes me sad for the many residents of the Northend, and those on Intercolonial Street, in particular, who have worked so hard, alongside the remediation to turn their neighbourhood and landscapes around; to make this a healthy, green, welcoming, and safe place to live and visit.

It makes me sad most of all for the little ones who, when looking out their bedroom windows for years to come would be greeted by a jungle of chugging smoke stacks – a very grey backdrop to the boardwalks and green space whose blue prints have hardly had time to dry. We owe them more than this. Our need for jobs is urgent, yes, but this – smoke stacks, iron ore manufacturing, and such incredible risks to the air they breathe and the water they drink – cannot be our legacy to them. No matter how badly we need jobs, we owe them more.

Erika Shea

George Street

May 2013: Louisa Gardens as Leitmotif

One of the things I have always considered a piece of unmerited luck has been my good fortune to have been born and raised in Sydney’s North End, and more specifically, on Fairview Street in Sydney’s North End.  (We North Enders tend to think of The North End in upper case letters; it’s part of The North End psyche).

My parents bought their house on Fairview Street in 1951 after my mother saw it being built in the late 1940s from the window of their apartment on George Street, and quite simply, fell in love with it. I’m not really sure why, since it had no redeeming architectural interest, character, or pedigree, rather like its inhabitants.  But the house, mid-block on that part of Fairview between Amelia and Desbarres Streets, had a backyard that abutted the Louisa Gardens, or in neighbourhood vernacular, `The Louisa’ and we grew up with The Louisa as our backdrop, or possibly, `fair view’ – to differentiate it from being a breathtaking view or even pretty decent view.  In this case, the name said it all.

In the late 1950s and early 60s, The Louisa was a year-round playground – part jungle, part bayou, part ice rink.  Before any development had taken place, before there were swing sets or a tennis court or ball field, there was just an open meadow and body of water, and that water was a place of magic.

In summer it drew children to explore its murky depths.  Algae and primeval sludge prevented any clear view of its bottom, so to the fevered imagination of a child, it might contain almost anything – treasure, serpents, old boots!  It certainly had minnows, which in child parlance translated to mean ‘free pets’, caught in empty coke bottles and proudly carried home to their eventual doom.  And of course, The Louisa had the additional bonus of being a place where we were guaranteed to ‘get polio’ if we ever fell in.  Places just don’t get any more irresistible than that to a child.

In winter, The Louisa froze and provided a natural, bumpy ice rink.  The “big boys” would clear off sections to play hockey and there was always an area for general skating, or, more accurately, general falling and getting back up – to the accompaniment of catcalls, jeers, and other traditional North End terms of encouragement/abuse.  My mother would lace me into skates in our basement and I would totter through the backyard and gate that opened out onto The Louisa, (thus ensuring the dullest skate blades in Christendom) and go down to the pond.  It was there that I learned to skate on weekends, and, because it was so close to home, I was even allowed to go down after supper on weekdays and skate in the dark while my mother watched  from our kitchen window.  It was a time of enchantment for a small girl, safe in the knowledge that I would probably not get polio even though I was in actual physical contact with The Louisa.

In late fall one year, a North End dog imaginatively named Poochie, grabbed a new pink and black striped cap off my head the very first time I wore it.  I gave chase but Poochie disappeared in the direction of The Louisa.  I searched The Louisa for that cap over the entire winter, but with the depth and frequency of snowfalls during those years of Big Snow, I was never successful in retrieving it.

That spring, however, I came upon a rotting, pinkish thing in the grass and muck that composed The Louisa’s greenery.  The thing had been chewed and generally mauled, and I had endured  months of admonitions from my mother to `be more careful’ lest roaming packs of dogs snatch still more caps off my unsuspecting noggin, as if I could somehow control such things.  But I had beaten the odds, and, more importantly, Poochie, and found my cap.

The years have evaporated and I no longer wear a cap of any stripe, or even live in The North End.  But I fondly recall those days at The Louisa, where fun was free and a dog might make a canine comment on your sartorial style in his own doggy way.

D. Chisholm is a freelance North Ender now sadly exiled to Sydney’s Shipyard area where she dreams of the glory of her former homeland.