May 2013: Parking on George Street

I recently posted on one of our local radio station’s fan pages asking if anyone could help with a problem my neighbours and I are having with workers from the two government buildings parking in front of our homes for eight or more hours each day. Monday to Friday. We do have two hour parking signs in front of our houses, but some still chose to park there for much longer.

I did receive several proposals and one reply from someone that works in the buildings. This person said that they are frustrated too – they all want to park close to their work and with parking fines and people complaining about where they park, there is a lot of added stress when going to work. She noted that the big parking lot behind the two George Street buildings is full.

Another person said to move. Why should I move? I’ve lived here for forty-two years. Another said its public parking. Yes, it is public parking and my neighbours and I don’t really care if government workers park in front of our homes for the allowed (and posted) two hour maximum, but with an eight hour work day, many park there for eight or more.

All of this means that when people visit us they have to park across the street and pay at the meters. The workers at the government buildings certainly don’t seem to park there and the only reason I can think is because they don’t want to pay.

The woman who responded to my post (who seemed like a very nice person) said she does pay the meters, but still I constantly have to ask several people not to be park in front of my home for longer than two hours. When I do make this request I’m not generally met with very nice comments or reactions.

I know this is going to stir up a lot of anger among the people in those buildings, but someone needs to do something. There must be something someone can do to help everyone. The church has been calling the city complaining because when they put up their “No Parking Funeral” signs people continue to park there. What can we do? Is there any solution out there that will make everyone happy?


George Street


May 2013: Built Heritage Under Attack

Northend Resident

The fire that destroyed the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club last Friday night was a devastating blow to those of us who work in the field of heritage preservation. Many people, when informed about the fire, were relieved. They said; “Well, that solves the problem.”  But does it?  Losing a structure like the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club to fire is as devastating a loss to the community as the demolition of the structure. Built heritage is a non-renewable resource. Once a one hundred and thirteen year old building is lost, it cannot be rebuilt. It is a resource that is valuable, especially in communities, like ours, that depend so much on the revenue generated by tourism.

Among other things, this fire highlights the fact that built heritage in Sydney is under attack. Within a quarter of a kilometer, the community has lost no less than six heritage buildings in the last year alone:

The Duchemin House at 70 George Street was torn down to make room for a larger and more modern residential care facility. This demolition not only ignored the wishes of the community, but disregarded community-created (and municipally enforced) heritage district by-laws. Three houses on Charlotte Street were just torn down to allow for the expansion of the Justice Centre. A house on the Esplanade, next to Governor’s, was lost in December to a fire caused by faulty Christmas lights. Finally, the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club was destroyed by fire in the midst an extended dispute over the future of the property with ECBC.

These losses are not only devastating to heritage activists, but to the community as a whole. If we continue to lose heritage properties at the rate of six a year, it will be only a matter of time before there is little heritage value left in the Northend and Downtown.  It should not come as a surprise that cruise ship passengers don’t get off the boat to see a modern subdivision. They don’t get off the boat to see towering glass and concrete buildings identical to those in every other uninteresting metropolis across North America.

Our political representatives must speak out and support the heritage community in their words and their development and funding decision. So far they have been silent. Our own Councilor in the Northend has said nothing on the Yacht Club or any of the other pressing heritage issues in our neighbourhood. Mayor Cecile Clark recently cut the funding to, and in effect ended, the ongoing CBRM heritage property inventory – the critical first step in preserving the heritage sites that remain.

We, as a community, have come together many times and identified built heritage preservation as a priority, so why is this not a priority for our representatives?

Yacht Club

May 2013: Sacred Heart Church

Peyton Chisholm

Friends of Sacred Heart Church

In response to the recommendation by the Diocesan Pastoral Planning committee and the decision to suppress Sacred Heart Parish and close the Sacred Heart Church building as of June 30, 2014, the Sacred Heart Parish Council has struck an ad hoc committee, the Future of Sacred Heart Church (FSHC) committee.

The committee has met monthly since July of 2012 to formulate plans to secure ownership of Sacred Heart Church and cemetery from the diocese and to continue to operate the facility as a community centre/museum. It is hoped that this community centre museum will host events and educational activities for the general public and tourists.

Application has been made to Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks for the incorporation of the Friends of Sacred Heart Church Society which, it is hoped, will operate the church after June 2014. The Friends of Sacred Heart Church Trust Fund has also been established to help financially support the efforts of the FSHC Society.

We see Sacred Heart Church as pillar of a new heritage dialogue for the Northend of Sydney. St. George’s Church tells the 18th century British colonial story of the development of the Anglican Church in colonial Sydney, St. Patrick’s Church Museum tells the story of the 19th and early 20th century catholic religious experience in Northend Sydney. The construction of Sacred Heart Church and the growth of the parish parallels the 20th century industrial steel and coal period and documents the contributions made by the parishioners to the development of a modern Industrial city.

This June (2013), the three parishes of Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s, and St. Anthony Daniel will begin to operate as one. Mass will still be held at Sacred Heart every week and weddings, funerals and other liturgical services will still be delivered at the church until June 2014. At that time all formal church services will be transferred to St. Joseph’s.

Sacred Heart

May 2013: It Doesn’t Have to End with Build Day

Steven Rolls

It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since we gathered in the Northend for a spring BBQ and announced our Let Them Be Kids funding and plan to revitalize Louisa Gardens. It is equally hard to believe that it’s only been since September that nearly one hundred and fifty volunteers gave up a full day to help a dream became a reality – so many friendships, memories, and positive outcomes resulted from that day. Since the park build, I have had the opportunity to speak with some of those who came out to help and many have cited build day as the best community experience they have taken part in.

Since that day, I have also witnessed things at Louisa Gardens which I never thought I would see. These include laughter, imaginative play, and families coming together as families, spending time outside day after day. I have heard stories of fifth birthdays being celebrated in the park, nieghbourhood daycares taking their little ones down to play, and youth group field trips to the space. None of these stories would have come to be if it was not for the efforts of everyone who helped, both on build day and the months leading up.

In some ways, the new Louisa Gardens seemed to pop up out of nowhere. For this, we are whole heartedly indebted to everyone who came out that day to help and could not have done it without you. In other ways, the revitalization of this important community space was the result of a year of weekly meetings, funding proposals, fundraising events, and, of course, e-mail after e-mail after e-mail. We were a small but mighty committee and have, perhaps most importantly, become great friends in the process.

When we started this project, we had no idea of the impact it would have and the support it would gain; we were just a group of people who wanted children to have a safe place to play. What we realized, however, as our year of planning and fundraising drew to a close, was that this park project did not have to end with build day. We realized that the park could be a catalyst for so much more: more events, more friendships, and more opportunities for our community to grow and laugh and play.

This is all to say, we have more to come and would love your help. Some of the great ideas garnered over the winter include: ball hockey tournaments, outdoor movie nights, garden parties, BBQs, and new basketball nets. These may not all happen this year but with a little bit of help many of them will. So, who’s in?

In closing, I ask one simple favour, love your park and take care of it: walk the track, use the exercise equipment, have a picnic, and if you haven’t made it down yet, go for a stroll, stop in, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

If you would like to help upcoming events, or have some ideas for events, please email

Build Day

May 2013: Heritage and Community Development Organizations Call on CBRM to Adopt Re-Use First Policy

In a March presentation before Council, as part of the CBRM’s budget consultation process, a newly formed Heritage Coalition – made up of heritage and community development organizations – urged the CBRM to adopt a “RE-USE FIRST” POLICY when it comes to finding space for new or existing activities, or making infrastructure and zoning decisions.

“The concepts we introduced at the presentation to Council were neither new nor revolutionary”, noted Joyce Rankin, who presented on behalf of the coalition. “Reusing what we have makes economic sense and it makes environmental sense. It is an approach to progressive development whose success in terms of fiscal responsibility, property values, quality of life and tourism attraction is backed up by a growing body of research.”

The coalition argued that there are exceptional historic landmarks, in good condition, that need to be re-purposed or regenerated. Encouraging the private, public and non-profit sectors to make these places incubators of creativity, community development, and small business – and, in some cases, places of residence or offices – would restart our local economy and ensure lively urban cores.

The coalition has met several times to inventory, assess and advocate for the reuse of vacant or soon-to-be-vacant heritage properties in Sydney’s Northend and downtown. It is composed of the Old Sydney Society, the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society, New Dawn Enterprises, Saint Andrew’s United Church, Cape Breton Genealogical and Historical Society, and the Heritage Cape Breton Connection. Given the current vacancy of the exceptional Holy Angels property, and the possible closure of both Sacred Heart Church and Saint Andrew’s Church (one of the best performance spaces in Cape Breton), there are a number of sizeable, well-maintained, and historically significant buildings into which we should be breathing new life. The recent destruction of the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club underscores the urgent need to use, reuse and deeply value our heritage buildings and properties.

The same principles can apply not just to Sydney but to other downtown areas in the region.

As noted by coalition member and CBU professor, Tom Urbaniak, “This is a crucial time for us. If we can re-purpose some of these great landmarks – and fill them with studios, and incubator businesses, and residents – we truly can turn this region around through home-grown talent and ingenuity. If we do nothing, our decline will be too hard to stop. These buildings are a barometer of our performance and our leadership as a region”.

The municipality was urged, as part of the RE-USE FIRST policy, to take a number of steps, including insisting that existing spaces be given clear priority for future facilities and feasibility studies and seconding a staff member to generate revenue for the municipality by working on property revitalization.

Holy Angels

May 2013: Gaelic Society Celtic Music Concert Series

The Cape Breton Gaelic Society will kick off its 2013 Celtic Music Concert Series on June 25th in the Northend’s historic St. George’s Church (119 Charlotte Street). Besides its charm and aesthetic appeal, St. George’s is famous for its great acoustics. Concerts in the 2013 series will be held on the last Tuesday of each month from June through September with all proceeds going to Gaelic language courses and scholarships.

Performers, all volunteers, range from talented amateurs to music teachers to professional musicians. Last years’ fiddlers included Colin Grant, Dawn and Margie Beaton, Anita MacDonald, Father Francis Cameron, Yvon LeFort, Mike Barron, Lawrence Martell, Gillian Head, Shawn MacDonald, Claire Wilson, Maggie MacLeod, and the late Joe Peter MacLean.

Others entertainers consisted of vocalists Morag Burke, Fred McCracken, and Jo-Anne Rolls, pianists Suzanne MacLellan, Joel Chiasson, Susan MacEachern,  Janet Cameron and Sheumas MacNeil of the Barra MacNeils, flautists Jayne Olson and Richard MacAulay, Highland piper Courtney MacPherson, guitarists Chris MacDonald and Mario Colosimo, and the incomparable Monica MacNeil on soprano saxophone.

Almost all of last years’ performers will be back in 2013. This year we also expect to welcome Margaree fiddler Crissy Crowley.

All concerts begin at 7:30PM with doors opening at 7:00. Tickets are $10, but for the first concert in the series anyone under 19 with an adult will be admitted free.

For more information contact Jim MacDonald at 564-9757

St. Georges

The Great Northend Yard Sale v3.0


3rd ANNUAL GREAT NORTHEND YARD SALE – June 23 – 8am til 11am

Come out and enjoy your Saturday morning in Sydney’s historic Northend as you browse through tables and tables (and tables) of goodies!

Click here to see the latest yard sale map!

Or, let us know if you would like to ad your yard sale to our map, call 270-6013, or email

This year the Great Northend Yard Sale has partnered with the Northend Park Project to help support the rebuilding of Louisa Gardens. There will be lots of yummy BBQ too! Hot dogs for a good cause are always good dogs!

Want to Write for The Turnip?


The Turnip is always in need of new writers and contributors. Creative writing (poems and short stories), letters and editorials (oh hello there soapbox), news, events – we want it all.

If you’re not ready to write just yet why not attend one of our editorial meetings and meet the friendly faces behind this community news publishing machine. Meetings are held before the publication of each issue (about once every two months). If you’d like to attend the next one (December or so) or have something to submit send us an e-mail ( or give us a call at 270-6013.

In Memory of Roger Meany


By Hannah MacDonald

A familiar friendly face on the North end of Charlotte Street left us last month. Roger Joseph Meaney, resident of 43 Charlotte Street, passed away suddenly on September 3rd. As a neighbour and conversational acquaintance, below is a modest remembrance as well as the formal obituary of our Northend friend.

Roger was a regular feature on the doorstep of his North Charlotte Street home. He was always interested in sharing a story with a neighbour or passerby. He had a wealth of topics to engage you in conversation – from stories of life on the CN railroad to advice on how to best appreciate a sunny day.

I recently chatted with a friend of Roger who remembered him as a “very decent, kind-hearted person.” Roger happily shared stories and photos of his adventures, including his work with the Coastguard in the Arctic. He also “gave with his heart.” This was something I experienced personally and hope that you may have too. Roger once gave me a candelabrum that now stands as a quiet reminder of the friendly figure enjoying the sun on his stoop on North Charlotte.

Obituary from the Cape Breton Post:

We regret to announce the sudden passing of Roger Meaney on Sept. 3, 2011, formerly of Grand Lake Road. He was the last surviving member of his family. Born in Sydney, he was the son of the late Joseph and Jeanette (Quedinet) Meaney. Roger was employed for many years with the Canadian National Railway, and was a member of the CN Pensioners Association. He is survived by a number of nieces and nephews some who reside in St-Pierre-Miquelon. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by one brother, George, three sisters, Eugina (Dan) Fraser, Theresa (Walter) Macphee and Rita (Jim) McGuigan.