Pictou needs to use assets in a way that encourages tourism growth

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

I can still remember my first trip to the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

My Dad was taking over as managing editor of the Shelburne Coast Guard newspaper.

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At that time the only road along the shore was similar to the Sunrise Trail; winding through the towns and villages along the way.

We ended up in Liverpool a few years later, after buying the Liverpool Advance newspaper.

I became the first advertising salesperson in its 80+ years of operation, concentrating on Queens County, but travelling to Bridgewater once a week for some regular advertisers.

At that time, almost 50 years ago, the small towns and villages, except for Liverpool, were dependent on fishing and forestry for their economy.

Bridgewater, in Lunenburg County, gradually became, much like New Glasgow, a retail and commercial centre. While Lunenburg, the County seat, like Pictou, was in decline.

Then in the late 1970s a minister, Laurence Mawhinney, formerly of Pictou, took over as mayor.

The following is from a story in the Herald, written when he retired: “During his mayorship, Lunenburg has gone from a gritty, hands-on fishing port to a town with a more diversified economy, including composite plastics manufacturing, video game production and continued fish processing. Mayor Mawhinney was also key in helping develop the town’s tourism potential, via Lunenburg’s 1995 UNESCO designation as a world heritage site, then a first for Nova Scotia, and Bluenose Drive on Lunenburg’s picturesque waterfront, birthplace, as many Canadians know, of the fabled schooner Bluenose.”

I had to go to Lunenburg recently on business.

They have certainly taken advantage of their tourism capital as there were tourists everywhere and I heard three languages, other than English, being spoken.

The town is beautiful; restaurants and stores were busy, but one sales woman in a gift store said, “This is nothing, wait a month.”

Pictou and Lunenburg had a lot in common. But they don’t have any more.

Where they have cashed in on their heritage tourism potential, Pictou hasn’t.

We have the history, the old buildings, the beautiful waterfront, the Ship Hector and its tremendous significance to all of North America. “The Ship Hector is the symbol of Scottish Immigration to North America.”

Compared to that, what is the Bluenose anyway?

It took Lunenburg many years of dedication to a goal before they achieved the fame and success that is evident today.

Pictou has it all, but our assets have to be utilized in a way that encourages cooperation towards a planned grow of our tourism potential.

Watson Inglis
Pictou