A Brand New Stage in Nova Scotia
by Angus MacCaull
A legacy is in the works in Tatamagouche. For several years now, the facilities at Creamery Square have been gathering momentum. The Margaret Fawcett Norrie Heritage Centre won national recognition when it opened in 2010. The Tatamagouche Farmers Market reached over 35,000 visitors in 2012. And now, the final stages of interior construction are underway for the Creamery Square Centre for the Arts. The brightly painted red complex, which began with the donation of the buildings and the land by Scotsburn in 2004, also has two outdoor performance areas and a boat building shop. It’s all nestled between the beautiful Tatamagouche Bay and the Trans Canada Trail.
Colin Fowlie, the project manager, took Tara from our Tatamagouche office and myself on a tour. “It’s the total package,” he said. “It’s what we call a critical mass project. It’s designed to enhance the local economy, create job opportunities for youth, and to embed the cultural economy with the main stream economy and to actually encourage new investment, population growth, and activity in Tatamagouche and the surrounding area—and that’s what’s been happening.”
According to Stats Canada, the population of Tatamagouche has grown almost 10% since 2006. Businesses are seeing overhauls on Main Street and there’s a new school opening next year. “My kids will be in that school,” Tara told me, “we’re excited! And we had two primary sections this year in our little town.”
While new buildings and fresh paint in rural Nova Scotia are indeed exciting, Colin emphasised that there’s more to focus on than just the cutting edge design features of Creamery Square. He said that the programming and the business opportunities are really what will help the town thrive in the long run. Setting up the Creamery Square Association so that each part has the appropriate expertise and autonomy to build its own audience and income was key. The Association is operating with a model in which the Market, the Heritage Centre, and the Arts Centre are each self-sufficient, and yet all the parts add up to a compelling community whole.
The Creamery Square Centre for the Arts is the third and final phase of a project that’s been in the making for almost ten years. It’s currently slated to open next spring. I can’t wait to experience the lights come up on a brand new stage in Nova Scotia.