Tag Archives: novascotia

The Combo Pizza of Venice, and other things Glace Bay and Cape Breton

When I was growing up, there were only so many varieties of pizzas. You could get a pepperoni pizza, or a mushroom pizza, or the king of all pizzas: the Combo! The combo was pepperoni, mushroom AND green peppers. In my mind it was the best pizza ever. In some ways it still is. The last time I had such a pizza was seven years ago, from one of the places legendary for it: Venice Pizzeria.

Now people from outside of Glace Bay will tell you that the Combo was not limited to my hometown, and that’s true. The one above is from Kenny’s in Sydney, N.S. It is also good! But really pizza anywhere in Cape Breton is a good thing, and if you are visiting, try and get one. Ask for a Combo.

If you feel like something else and you are in Glace Bay, I recommend the food at Colette’s restaurant. In the morning I am a big fan of their breakfast with fried bologna. It’s fantastic. And if you are there on a Thursday, you can get their corned beef and cabbage. That’s also great. A classic, in fact.

While I haven’t been back to the Island in some time, I still like to keep up with what is going on. I was sad to hear of the passing of the great Peter Politte. The Cape Breton Post remembered him here, ‘A feel for the blade’: Legendary Glace Bay skate sharpener remembered:

When local hockey players wanted to get the edge — literally — on their competition, they turned to Peter Politte. For decades, Politte was widely regarded as the best skate sharpener in Glace Bay, if not the entire island. He died Saturday at age 91.

Everyone went to him, including me as a kid. If you had fresh ice and skates sharpened by Peter, you were bound to have a great game of hockey at the Miners Forum.

In doing some research on Glace Bay, I came across these sites that wrote about mines down home, including No 2 and the Caledonia mine where my grandfather dug coal. I even found this piece on a mining disaster at Caledonia mine in 1899. More on Glace bay mining at this link.

Finally, here’s more on the combo pizza. Here’s a recipe for corned beef and cabbage from Food & Wine if you want some and can’t get to Colette’s any time soon.

Here’s a YouTube video of  Glace Bay in 1992 that brought back memories.

Finally here’s a map of all the streets of Glace Bay:

Streets of Glace Bay

I used this site to make it: Draw all roads in a city at once.


The neighborhoods of Glace Bay

According to Google Maps — and my own knowledge — the official neighborhoods of Glace Bay are:

  • Bridgeport
  • McKays Corner
  • McLeod’s Crossing
  • East Slope
  • Passchendaele
  • Steeles Hill
  • New Aberdeen
  • Hub
  • Table Head
  • Sterling
  • Caledonia
  • Morien Hill

Unofficially, there are some neighborhoods I know because of the pit they were associated with, like No 2 in New Aberdeen and No 11 in Passchendaele. If anyone thinks I should add more, please put them in the comments and I’ll include them.

Map above is a snapshot of the Google Map for Glace Bay.

P.S. I wrote this post because recently I wanted to find information on the neighborhoods of Glace Bay and I couldn’t find anything, not even at Wikipedia. The only information I could find was from the Wayback Machine with an old link to destination-ns.com and all it said was stuff like “McKays Corner is located at 46°11’12″N, 59°59’32″W in the Metro Cape Breton region of the Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton county.” or “Glace Bay is located at 46°11’49″N, 59°57’25″W in the Metro Cape Breton region of the Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton county.” (It must have been one of the earliest pages on the Internet!)

For the record, it also included information for:

  • Sterling (Subdivision 0.36 kms) is located at 46°12’00″N, 59°57’27″W
  • Hub (Subdivision 1.73 kms) is located at 46°12’44″N, 59°57’17″W
  • Caledonia (Subdivision 1.90 kms) is located at 46°10’48″N, 59°57’42″W
  • Table Head (Subdivision 2.27 kms) is located at 46°13’01″N, 59°57’10″W
  • New Aberdeen (Subdivision 2.32 kms) is located at 46°13’00″N, 59°57’59″W
  • Morien Hill (Subdivision 2.35 kms) is located at 46°10’35″N, 59°57’51″W
  • Passchendaele (Subdivision 2.83 kms) is located at 46°10’36″N, 59°58’46″W



On the Maritimes, Hurricane Fiona, Kate Beaton and Ann Terry, etc

The big news out east recently has been focused on Hurricane Fiona. As the local media showed, Fiona destroyed property all throughout the region. One place heavily hit was Glace Bay. A ton of damage occurred there in my hometown. Homes, buildings, you name it…even the airport between Glace Bay and Sydney was hit. To get a sense of the damage done, click on any of the links (also where the above photo comes from).

Sadly, a lot of the havoc that Fiona caused will not be covered by insurance. Here’s hoping the government steps in. And it wasn’t just damage: a woman in Port aux Basques, Nfld. was pulled out into the sea and drowned, as was this man in Lower Prospect, N.S.

Despite all this hardship, people from that part of Canada are resilient. Before the storm, the local media even had advice on how to cook when your power goes out for days: Storm day dining. Mari timers are in for some tough times, but they’ll pull through: they always do.

I’ve been thinking much about Cape Breton and Nova Scotia lately even before the storm. The great artist Kate Beaton has a new work out call Ducks which documents her life and time working in Alberta.  Anyone who is a fan of graphic novels should get it. Even if you are not, I recommend it.

Speaking of great Cape Breton women, I was thinking of Ann Terry lately. Growing up, you could hear her everywhere. She seemed like she was everywhere. Here’s a good introduction to her, and here she is broadcasting. She had a tremendous voice. A great presence, too.

In other east coast news, it looks like Westjet is suspending flights to NS . I always hate to see transportation reduced to the Maritimes. Here’s hoping that doesn’t last long. Speaking of reductions, here’s a story on how some churches are closing down in Atlantic Canada. I suspect that phenomenon is not limited to that part of the country, though.


On Bades Bake Shop and the Chip Wagon of Glace Bay

It can be notoriously difficult to find images of Glace Bay on the Internet. Google is no help: I had been searching for “Bades Bakery Glace Bay” and came up with nothing. It was only through searching for the specific phrase “Bades Bake Shop” did I find it.

I loved Bades as a kid. It was on my route to the hockey arena, and depending on the time and how much coin I had, I could drop in and get a doughnut or something sweet. I don’t recall there being any other such establishment nearby, so it was an oasis for someone like me who loved sweet things. I recall the lettering for the sign being yellow against a brown backdrop. It was a great place, long gone. (You can read more about it, here.)

Here’s a good piece on another place I loved as a kid and as an adult: the Chip Wagon. When I was a kid it was in the main part of town. Later as an adult I would line up like these people to get a sample of those delicious fries. I don’t know if it is still in operation. If not, that’s sad. Like Mike’s Lunch, it was a must visit whenever I went home to Glace Bay.

If you are feeling nostalgic like me, you can see lots more images of Cape Breton at Caperpics or here at the flickr account of the Beaton Institute. Forget Google: go directly to those two places.

(Images: links to images at the Beaton Institute and Caperpics).

On the wonder of Big Glace Bay Lake

There’s plenty to see and do in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, including exploring the coast. One of the best parts of that coast is Big Glace Bay Lake and the area around it. When I was younger I’d walk down to that beach and swim or or skip rocks or just sit and watch the ocean. It’s still one of my favorite things in life.

One of my favorites is now getting greater recognition. The government of Canada has designated Big Glace Bay Lake its newest National Wildlife Area. That’s great news! To see why they did, read this on canada.ca.

If you are thinking of paying a visit but need tourist help, TripAdvisor has some good information.

I love Glace Bay, but it’s not for everyone. But anyone and everyone should love Glace Bay Lake. It’s a wonder.

(Image from canada.ca)


On Davis Day, and other histories of Cape Breton

Today is Davis Day in Cape Breton. It’s now known as Miners Memorial Day, but growing up we honoured this day and thought about William Davis and all the sacrifices miners and their families suffered over the years as they struggled to live better lives. It was a solemn day. You can read more about it here: Miners Memorial Day: Davis Day | Museum of Industry. Here’s a good piece on how this day is still relevant in places like my home town of Glace Bay.

Over the last while I have been collecting these links regarding Cape Breton history which I thought worthwhile and you may as well:

(Image from a link and comes from the Beaton Institute)

On Maud Lewis and the art world and Henri Rousseau too

This is an interesting but odd view of the great Canadian artist, Maud Lewis. It’s somewhat about her, but really it’s more about the art world and how they go about. In short, it’s about how the paintings that she used to sell for a few bucks to buy food are now worth many thousands of dollars. It proceeds to speculate if they will continue to go up in value.

I think it’s worth reading. Her life and work are interesting. I still don’t think the art world knows how to think or talk about her.

If anything, she makes me think of the work of Henri Rousseau. They didn’t quite know what to do with him either. But eventually they did. I think the same is happening with Lewis.

Regardless what they think, I hope you will think she is a fine artist and seek out her work. (And Rousseau’s.) Your life will be enhanced the more you know of their work.

(Image links from Canadian Art and ibiblio.org)

How to garden in the winter

What’s cooler than summer gardening? Winter gardening! 🙂 No seriously, winter gardening is very cool. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the Times and specifically Niki Jabbour of Halifax have convinced me otherwise. As the Times explains:

Is it really possible to garden year-round? Yes, even in Nova Scotia. Through years of experimentation, Niki Jabbour has developed an all-seasons approach to edible gardening, despite the rigors of her Halifax location, where frost can linger until late May and return in early October. What Ms. Jabbour — an intrepid vegetable gardener and the host of the radio show “The Weekend Gardener” — calls her “vegetable garden tool kit” doesn’t include a trowel and pruning shears (although they are always within reach). Her essentials are an assortment of fabrics and the supports she drapes them over.

It’s really impressive. The article below gets into great depth as to how such an activity is possible. I don’t know if I will ever do it, but I really enjoyed reading about it, here: The Year-Round Garden – The New York Times

The one problem with moving to Nova Scotia, especially if you are older

Halifax bridge

I must say, the thought of moving back to Nova Scotia appeals to me. I think of it often. I was born and raised there and still consider myself a Nova Scotian (although I will also say I a Cape Bretoner from Glace Bay. I am proud of all three). It’s a beautiful place and I have family there. I love it.

The one big problem, though, is this one: Nova Scotia doctor wait-list hits record high, topping 81,000 | CBC News.

I realize this problem is not unique to Nova Scotia. Finding a doctor in Toronto, never mind rural parts of Ontario or other parts of the country, is not easy. But it has always seemed to be a problem in Nova Scotia. I use to hear it all the time from my parents. They always felt fortunate when they could get a good doctor.

I also realize I am looking at the problem from a distance. People living in Nova Scotia now may disagree. But if you are thinking of moving (back?) to Nova Scotia, consider that.

(Photo by Harjinder on Unsplash)

if you want cheap land, Cape Breton is an option

I mean, seriously. As the local news says, there is….Still time to become a property owner for $600 in Cape Breton Regional Municipality | SaltWire

Now you aren’t going to get a mansion or anything, but clearly if owning land is your chief goal, that’s one way to do it.

Four good pieces on my hometown, Glace Bay

Anyone with an interest in Glace Bay will find these worth reading:

  1. A COAL TOWN FIGHTS FOR ITS LIFE | Maclean’s | MARCH 15 1954: this was fascinating. A story from Maclean’s Magazine in the 1950s that documented Glace Bay at the crossroads. So much in this piece explains my home town and the people who lived there.
  2. Glace Bay hockey rink’s new name closer to its roots | CBC.ca: a mainstay of Glace Bay is the hockey rink. When I was a kid I lived about 100 meters from it. I spent most of my early days (until grade 10) going to it. So many memories back then revolved around that building.
  3. KEN MACDONALD: Remembering the miners | Local-Lifestyles | Lifestyles | Cape Breton Post: a good piece from the local paper on the mines of Glace Bay and the miners who lived and sometimes died in them.
  4. Miners’ houses: Lawren Harris in Glace Bay – Nova Scotia Advocate: finally this piece on Glace Bay with a focus on a famous painting of Glace Bay by Lawren Harris (shown above). It used to be in the AGO and I often paused to reflect on it, and my hometown. Just like I am doing now.

Authentic rum is coming to the Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton

Thanks to the folks at Authentic Seacoast and Parks Canada, it looks like rum and the rum trade will be coming to the historic site in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The news release says:

After almost 300 years, rum is once again being stored behind the massive stone walls of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.

Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company Ltd., Parks Canada and Fortress Louisbourg Association are collaborating on a multi-year project to enhance the visitor experience at the Fortress through an authentic interpretation of the historical rum trade of 18th century New France. The Magazin du Roi will serve as a warehouse to mature carefully selected Caribbean aged rums for use in special edition Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company rums.

Sounds like a great idea. Rum and the rum trade is a not insignificant part of Nova Scotian history. It’s great to see this. For more on it, see: Authentic Seacoast™ Company Media Centre press release,  Rum Returns to Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.