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Coal Dust Days Festival in Cape Breton returns after two years of pandemic cancellations | SaltWire

Coal Dust Days Festival in Cape Breton returns after two years of pandemic cancellations | SaltWire

A sense of community. 

It’s one way to describe the importance of the annual New Waterford Coal Dust Days Festival each year. From seeing old friends at events to having a reason to come home, the festival has a purpose for current and former residents. 

However, there hasn’t been much to celebrate over the past two years in the community. Like all festivals, the Coal Dust Days committee was forced to cancel their festival in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provincial restrictions.

With restrictions lifted and the province now fully reopened, the Coal Dust Days Festival is set to make its return next week with weeklong events kicking off on Monday in the community. 

Joey Lever, board member for Coal Dust Days, said the committee is excited to be back and ready to move past the pandemic-related cancellations. 

“We think the community needs this back,” said Lever. “It’s a chance to be together again after two years of being stuck at home and it’s a chance to gather and celebrate.”

This year will mark the 37th edition of the Coal Dust Days Festival. After being off the past two summers, Lever admits there’s been a bit of an adjustment period preparing for the festival. 

“It’s more about getting our heads around it again,” said Lever, noting the committee began planning for this year’s festival in February. 

“You roll it out the same way every year. There’s a blueprint for Plummer Avenue Day and the car show and we have great partners with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and volunteers who also help us along the way.”

The festival will feature both committee-organized and community-hosted events, running until July 24.

One of the larger events organized by the committee is Plummer Avenue Day, which will feature local vendors, entertainment and games on the town’s main street on Thursday. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will finish with a concert from 7-10:30 p.m. featuring Hearts of Kin and Cherrybomb. 

Lever confirmed vendor spots are almost sold out. He anticipates this year’s Plummer Avenue Day to be a record year. 

“If we have the weather, we’re expecting great crowds and everyone to be out,” said Lever. “It’s a great event for people to bump into each other and see people that they haven’t seen in a while and just get out on the main street where they may not have had that chance in a little while.” 

‘It ran its course’

Among the events not returning this year is the Coal Dust Days Tavern Tour, which was one of the more popular attractions when the festival first began for both participants and local establishments. 

Lever said there were several reasons for the committee discontinuing the event. 

“The crowds have been down the last couple of festivals, a lot of people weren’t attending and that was a big reason for it,” he said. “I think the committee and the bars have dealt with a lot of underage drinkers and stuff, so it was really hard to keep a handle on it and make it safe for everybody.”

While it’s too early to confirm, Lever doesn’t anticipate the committee running the event in future festivals, but it’s not to say a tavern tour won’t happen.

“I don’t foresee the committee planning that event anymore – I think it ran its course,” said Lever. “There’s community-organized events, so if a community group wanted to host such a thing they could put it in the brochure.” 

The festival will also not include a parade this year. Lever said the committee removed itself from parades in 2015, noting a community group had tried to organize those events in the past. 

Other events

Some of the highlighted events for the festival include the Kay MacSween Memorial Walk the Loop at 9 a.m. on Monday at Rose Schwartz Park as well as the Family Walk-In Drive-In at 7 p.m. at the New Waterford and District Community Centre.

The annual antique and custom car show will be held on Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. on Plummer Avenue, while the Susan Coombes Memorial Teddy Bear Picnic and Sobeys Children’s Festival will be held on Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. at Colliery Lands Park. 

The closing concert will take place on July 24 at Colliery Lands Park and will feature The Non Essentials Band, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will take place at dusk. 

Some events to look out for are listed below. For a full list of festival events, visit the festival’s Facebook page by searching New Waterford Coal Dust Days.

Coal Dust Days highlights

Monday, July 18

• 9 a.m. – Kay MacSween Memorial Walk the Loop beginning at Rose Schwartz Park

• 7 p.m. – Family Walk-In Drive-In, New Waterford and District Community Centre

Tuesday, July 19

• 10 a.m. – Coal Dust Days Bicycle Rodeo, New Waterford Fire Department

• 6-9 p.m. – 13th annual Antique and Custom Car Show, Plummer Avenue

Wednesday, July 20

• 1-4 p.m. – Susan Coombes Memorial Teddy Bear Picnic and Sobeys Children’s Festival, Colliery Lands Park

Thursday, July 21

• 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Plummer Avenue Day

• 7-10:30 p.m. – Plummer Avenue Day Wrap-Up Party featuring Hearts of Kin and Cherrybomb

Saturday, July 23

• All Day – New Waterford Credit Union Minor Baseball Day

• 12 p.m. – Kids Fun Day, New Waterford Fire Hall

Sunday, July 24

• 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Coal Dust Days Closing Concert, Colliery Lands Park

• Dusk – Fireworks

Jeremy Fraser is a reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on Twitter @CBPost_Jeremy.

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Sensational Pride suggestions: Event inspiration to help enjoy Halifax Pride Festival to the fullest | SaltWire

Sensational Pride suggestions: Event inspiration to help enjoy Halifax Pride Festival to the fullest | SaltWire

From its iconic Pride Parade to beloved sports spectacles like Dykes vs Divas Softball Game and dance parties such as The Bump, the Halifax Pride Festival has established many standout events. However, if you’re not checking Halifax Pride Festival’s online calendar, you are missing out on a whole host of other exciting happenings.

Featuring a plethora of events organized by both Halifax Pride and various community organizations, Halifax Pride Festival’s online calendar is the go-to resource to ensure your pride celebrations are as complete and relevant to you as possible. From social and artistic gatherings to newcomer moments and displays of activism, there’s something for everyone under the 2SLGBTQIA+ umbrella.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s look at some of the exciting events happening each day during this year’s Halifax Pride Festival.


Halifax ProPride

This one is for the professional community.

Join Pride at Work Canada for an evening of networking and connecting with diversity, equity and inclusion leaders, 2SLGBTQIA+ professionals and job seekers at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Featuring a panel discussion focused on building inclusive workplaces based on gender expression and identity, the night will also include a lively networking reception. Best of all, the event can be accessed in-person and via live stream.

When: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21


Rainbow Refugees BBQ

Newcomers (and locals) are encouraged to come with their appetites for this tasty treat.

The Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia (RRANS), an organization dedicated to safe and supportive 2SLGBTQIA+ refugee resettlement in Nova Scotia, is hosting “Queering the World: Welcome BBQ” for the 2SLGBTQIA+ newcomer community and the larger Halifax Pride community to mix, mingle, and celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities here and around the world. The BBQ offerings include chicken and veggie options paired with music from around the world and great conversation.

When: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Garrison Grounds


Workout with North Endurance

Everybody is invited to this morning workout sure to help with keeping fit for the non-stop pride celebrations.

Join the team and community from North Endurance (home of West Street CrossFit) at the Halifax Common (near the North Common public washroom along Cunard Street) for a free outdoor workout. All are welcome — regardless of fitness level, with instructors available to help participants adjust or modify the workout to best fit individual needs and abilities.

When: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Halifax Common (North Park and Cogswell)


Halifax Pride Comedy Show

Everyone in need of a laugh should hit up this hilarious show.

The Halifax Pride Comedy Show is back with an incredible lineup of out-of-towners and a few familiar faces to the Halifax comedy scene. Inviting audiences to enjoy a drink and entertainment under the stars, the event is hosted by Halifax’s very own Trina James and headlined by Brandon Ash-Mohammed.

When: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Garrison Grounds


Pride March

This march puts the activism in pride.

Join Halifax Pride and mobilize in support of gender-affirming care at this year’s annual Pride March. The one-kilometre route will end at Peace & Friendship Park, where marchers will observe and participate in a candlelight vigil. Attendees are encouraged to bring signs or make one at a sign-making event at the Garrison Grounds just before the march.

When: 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Province House (Granville St)

Beading Workshop

Craft lovers are encouraged to visit this workshop.

Join this event hosted by the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance for a unique experience with a focus on Indigenous culture and craft art. Attendees will be walked through the steps of creating their own beaded masterpiece to take home. Individuals interested in learning more about Indigenous culture are in luck as this is the first of several Two-Spirited events during July 18, 20 and 21 — all with a focus on Indigenous identity and expression in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Garrison Grounds


Decolonizing Gender and Sexuality from a Jewish Perspective: An Online Class

People of the Jewish faith (and those with interest in it) will surely learn something new about their religion at this online event, like how Judaism believes that there are more than two genders.

Listen in to lecturer Rabbi Dr. N Siritsky, MSSW, RSW, BCC — Atlantic Canada’s first queer and non-binary rabbi leading the newly forming virtual community “Reform Judaism in Atlantic Canada.” Viewers are invited to witness the trail-blazing rabbi discuss traditional and contemporary Jewish understandings of gender and sexuality in the Bible, Talmud and beyond.

When: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Online video chat


Youth Queer Prom

Queer youth are invited to a prom of their very own.

Hosted by the Youth Project, the Queer prom is a dance event open to 2SLGBTQIA+ youth ages 19 and under, welcoming attendees to a space focused on allowing queer-identified youth to be themselves and dance the night away. Best of all, the dress code is ‘wear what you feel best in’ — however, Gay Sailors is this year’s theme for those who love a bit of structure. Chaperones will also be on hand at this drug/alcohol-free space.

When: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Garrison Grounds


Pride In Homeownership Workshop

Prospective homeowners should definitely attend this information-packed session.

Join Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team and friends as they deliver knowledge that will help attendees on their journeys towards homeownership. Topics covered include the benefits of using a mortgage broker, understanding the impact of credit, assets and income, stereotypes in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Halifax real estate and what individuals need to know about real estate law.

When: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: 5151 George Street


PRIDE LIVE: LHM Records Showcase

Local music listeners will love this showcase.

Check out LHM Records (a Maritime-based label that believes in equitable treatment of artists and the power and importance of music) and its incredible roster of musicians, including Hillsburn, Kim Harris, Keeper E. and WAANTS as they perform sensational setlist (and bring out a few special guests). Best of all, the concert is 100 per cent free; just be sure to register online.

When: 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Where: Grand Oasis Stage (Grand Parade)


So Fetch! Dog Walk

This walk will do dogs and their owners some good.

Take part in this event co-hosted by TD Bank and walk Shubie Park for a brisk hour-long stroll which includes a mid-way break at the park’s off-leash beach area. Following the adventure, walkers are invited to enjoy some refreshments and conversation with fellow dog-lovers at the park’s parking lot.

When: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Shubie Park


Dis-Drag! & Dragtopia Presents: An All Ages Drag Show

Kids (and kids at heart) will love this family-friendly spectacle.

Take in the magic of childhood favourites with Dis-Drag! and Dragtopia, who have joined forces to produce an all-ages drag show featuring Disney-inspired acts. With pay-what-you-can admission, it’s the perfect opportunity to support local queens and maybe even win a prize provided by Venus Envy.

When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: The Bus Stop Theatre

Of course, there are many more exciting events happening during this year’s Halifax Pride Festival. To see them all, visit

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P.E.I. queer-centred event company Lacuna presenting cabaret show Let’s Try This Again at The Guild | SaltWire

P.E.I. queer-centred event company Lacuna presenting cabaret show Let’s Try This Again at The Guild | SaltWire

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — P.E.I. will get a taste of New York nightlife through a new show at The Guild in Charlottetown presented by queer-centred events company Lacuna.

Fresh off a successful cabaret run at some of New York’s most iconic nightspots, the cabaret show Let’s Try This Again will stop at The Guild for one night on Aug. 1.

Actor and vocalist Andrew Morrisey and pianist and composer Andrew Boudreau created the show with a blend of the city’s sophistication and East Coast charm.

“After two long years away, it feels almost surreal to be coming back to Charlottetown,” said Morrisey in a news release.

“This show is both a reflection of a deeply personal journey and our collective experience. I can’t wait to share it with you.”

The 75-minute performance explores themes of love, queer identity and re-learning how to navigate social interaction in a world emerging from a global pandemic.

Production director Margot Bégin said the cabaret format is the perfect medium for the intimate exploration of what it means to be emerging from the pandemic experience.

“It taps into our shared experience of loss and isolation while making room for those unexpected moments of self-discovery and joy,” said Bégin.

Tickets are available for purchase at The Guild box office or online.

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S.Korean leader’s informal media events are a break with tradition | SaltWire

S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition | SaltWire

By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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CEC class hosting Relay for Life event June 16 | SaltWire

CEC class hosting Relay for Life event June 16 | SaltWire

TRURO, N.S. — True leadership is about giving of yourself, and Kevin Hayden’s Grade 12 Leadership Class at CEC is learning that by hosting a Relay for Life event on June 16.

“Relay For Life not only helps students learn valuable life and leadership skills, but it also unites your school community under one common goal of making a real difference for real people who have been affected by cancer,” Hayden said. 

Money raised through Relay for Life events goes toward the Canadian Cancer Society. As of June 5, participants in CEC’s Relay had raised almost $6,300 – nearly 32 per cent of their $20,000 goal. And with almost two weeks still to go, students Hadley Bent and Abagail Hovey, who are leading their class in organizing the event, are confident they’ll get there. 

“We took this on as, kind of, our end of the year project,” Bent said. “Last year, we were able to do an online one – a virtual Relay – but this year we’re happy to be back in person.

“It’s a good chance for us to get together and support all those around us.” 

Hovey said it feels good to take on a significant role in this important project.

“It’s nice to take on a bigger part in my school community,” she said, as both students talked about cancer affecting so many – either directly or through a loved one.

“We know in our school there are some teachers who are survivors, and, in our community, we know there are many people facing cancer right now, so we’re just here to support them and help raise money … that is what we’re all about,” Bent said, before talking how she has been impacted.

“No direct family fortunately but, on my street, I have had some close friends who have lost their lives and some who are suffering right now.”

Hovey had a similar answer.

“I haven’t been personally, directly affected, but I know good family friends… close friends of my parents, who have been,” she said.

Bent talked about sharing a video where cancer survivors were highlighted, during their launch event for Relay.

“To get the message across to students in our school that everyone is affected in one way or another, and they’re not alone,” she said.

Event activities

The CEC Relay will be held on the athletic field just outside of the school, from 2 to 8 p.m. on the 16th.

“There will be a lot of different activities,” Hovey said. “We’ll have different food trucks on-hand, live entertainment, some local bands. There are students who are band members; if they can play an instrument and sing (they would be welcomed to entertain), and I’m pretty sure there will be some people acting as well.”

Bent said the event is also a chance to bring more awareness about the Canadian Cancer Society and the work they do, as well as what a person who has battled cancer and maybe still battling, goes through.

“You’re learning about what others have gone through,” she said. “It’s a good learning experience all the way around.”

She added they plan to have Relay staples – a survivors’ lap and a luminary ceremony – as part of their event.  

Global movement

Relay for Life is active in 29 countries and 6,000 communities worldwide. The Pictou County Relay for Life, which includes participation from Colchester folks, takes place this Saturday (June 11) at North Nova Education Centre.

For more on any of the events, including how to donate to a team or individual, visit, and click on the appropriate link. 

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ANNE CROSSMAN: World events and those closer to home puts things in perspective | SaltWire

ANNE CROSSMAN: World events and those closer to home puts things in perspective | SaltWire

CENTRELEA, N.S. — Thinking about all those people fleeing from war and seeing prices going up here at home has given me pause to remember how lucky I am.

I live in a warm house on a hill with a beautiful view.

I have food in the fridge and in the freezer in the basement.

There is enough wood in the basement to see us through the winter to help with the power costs.

I have warm winter clothing and warm footgear.

I have a warm, soft bed with a nice pillow for my head.

I have a bathroom with a flushing toilet, a sink that has water, and a bathtub and shower with hot running water whenever I want it.

I have a well that has never gone dry.

I have my husband here.

I have reliable internet and reliable telephone service. My power stays on most of the time.

I have enough money to pay for the gas for our vehicle to go to the grocery store and the pharmacy.

I have a very reliable snowplow guy who cleans out the long driveway right after it snows.

The only noises I hear outside come from the occasional big truck on the highway or the neighbour’s tractor or the other neighbour’s horses or the coyotes at night or the various little birds that come to the feeders.

My nights are dark with stars and moon shining when it isn’t cloudy.

I live in Annapolis County in the province of Nova Scotia in the country of Canada.

I don’t live in a war zone brought about by a man who wants to turn back time. I don’t have to get my precious stuff together and get to a bus station or a train station to go to another country. My husband doesn’t have to stay behind to fight for our piece of territory.

My children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are safe. My dear friends are safe.

I am so very grateful.

Anne Crossman is a former journalist and media manager. She now does volunteer work in her community of Centrelea, Annapolis County.

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