Archive for the 'Tourism and landscape' Category

Book Review – McKay strikes again

I have had this link in a Firefox window for at least a month; I reload it every time I shut my computer down and start it up again. So while I sit here at the airport waiting to fly home to Nova Scotia for Christmas, I may as well post it. The link is to a book review for In the Province of History: The Making of the Public Past in Twentieth Century Nova Scotia by Ian McKay and Robin Bates.

Frankly, I got so much Ian McKay exposure during my MA thesis that I haven’t been able to bring myself to borrow this book from the school library yet. Besides, based on the review, I’ve already seen firsthand most of the primary material the book draws from, and it doesn’t sound like McKay has really developed his previous work on the topic much further. That said, if you’d like to know what one of the few scholars who work(ed) in the field of Nova Scotia tourism history says about the subject, this review is an excellent summary. The reviewer, Dr. Paul W. Bennett, also raises some of the primary problems with McKay’s analysis, mainly McKay’s emphasis on Premier Angus L. Macdonald as being a primary instigator of the provincial mythos, as well as the idea that the tourism impulse resulted in a united sort of provincial image.

The article is here.


Thesis Relief/Relief Map

It’s been a while! I submitted my thesis to my defence committee on Wednesday, and I now have two weeks to prepare for a move to Upper Canada. I have a number of posts saved in my draft folder, but none that are ready to  be shared yet. So, until I have a little more time to finish those posts, I thought I might share a little excerpt from my thesis with you. Sorry about the super-long paragraphs; that’s thesis writing for you – nothing so short and snappy as the blog style. The excerpt is below the jump.

Continue reading ‘Thesis Relief/Relief Map’

In the News – Lighthouses, always.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, by Scosborne

Tourism approaches like Nova Scotia’s, which rely on a certain amount of “rugged charm” to draw in the visitors, walk a fine line between picturesquely abandoned and dilapidated sights, and just plain neglected and ugly. Combine that with jurisdictional/responsibility issues, and you’ve got a news story.

Take, for example, the recent dust-up over the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse. Despite the millions upon millions of dollars the Conservative government has decided to bestow, graciously, upon the taxpayers who gave it to them in the first place (I never said this blog was apolitical), the government itself was apparently unable to round up the $25,000 necessary to pay for cement work and paint on the province’s most recognizable lighthouse this year (it was supposed to happen last year).

After making the news a few days in a row (with DFO offering to donate the paint to volunteers who were willing to paint the lighthouse – now there’s a liability issue if I ever heard one), some provincial MPs have announced that the lighthouse will, after all, be painted. Of course, the minister in charge of the DFO didn’t make this announcement, but the minister in charge of ACOA, who has decided to give DFO the money. Right.

This is an example of the kind of problems that can emerge when multiple jurisdictions or levels of government have responsibility for different aspects of one landscape – especially when goals are divergent. DFO only really cares if the light is working – the tourism industry (as well as many Nova Scotians) cares what it looks like as well.

Quicklink – Grand Pré UNESCO bid

More in the news yesterday about the Grand Pré UNESCO World Heritage Site bid – homeowners (well, two of them) in the proposed area shared their concerns about what might happen if the bid is successful – possibly higher property taxes, more visitors could mean more people cutting across private property hoping to walk along the dikes, and more development in the form of hotels and restaurants.

These World Heritage designations are a great tool to recognize (and preserve) significant landscapes, but they can be doubled-edged. A successful bid can be a bit like waving a red flag in front of the tourist industry. On the other hand, Grand Pré is already one of the top tourist destinations in the province, and I wonder if UNESCO recognition would  actually attract significantly more people than the area’s existing “carrying capacity” for tourists? If the nomination committee is a good one, they have already considered the increased environmental/infrastructure/lifestyle pressure at the site that this designation would create, and are able to address local concerns (who knows, perhaps the homeowners were speaking out at a public info session – the article is kind of poor, by j-school standards).