Top News

SaltWire Selects July 13: Don't miss these East Coast stories

Bobbi-Jo Reardon of Rice Point says being a foster family for the P.E.I. Humane Society is a lot of work, but she wouldn't trade these cuddles for the world.
Bobbi-Jo Reardon of Rice Point says being a foster family for the P.E.I. Humane Society is a lot of work, but she wouldn't trade these cuddles for the world. - Contributed

Stories of Atlantic Canada's people and communities

Playing through the pandemic

Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald charmed SaltWire's Joey Smith with her COVID-19-inspired composition. 

The Antigonish, N.S., woman has been playing and teaching music for most of her life and wasn't stopped by stay-at-home orders. 

Memes and GIFs brought her some joy, so she decided to make her own contribution to lockdown entertainment. 

“One thing the pandemic is doing is making people create things,” she explained to Smith. “So I said one day, ‘why don’t I try something?’ So I sat at the piano, and I have to say, it sort of fell on the keys. And then the next day I tweaked it a little bit and thought, ‘that’s what I want.’”

Click/tap for video of MacGregor-MacDonald's Pandemic Waltz. 

Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald of Antigonish reached into her creative side to write The Pandemic Waltz. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald of Antigonish reached into her creative side to write The Pandemic Waltz. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed

Storied storeys

If the walls of Sydney’s historic O’Brien House could talk what a tale they might tell.

The 18th-century house, one of Cape Breton’s oldest European-built structures, is now up for sale. Along with the 235-year-old house, the new owners of the harbour-facing Esplanade property will get an intimate opportunity to learn more about the structure’s varied and mysterious past.

Present owner Jim MacDonald purchased it in the early 1980s. Now 72 years old, MacDonald tells the Cape Breton Post's Davis Jala that it’s time to divest himself of the house that has intrigued him for almost four decades.

Read on for the building's fascinating transformation from tavern to brothel to vacation home to a rental for international students

O’Brien House owner Jim MacDonald shows the ceiling beams of the late-18th century Sydney house he has put on the sales market. The structure, located on the Esplanade beside St. Patrick’s Church, has enjoyed a varied and storied past. DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST - David Jala
O’Brien House owner Jim MacDonald shows the ceiling beams of the late-18th century Sydney house he has put on the sales market. The structure, located on the Esplanade beside St. Patrick’s Church, has enjoyed a varied and storied past. DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST - David Jala

 


Creativity for kitties

P.E.I.'s Reardon family don't just lavish love on the foster kitties who come their way, they build and sew for them, too. 

Sisters Andi-Lee, 13, and Janie, 11, make sure the kittens who come to stay with the family have cardboard houses and tiny costumes, thematically aligned with the baby cats' names, of course. 

The cats fostered by the Reardon family in Rice Point are treated to a variety of different kitty houses. - Contributed
The cats fostered by the Reardon family in Rice Point are treated to a variety of different kitty houses. - Contributed

Their mother told The Guardian's Dave Stewart that the whole family loves taking care of the kittens. 

“We feel like we’re the lucky ones because we get to take them home when they’re at their most playful sweet age and have so much fun with them, care for them and make them into good cats before we give them back."

Click/tap for more photos and video of the feline darlings and the Reardons' own three adult cats and one dog. 

The Reardon family of Rice Point poses with their furbabies. From left, are Janie, with Angel, Andi-Lee with Liam, Bobbi-Jo with the family dog. Ruby, and Andrew with Stella. - Contributed
The Reardon family of Rice Point poses with their furbabies. From left, are Janie, with Angel, Andi-Lee with Liam, Bobbi-Jo with the family dog. Ruby, and Andrew with Stella. - Contributed

Playground payback

While his wife Elaine spent more than a year away with their son Brian as the five-year-old underwent cancer treatment in 2011, Albert MacKay's neighbour Noline Francis brought dinner over to him every night.

On May 22, 2011, Elaine and Brian were rushed to the IWK in Halifax by ambulance after an orthopedic scan revealed Brian had stage 4 neuroblastoma.

As a repayment for the assistance he received from Francis during the difficult time, Albert recently built a large bulldozer playset for his neighbours, complete with a tire swing and solar lights for the night.

“I just put the last nail in it Wednesday night,” Albert tells the Cape Breton Post's Sharon Montgomery-Dupe. “I had added a swing set to it.”

For Francis and her children, the bulldozer playset more than made up for a pandemic-cancelled trip to Disney World. 

Check out more photos and this heartwarming story of paying back a neighbour's kindness

Albert MacKay, from left, relaxes on a bulldozer playset with his wife Elaine, son Brian, neighbour Noline Francis and her children Kaley, 21, Jolton, 3, and Jaron, 12. MacKay built the playset for Francis to pay her back for showing up with dinner for him every night while Elaine and Brian were in Halifax for Brian’s cancer treatment. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post - Sharon Montgomery
Albert MacKay, from left, relaxes on a bulldozer playset with his wife Elaine, son Brian, neighbour Noline Francis and her children Kaley, 21, Jolton, 3, and Jaron, 12. MacKay built the playset for Francis to pay her back for showing up with dinner for him every night while Elaine and Brian were in Halifax for Brian’s cancer treatment. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post - Sharon Montgomery

 


Birthday surprise! 

When members of St. John's Royal Canadian Legion branch showed up at Bill Saunders' place, he was more than a little surprised.

The Second World War veteran turned 99 last week and no pandemic would prevent a celebration.  

Jenna Fitzpatrick told The Telegram's Glen Whiffen that the visit from legion colleagues made her grandfather's day. 

“He was surprised, and I think it’s fantastic,” she told Whiffen. “Normally, we go out for a buffet every year — the whole family — to celebrate his birthday, so not being able to do that this year (due to COVID-19 restrictions) was disappointing, so this was a wonderful surprise.

“The legion is his second family.”

Read more.

Second World War navy veteran Bill Saunders (left) turned 99 on Friday. Several members from his legion, Branch 1, Royal Canadian Legion, showed up Friday evening to sing him “Happy Birthday.” Among them, in the light blue uniform was Korean War veteran 90-year-old Doug England. Glen Whiffen/The Telegram
 - Glen Whiffen
Second World War navy veteran Bill Saunders (left) turned 99 on Friday. Several members from his legion, Branch 1, Royal Canadian Legion, showed up Friday evening to sing him “Happy Birthday.” Among them, in the light blue uniform was Korean War veteran 90-year-old Doug England. Glen Whiffen/The Telegram - Glen Whiffen

Psst - have you heard about the SaltWire News app? 

Featuring:

  • All SaltWire.com and affiliated publication* articles and sections, including member-only content available with a digital subscription.
  • Customize your news feed preferences - select the types of content you want to see first.
  • Push notifications for breaking news and updates.
  • Save articles you want to read later.

*SaltWire Network publications include Cape Breton Post, The Chronicle Herald, The Guardian, The Telegram.

Looking for help with your app? Visit our FAQ's


RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories