A great place to start your exploration of downtown Antigonish is to drop into The People’s Place – Antigonish Town and County Library on Main Street. This is a hub of community life in Antigonish.
The Bistro Area displays art where you can sit and relax, read the newspaper and enjoy your drink or snack that you bring in with you. Find tourism information and maps on the area, play a board game or chat with friends. If you have small children, enjoy the children’s room with books, toys and games.
Ask the friendly library staff any questions. They are a wealth of information. Public computers are available for you to go online. Check the meeting board for what’s on that day. There are often films, lectures and activities open to the public.
Check the big bulletin board at the entrance for posters on what’s on in and around town.
Sit and chat by the fireplace or read the wide variety of magazines.
The People’s Place is a great place to meet the locals, join in on activities or just sit back and relax and read or study on your own.
It was my first time to visit the new Halifax Central Library. The space is spectacular with the central staircases creating angles and patterns of light and shadow and giving the overall effect of expansiveness and encouraging exploration.
The 5 storeys are easily accessible via the elevators. I decided to start at the top and work my way down. The top floor has a green area roof garden with views of Halifax. The Pavia Gallery Espresso Bar and Café rooftop patio with outdoor and indoor tables make a great place for a snack or cup of coffee. Comfortable lounge chairs for reading with a view and the adult fiction section complete this floor.
Every floor has an information desk with helpful staff. Computers and study areas, a changing use of space on each of the floors make the space inviting and interesting.
On the fourth floor you find the local history room, African History and culture, and Adult non-fiction. Quiet reading and study areas and meeting rooms of various sizes that can be reserved are found throughout the library.
The third floor is the home of the First Nations Circle. Adult magazines, multilingual materials, a Literacy Collection are found on this floor.
The second floor includes the children’s and teens and preschool areas. A media studio and creative lab and many computers are throughout the area.
The first floor entrance way has the Pavia Gallery Espresso Bar on the right with a selection of food and drink. To the left is a large comfortable reading area with magazines and selected collections for easy browsing. The art installation of 5000 paintings on the size of the traditional library card is amazing. These are all by the artist Cliff Eyland. The Paul O’Reagan Hall (seating 307) hosts events and performances.
The Halifax Central Library is well worth a visit and if you live in the area a great community hub. It is wonderful to see such a community space in the heart of downtown Halifax and is not your traditional idea of a library.
Where would you expect to find over 50 mid-career international professionals from over 20 countries and living and learning in Nova Scotia for five months? You might be surprised that every year this is the case in the small town of Antigonish – the Highland Heart of Nova Scotia. The Coady International Institute, based on the campus of Saint Francis Xavier University, has passed the 50 year anniversary in 2009 and has now over 5,500 graduates in over 130 countries from its leadership development programs.
Recently I facilitated a course at Coady for participants to build the Coady participants communications skills in learning to plan, shoot and edit a video with a social message. Each group planned, shot and edited their films working in project groups and they presented to all the diploma participants and guests.
Group work - Video
The learning methodologies at Coady are interactive and build on the experiences and participation of the group. Each learning experience is unique since the background and wealth of knowledge is amazing and the cross fertilization of ideas is sparked by the participants engaging on a variety of development topics.
Coady International Institute is based on the principles of the Antigonish Movement was started in the 1920s by Father Moses Coady and Father Jimmy Tompkins to help small, resource-based communities in Nova Scotia improve their economic and social circumstances through credit unions, cooperatives and community development.
The institute is now housed in beautifully renovated historic buildings in the heart of the St FX Campus are a delight to work in with space for group work, multimedia tools, a state of the art library, wired classrooms and built to order for the participatory learning environment. In addition to its core Diploma in Development Leadership and many certificate level courses, Coady Institute now has instituted the International Centre for Women’s Leadership, supporting women leadership across Canada and around the globe.
Welcoming new participants by the town
You might wonder how people from India, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean all get along in this this small Nova Scotia town. Comments from the participants at their recent closing banquet included “people are so friendly”, “we were welcomed with great honour and respect”, “people on the street greet us”, “it is such a beautiful place” – they are taking back fond memories of their time in Antigonish and many had the opportunity to visit other parts of Nova Scotia including Margaree – the birthplace of Monsignor Coady, Halifax where they visited the provincial legislature, an experience of the first snowfall and playing like kids, the glory of autumn leaves – many happy memories of their personal journey here in beautiful Nova Scotia.
Video of international participants 2011 farewell
The next time you are in Antigonish stop and visit the Coady International Institute. The library and public spaces have interesting history, photos and multimedia presentations to give you more insight into this wonderful international local resource.