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is in the air

AT HOME WITH DAVE AND SARA GUNNING Winter 2020 Vol. 5 Edition 1 / $4.95


Spend the winter exploring your heritage

What ’s your story? With a growing interest in the heritage of Pictou County, our resources combined with an extensive local history library provide visitors, students, and academics alike with the opportunity to deeply explore the heritage of Eastern Canada.

The genealogy centre hosts a broad range of exhibits focusing on local history and culture. It is also an archival and research facility open year-round. Resources available include: • • • • • •

• • • • •

Specializing in Scottish history and immigration to northern Nova Scotia Genealogy centre open all winter for research

Visit the Museum gift shop for unique, distinctive products

• •

Family genealogies Community histories Maps Photographs Extensive research library Newspapers on microfilm: Colonial Patriot Colonial Standard Eastern Chronicle Pictou News Pictou Advocate Gravestone transcriptions and information Cemetery records Census records Vital statistics: births, deaths and marriage records Wills, deeds, indentures, land agreements Ship registries and passenger lists Access to Nova Scotia Property online services

Membership and Gift Certificates available

86 Haliburton Road, Pictou NS B0K 1H0



ON OUR COVER: Mitch Fraser steals a kiss under the mistletoe a few days before he proposed to Kristina Jones last winter. The couple will spend their first holiday as newlyweds in their lovingly restored century-old farmhouse on the outskirts of Westville.







PUBLISHER: Fred Fiander EDITOR: Crystal Murray SALES MANAGER: Patty Baxter ART DIRECTOR: Jamie Playfair GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Barbara Raymont PHOTO EDITOR: Steve Smith FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Blake Ross, Sales, Pictou County Phone 902 759-5054 blakeross@advocatemediainc.com Nicole Fawcett, Sales, Strait Area 902 625-3300, ext. 1509 nicolefawcett@porthawkesburyreporter.com Lyndia Wellwood, Sales, Truro and Colchester County 902 893-0375 lyndiawellwood@advocatemediainc.com Michele White, Sales Tatamagouche/Colchester County 902-818-2904 michelewhite@enfieldweeklypress.com Brendan Nichol, Sales Pictou County 902 396-8136 brendannichol@advocatemediainc.com FOR EDITORIAL INQUIRES CONTACT: Crystal Murray 902 485-1990 crystalmurray@advocateprinting.com At Home on the North Shore Published four times per year by: Advocate Media Inc., 2882 Gottingen Street Halifax, NS B3K 3E2 Printed by: Advocate Printing & Publishing, 181 Browns Point Rd. Pictou, NS B0K 1H0 902 485-1990

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Inside this issue

Vol. 5 Edition 1 Winter 2020

Cover Story

The Inside Story


16 Kristina and Mitch

10 Storm Day project


Editor’s Letter

The gift of friendship

Love is in the Air Fraser say ‘I do’ to a cozy country Christmas

Forget the chips and check a project off your list!


Field Notes

38 ah! What a great gift

A self sufficient winter in Port Howe

12 Thresholds

Your guide to a few perfect presents found only on the North Shore

46 Faux or Fir

What tree will it be for you this year?

14 Off The Wall


A little Christmas decoration makes a big comeback Jeanne Dorie, illustrating a creative life

At Home with…

37 The Library

30 Dave and Sara Gunning

50 DIY

How they will chill this Christmas

Healing words by Sheree Fitch Ode to Joy

On the Table 34 Setting a Place For Love

Put some personality and some passion into your holiday table


Healthy at Home 42 Orange is the new dessert

A light, bright and tangy end to a perfect winter menu

48 Remember to put on your party pants

Don’t let your holiday be more stress than fun


The North Shore

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The North Shore


wenty-three years ago when I was a new bleary-eyed mum, I met three wise women who all shared their special gift of friendship with me. We first bonded at a breastfeeding network meeting and decided we needed another reason to get together, so we formed a book club. One of our books, Larry’s Party, by Caroll Shields, inspired us to throw our own dinner party and introduce our husbands. I guess you can say the rest is history. For the first few years we did almost everything together but, as the kids grew up and their activities had first dibs on the calendar our time spent together started to shorten like the days of December. There have been times when months would pass that we didn’t see each other but we never missed a chance to celebrate a birthday and we always carved out a night for our own special Christmas dinner. The festivities have been hosted by the same couple every year. It’s a simple formula because we are usually all coming from different directions. Our menu these last few years has taken a hard left from a four-course turkey dinner to pizza, salads and a few coveted bottles of wine. There is always peanut ice cream, the hosts, “secret” family recipe and I bring along a cake that gets crowned with a growing number of candles every year as we sing happy birthday to our hostess with the “mostest.” We exchange gifts and we reminisce about Christmas dinners past; the one when we booked a babysitter to keep the wee ones upstairs or the year we all got our first pair of adult footie pajamas and the one when the festive rubber duckie family made an appearance in the upstairs lavatory. (I don’t have time to explain that one but there’s a repeat performance every year). We start with drinks by the kitchen fireplace and then gather around an elegant dining room table that had a previous life in a Royal Bank board room. It’s just pizza but the good china comes out, the wine glasses have been polished and the crystal sparkles with

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the reflection of the candlelight from the votives scattered over the tabletop. There is a place card for each of us and in a few more years we might actually need them. We debate who sat where last year, we fill our plates, we charge our glasses and we toast our friendship. What happens around that table from the moment it gets set until we clear away the last of the dishes is one of my favourite moments of the holiday season. Most of us have traditions that have been passed down from family before us and we will pass them along to the next. But traditions with friends are more finite and someday they will disappear like a curl of smoke from the chimney and drift away. We are spicing things up this year. Our usual venue is under construction, so our annual fête is moving to their cottage. Knowing our hosts as well as I do I know the crystal will sparkle in the candlelight, we will fill our plates, we will charge our glasses and toast to another year of friendship. I will be grateful that another year has passed and we all still have a place at the table no matter where it is. We are celebrating traditions in lots of different ways in our holiday issue. We meet newlyweds Kristina and Mitch Fraser, who are excited to start creating new memories in an old farmhouse on the outskirts of Westville, Pictou County in Lori Byrnes cover story, ‘Love is in the Air.’ Then it’s a straight shot over the Pictou Causeway to Scotch Hill Road where I had a chance catch up with Dave Gunning as he gets ready to run the gauntlet of holiday concerts and hear what he and wife Sara have up their sleeves for festive fun with their three boys. And if you are hosting your own family and friends for Christmas dinner, stylist Allison Gaudett has set two inspiring tablescapes for you in ‘Setting a Place for Love.’ It’s Christmas time and love is in the air. Breathe it in!

The North Shore


STEVE SMITH Another issue of At Home is upon us, and I think it should be a lovely one! More great local people and their stories. I’m such a fan of Kristina’s farmhouse and the story you’ll find inside. The home feels special even before you hear its history, but that history really puts it over the top. We also spent some time in the home of a true hometown hero. Dave and the whole Gunning family certainly live up to the hype. He’s soft spoken, modest, but still a presence. Everyone in the family seems to share the talent! Lots of other goodies inside, I hope you enjoy every page. Happy Holidays everyone.


SARA JEWELL loves winter, particularly snowstorms. While she holds back announcing this at dinner parties, nothing makes her happier than long walks in the snowy fields and woods behind her house near Port Howe. So she takes great pleasure in sharing Marilyn William’s joy of wintering at the beach in her latest ‘Field Notes’ column. Connect with Sara at sarajewell.ca

LORI BYRNE I’m a huge fan of surrounding myself with things that have special meaning and a story, so writing this issue’s feature and hearing all the stories about Kristina and Mitch’s home and the items they used to make it their own, warms my heart – just like the old window frame in the DIY, with its own story to tell. Merry Christmas to all from our cozy home to yours.

ALLISON GAUDETT As much as I love and look forward to being out enjoying the wonder that is a white winter in Nova Scotia, I’m looking forward to spending some time inside this season. Cozying in by the fire, consuming my mounting pile of must-reads, and tackling a long overdue list of deferred projects. Cheers to a balanced Holiday Season.

AMY PUNKÉ For the past six years Dr. Amy Punké, has been practicing as a licensed Naturopathic Doctor on the beautiful North Shore of Nova Scotia. With her earlier education in acute care as a Respiratory Therapist, Dr. Punké’s healthcare training has spanned almost 20 years taking her to Arizona, Toronto and now back to her hometown of New Glasgow. Dr. Punké explores how naturopathic medicine can benefit you and your family as we head into the cooler months.

The North Shore

SARAH BUTLAND Living on the North Shore I have learned to quickly adapt to the ever-changing weather, especially from autumn to winter. With sights such as the Green Hill Provincial Park just minutes away, it’s easy to embrace the labyrinth and beauty of Sheree Fitch’s new book You Won’t Always Be This Sad.

TRACY STUART embraces the tastes of winter. In this issue she shares a simple caramel orange recipe that she uses to give a light ending to an otherwise hearty meal. Tracy holds a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Physical Education; she is also a two-time World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist in rowing.

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ehind the door, three dogs are barking and a woman tells them to quiet down. I’m not worried, however, because this is Marilyn William’s home so these dogs are not about to tear my leg off; they’re more apt to love me to pieces.

“Come in, come in,” Marilyn says as she opens the door. “Happy, get down. Austin, stop that barking. Webby, enough already. Oh, you guys,” she adds with a mock growl. All the noise has scared her countless rescued and fostered cats into hiding. As I slip off my winter boots, the dogs sniff my legs enthusiastically before leading the way through a small galley kitchen into a cozy living room. When I imagine a cottage at the beach near Port Howe, this is what it looks like: Pine plank walls, mini-cathedral ceiling, a fire in the woodstove, and a couch and a chair inviting you to curl up and read a book. It’s delightful, and reflects Marilyn’s philosophy of cherishing every day and making the simple and ordinary special. A retired school principal and mother of Amy and Adam, Marilyn lived and worked in Pugwash for twenty years before moving to Springhill. In 2009, she moved into her cottage at the beach and made it her permanent home. Marilyn wrote about her experience of living at the beach year-round in a thin book entitled “Wintering the Strait” that she self-published in 2010. “The book is about all the little things that happened and what I learned my first winter,” says Marilyn. “Like the raccoons sitting on the windowsill looking inside while I was watching television. That didn’t happen in Springhill.” She also remembers – vividly – climbing onto the roof of her cottage to knock the ice off after the roof started leaking. “It made sense to me to use the blade of the axe because you want to chop the ice,” she laughs. “What would be the point of using the blunt end? I got on the roof and I went at ’er – and of course, I cut the shingles all to blazes.”


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She survived her first winter, and now treasures her cozy home’s isolated location. “I love coming home,” she says. “Never once have I come down that beach road and not thanked God for this spot. The cottage is full of draughts but I’m not a person who likes it hot anyway. I mean, we’re swimming in the water until October,” she says with a grin. People worry about her, think the beach is too secluded in the winter time for a single woman in her mid-sixties but Marilyn has several year-round neighbours, including Barbara a few doors down, and her lifelong best friend, Janice, at the other end of the road. Others comment about the horrors of having to look out at ice all the time but to Marilyn, the beach is beautiful in all seasons, especially winter. “Sometimes there’s a ribbon of blue where the water hasn’t frozen totally. I’ll look out and see an eagle sitting on the edge of that ribbon. And there are seals. It’s just awesome here.” Even snowstorms are beautiful and exciting to Marilyn, even though she admits they are the most challenging part of living at the beach where the roads are plowed last. “During the blizzards of 2015, there were two occasions when Barb and I were snowed in for five days. There was so much snow between us that we could only holler over the snowbank at each other.” Marilyn doesn’t mind being snowed in. She prepares just like anyone else living on the east coast, filling buckets with water and stocking up the woodpile inside the house. “I just make sure I have lots of books,” she says. “Bread, milk and tea. That’s all I need. Oh, and these guys,” she says, patting the three dogs lying behind, beside and on her in the big, cozy chair.

The North Shore


What’s on your List?


et another winter storm is anticipated to strike the Maritimes and have you homebound indefinitely. What to do, what to do...? Most likely you’ll prepare with a practical shopping list – candles, shovel, batteries, and the much needed storm chips – and then hunker down in wait. Forced days in like this lend to cozying up for puzzle doing, board-game playing, baked goods making, or captivating book reading. Might as well enjoy the down time while it lasts. Right? Well, yes, or might I make an alternate suggestion?


The snow is swirling and

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The North Shore

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Take a moment to look around the house and note if there isn’t a small project that’s been nagging to be tackled but the time just never seems to present itself. Perhaps, it has storm day written all over it! Go grab that pen and list you started earlier as it may require editing before heading out the door to collect those storm necessities.

STORM DAY PROJECT PREPARATION: 1. WHAT TO DO To-Do lists tend to be seemingly endless, which can make it difficult to narrow the choice project. Undertake something that can be started and completed within the span of one hard work day. Tip: I always like to use up materials I already have money invested in before going out and buying more. Which can be a deciding factor on what to tackle.

coffee or treat breaks that will both warm the heart and fuel the body.


Tip: Marshmallows are an unexpected yummy winter treat if you have a wood burning fire.

4. MORAL SUPPORT Bring in recruitments to mix work and fun – the kids can help and make it a family affair. Or lore a neighbour who will brave the storm for those gooey mallows or another pre-planned goodie.

5. START Don’t let the day get away from you. When it’s a definite no-go out into the world, get at it! You’ll thank yourself afterward. And who knows, by days end if you opted for a project that requires a power tool, you may be thankful for storm chips of a different kind.

2. SUPPLY LIST In order to maximize on this gift of time, be prepared with all your supplies ahead of time for when mother nature ambushes. Tip: Always shop your house first for supplies or re-purpose leftovers from another project before shopping.

3. SUSTENANCE I did say this would be one hard work day but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be enjoyable! Plan ahead for extra delicious

Stay in touch between issues with the At Home Love Letter

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The North Shore

THRESHOLDS They’re back! Ceramic Christmas Trees are this season’s biggest trend BY CRYSTAL MURRAY PHOTOS BY STEVE SMITH, VISIONFIRE STUDIOS

The North Shore

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remember the year my grandparents decided not to put up their Christmas tree and opted for a ceramic tree with tiny plastic lights that they centered on a side table in their living room. I couldn’t have been more disappointed if Santa forgot to leave the sponge toffee in my stocking. I thought they had been drained of their Christmas spirit. Where would their presents go? Where was the tinsel? Remember, this was the ’70s. Fast forward 45ish years later and Ho Ho Holy Moly that same greenware that everyone’s mum and auntie were firing into the kiln at their local ceramics class have made a huge comeback. Aldona Gerrior, owner of Grannies Antiques in Antigonish, says that there has been a returned interest in the retro holiday decoration for almost four years. She is often on the hunt for the real vintage pieces that been up in the attic cavorting with the crocheted doilies for the last couple of decades. When she can’t keep up with the demand she actually paints her own from moulds that she purchased and thinks they are closer to the real retro deal than pieces that are showing up in the holiday décor sections of big retailers who have jumped on the trend. “It was the thing to do back then. Ceramics class was a night out with the girls,” says Mary K MacKinnon of Westville, who made several illuminated trees and gifted them to family and has started to build a small collection of her own. In good condition a piece of this kitschy clay can cost you over a $100. Serious collectors looking for the more limited variations of the classic moulds can be even pricier. “There is a real love for that mid-century modern décor these days,” say Aldona. “There is something about these pieces that I love. There is such a charm to them.”

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The North Shore

OFF the WALL Jeanne Dorie; Illustrating a Creative Life BY CRYSTAL MURRAY

The North Shore


t all started with a mouse in her house. Or more specifically, in her garage. When Jeanne Dorie met the uninvited miniature rodent checking out its potential new digs on Terrace Street in New Glasgow, she didn’t set a trap, she wrote a story. While her stories didn’t have the same multiplier effect as her would-be new housemate, Jeanne has written, illustrated and published three picture books that all began with Mac the mouse and have evolved to include other furry characters that teach compassion and kindness towards our four-legged friends. When the rhymes and story started to take shape in her imagination, Jeanne wrote them down and then called her four-year-old grandson Evan in Newfoundland. She read him her story and, when she was finished, he told her he liked it but, like most four-year-old book reviewers, he thought she needed some pictures. And so began Jeanne’s first dive into picture book illustration. “At first I thought the story idea would be a wonderful way to communicate with my grandson when we were on the phone together. Once you get through what we each did that day there is not much left to hold the attention of a pre-schooler, but when he liked my verses and asked for pictures and then a few weeks later when he came to visit and asked if we could make prints, it was like he opened the proverbial Pandora’s box,” says Jeanne. Writing has been the easiest part of her new endeavour. Her previous life working out west as a trainer in a mining company included writing procedural manuals, scripts for training videos and the development of software and writing a corporate newsletter for the last two years of her job. All of the tasks demanded attention to detail. An attribute that is evident in almost all aspects of her personal and artistic life. Jeanne is known in many circles as a creative soul with a passion for both textile work and photography. From a young age growing up in Westville, her parents encouraged her creativity. She remembers her grandmother putting a needle and thread in her hand when she was four and showed her how to sew on a button. “I played with her button bag and her treadle sewing machine. A new sewing machine was bought for me when I was 15 and I repaid this kindness by using it until I finally wore it out many years later. Their generosity was not lost on me. They also put up with a trail of pins I left in my wake,” she says with a smile. Today her mum Ruth is her eagle-eye editor. At 100 years of age and failing vision she can still catch the tiniest details where she thinks Jeanne should make a change.

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“How amazing is this that I have my 100-year-old mother and my grandson now five years old helping me with these stories?” All of Jeanne’s previous apprenticeships have been the divining rod to her current writing and illustrations. Her appreciation for the structure that came with making and following patterns as a child was the precursor to her passion for quilt-making during most of her adult life. It’s here that she honed her creative writing skills curating several articles about this niche community in Canadian Quilter Magazine. It seems that as soon as Jeanne gains a knowledge of one artistic channel, she starts to navigate another. Her interests in photography and graphic design enticed her to learn more studying on-line, joining the local photography club SNAPS and becoming a member of Creative Pictou County where she finds support and encouragement for her ambitions. Another steppingstone to her book illustrations was her exploration with photo montages. “The photo artistry gives me a lot of pleasure. Using pictures, some of my own and some others have photographed and making them into something new is exciting to me,” says Jeanne. There is a Mouse in My House, There is a Flea on Me, Abbie Lou, I Love You and a Halloween book titled, You Can’t Fall Off the Magic Broom, that is finished but not yet published are all illustrated in a montage style. With the help of a software program designed by a South African artist who creates data bases of whimsical graphics, Jeanne infuses her own artistic elements into the scenes she wishes to help portray the story. It’s a style that she thinks adults will enjoy because of the retro “paper doll” aspect of the human characters. In the first two books of the series Jeanne incorporated repetitive elements that children have fun looking for each time they pick up the book. “There is a lot going on in all of the illustrations. It’s my hope that each time a reader picks up the book they will see something a little different on the pages,” she says. It’s hard to imagine but Jeanne says that none of her pursuits came easy for her, but she has a love of learning and a natural curiosity. She believes that with each book she will become more adept with the graphic illustrations. As the stories unfold Jeanne introduces more characters. At the end of the first book in the series where the main character tries to solve the housing problem for a resident

mouse, Jeanne introduces a Siamese cat named Niki at the end of the story. In the subsequent books a dog named Nigel and another Siamese named Abby Lou make an appearance. Both Jeanne, her late husband Jim, who was a well-known musician in Nova Scotia before his passing in 2015 and grandson Evan all find a place on her pages as the series builds from one house to a neighbourhood of caring and compassion. While she is having fun learning the craft of illustration, Jeanne is also creating important messages in her picture books. What she hopes readers of all ages will take away is embedded in the story line that all animals have feelings, thoughts, have needs and a place in the family dynamic. She anthropomorphizes the animal characters so you can read their thoughts and language as if they were humans but, since the humans can’t understand the wishes of their animals, they need to pay attention to their pets behaviours. “If you just stop and pay attention, you can figure out what they really want and are trying to tell you,” says Jeanne. Down a spiral staircase to her basement workshop you will find a lot of little details set out like a road map of Jeanne’s artistic journey. Her serger and sewing machines are at one end of the room, her mother’s wedding suit is displayed on a dress form tucked into a corner, a quilted hanging covers a computer monitor when she is not using it, photos of her three adult children, husband and grandson and several of her montage projects hang on the walls. There are a lot of passionate pursuits each with their own special place in between the four walls but they all are pieced together very neatly to illustrate a beautifully creative life.

“The photo artistry gives me a lot of pleasure. Using pictures, some of my own and some others have photographed and making them into something new is exciting to me.”

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The North Shore


Kristina and Mitch share a moment, perched on their stairs in their century-old home where the stockings are hung with care.

The North Shore

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Take an old house, a cute dog and a sweet couple in love and you have the makings for a fairy-tale Christmas movie.


ristina and Mitch Fraser’s story could be the basis for any Hallmark movie and their home would be the perfect setting, but this isn’t a fairy tale, it’s their story. Kristina calls the house’s style ‘Industrial Modern Farmhouse’ with a Joanna Gaines-esque flare to it. And she’s right on – shiplap, vignette treasures, industrial lighting. But it certainly didn’t start out that way. This house, sitting on the outskirts of Westville in Hazel Glen, has a lot of history wrapped up in its walls – history that started way back in 1879 when the main structure was built back further on the property. In the early 1900’s, it was moved closer to the main road and an addition was built on. In 1946, the house became part of Kristina’s history when her great-grandfather, Tom MacLaren bought it. He passed away the same year Kristina was born, but the house stayed in the family, being occupied by her Great-uncle Allister until 2014. And here’s where the story starts for Kristina. She had moved back to Pictou County after studying to become a teacher and had mentioned to her parents about living in the house but, at that stage, it wasn’t really liveable anymore. So, Kristina, with her parents, Nancy and Gerald, started renovating the house. It was stripped back to the studs, all the old plaster walls were taken out, all 7,000 lbs. of it, the flooring was torn up, all the plumbing and wiring was revamped so it met modern building codes and the 10 layers of wallpaper in the kitchen were removed. During the renovations, they also found a few treasures hidden within the walls, including correspondence from family studying at McGill University dated in 1901, shoes, and a fishing rod.




is in the air

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The North Shore

Top left: The Jim Reeves Christmas album from years gone by comes out every Christmas and evokes strong memories for Kristina. Bottom left: A tree and wreaths, gathered from their land, deck the halls of this Hazel Glen home and speaks of simpler times and continued traditions. Exposed beams and white shiplap are all well-executed elements of the renovation that Kristina used to create her aesthetic of Modern Farmhouse. Top right: The house glows warmly, perched in the field and welcomes friends and family, not only through the holiday season, but throughout the year, keeping the tradition alive of this home being a gathering place.

The North Shore

But don’t think they stripped the character and history out during the renovations. They re-purposed the old living room floor as the kitchen ceiling, the old heat grates were kept, and the beams in the living room are original. Even the original doorbell still lets Kristina and Mitch know that company has arrived. They salvaged all the interior doors and reused them, but all the windows and exterior doors were upgraded. The kitchen sports a farmhouse sink and above it hangs a ‘farmhouse’ sign painted on a board from an old barn that once stood on the property. Even the horseshoe above the door is from one of her great-grandfather’s horses and is held up with old square nails. And along the way Kristina met a boy, a certain Pictou County boy that caught her eye and Mitch Fraser entered the picture. He was living in his grandmother’s house at the time and working as a general contractor with his dad at CF Construction. Things got more serious and when the renovations were completed, Mitch moved in, too. And here’s the part of the story that I love…little did Kristina know that Mitch had already asked her father’s permission to marry her when the photo shoot for this feature took place. And apparently, the fact that secret had been kept is quite noteworthy! Weeks later, just days before Christmas, Mitch asked Kristina to marry him in the very kitchen

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they worked so hard to create. She said yes and fast forward to this Christmas that they will spend as husband and wife! Now, Mitch, with his construction knowledge, is very handy to have around, as things are bound to come up when living in a centuries-old house. He was awarded the Reader’s Choice House Builder of the Year in 2018. During the slower construction months, he also takes care of plowing the long, twisting driveway that was once part of the road to Foxbrook. Cash joined the mix at the farmhouse, a friendly, lovable four-legged addition that loves having lots of yard to roam in, greeting each visitor warmly and soaking up the sunshine on the back deck. They enjoy taking Cash for walks into the woods in the 160-acre lot, exploring the paths that all the other dogs who lived here before them roamed, too. He also takes his job of alerting them to the deer that wander in to enjoy the apples in the old orchard very seriously. The reno was truly a family effort, Kristina and her mother made up the design team, while her dad, Gerald, did a lot of the physical work of the reno, along with the help of Travis Spears, over the 18-month period it took to breathe life back in the old house. Kristina’s mom, Nancy, 19 -

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and her Aunt Judy, also play the roll of Christmas elves, decorating the farmhouse for Christmas while she’s away at work. Most of the decorations have a back story to them and things are kept relatively simple. The Christmas village once belonged to Kristina’s grandmother, the trees are from their own woodlot and the decorations on the trees are special gifts from a variety of people including Kristina’s students, Mitch or from her mom, each one with special meaning. The trees are also decked out in coloured lights, and each window has a set of candles glowing throughout the season. Kristina and Mitch prefer to use simple, inexpensive things in their decorating, like the chopping block that belonged to Kristina’s great-grandfather, the axe and wheelbarrow that belonged to her grandfather – personal things that mean so much and add such an interesting layer to the festive decorations. Even the boughs are real greenery gleaned from their property. One of Kristina’s favourite Christmas traditions dating back many years is listening to Jim Reeves Christmas album, the very same album that Kristina’s mom listened to as a kid on her grandfather’s record player.

The North Shore


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The North Shore

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Visit our website athomeonthenorthshore.ca

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Wood  Gas  Pellet  Electric  BBQ

Top left: Hits of red and festive foliage fill the open shelves in the farmhouse kitchen but can also be seen gracing the mantle as well. No surface is safe from the Christmas elves! Bottom left: Kristina’s parents, Nancy and Gerald Jones, join Mitch as Kristina puts the finishing touches on the tree that fills the living room with holiday cheer. Top right: Antlers, wreaths, cardinals, berries and bowls – the kitchen shelves are overflowing with touches of Christmas and the practical things one needs in a kitchen but all with the fine touch of Kristina’s decorating style. Bottom right: The farmhouse sign gives a nod to the history of this house and its former life, made by Kristina with a board from an old barn on the property.

Kristina has fond memories of lots of social gatherings spent in the farmhouse over the years. They are continuing the tradition by cooking big meals for friends and family in the kitchen, which is well-suited for a crowd. Kristina has lots of great display space in the inviting kitchen, too, and switches things up using lots of interesting items she has gathered. Some items have history, such as the little chalkboard that belonged to her mom, or an old cookbook, mixed in with new things found in home décor shops. Kristina has a special knack for perfectly mixing the old with the new and creating a space and home that reflect both her and Mitch. A house that has been so lovingly brought back to life and carefully rebuilt is not just a house, but a home. Kristina and Mitch are starting their life together inside the walls of a home that they have poured their hearts and souls into and they know with hard work and determination, some blood, sweat and tears, that anything is possible. And once again, smoke drifts out of the chimney and ‘love fills the air.’

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with friends and family all year long.

Share your love for the North Shore with a gift subscription to ah!

Shortly after At Home went to visit Kristina and Mitch last year for the cover story, Mitch popped the question. The couple were

Bundle up the joy

married on a beautiful

Four seasonal issues and an At Home boat tote for only

August day. They are delighted to welcome through the pages of

At Home on the North Shore and wish you all a very happy Christmas.

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you to their home



To subscribe visit athomeonthenorthshore.ca/subscribe or phone 1-877-885-6344 All gifts begin with the holiday issue. Offer valid in Canada only. Please call for rates outside of Canada.

The North Shore


Gus, Dave, Sarah Jud and Will. It’s Christmas, Gunning style.

The North Shore

ah! Winter 2020 - 22


Christmas at the Gunnings

with a little





hen Dave Gunning walks through the door of his cozy red rancher house after he wraps up the last of his 17 Christmas shows with fellow artist JP Cormier, he will unapologetically put his guitar away for a few days and crank up the holiday tunes, they just won’t be his own. It’s been a year with few opportunities to put his feet up for the maritime folk artist but he’s not complaining. He’s grateful to be making a living doing what he loves to do but he says it’s getting harder every year. Dave and his wife Sara, a teacher with her own musical talents, kicked off 2019 with a performance in North Carolina. From there it was a full year of Folk Festivals throughout the United States, western Canada, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Somewhere in his life as a self-described travelling hobo he managed to record and launch a new album. Dave Gunning Up Against the Sky has been gathering momentum on radio stations throughout Canada and south of the border and was positioned in the number two spot for the most-played folk CD in the US in September. To give a little perspective, Bob Dylan was number 22. As with most busy young families Dave and Sara look forward to a few days of unplugged time over the Christmas break

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with their three boys Jud, Will and Gus. It’s often a race to the finish with Dave wrapping up shows and Sara still in the classroom until school dismisses for the holiday. “I think our busiest Christmas was the year I did the George Canyon tour. I got back home on the 23rd and we moved into this house. Yup, that was a busy Christmas,” says Dave as he rubs his chin and thinks back about Christmases past. This year, Dave says he and JP planned their shows not too far away from home so they could be back in their own beds most nights.

Dave received an early Christmas present with four nominations for the 2020 Canadian Folk Awards taking place in Charlottetown this spring.

When the Gunnings pop their own favourite holiday music in the CD player, Dave is likely not thinking that his own music has become part of the holiday tradition of many of his fans. He has recorded two of his own albums simply titled Dave Gunning Christmas and Christmas Too as well as recording holiday albums with his good friends Bruce Guthro and Fleur Mainville who passed away at the age of 37 in 2015. He also played guitar tracks and handled the recording of a holiday album for the band Coig. He will have Coig back in his recording studio ‘Wee House of Music’ in the new year. With a job that takes him far from home Dave likes to tune out from that part of his life for a few days and dial in to the most important part of his life with Sara and the boys. Together Dave and Sara have had fun re-living some of their own childhood traditions but have made a few of their own that they look forward to every year. Being conscious of their environmental foot print the couple tries to make choices that cut down on waste. “It’s a tough thing to do when kids are young and there are still lots of toys coming into the house,” says Sara. For the last couple of years the family has tried to simplify their approach to gift-giving and make more time to celebrate the small stuff. All five Gunnings

The North Shore


Favourite Christmas Album DAVE - Harry Connick Junior When My Heart Finds Christmas SARA - Muppets Family Christmas Favourite Movie DAVE - Emmet Otter’s Christmas SARA - Elf Favourite Food DAVE - Sara’s Cheesy Potatoes SARA WITH HELP FROM GUS Toffifee Most Requested Song at your Christmas Show DAVE - Daddy’s Beer Favourite Tradition SARA - When Gus dresses up as Elf on the Shelf If you could record a Christmas song with anyone who would it be? DAVE - Elvis Presley but that can’t happen…or could it :)

are movie buffs. They usually sit down to their first Christmas movie one day near the end of November. Elf, A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation are favourites that get played more than once during the season. “I think my absolute favourite is Emmet Otters Christmas,” says Dave. It’s a Jim Henson Muppet movie. “I remember sitting with Sara in the little house in Pictou when we were first married. We didn’t have a dime and that’s what the movie was about.

Not having much at Christmas but really having a lot.” Comfort foods like Sara’s Cheesy Potatoes and sweet potatoes with roasted pecans are a few favourite family dishes with no real recipes that top the list for Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve and after walks on the trail close to their home…one year the saw eight reindeer on the trail. Unquestionably, Santa’s crew taking a break, a night out for dinner, a drive to look at the Christmas lights, and

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ah! Winter 2020 - 24

Bottom left: This elf on the shelf looks a little familiar. Middle:

It’s time for Mum’s favourite. Sarah and the boys settle in for family movie night.

Top Right: In the studio with Sara.

a certain four-foot-something mischievous elf are a few of the Gunnings favourite things. With a heart as big as his growing catalogue of music, Dave and Sara always find a way to give back to the community that has given them much over the years. From a private concert to help a friend who is ill, to annual family donations to the Pictou County Christmas Fund, and don’t forget his children’s book These Hands based on the song of the same name co-written with his childhood friend George Canyon (a portion of the book proceeds go to the IWK), the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Gunning household.

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ah! Winter 2020

The North Shore


Logan’s Fish Market introduces the ultimate Seafood chowder pack just in time for holiday entertaining. The pack contains 4 oz each of Lobster, Shrimp, Haddock, Scallops and Rock Crab. Seafood chowder made with our chowder pack is an absolute delicacy. “I particularly like this chowder because it’s not thickened with flour, potatoes are used instead. Finishing it with Brie just puts it over the top!” – The Kilted Chef, Chef Alain Bossé

the ultimate Seafood


chowder pack

Logan’s Fish Market

Seafood Chowder Serves 6 to 8

2 lb yellow flesh potatoes skin on, diced, divided 2 shallots, diced, divided ½ cup diced double smoked bacon 6 ears corn, kernels removed ½ cup celery diced 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp Dijon mustard ½ cup dry white wine 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped 2 bays leaves 4 cups seafood broth 1 Logan’s Chowder Pack thawed 1 small wheel double cream brie, rind removed, sliced Salt, to taste Freshly ground pepper, to taste 2 cups heavy cream (35%) • In a large pot, cook half of the potatoes and half of the shallots in water until tender, puree and set aside. • In a large pot sauté the bacon, remaining shallots, corn and the celery in the butter until transparent, add the Dijon mustard and deglaze the pot with the white wine. Allow wine to reduce add the remainder of the diced potatoes, the basil and the bay leaves and the seafood broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer until the potatoes are just fork tender. • When potatoes are cooked, add the Logan’s Chowder Pack with brine, brie and the pureed potato then cook for a further five minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the cream allow to heat through. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

This recipe is inspired by Chef Alain “aka, The Kilted Chef”

Located at the Pictou Rotary, call 902-485-6394 Lobster donated from the Friends of the Northumberland Strait, proceeds to the IWK


Crushing on Colchester Lots to Love, See and Do This Winter ’TIS THE SEASON! Christmas and winter is on its way just as fast as Santa’s sleight. It’s time to carve out a little extra family time lace up the skates and take the edge of the chilly weather with a good old fashioned skate in the great outdoors! Nothing stirs up the nostalgia that a mittened hand held trip around the frozen pond or your local outdoor rink, and in Colchester County you don’t have to travel far to find one of the best outdoor ice surfaces east of the Oval! In Truro, the town is approaching its third year of operating the Caldwell Roach Kings Mutual Insurance Ice Surface in the downtown’s Civic Square. Shannon Jarvis says thousands of people take to the ice surface each and every year. “Any time of day, you go down there are people on it,” said Shannon, the town’s active community coordinator. “It’s awesome in the sense the whole family can do it at the same time.” Thanks to the outdoor surface, which the town created instead of using two smaller outdoor rinks, it’s even getting grandparents back out on the ice with their grandchildren. Shannon says some learnto-skate programs last year saw many older residents re-hone their skills, giving them an opportunity to spend time on the ice with loved ones. “It’s such an easy winter activity, and it’s so close,” says Shannon. “You can really make

a day of it. You can visit the library and the farmers’ market. You can do a whole loop.” Over the years, the town switched from the ‘backyard’ style of an outdoor rink to the one found at Civic Square. This one, which opened in late 2017, operates through a refrigeration plant on site.

Joel Dawe, the town’s Parks, Recreation and Culture assistant director, said the ice surface crew usually begins preparations at the site just after the first week of December, with an anticipated opening on the weekend before Christmas. “The preparation works much better, especially when putting the ice in, in colder weather,” said Joel, instead of

having the refrigeration plant do all the work. “This way, we’re allowing Mother Nature to do her thing.” Thanks to the plant, preparation is much different than creating an outdoor rink by hand. Pipes lead from the plant to the surface header, where piping used to freeze the surface is then laid out. Tests are done to make sure the pipes don’t have any leaks from putting it in and taking it out year after year. If no leaks are found, the ice making process can begin. Water is sprayed onto the surface, filling it up, and then the plant helps maintain the surface over months of use. “With the refrigeration plant, we are good for a couple of days to at least 5 °C,” says Joel. With an Olympia ice resurfacing machine on site, the ice is regularly maintained. “The machine will cut the rough skate marks out of the ice, and smooth it out with a layer of water, which then freezes,” he adds. To make skating more enjoyable, and affordable, the town offers skates for borrowing through the Douglas Street Recreation Centre. Helmets are strongly suggested to be used by all, and a limited number of youth or child-sized helmets are also available at the centre. But for those groups who may be thinking about having a night out at the downtown surface, adult-sized helmets are available at the Colchester Legion Stadium.

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Stay Cozy After Play Day YOU SPENT AN HOUR SHOVELING the driveway to get the kids to hockey. Two hours in the rink cheering for your favourite TimBit on the ice and the dog still needs a walking. All you can think about is popping those frozen tootsies up by the fire to start the defrost after an awesome winters day in Colchester County. There are so many great reasons to get out and enjoy winter in our region but there are also a few wonderful heating solutions to invest in to make sure that when you come in from the cold you are cozy and warm. There are a variety of means to heat our homes today. The type of heat you choose is very personal and to make the choice that’s best for you and your family, talking to a home heating expert like Diane McMasters at Vintage Stove is good place to start. Convenience and cost are two important factors for many consumers when they are thinking about their primary heating source in their home or adding an auxiliary feature like a pellet stove or propane. “We ask our customers a lot of questions,” says Diane. “We walk them through their situation and based on their customers experience and sometimes a home visit we can help them make an informed decision.”


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Continued on next page...


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Continued from previous page...

Covering the Maritimes



Here is a snapshot of the advice Diane shares when asked about the comparison between pellet burning and propane fireplaces: AH: Pellet Stoves were very popular when they first hit the market. Are they still a popular choice for consumers when compared to propane? DIANE: Pellet Stoves are making a comeback, they are the closest comparable heat to a wood stove. They are easy to use and efficient. AH: Does it make sense to have multiple heating sources in your home? DIANE: Yes we do have customers with both pellet and propane units. Propane units are smaller stoves and smaller BTUs. they are great for early fall and spring or heating certain areas of the home. Pellet stoves will heat larger areas and in some cases the entire home.

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AH: How does the heating performance differ? DIANE: Pellet freestanding appliances will heat a larger area than a propane freestanding. Propane is convenient and will work when there is no power. Pellet stoves heat a larger area and require power to operate.

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Mix and Match your way to a joyful Christmas table

Setting a place

for love




eneath those silent snow-covered rooflines and smoking chimney tops, the hustle and bustle of this magical Christmas season is in full swing – halls are being decked, trees being trimmed, lists are being checked twice, and traditions of generations past are being celebrated. Take a moment, right here and now, to think about the highlight of your holiday season. That moment you envision and look forward to as you realize the crisp chill in the air has turned to piercing and it’s time to freeze or be jolly. Is it those wee early hours of the 25th day when scampering feet and excited whispers discover the tree all a glow surrounded by packages? Or perhaps it’s the family bundle, going out into a winter wonderland holding hands and soaking in the snow-globe affect? Steaming coffee by

a crackling fire in Grams handcrafted wool socks from last year’s exchange? Maybe the smells? They get me, too. Oh, or what about the making of the hand-strung popcorn garland with Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics playing? For me, it’s the moments that come after the climactic gift exchange is complete and everyone is still. The love and gratitude weighs heavy in the air as everyone soaks in their blessings. Not for the things but the people behind them. And for that rare moment, or into hours if so lucky, life isn’t rushed or busy or pressing. It is during that golden time that the season’s traditional act of giving extends into the kitchen, where often a delicious gift is prepared. As host, this rare opportunity and gift of time is not to be taken lightly. Rather, I implore you to

harness the emotion of the season and funnel it into a tablescape representative of your feelings towards those celebrating around you. Maximizing an opportunity to pull your guests into your heart, captivating the moment and facilitating a setting that is the foundation of fond memories for years to come.

A few tips to assist in setting the scene. My gift to you. CELEBRATE TRADITION There is a beauty and honour to respecting and celebrating the generations that came before. Opting to incorporate inherited or borrowed family items into a setting, like china sets or polished silverware, can add visual interest and depth. While possibly also scoring a few Brownie points with a cranky aunt – there is one in every family – is always a bonus.

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ah! Winter 2020 - 34

BLEND THAT TRADITION WITH NEW/YOU Don’t feel restricted to that one vintage setting in tribute to tradition. Rather, use this as inspiration and opportunity to incorporate your style to the mix. Blending new pieces you love with the vintage allows for a creative and inclusive tablescape representative of everyone with a seat at the table. With the bonus of creating a gathered look that is unique to you; hostess with the mostest. GET CREATIVE Since we are already taking risks by blending tableware, this is the perfect opportunity to get creative with patterns and finishes taking the experience to the next level with each detail. Mixing fabrics – with the napkins, table runner, chair covers, etc. – allows you to create interest and warmth that pulls your guests in and likely will have them wanting to stay put well past when the dessert dishes have been cleared. Florals and centrepieces can be re-imagined to anything that suits your family’s style and budget – whether that is fresh stems in your colour pallet, gathered branches from outside that add a sculptural element, or a simple garland surrounded by pinecones or seasonal bounty. Go ahead and rethink the application, too – suspend your centrepiece above the table for an unexpected twist which also allows for more space on the table itself for additional decor or the roast-beast.

No chandelier? No problem. Bring your centrepiece to new heights this holiday.

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ah! Winter 2020

The North Shore


GET PERSONAL Gift giving is deeply rooted in this season so why not incorporate it in the dining experience. Personalized gifts don’t have to be costly, in fact just the opposite, sometimes the best gifts of all are free: A personalized place setting could be a homemade ornament for your guest to take as a keepsake. Or a simple handwritten note recording a special quality or achievement from the past year. A family photo depicting a special moment shared.

KIDS’ TABLE Don’t forget, the little ones deserve an elevated dining experience just as well as the adults. Glass plates are worth a try in a themed festive pattern paired with fun fabric napkins. Just be sure to keep them entertained: Cover their table with brown paper and provide colouring pencils so they can create their own festive tablecloth. Provide Lego patterns of festive items that they can recreate. Or propose a napkin folding challenge to get their creativity flowing.

HAVE FUN A party isn’t a party until someone is on the table. Right? Oh wait, that may just be my clan. But it should be safe to say that incorporating games is added fun to any get together and the recipe for life-long memories. A simple lucky plate or glass is always exciting. But once the table has been cleared of anything breakable bring out the board games, start the Santa Limbo, or exchange the yankee swap. No matter how you celebrate, Charlie Brown said it well when he stated; “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters but who’s around it.” That could not be more true, unless instead it referenced the dinner table.


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MERRY CHRISTMAS SAVINGS ah! Winter 2020 - 36


Words to help with the healing A REVIEW BY SARAH BUTLAND


auntingly beautiful and heartbreakingly healing. A labyrinth of words with no real stops and starts as life is simply one start, one stop with a middle. This book is one that should never have been written but needed to be, for all who have lost a child. The other side of Sheree Fitch, the bubbly and wonderful personification of joy itself is revealed in You Won’t Always Be This Sad. The author of the well-loved children’s book Toes in My Nose and many others including There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, inspired by her two sons, her newest book focuses on only one. The one she lost far too soon. The one who brought her two grandbabies and planned to move to a piece of land to look over her. Fitch’s son Dee. Every one of us deals with a lot, including the death of a loved one, which means a lot of us struggle to not always be so sad. Fitch was able to wind her way through a stream of consciousness with rhymes and sorrow to heal herself, discover new strengths and find ways to love those who remained by her side. In doing so, in sharing this heartache and journey of endurance her process to see the sunshine and feel warmth will aide many others to do the same. While specific to her own situation, the magic of Fitch is that her storytelling is universal and easily connected to. While the words were easy to read on their own, the combination and sequence of each made it hard to put down as it is a tale you need to see through to the end. To understand the impact of each step along the pathway, some leading to dead ends, the poetic justice and dedication of the journey brings to the reader the warmth of a hug from a loved one long lost. Descriptions of You Won’t Always Be This Sad talk of it being divided into three parts which is true but it is also done so seamlessly that it seems to be a continuous thought. Whether you had 37 years with someone or 37 minutes, or simply want a better understanding of what it takes to bear excruciating pain, this is one book you should add to your shelf and keep in your heart.

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At homE

HolidaY Gift guidE 2019



The perfect family gift this holiday season. Relax, rejuvenate and revive in the The Constellation s103 Relieve Hot Tub by Inspiration. Two tone jets, LED and cabinet lighting, available in 5 or 7 seating and choice of color and finishes.

The Chemex filter-drip coffeemaker makes unbelievably good coffee. It’s timeless design brews without imparting any flavour but the coffee.

See it in store or online at www.suntime.ca

In the permanent collection of the MOMA.

CAMERON’S JEWELLERY LTD A Name You Can Trust Home of the Original X-Ring Continue the Tradition that began in 1942

THE PORK SHOP The perfect gift for your favourite foodie – a Pork Shop gift card! With a wide variety of meats and specialty products, this gift will surely bring a satisfied tummy over the holidays.

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Great gifts finds on the North Shore Your Christmas shopping just got a whole lot merrier with our annual gift guide that has been hand-picked from some of our finest local retailers. Everyone on your list will say ah!

CAMERON’S JEWELLERY LTD Cameron’s have a large variety of Christmas decor and other treasures for those hard to buy for friends.


Brew up some holiday fun with an Apple Cider kit by Mangrove Jack. The taste of delicious orchard apples, light and crisp with a juicy apple bite. Enjoy any time, chilled or on ice. Makes: 23 L

McKEAN’S FLOWERS We have great gift ideas including the popular “Nova Scotia Collection” of scented/top quality soy candles. Handcrafted in NS (with two price points), they’re the perfect reminder of home and true meaning of shopping local!

PICTOU COUNTY’S BEST CHRISTMAS TREES Selling Christmas Trees for 35 years in New Glasgow and area. New Location at Superstore West Side New Glasgow. Wreaths, Boughs, Fir, and Pine trees. Trees of all sizes. Quality Guaranteed.

MINERS APPAREL FOR MEN Miners is big-city style in the heart of New Glasgow. Drop by and ask Krista for help with styling those hard-to-shop-for men in your life. Unearth your look with Miners.


At homE

HolidaY Gift guidE 2019


All of December – Save 15% off all Supplements!

Add more cheer to the holidays with festive Essential oils/ Travel Diffuser Gift Pack available at Honeycomb Health Market. Smaller gift choices are: Roll-on glass bead bracelets that support woman artisans from the Himalayan region.

VIVIERSKIN ULTIMAGE There’s a beautiful new trend in aesthetics; a focus on “positive aging.” The Vivierskin Ultimage is a dual-action complex that works synergistically to soften expression lines and wrinkles, and boost hydration for a smoother, ageless complexion. Skincare Consultations are Free – Book Today at Truro Medi Spa.

FORGE HOME AND GARDEN We carry an ever-growing collection ANNUAL HOLIDAY SALE of locally made items • carefully curated Friday, December 27 with quality gifts for every budget 6 till 9 • free advice on your indoor or outdoor plants • friendly knowledgeable staff

HUB CYCLE THE GREEN THUMB FARMERS MARKET You’ll find a great selection of ladies fashion. Lots of scarves, leggings, purses, jewellery and much more. Also unique Christmas décor and local crafts. We have boughs and bows to do up your planters.

Cross country ski packages from Rossignol, Salomon and Fischer for all members of the family. Let us find the right package for you, ensuring quality, comfort and ease of use.


Vendor directorY CAMERON’S JEWELLERY 239 Main St., Antigonish, NS 902 863-1283 cameronsjewellery.ca FORGE HOME AND GARDEN 199 Provost St., New Glasgow 902 755-6140

FORGE HOME AND GARDEN Rosemary Wellness Natural Shampoo Bar • small batch, locally made • zero waste alternative to plastic • all natural ingredients • smells fantastic

THE GREEN THUMB FARMER’S MARKET 4681 NS-4, Westville, NS 902 396-3263 HONEYCOMB HEALTH MARKET 805 Prince St., Truro, NS 902 895-1660 HUB CYCLE 33 Inglis Place, Truro, NS 902 897-2482 MCKEAN’S FLOWERS LTD. 43 George St., New Glasgow, NS 902 752-4146 / 888 702-3233 mckeansflowers.com PICTOU COUNTY’S BEST CHRISTMAS TREES 902 926-2337

CAMERON’S JEWELLERY LTD Large assortment of beautiful Old World Christmas ornaments.

MINERS APPAREL FOR MEN 145 Provost St., New Glasgow 902 800-5019 minersclothing.ca SUNTIME ENTERPRISES 4687 Highway #4, RR#1, Westville, NS (902) 396-3387 suntime@eastlink.ca suntime.ca THE PORK SHOP - SPECIALTY MARKET & DELI 2578 Westville Rd., New Glasgow, NS 902 755-3260 theporkshop.ca


TRURO MEDI SPA 63 Queen St., Truro, NS 902 893-7613 / 888 421-50113 nslaser.com

These colourful birds just flew in to remind you we have a store full of unique, mostly Maritime crafts for all your Christmas gifts.

Beer Wine Spirits Ciders

WATER N WINE 21 Heritage Ave., Stellarton, NS 902 755-9463 waternwine.ca For Every Taste!

WATER STREET STUDIOS 110 Water St., Pictou, NS 902 485-8398 Ferment your wine & beer instore! 902-waterstreetstudio.weebly.com Monday–Saturday 9–5 | Thursday 9–7 HOURS: Mon. to Sat. 10am - 5 pm

21 Heritage Ave., Stellarton | 902.755.9463 | wate




MEDALING WITH MY FOOD Tracy is an Olympic medalist and has a Chef’s Diploma from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts.


here is a certain simplicity that traditionally comes with winter cooking. Stews, soups, and roasts all have minimal ingredients. They are usually cooked over several hours (long and slow) reminiscent of meals being cooked over the woodstove akin to our ancestors. I love coming in from the cold to a house filled with the aromas and warmth of these comfort meals. However, during these shortened days of winter, I can’t help but crave a little freshness, something bright and tangy, something to make light of these heavy warming meals. Recently, as my husband was busy in the kitchen making a big ol’ prime rib dinner with Yorkshire pudding (the recipe that his grandmother was famous for…I must admit she taught him well), I was flipping through magazines and cookbooks searching for a simple light dessert to accompany an otherwise stick-to-your-ribs English meal. Eureka! I found the answer, oranges served with plain yogurt and caramel sauce. This would give my family a hit of tangy Vitamin C to bolster our immune systems, accompanied by a shot of probiotics from fresh yogurt, and that melt-in-your-mouth caramel sauce to keep the dessert linked to the traditional warming foods of the season. I am delighted to say the caramel oranges were a hit. My family raved about how fitting this dessert was for the end of a heavy meal. It was exactly what I had hoped for, a simple light sweetness that can add a bit of brightness to our otherwise heavy meal of winter.

Turning oranges into dessert.

The North Shore

ah! Winter 2020 - 42

Caramel Oranges Serves 6

INGREDIENTS 8-10 medium navel oranges (≈2kg) ¾ cup maple crystals (or white sugar) 2 cinnamon sticks (or star anise pods) 2½ tablespoons salted butter

GARNISH plain Greek yogurt toasted pistachio nuts

PREPARATION 1. Juice two (or more, if necessary) oranges, enough to yield ¾ cup juice and set aside. 2. Slice the bottom and top off the remaining oranges. With the orange standing on the flat take a sharp knife and cut the peel off down the sides of the fruit taking away the pith (the white skin). Once peeled, turn the orange on it’s side and cut into thin rounds. Arrange slices in a 13x9-inch baking dish, slightly overlapping, in a single layer. 3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, ¼ cup of orange juice, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar begins to colour at the edges (about another 3 to 5 minutes), the bubbles will go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny. 4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery brown (1 to 3 minutes). Remove pan from heat, add butter and whisk until melted. 5. Add a splash of remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth. The mixture will steam and bubble vigorously. Then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves. 6. Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 7. When ready to serve, spoon desired amount of yogurt onto a dessert plate, using a slotted spoon transfer the oranges onto the plate as well. Spoon excess caramel sauce over the oranges and yogurt and top with roasted pistachios. Serve and enjoy.

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The North Shore


Snow Fun at The Keppoch

By Sally O’Neill | Winter photos by Dr. John Chaisson

Imagine yourself on a mountain slope. The sun beaming down on a patchwork of snowy fields and forests. Below is a charming lodge with a roaring fire and comfy chairs. You’re on a snowboard, looking at the profile of a sweet terrain park, maybe you’re snowshoeing through the trees, or helping your kids on a fast-moving sled while they giggle and shriek with excitement. These hills are made for snow, sleds and speed. The Keppoch is a “retired” ski hill that had its heyday in the 1980s and closed as a downhill ski resort in 1997. The property is now managed by a community organization building a dynamic outdoor activity destination with mountain biking at its heart, and all-season outdoor activity as its mission. Positive Action for Keppoch Society (PAK) was established in 2010, by a group of Antigonish residents and businesses who believed that The Keppoch could become an outdoor recreation hub for Northeastern Nova Scotia. Many visitors now come from outside the region and events draw crowds throughout the year. “We have brought the outdoor experience to the community in an affordable model.’ Says Dr. John Chaisson, president of the PAK board of directors and one of the projects passionate founders. “Trail passes and daily user fees are modest and generally affordable, and they help us afford utilities, insurance, snow removal, trail maintenance and general operational costs.” Entrance to Keppoch is offered on a daily pass as well as a suite of longerterm membership options. The park itself is made up of over 300 acres of woodland featuring trails, slopes, a skills park, an outdoor firepit, children’s play area, a 2000 square foot lodge and more than 50 kilometres of multi-use trails. Keppoch’s enthusiasm for wintery fun shines brightly in their annual Family Fun Day, which is held each winter and features sledding, guided hikes, winter games, gourmet treats, a bonfire and all-day smores.

What to do at Keppoch in Winter • Family Fun Day • Cross-country and Nordic skiing • Snowshoeing on the trails • Warm up by a bonfire • Snuggle up by the fireplace in the lodge • Snowboarding • Sledding • Fatbike (off-road bicycle with oversized tires) • Ski demonstrations • Retreats and education events Keppoch has a great website and an active social media presence to follow. thekeppoch.ca instagram.com/keppochmountain facebook.com/TheKeppoch

Accessible Adventures A fully accessible, wide, crusher dust trail with low, curving grades winds through the forest and down to the lodge. Antigonish County Recreation provides loans of Hippocampes (a terrain equipped wheelchair), and a Snow Coach, which is a fun adaptive sled for those with upper body mobility needing lateral support. Check outrecreation.antigonishcounty.ns.ca for borrowing details.

Equipment Loans In addition to adaptive equipment, Antigonish County Recreation offers snowshoes, walking poles, skates and helmets, and much more equipment for outdoor activity, winter and summer. Town of Antigonish also offers loans and low-cost rentals of snowshoes, poles, and cross country ski equipment. townofantigonish.ca/recreational-equipment-rental

Looking for snowshoes? Hike Nova Scotia maintains a comprehensive list of where you can borrow snowshoes across the province. See the list here: hikenovascotia.ca/resources-snowshoeing The Pictou Antigonish Regional library also lends snowshoes and Nordic poles available through any branch. parl.ns.ca Many municipal recreation departments, schools and community centres have sets of snowshoes, and Nordic poles available for loan to the public at no cost. “There is no bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” As the old quote states so eloquently, clothes are the defining factor in enjoyable outdoor experiences. Layering is key, so you can add or remove as needed.

Here’s a quick list of essentials to keep yourself toasty from head to toe: • A good base layer – thin and made of soft wool, silk or synthetic • Socks - wool or a warm synthetic • Long-sleeved shirt – not cotton (retains moisture and stays cold) • Long pants – fleece, synthetic or wool • Sweater – fleece, synthetic or wool • Winter boots with good treads • Warm parka or jacket with a hood • fitted hat - fleece or wool • Mittens or gloves with water-resistant shells • Scarf – Fleece or wool • Sunglasses – snow glare is intense, protect your eyes • Ski goggles – not always necessary, but can make a difference on a windy cold day • Kleenex or absorbent handkerchief - In the cold, your nose will run, so protect your skin (and sleeves) by having something handy to wipe and blow.


Take it Outside on the North Shore 1. Base Layer Pants Men: Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Pant - $120 Women: Icebreaker 250 Vertex Snow Storm Leggings - $160


2. Socks Men: Smartwool Larimer Socks - $30 Women: Stance Neopolitan Socks - $23


3. Long-sleeved Shirt Men: Icebreaker Waypoint Long-Sleeve Half-Zip - $250 Women: Lole Crescent Snood Long-Sleeve Top - $140


4. Long Pants Men: The North Face Summit L5 LT Futurelight Pant - $500 Women: Arc’Teryx Gamma Ski Pant - $230


5. Sweater Men: Fjallraven Ovik Fleece Sweater - $120 Women: Arc’Teryx Covert Hoody - $220



6. Winter Boots Men: Lowa Oslo II Mid GTX Boot - $329 Women: Sorel Whistler Tall Boots - $330


7. Warm Parka or Jacket Men: Parajumpers Gobi Jacket - $1,098 Women: Canada Goose Rosemont Parka - $995


8. Fitted Hat Men: The North Face Logo Box Cuffed Beanie - $35 Women: Brume Galatea Hat - $75


9. Mittens or Gloves Men: Outdoor Research Gripper Heated Sensor Gloves - $250 Women: Auclair Kiva Moccasin Mitts - $42.50 10. Scarf Men: Buff Merino Wool - $25 Women: Lole Eternity Scarf - $68

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11. Sunglasses 14 Men: Ryders Strider Polarized Sunglasses - $89.99 Women: Body Glove Cloudbreak Polarized Sunglasses - $29.99 12. Snowshoes Louis Garneau Massif Snowshoes - $179 Louis Garneau Vector Showshoes - $189 13. Thermos Yeti Rambler 20 oz. - $40 Yeti Rambler 30 oz. - $45


Find everything you need for your next adventure. Drop in to view the latest gear by your favourite brands.


14. Vests Men: Canada Goose Garson Vest Print - $525 Women: Indygena Dolga Vest - $260

65 Inglis Pl, Truro, NS B2N 4B5 | takeitoutside.ca


Faux or Fir

Does the choice have you stumped? BY SARAH BUTLAND


f your family can come to a general consensus on whether it’s going to be a real or artificial tree going in the stand this Christmas then you are off to a wonderful holiday season. It’s that time of year for the debate over real or faux boughs. But as more tree “putter-uppers” begin to understand about what makes for a more environmental choice to “green” up their holiday, Ah! turned to a few Christmas tree experts to get their advice.

Dragging a dusty box down from the attic doesn’t conjure the same romantic holiday images as a walk through the rows of pristinely planted Christmas trees at your local tree farm with a hot cup of apple cider in one hand and your measuring stick in the other. But if you are a family with allergies or start your holiday decorating as soon as you take off your poppy, then an artificial tree is likely your best bet. However, if you are trying to tap into your inner

Greta Thunberg and hoping your carbon footprint is a size smaller this year, a real tree will help you achieve those goals. Throughout the north shore of Nova Scotia you will find many Christmas tree farms and their owners ready to help you find the perfect tree. Some invite you to cut down your own, while others will have them precut and ready to throw in the back of the pick up or tie to your roof racks. There are even a few that deliver. The beauty in the tree farm is just that… it’s a farm. The trees are grown for a purpose and when they are harvested for the holiday more trees are planted. Most farmed trees fulfil their Christmas destiny between seven and ten years of being planted. It’s a fact that new trees are more efficient at cleaning carbon from our atmosphere. It’s the reason why many communities and cities have made big commitments to plants new trees in the immediate future. Brian Archibald has been working his own lot since 1979 after practicing cutting wild trees on his father’s property and is now


2020 Forte

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The North Shore

2020 Sportage

2670 Brierly Brook Road, Antigonish 902-863-9229

2020 Sorento

2753 Westville Road, New Glasgow 902-695-3303

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registered with the North Eastern Christmas Tree Association. “Different people have different likes,” he says about helping families find their perfect tree. Battling the early frost as well as the invasion of the tussock moth and gall midge, Archibald sold approximately 850 trees last year and is hoping to sell 2,500 in the coming month. For the last 40 years, Angela Cruickshank has been a proud supporter of MacLeod’s Christmas Tree Farm in Stellarton, “It was fun to introduce this tradition to my husband when we got married and now to share with our son as he grows, at the age of nine last year, under the watchful eye of his father, he cut down our tree himself.” Cruickshank always chooses a fir tree and enjoys the smell it fills their home with over the entire holiday season. Adrian Samson of Treeland Christmas Tree Farms in Truro has been selling at the same location for 16 years and is now seeing his third generation of customers returning for his trees and trusting Samson to choose them. Typically cutting them himself,

Samson will try to accommodate those who want to add to their memory by cutting their own tree from his 150 acres. Offering the ever popular Balsam Fir as well as some White Pines, he selects prime cones each year to ensure better quality, colour and improve the overall look and longevity. With a history of training agricultural students on how to grow Christmas trees and grade them, working in the woods keeps him busy and active. As a forest technologist, Samson highlights, “When we cut a tree we plant a tree,” and that his trees only travel eight kilometres on his lot whereas artificial trees are shipped across the world. They even donate their leftover trees to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to continue providing homes and food to wildlife after they’re cut. Other leftovers are chipped back into the forest to enrich the soil and have trees grow again within four years. Samson advises not to leave your tree in a furnace room or under a heat pump. White Pines, he says are better for allergies and can last

It’s that time of year, when nothing warms the tummy quite like a Pork Shop Natural Smoked Maple Ham. So what’s a better way for us to celebrate with you?

We’re giving one away!

ENTER AT THE PORK SHOP: 2578 Westville Road Contest ends Thursday, December 26, 2019. Upon purchase at the Pork Shop, you will receive a ballot to fill out your contact info and be submitted to our ballot box. Contest draws for prizes will occur Friday, December 27, 2019.

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from October right through to January. He offers the “shake and wrap” service to rid your tree of loose needles and pesky insects before delivering to your vehicle. A real tree can keep on giving long after the decorations are down, if you’re patient and your timing is right, you can plant a branch that continues to grow years later. While most communities offer a pickup with the regular garbage to compost them, you may consider leaving them in your own backyard or delivering your tree to a neighbourhood farm who has a use for it. Supporting our local economy and making the right selection should be a bonding moment and help create memories, no matter your choice. Cruickshank simply states, “Hunting through the fields for the perfect one, we have always found a beautiful tree.” Enjoy the process of finding your perfect tree! To find a Christmas Tree farm convenient for your family please visit: pickyourownchristmastree.org/ CNNSnorthern.php#

Country Ham with Mustard & Molasses Serves 6-8 Preheat oven to 350° F 5 to 7lb smoked bone-in ham 1 cup prepared mustard (hot dog mustard) 2 cups molasses 1 cup water 2 carrots, cut into chunks 1 onion, cut into chunks 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Place ham in a large roasting pan with bone facing up. Use a paring knife to score the skin of the ham, pour mustard over the ham and massage it into the all crevices. Pour molasses on top allowing it to run down the sides of the ham; add water to the bottom of the roasting pan, add in carrots and onions. Sprinkle with pepper. Roast the ham for 2 hours; reduce the oven temperature to 250°F for an additional hour. Rotate the pan every hour or so; use a turkey baster to baste the ham with pan juices every 30 minutes. Recipe from Chef Alain “aka The Kilted Chef” New recipe book the Acadian Kitchen.

The North Shore


Have a fun, healthy holiday and don’t forget your pants!


Naturopathic Medicine BY DR. AMY PUNKÉ

The North Shore

o you remember this Christmas commercial that aired almost 20 years ago? The hostess completes the preparations for her Christmas party. As she anticipates her guests’ arrival, she lights the festive candles, presses play on the holiday themed music. Even the dog is ready – adorned with a set of reindeer antlers. As the doorbell rings, she looks around, very pleased that she pulled it all off. “I really got my act together this year,” she says. “I don’t think there’s one thing I’ve forgotten.” As she heads to open the door, we see that in fact, she has forgotten one important detail, her pants! All joking aside, the holidays can be a particularly triggering and stressful time for many people. An online survey conducted by Research Co. last year found that one-in-four Canadians expected Christmas to be “more stressful than fun.” We are often left feeling like we never have enough, that we’ve overspent and overindulged. It can also be a very lonely and isolating time of year. Then there is the fatigue and the increase in colds and flu that happen during the winter months. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget about our own mental, emotional and physical health. Tabitha Coleman, designer and founder of TABITHA + CO™, knows all too well about managing a busy life this time of year. “Finding work/life balance as a mother and entrepreneur has been my biggest challenge at this time in my life,” she says. In spite of these challenges, she knows how important it is to make her health a priority. “I commit to setting aside at least one hour per day for some form of physical exercise. It helps my mind focus on day-to-day life goals, fostering creativity and for my overall physical health. This in turn provides me with the tools to

be a better mom to my children and support my growing company. Setting this example for my children of overall wellbeing provides them with optional tools as they journey into their own form of life balance and self care.” One of the things I love about Naturopathic Medicine is its connection to nature and the rhythms of life. Naturopathic Doctor, Sat Dharam Kaur explains, “The solar seasons, the lunar phases, our daily waking and sleeping, our menstrual cycle and hormone levels, our breathing patterns and heartbeat... these natural rhythms are encoded in our cells and in our genes. We are all part of the great rhythms of the universe.” Disease or ‘dis-ease’ can happen when we lose our connection and are out of sync with these natural cycles. As we head into this hectic time of year, it is important to honour the rhythm of the winter season and to be aware of what it is that our minds and bodies need to feel well. Are you experiencing more anxiety coming into the holiday season? Are pre-existing medical conditions flaring up this time of year? Are you not sleeping well or are you finding you need more rest compared to the spring and summer months? Dr. Kaur reminds us, “On the winter solstice, occurring December 21st in the northern hemisphere, the sun rises the latest and sets the earliest, giving us the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This is a time for us to go deeply within, to bring light to the dark places, the shadow side of ourselves, just as on this day the sun casts the longest shadows.” The short days and longer nights can definitely have a dampening effect on our spirits. One way to ease the “winter blues” is to get out into the open air into nature. However, despite our time spent outside, research shows that many

ah! Winter 2020 - 48

Canadians are not getting enough vitamin D (also known as the sunshine vitamin). With its essential role in maintaining health (i.e., our immune system and mental health), it is important to have your vitamin D levels checked through blood work. Getting this simple test done, and taking a vitamin D supplement, if required, can be one of the best gifts you give yourself this season. It is a challenge to keep the schedule from becoming too packed with activities. Yet, if we can be open to the gifts that winter brings, as noted by Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur, we can reap the benefits of the season. Keeping time in the schedule for creative activities, and for quiet time alone, is another way to keep a healthy balance in our lives. The winter season has been a part of the human experience for millennia. Taking the time and energy to care for ourselves will ensure that we can have fun, work hard, and still remember to put on our pants!

Christina Peddle made Glen Haven Manor her Employer of Choice....you will too! “I have worked at Glen Haven Manor for over eight years and enjoy helping and spending time with our residents and families. Long term care nursing is a specialty that involves helping residents who need extended care as they deal with chronic illnesses and disabilities. We as nurses coordinate the care of residents, perform nursing skills, respond to changes in condition, and also provide physical and psychological support to residents and their families. Working with the OneMar system for medication administration, enables us to work to our full scope of practice.� Christina Peddle, LPN Quality and Resident Care

Registered Nurse Licenced Practical Nurse Continuing Care Assistant Nutritional Services Journeyman Cook Environmental/Nutritional Services Worker

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join our team! The North Shore

DIY ODE to JOY There are lots of words that we hear throughout the Christmas season, but my favourite word is JOY, not just throughout the holidays, but all year round. This easy DIY is a fun way to dress up something you may have laying around your home – old window frames. I seem to have a collection of old frames, but this one was given to me by my friend’s parents when they did some renovations – who knew I’d get so attached to a basement window frame? Throughout the year, I use it to display family pictures but for Christmas, I’ll use it to display my favourite word!



Old window frame

STEP 1 Spread Mod Podge over

Wooden letters

the wooden letter and place scrapbook paper on. The paper can be left bigger than the wooden letter

Scrapbook paper Ribbon Mod Podge Staple gun and/or hot glue gun Sandpaper (200 grit) Small craft brush Picture hanging supplies (eyelets, wire and cutters)

The North Shore

STEP 2 Let dry flat STEP 3 Sand the extra paper off the edges on the wooden letters

STEP 4 Add picture wire to the back of the window frame

STEP 5 Determine the length of ribbon you need to go from the back of the letter, over the top of the frame to the back edge, cut a length for each letter

STEP 6 Glue the ribbon to the back of each letter STEP 7 Glue the ribbon to the back of the frame so the letters are suspended in front of the glass STEP 8 Hang your frame and enjoy the holidays with loved ones!

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At Home on the North Shore Winter 2019-20  

At Home on the North Shore Winter 2019-20