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Timely Thank You: Immigrant couple donates town clock to Annapolis Royal


Published on August 21, 2017

Peter and Val Davies stand at town hall in Annapolis Royal as the new clock they donated for the clock tower was unveiled. The couple has lived in Canada for 50 years – 27 of those years in Annapolis Royal. The clock was a way for the English-born couple to say thanks to Canada and Annapolis Royal. At right is the town’s mayor, Bill MacDonald.

©Lawrence Powell

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL - Val and Peter Davies have lived in Canada for 50 years, so when they said thank you to their adoptive country Aug. 17, it was about time – literally.

They donated a giant clock to the Town of Annapolis Royal that, with the help of Mayor Bill MacDonald and a crowd of townsfolk, was unveiled high up in the clock tower at town hall on St. George Street.

“We are hopeful that the clock will make a significant addition to the quality of the street and downtown generally, for years to come,” said Peter Davies.

The clock tower has been without a functioning town clock as long as anybody can remember. In fact although the tower was built with three clocks in mind, there exists only one old photo that shows a single clock.

Yet in the tower the remains of a clock with three axles was found.

The actual unveiling was done from a bucket on an hydraulic lift provided by the local hardware store. And then there was a plaque unveiling on the side of town hall commemorating the donation of the clock. That was followed by the mayor presenting flowers to Val Davies – that was followed by a cake-cutting ceremony – with a clock done in icing on the top.

Annapolis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald unveiled a plaque commemorating the unveiling of the town clock. And he presented flowers to Val Davies.

©Lawrence Powell

The Davies

Peter Davies was an architect with a master’s degree in planning and was working for the City of Liverpool. There was work in Canada for architect-planners and Peter applied and was hired by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

On a misty, almost foggy day 50 years ago, the Davies, with two small girls, arrived at the new Halifax airport. It was May 6, 1967.

Sally was almost four years old when they arrived; Ruth was not quite two-and-a-half. A son, Andrew, was born in Calgary in 1969.

Peter worked in Ottawa, London, Calgary, and Regina before moving to Annapolis Royal in 1990. They’ve lived in the Nova Scotia town for 27 years – longer than all the other Canadian stops put together.

As the family crisscrossed the country, Valerie taught Music and Movement, Child Development, trained students to become nannies, and the couple hosted foreign students. She was a nursery school director and a Brownie leader – among many other things.

Peter became the Annapolis Royal town crier and Val his escort, making them two of the town’s most recognizable figures. At the unveiling Aug. 17, daughter Sally and her family from Maryland were on hand. Daughter Ruth just moved to London, England but sent via Facebook the sound of Big Ben striking noon.

Peter and Valerie Davies cut a cake with a clock done in icing. It was just moments after the clock they donated to town hall was unveiled.

©Lawrence Powell

The Clock

 Annapolis Royal’s new clock may not be London’s Big Ben, but it is three feet in diameter and the face has Roman numerals just like the world’s most famous clock. Peter Davies said the Roman numerals are in keeping with the historic nature of the town. The new Annapolis Royal timepiece is illuminated by LED lights shining inward from the side of a black bezel ring around the white clock face. The town refurbished of the tower to make sure everything was in good shape for the installation.

The Davies family contributed $3,500 towards the clock and 22 other local donors helped out to purchase the $5,500 timepiece.

“These fine and civic-minded folk are to be thanked for their participation and for their generosity,” said Peter Davies at the unveiling.

“This is our home and we enjoy life here and are so thankful that we decided to say a ‘timely’ thank you to this small and historic town,” said Val Davies.

Peter Davies hopes the analog display of the clock face will help those brought up with digital displays learn how to tell time the old fashioned way.

Despite the analog appearance, the new Annapolis Royal clock is a state of the art computerized timepiece able to reset its own time and change in and out of daylight savings time.

Annapolis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald unveiled a plaque commemorating the unveiling of the town clock. And he presented flowers to Val Davies.

©Lawrence Powell