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Moving to Nova Scotia - Valley Author chronicles why people came here and stayed

Valley author Dave Whitman is shown with his new book 'Moving to Nova Scotia,' which chronicles the stories of people from other parts of Canada and the world and why they settled in the province.
Valley author Dave Whitman is shown with his new book 'Moving to Nova Scotia,' which chronicles the stories of people from other parts of Canada and the world and why they settled in the province. - Lawrence Powell

PARADISE, NS - Paradise author, Dave Whitman, recently launched his 17th self-published book entitled, Moving to Nova Scotia, Stories of people who moved to Nova Scotia from all over the world!

Whitman said in a recent interview, he has published a book year for the last four years, with help from wife Paulette and his two daughters, who do the editing. The idea for the latest book came from the response to a chapter in another book, The Valley Chronicles, released two years ago, which contained a chapter on moving to the Annapolis Valley.

“I got such an enthusiastic response from people, that I said, ‘Hey, I could do a whole book on this and include the whole province.’”

He said readers want to know why people came to Nova Scotia, where they settled, and why they stayed there.

Two years ago, he started to mine his contacts across the province to recommend people they knew who moved to their area from other parts of Canada or the world.

"I asked them to tell me someone in their area that has come from another place and has settled and would be willing to tell their story and they have pictures,” he said.

30 Interviews

The book contains 30 interviews with individuals, couples or families who settled across the province from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

There of stories of war brides who came in the 1940s, as well as economic immigrants during the ‘70s and those who came recently.

“They were all very forthcoming in telling their story,” Whitman said. “I had to stop at 225 pages.”

He said it was interesting to find out why they chose Nova Scotia.

“A lot of them came back in the ‘70s to start a new life. Most of them came here to continue their business or to start a business and to infuse their creativity or their expertise into our economy and way of life.

“I know I had two or three that came from western Canada that were starting young families that didn't want their kids to grow up in a city and they couldn't afford to have a big house and land and NS was very affordable.

“And, when they come here, most of the time it's because of the people they meet.”

Changed Lives

That certainly was the case for Vera Saeme, who was born in Brazil. In the book she said the openness and hospitality of Nova Scotians extended to her and her husband, Mohammed, when they moved to Yarmouth in 2015, changed their lives.

"I could not speak of myself without talking about how I feel about the way I was welcomed in Nova Scotia,” she said. “I believe Nova Scotians, at least in my experience, are not afraid of the foreigner. Never before have I heard people say, 'what have we done to deserve that you chose to come here!' My life has changed. I believe I have become more aware of the value of community, unconditional love and selflessness. I believe I have come to this part of the world for a reason. I have opened a business that I always dreamed of opening.”

Timothy Habinski, who wrote an introduction to the book, moved to Nova Scotia after living in Ontario and Quebec. He is now the warden of Annapolis County.

He said in an interview many people are drawn to rural Nova Scotia by the vibrancy of small towns that have managed to retain most of their services and the closeness of the people who live in them.

“You are intimately involved in the life of your neighbors in a way that people aren’t any longer in the rest of North America.” He said. “You’re in each other’s lives and Nova Scotians like you there.”

Bodes Well

The book also has an introduction by Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Communities, Culture, and Heritage, himself an immigrant to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland.

The stories in Whitman’s new bock come from across the province – from Halifax, the South Shore, Digby Neck/The Islands, the Noel Shore, Northen Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and of course the Annapolis Valley.

Dave Whitman says stories like these bode well for the future of our province.

“We have to find ways to get people here because we have such an out-migration of youth. And, I think we are doing a good job.”

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