Art Connection Celebrates Historic Shubenacadie Canal

Posted: September 19th, 2009 in What's Goin' On

Today marks the beginning of a visual arts celebration of the Shubenacadie Canal. This historic canal and waterway connecting the Bay of Fundy with the Atlantic Ocean was considered a 19th century mega project and flourishes today as an important recreational resource for all of us to enjoy.

The Shubenacdie Art Connection is the first of what many hope will become an annual event of local art exhibits stretching along the length of the waterway from Maitland on Cobequid Bay to the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia waterfront. For two weeks and three weekends from September 19th to October 4th, 2009 twenty-two artists will showcase their love and appreciation of the canal and the Shubenacadie River region.

Among those participating in the event are well-known oil paint artists, Sarah Jane Conklin of Fall River and Carol Morrison of Oakfield; pastel artist, Janice Guinan of Bible Hill and versatile watercolour artist, Gail Sutherland of Bedford (just to mention a few).

Guinan, who paints portraits, landscapes and seascapes usually in pastel, also works in watercolour, acrylic and oil. Guinan notes that her ancestors came to the area in the 1700s and settled in Riverside, near Maitland, Nova Scotia. She said she has often wondered if her family (originally from Ireland) might have helped in the building of the canal.

Work on the Shubenacadie Canal system began in 1826 and was finally completed in 1861. Between 1856 and 1870 steam ships hauling barges moved gold mining equipment, coal, lumber, bricks, and granite through the intricate system of nine locks along two planes on the canal. By 1870, however, the dawn of an efficient railway system in Nova Scotia that was able to transport goods across the province faster and more cheaply made the canal obsolete.

The Look-Off by Janice Guinan of Bible Hill is among the many pieces of visual art featured at The Shubenacadie Art Connection (series of exhibits) beginning today in Central Nova Scotia.