Roll on Big Pijinuiskaq, roll on.

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Recently we made a quick trip to Bridgewater and were delighted to see that the main street had been put back together and the adjacent riverside park had been completed. When I posted a blog last summer much of the downtown was dug up for infrastructure renewal and there was a sense that folks were feeling a little shell shocked.

My quick assessment is that the result was well worth the distress.

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These photos are taken from the very contemporary design, street level viewing platform. I think the design work was done by Ekistics but couldn’t confirm that.

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The long narrow park is named Pijinuiskaq, the historic Mi’kmaq name for the LaHave River. The visually complex name has a simple phonetic pronunciation: BIJ-INOO-IS-KAH. Try it. It’s fun and no stranger than how we pronounce LaHave. (I noticed on a Bridgewater Facebook page someone calling it Unpronounceable Name Park. A communications person from the town offered to give the curmudgeon a personal pronunciation tutorial.)

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I also noticed some comment on the elegant park sign that appears to be made of CorTen steel (designed to develop, over time, a stable rust-like surface). Ancient Mi’kmaq people were fond of iron oxides so they might have been quicker to accept the material than some contemporary citizens of the town.

On the commercial side of the street there are simple arrangements of granite slabs for seating and visual interest.

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Some of the stones have formal seats attached. I particularly liked that the feather and wedge quarrying marks were intentionally left.

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Another design novelty was reverse angle parking that makes it easy and safe to back into a space. Has this been used in Halifax?

From the viewing platform you get a bird’s eye view of what happens when folks lose track of what they have. There is the backside (in every sense) of the 1970s mall, walling off the river.

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Public spaces, like this park, have to be successful with the community or they will not be of much interest to visitors. I’m hoping to feel lots of good energy next time we visit.

Postscript

  • In my August blog I mentioned (several times) that we wanted to return to Bridgewater to eat at the Thai restaurant. And that’s why we were in town, to meet friends from the valley for a most delicious lunch at LannaThai Kitchen. Worth the trip.
  • On the way back to town we came upon some unusual clouds.

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Happy clouds or scream worthy? What do you think? (Nice safe divided highway though).

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About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.

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