Jane Zathey 0

Mi'kmaq path

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In 1749, when this area of Nova Scotia was being settled, a huge hill, named Great Beech Hill, was left alone. At 999' above sea level, it was too tall to traverse by buggy so the settlers travelled around the hill on ground level. The only people who regularly used this road (and who had originated the path over generations of semi-nomadic life) were the Mi'kmaq Indians. I have uncovered a delightful map from 1817-1818 from the Nova Scotia Archives of Great Beech Hill, with an annotation "Too high for any Carriage".

When the modern world paved a road going right up the hill, they bypassed Great Beech Hill's original path because it veered over to one side, making speed dangerous. The city has maintained this little path although it is rarely used by anyone. It is a place of peace & meditation & powerful energy. A drawing called "Study on Great Beech Hill" from 1817 sits in the Halifax Museum & is pictured in the book Historic Sackville by Robert P. Harvey. In 2010 I requested the city of Halifax name this path Great Beech Hill to honour its historical relevance. In December 2015 this was granted.

Last December (2016), a real estate developer purchased a crescent piece of historical Great Beech Hill. I'd enquired 12 years ago out of curiosity & was told this land was Crown (park) land. The "lot" he purchased also includes a very narrow strip on the other side of the path. He claims the city has "given" him the pathway because of obvious encroachment so that his land now encompasses over 1 acre, mostly consisting of the path of the Mi'kmaq. The civic naming department said this cannot be quite true but said strange things could happen & advised me to proceed with a petition to declare Great Beech Hill a historic site in order to preserve this precious land. The developer has told me he plans to destroy the Mi'kmaq path & build a large house where it has stood since the beginning of native time, but of course, with "consideration for the trees as I'm a green builder".

Nobody really knows about this hill but the long time locals who are sadly dwindling over the years. As a park custodian volunteering, I've been caring this this small piece of land & listening to its power & magic for over a decade. I wish that it could remain free to speak, not suffocated by concrete. Please, would you sign the petition & send this forward to as many as you can? We can do this together, absolutely.

1817 map of Great Beech Hill:


The surrounding parkland is pristine:


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