Gayle Bird – At Home Here in Nova Scotia

Occupation: Senior Digital Arts Instructor; Self-Representing Jewellery Artist

Place of Birth: Born in Glace Bay, Raised in New Waterford. NS of course!

Currently Resides:  Glace Bay, NS. I live in a residential area but my backyard is basically forest between our home and, well, the Mira from what I can tell! Super pleasant and peaceful. We get a lot of wind up on our hill and the view is spectacular and unbroken!

Where’s your favourite place in  Nova Scotia to grab a coffee?

I don't really do coffee, but the hot chocolates at Wentworth Perk are delicious and sometimes exactly what I need.

Where’s your favourite place in  Nova Scotia to grab a pint? 

OK so I don't drink alcohol either but hanging out at Governor's is always a blast! Any time I need to meet with my crafty folks it's either there, or the Crown & Moose pub.

Where’s your favourite place to shop in Nova Scotia?  

Hands down, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. So many delightful handmade, one-of-a-kind items, beautiful and affordable. Last year I swept in and got 90% of my Christmas shopping done in one afternoon!  The staff is super kind and pleasant and helpful, and the artisan work is second to none.  In fact, I think I need to take another trip over soon...

Where in Nova Scotia would we stand to see your favourite view?

There's a beach in Millville where I spent all my summers as a child and the view from the cliffs over the ocean (on the left, Bird Islands; on the right, Point Aconi; straight ahead, open ocean) is breathtaking and it instantly makes me feel more whole. But really, any place with the ocean view and the ocean spray and the ocean smell and, well, the ocean, can help me recharge and feel really alive. In fact, my few times truly inland (Ontario), I felt stifled, like the air was wrong and the spaces too crowded. Maybe it's the Pisces in me, but I'm an island girl at heart, that's for sure!

Name 3 things we’ve gotta do when we visit  Nova Scotia:  

1. You need to head to Big Glace Bay Beach in the summer at high tide and swim - but avoid the jellyfish!

2. The Cabot Trail is cliched for a reason: it's gorgeous and packed with fun and artisans.

3. And finally, find some music that ISN'T celtic. The local scene is PACKED with excruciatingly talented musicians who don't have fiddles and don't get the recognition the (also very talented) fiddlers do. You could come to Cape Breton and think we're only a Celtic island, but you'd be missing out on a whole other level of rich, varied music. There's punk and folk and metal and songwriters and pop and electronica and diva and more. So do some digging, see who's playing locally, and you won't be disappointed.

What makes Nova Scotia such a special place on earth for you?

I don't know if I can explain it. It's home, you know? I feel it in my chest as a physical need, and in my soul, that this is where I need to be. So many people - both my brothers included - have had to leave, but I refused. With my skills, I could be making three times my salary if I left Cape Breton and went to a big city somewhere; but what's money compared to the warmth and safety of home? Absolutely nothing. So I stay, and I love it. Knowing I can be at the beach within a few minutes no matter where I go is totally priceless. And the air is just so clear and smells so delicious, sometimes I just sit and breathe it, like it was sustenance (which, honestly, it sort of is).


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