A FASCINATING JOURNEY (February 21/97)

At one point in his book on Windsor, L.S. Loomer notes that “this is not… a history of the railway.”

Mr. Loomer might also have protested that his book is not a history of the early settlement years in Nova Scotia, in particular the western end of the Annapolis Valley, nor an account of the long-running conflict the settlers had with Micmacs and Acadians.

However in his book Windsor, Nova Scotia, A Journey Into History, Mr. Loomer has produced more than an account of what at one time was the second most important centre in the province. In writing about Windsor, Loomer has also produced a fascinating and detailed history of a struggling young province that barely managed to survive the American revolution, the bumblings of the British, and the intrigues of the French and their Indian allies.

Throughout his book, Mr. Loomer never forgets that he is writing a history of Windsor. To accomplish this task, however, requires an overview of the province spanning a period of several hundred years. Loomer goes about this task admirably and the result is a history of-Windsor and a mini-history of Nova Scotia.

The reading of Loomer’s book was a learning experience and in some cases an eye-opener. Because there’s a touch of Acadian blood in my bones, I’ve always been sympathetic with our first settlers. But not any more. Loomer’s research indicates that in many cases the Acadians caused their misfortunes and the expulsion may have been avoided.

What has this to do with the history of Windsor you may ask? For one thing, the area in and around Windsor was an important Acadian settlement. For another, it’s difficult to write a history of any Nova Scotia town without reference to the influence of the Micmacs and Acadians.

To write his book, Mr. Loomer obviously did a tremendous amount of research. From the details and historical asides, this is evident throughout his book, especially in the first third of the volume. These early chapters alone are worth the price of admission. I know – a cliché! But if you would really like to understand how our province was shaped, read the early chapters alone and you will be well educated.

I’m a trivia buff, especially if it’s historical trivia. For me, Loomer’s book was a satisfactory read because of its wealth of historical trivia. Did you know, for example, that but for the hesitation of George Washington, Nova Scotia would have been invaded by America and likely would have become a U.S. state? Were you aware that three Fathers of Confederation obtained their early schooling in Windsor and one was a native of the town?

Were you aware that while the might of the American Revolutionary Army never fell on Nova Scotia, some Americans ignored George Washington and invaded the province, actually sailing up the Bay of Fundy and into the Minas Basin? What do you know about the coming of the railroad and the crucial role played by a prominent Valley man?

These fascinating tidbits on local history – and hundreds more like them – can be found in Loomer’s book. (Windsor, Nova Scotia, A Journey Into History, was published by the West Hants Historical Society, P.O. Box 2335, Windsor, N. S., B0N 2T0.)

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