After getting the low beam light replaced, I drove back out Reeves Street and explored the area beside Embrees Pond, where I discovered a trail system of which I had not previously been aware. I was not dressed for hiking, so I didn’t start down the trail at the sign near the gazebo, but I did take a few photos. My next stop was the Pioneer Cemetery, a bit further north and across the road. Thanks to various articles by Dr James St Clair in The Inverness Oran, I was aware that it was there, but had never before stopped to check it out. In early June, Bob MacEachern had posted on Facebook photos of the restoration effort undertaken there in the spring of this year by volunteers in a community work group; from those photos, it is obvious that the cemetery had not seen much care in a long time—they showed in considerable detail the then major ongoing work necessary to clean up the grounds, level them, improve the access road, reseed the area, and reset and in some cases repair the headstones which were aslant, fallen, or broken. When I arrived here at the end of the month, that effort was complete and photo #1 shows the beautiful scene that greeted me there, a far cry indeed from its initial state. Nice job guys!
[UPDATE 2012 December 14: Dr St Clair’s column on page 4 of the 2012 December 12 issue of The Inverness Oran adds a good deal of information of which I was previously unaware about Belle Vue, the site of the Paint family estate, of which the Pioneer Cemetery now occupies a portion (the manor was across today’s highway), and about the Paint family and its history in the area. As Dr St Clair’s columns always do, this one makes for very interesting reading indeed, and is well worth looking up, especially if you plan on visiting the cemetery.]
After wandering around a bit looking at the headstones, many of which recalled how short a life span was in the pioneer days, I wandered to the edge of the cemetery above the shore, from which I discovered a great vantage point for very fine views of the Strait of Canso, the Canso Causeway, and the village of Mulgrave on the mainland. Photos #2, #3, and #4 all form a connected panorama of the Canso Causeway and the surrounding area.
Photo #2 looks a bit north of west to the southwestern end of the Canso Causeway, where a ship is being loaded with construction aggregates mined from the Cape Porcupine Quarry
The east side of the Causeway, which spans the entire photo, is normally ice-free in the winter time, a result of the construction of the Causeway. Across the Causeway, the buildings on the far shore are at Aulds Cove on mainland Nova Scotia. The power lines that are ubiquitous in this area carry power from the coal-fired Nova Scotia Power generating station in Point Tupper (on the edge of Port Hawkesbury).
Photo #3 looks at the middle of the Canso Causeway, but the view extends on the right to the point where it reaches Balache Point on Cape Breton Island, site of the Canso Canal, which allows St Lawrence Seaway class vessels to cross the causeway. The green bridge at the right of the photo is a swing bridge, which can be rotated to allow ships access to the locks of the Canso Canal, the entrance to which is on the right of the long grey pier with rubber “bumpers” seen at the far right of the photo. Above that pier on the mainland, one can easily see the curve of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 104) as it climbs up and over the mountains there. The sailboat at the centre of this photo managed to make its way into most of the photos I took here, as it manœuvred across the Strait in the day’s steady winds: the terrain funnels the wind through the Strait, causing it to strengthen considerably, providing ideal conditions for sailing.
Photo #4 looks at the northeastern end of the Canso Causeway, the operations area at the Canso canal, Balache Point, and the village of Port Hastings, with St Davids United Church at the far right. The green signs seen just to the left of the church are at the east end of the rotary at which Highways 4, 104, and 105 meet in Port Hastings. Kilometre 0 of the Railway Trail (Trans-Canada Trail) is at the kiosk in the park beside the Canso Canal.
Photo #5 is a closeup of the leftmost portion of photo #2, showing in greater detail Cape Porcupine and the installation there, owned and operated by Martin Marietta Materials Canada Limited since 1995. According to this web site, which appears to date from a bit past 2005, “[b]lasting of the eastern face of the Porcupine Mountain [during the construction of the Canso Causeway] revealed a large reserve of high-quality Devonian granite—not suited for ornamental products, but just right for use in construction. […] Porcupine Mountain is an expansive formation of granite, says [Administrative Manager Dan] Fougère. The quarry covers approximately 765 acres, with most of the operation taking place on the top and behind the mountain face. ‘It’s a high-quality, durable granite well-suited for use in asphalt and concrete mixes,’ he says. With reserves of over 300 million tonnes of granite, the company estimates the reserves will last at least another 50 years.” Production increased from 1.2 million tonnes in 1995 to 4 million tons or more in 2005, putting Porcupine Mountain among Canada’s top aggregate producers. The new wharf constructed in 2005 allows ships capable of carrying 70,000 tonnes of aggregate to be loaded at the facility.