Active Transportation News from the Eastern Shore and beyond....
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 Love staying active

(West Chezzetcook snow day, Feb. 2021)

"To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold"
"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."
John Steinbeck

This issue includes:


COVID Updates 
Gaetz Brook Greenway - Updates and history
Nature on the Greenway: Pancake Ice
In Other News
Parting Shot

Winter Wonder

Snowy days, cool weather

Two months into 2021 but many of the pandemic challenges of 2020 remain.  Some are discouraged that better times didn't come with the turning of the calendar but there is much to be grateful for, especially here in Nova Scotia where our numbers remain largely contained.

Some good news:
  • NS is lifting some restrictions in a controlled manner,  making it possible to do more activities safely and spend time with family and friends
  • The vaccine is coming and is already being distributed to some vulnerable populations and essential workers
  • The snow has been perfect for skiing and snowshoeing and the temperatures have been low allowing freezing of some local ponds and outdoor rinks - plus the Oval is open for public skating
  • Individuals, organizations, and businesses are considering how they can 'build back batter' with policies that are more environmentally and socially responsible,  
  • Shubenacadie Sam predicted an early spring
  • And so much more.  Check out all that is happening in Active Transportation in our Other News section and read about some of our amazing volunteers in Gaetz Brook Greenway (GBG)
  • What is happening in your community that gives you hope for better things?
Although the vaccine is on the way, it will be a while before we can return to our old ways of gather and socializing in groups.  We need to continue to be vigilant, especially with the arrival of new more virulent strains of COVID-19.   We are still being encouraged to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings and avoid unnecessary travel.  Tend to your mental and spiritual health with outdoor activity and connection with a small number of friends and family.  Taking a walk with 2-3 friends or family is a good way to catch-up on news and keep in touch.   So can volunteering in support of environmentally sustainable initiatives and organizations - either virtually or with regard to safe COVID protocols.  

Pictures this month from Erin Joudrey, Mary MacDonald, and Mary Elizabeth O'Toole, 

Stay safe.  Stay warm.  And Stay Active.  Spring is just around the corner.

COVID Updates

Updates to Feb. 23

COVID Protocol Summary (provided by Recreation Nova Scotia)

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided a COVID-19 update on Feb. 19. The State of Emergency has been renewed until noon on March 7, 2021

Feb 23, NS reported three new cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K.

Recreation NS provided a summary of recreational activities and facilities from update on Feb. 8.  Highlights include:

Effective 12 a.m. Feb. 8 until 11:59 p.m. March 7:
  • Fitness facilities can operate at 75 per cent capacity and must maintain three metres between people during high-intensity activities both indoors and outdoors
  • Recognized businesses and organizations can resume hosting events with 150 people outdoors, or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
  • These events include social events, arts and culture events, sport and recreation events, special events, festivals, faith gatherings, weddings with receptions, and funerals with visitation and receptions
  • These gathering limits also apply to meetings and training hosted by private businesses or organizations, provincial and municipal government, first responder organizations, mental health and addictions support groups, and organized clubs
  • Organized clubs can host activities for all ages and follow the day camp guidelines to have cohorts of up to 15 within the larger indoor or outdoor gathering limit
  • Spectators are allowed at events, including sports games and practices and arts and culture rehearsals and performances, except when they are held at schools
  • Large facilities that already have approved plans can resume hosting events with multiple groups of 100 that are kept separate with their own entrances and exits and their own washrooms
  • Centre 200 in Sydney and Scotiabank Centre in Halifax can have multiple groups of 150
  • The general gathering limit remains 10 – this applies to household and informal gatherings and events that are not hosted by a recognized business or organization.
  • Sports teams and individual competitors are still restricted to playing and competing with other teams and people with whom they routinely play or compete.
As we start to be more social again with events, it’s important for Nova Scotians to continue all the layers of protection – wash hands, wear masks, practise physical distance, stay home when you’re sick, and get tested,” said Dr. Strang. “In addition, everyone should make asymptomatic testing part of their regular routine to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially people with a lot of contacts.”

Quick Facts: Additional Resources:
  • Government of Canada:
  • Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)
  • The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)
  • For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)
  • For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit
  • The COVID-19 self-assessment is at

Gaetz Brook Greenway (GBG)

Plans, history (+seeking info) and volunteer opportunities

REMINDER:  Parks and trails are open but guidelines about distancing remain. The crushed gravel trail offers a safe, flat surface with sufficient width to maintain the recommended two-metre passing distance.  Staying to the right of the travel surface permits space for safe individual and family biking, running and walking.  If you drive to the trail, remember to leave 2 M (~6 ft.) of space from other vehicles.

Upcoming Plans
We are in the process of applying for funding from the different levels of government for three projects this year:
  1. Interpretative signage covering some interesting local history and flora and fauna along the trail. 
  2. Inspection of two old box culverts and a design of replacement if necessary
  3. Design of a better trail connection between trailhead and parking lot at East Chezzetcook end.
If any of these projects interest you, contact to learn more and get involved.

Watch for updates on our  Gaetz Brook Greenway, SATA Trails  Facebook page. Please read the most recent posts for clarification and updates. 

History of the Gaetz Brook Greenway and surrounding area
Read some of the story of the Gaetz Brook Greenway and the railway along the Eastern Shore on the SATA Trails website posting Story of the Muquodobit Railway ( written by David E. Stephens and published with the permission of his family).

Seeking additional information on the history of the area
One of the stories on this page offers the description of a tragic fatal accident in the early 1900s  

One of the worst accidents in Dartmouth for years occurred this morning about 9:00 o’clock, when George Conrod, a native of East Chezzetcook, was struck by a train and fatally injured, dying a few minutes after being removed to the hospital. George Conrod generally comes up to Halifax once a week, does business, and returns home. He usually comes up on Friday, but in this case he came earlier, arriving late last night. It is his custom to put his horse and team in Edward Warner’s barn overnight. This morning he was up and about early, making preparations for a return home, as the weather looked very threatening, and as he wanted to reach home before the storm broke in all its fury. Shortly after 7:30 he harnessed his horse and started for Matheson’s mills, backed his horse in, and commenced to get on his load....  Read more details

We would love to know more.  For example:
Who was Geoge Conrod a native of East Chezzetcook?
Where were Warners barn and Matheson's Mills?

We are also hoping to learn more about the West Chezzetcook railway station, especially when it was built and demolished. 

If you have information to add to our knowledge of the area, drop us a line at

In Appreciation of Volunteers

A group of trail users has been making the trail fun for walkers this past year with many painted rocks, wreaths on the benches for Christmas and many other projects. These contributions were a bright moment during COVID and were much appreciated by visitors to the trail.   This group of volunteers is now considering a community project that would including adding flowering plants to help attract butterflies, birds and other pollinators while making the trail more attractive to users of all ages.  The proposed project would also include a community Art project. 

Planners are working on a project name. The working title is  "Community Fun with Flora, Fauna and Art"  but the group is still seeking input.  If you have name suggestions or are interested in getting involved, contact us at

We are working on a grant application with the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative to get funding to support this project.  Let's hope we are successful 

Trail Maintenance

Volunteers continue to monitor the trail to ensure the best experience for users.  A lot of work has been done - and continues.  This crew proves that many hands make like work and they enjoy their regular work sessions, getting out to improve the trail as their schedules and the weather permit.  If you are interested in being part of the trail maintenance crew, contact crew coordinator Judy Myatt ( to be added to the mailing list.

A local resident offered to clean the trail entrances on Pine Hill following that street being plowed as the banks got high and difficult to climb following storms last year. We are always concerned with safety at these crossings as they are so close to #7. Jay has added to his efforts and is now clearing a path along the main trail and trailside entrances, making this trail location usable to many in our community who have a difficult time walking deep snow. A big thanks to Jay and Colleen. 

Pancake Ice (GBG)

Natural beauty

Thanks to Patricia Richards and Erin Joudry for the pictures and description
The 2020-21 time was an extraordinary and sad one in so many ways.  Not only did we have a global pandemic (COVID-19) and many heartbreaking times for a lot of Nova Scotians.  While people have been dealing with these difficult times, frequent changes and stress, taking time to get out to appreciate the beauty and peace of our natural environment have been a welcome and necessary outlet.  We were lucky to be able to get out close to home on local trailways including the Gaetz Brook Greenway (GBG).  That has given us more opportunities to see natural phenomena we often miss. 
This winter, while walking the GBG, many of us saw a rare winter wonder in a unique ice formation best viewed from the Gaetz Brook Bridge.  The atypical ice on the Brook was eye-catching and surprising and word spread.   The formations lasted only a few days, but fortunately, friends of the GBG caught the atypical ice in photos and shared on Facebook, which gave others a chance to visit before they disappeared. 
There was lots of interest in Mother Nature’s work.  Of course, Google was consulted.  A search resulted in several names for the formations “Pancake Ice”, “Lily Pad Ice” and “Circular Ice” were all popular choices.  By any name, it is equally fascinating.  These round pieces of ice typically range from around 30 cm to  3M (approx. 12” to 10’) in diameter with a thickness up to10 cm  (3.9 in). They form from ice crystals and take shape on moving water.  According to the Weather Channel, the pancake ice typically forms "in areas with at least some wave action and air temperatures just below freezing."  It has been described as rounded slush sheets of newly frozen ice.  
Phenomenon such as this ice, offer another reason to explore the GBG regularly.  You never know what you might see and things can change quickly!  In this case, this beautiful and unusual sight was only around a few days.  It can be seen only when temperatures and weather are just right.  You might hear stories and wonder if it really happened, or wish that you had seen it in person.  Discover the Gaetz Brook Greenway and its changing natural wonders – you can be one of the people telling the stories and spreading the word. 
Be sure to share your stories and pictures on our Facebook Group, Friends of the Gaetz Brook Greenway 
Pancake Ice (Jan. 2021)
Gaetz Brook Greenway on a snowy day (Feb. 2021)

Friends of the GBG (Activities)

formerly Shore Active Transportation Association (SATA)

We are not currently offering a calendar of group outings.  Please keep an eye on our Friends of the Gaetz Brook Greenway Facebook Group for any new planned or spontaneous walks or bike rides planned by our members.

In Other News...

Active Transportation News

Nova Scotia is full of wonderful natural landscapes, and you don’t even have to leave the municipality to check out all that our trails have to offer. But did you know that many of these trails and networks are planned, built and maintained by volunteers? They dedicate time and resources to ensuring trails are accessible, connected, and even host activities and events! Here are some of the heroes who contribute to everyone’s outdoor enjoyment.

*Watch for Gaetz Brook Greenway - and our own Mary MacDonald - in the trail shots
"Active transportation is about making connections"

Women in Cycling Launch Event (VIRTUAL)
Wed., Feb. 24, 3pm-4:30pm CET 

Women in Cycling seeks to boost equality and diversity in the sector, bring women working in the cycling sector in the spotlight and to provide networking, mentoring and training opportunities. We seek to facilitate a platform that will improve the presence of women in board places, panels, conferences, interviews and jobs. The vision of Women in Cycling is for a diverse, inclusive cycling sector that provides equal opportunities and contributes to achieving cycling’s full potential.

Learn more online

Walking with WAVES on the GBG
Fri., Feb. 26 @7 pm  (Feb. 27 if inclement weather)
Join WAVES (Women Addressing Violence on the Eastern Shore) for a
Moonlit Walk on the Gaetz Brook Greenway. 

We will meet in the Legion parking lot and walk east towards Musquodoboit Harbour.
Please dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, and bring water & flashlight. We will follow COVID-19 protocols, so bring a mask (for times that you can't maintain a 6 ft distance).

This event is designed to be a safe and relaxing activity, so please be aware of your own physical ability and walk at a pace that is comfortable for you. The ground may be uneven and possibly slippery, so please take care. You will be asked to sign a waiver.
Come out and gather (socially distanced) with other women on the shore. All women welcome!

Advanced registration requested at

Emera Oval Skating
Updated January 2021

The Emera Oval is now open for the 2020-21 winter season, weather and ice conditions permitting.

View skating schedule and register here. 

The Emera Oval will have a reduced capacity to follow current public health guidelines. Due to COVID-19, skaters must pre-register for public skate times at Skaters can register on a 48-hour rolling schedule, meaning you can book up to 48 hours in advance of the desired skate time. For example: registration will open Monday at noon for the Wednesday at noon skate time. 

Non-medical masks are mandatory at all times, including on the ice surface. 

Watch for more details on Emera Oval at HRM Rec website
or contact Emera Oval Hotline: 902.490.2347

Hike Nova Scotia
Hikers Challenge (ongoing)
The Hiker Challenge is all about inspiring, motivating and rewarding you - especially new and novice hikers - for getting out on Nova Scotia’s beautiful trails to start hiking or to hike more. It’s tailored to showcase the best of the province while providing helpful and fun challenges in doing so. Your reward for completing each challenge is a badge to show off on clothing or backpacks, as well as being listed on our Honour Roll. There is a cost for most badges, but the youth ones are free. Each season we’ll do a prize draw including everyone who has earned a badge in the last three months.
Lean more on the Hike Nova Scotia Projects page.

Hike NS Fall Courses & Webinars
Registration is open for Hike Nova Scotia’s slate of fall 2020 courses and webinars. In-person courses include: Field Leader - Hiking; Navigation Maps & Compass; and Field Leader - Winter. Webinars include: Intro to Hiking; Leave No Trace; and Wildlife Encounters & Safety.

Learn more and register.

Support the HCC - become a member

Join the HCC to support cycling advocacy in Halifax. Our influence at City Hall comes as a result of our existing membership. With your support we can make an even bigger difference for cyclists in Halifax. As a small non-profit organization your membership dues fund our advocacy. In addition to feeling great about your support for cycling your membership allows you to vote at our general meetings, run for positions on the Board of Directors, and provides you with great benefits at a number of area businesses.


Parting Shot

Frosty morning.  Soft light.  (Chezzetcook Inlet, Feb 2021)

Bundle up and enjoy the winter snow -
Spring will be here before you know it!

Friends of the GBG Friends of the GBG
Gaetz Brook Greenway Gaetz Brook Greenway
Copyright © 2021 Shore Active Transportation Association (SATA), All rights reserved.

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