It's time to bring Cape Breton's Magazine back. Who is with me?

Cape Breton's Magazine is a timeless archive of Cape Breton culture. The magazine ran for 74 issues and touched on some of the more culturally important stories of Cape Breton. The stories focused on human interest articles and interviews of people about their way of life in Cape Breton communities - past and present. It is by far the best record of Cape Breton culture as a whole and how the island has taken elements of the past to build on a prosperous future. The magazine ran from 1972 to 1999, published by well known author Ron Caplan, who arrived on the island in 1971 from the U.S.. The hard copy magazines are coveted and can sometimes be found in local flea markets. The whole archive is now online thanks to a number of partners that provided funding and time. They can be found at http://capebretonsmagazine.com/ When I arrived on the island I was really taken by the breadth of stories. It really helped me to understand Cape Breton and its people. There are so many interesting tidbits - from making spruce beer to how the mail was delivered in the Highlands, to how to make rope - all genuinely told by those in the know. I haven't talked to Mr. Caplan, but I feel that there are still so many more stories to tell. Things are different today. People are so well connected through social media and the likes. Inspired by what has been written, I've taken as stab at a few articles myself, even though I'm writing based purely on interest and not experience. https://capebreton.lokol.me/the-last-schooner https://capebreton.lokol.me/disneyland-in-meat-cove-and-my-thoughts-on-history The process for me was interesting, as I was able to collect so many elements through the contributions of people on social media. People are so passionate here about sharing what they know. This, I feel, could be an avenue for resuscitating a beloved magazine and in a way that could be sustainable and accessible. There are so many writers in Cape Breton that are inspired by the culture that persists on the island. There are new generations, new perspectives and new interests. If the magazine itself is not something that is possible to bring back then perhaps something similar could be pursued. I feel that searching out more stories and sharing them with the greater reach we now have at our fingertips can be such a powerful way of promoting Cape Breton culture, putting an emphasis on the rich history that is here to the benefit of the people that live here and help to put Cape Breton on the map. Who is with me? I would be interested in talking to you to see what we might be able to accomplish for the greater good of Cape Breton. Chris Bellemore is a blogger from Ontario that moved to Cape Breton Island and is logging his experiences in this strange and wonderful place. Me: https://www.facebook.com/chris.bellemore Abandoned Places and Untold Stories of Cape Breton https://www.facebook.com/groups/518156224947471/915613581868398/?notif_t=like My music: https://soundcloud.com/crispbellemono

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Join the many people discussing Cape Breton's Magazine, its importance and the potential of bringing it back.
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Jennifer Pyke Follow Me
Good idea! Would love to see contributions from Rory Andrews - I always enjoy hearing about how he's discovering Cape Breton Culture.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Everyone is welcomed Jennafer. It would be great to get contributions from you as well!
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
And welcome to the site! I noticed you just signed up. It's a great place where everyone can contribute. Don't be a stranger.
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
Well Chris : Based on what I see over here on the West side of the Island , we are rapidly loosing the folks who have the stories . If you look at the census data from the last 2 census , 2006 and 2011, they are already out of date, but they do show you how "old" our population is becoming and how fast the population is shrinking. Print media today is tough sell , let alone a book or magazine that might not get a big circulation . Having said that , I look at the Downhomer magazine and operation in St.John's and get the impression they are successful. Maybe talk to Joan O'Connor and let's explore the numbers at least . Obviously the social media ability is huge .
Rory Andrews Follow Me
If you look at the format of Cape Breton's Magazine, it's possible that Print isn't even the best way to tell those stories. Cape Breton's Magazine captured the stories the older generation of Cape Bretoners had to share, practically verbatim from their mouths, including all the "hmmm's" and "haw's." It was an incredible amount of work for a cause the magazine clearly believed in, but with more options today than in the 70's, I think we might have better mediums than print to get stories directly from the older generations. What would be amazing would be if a young, enterprising student or historian created a YouTube series based upon the stories from interesting and older Cape Bretoners using video. As culture becomes more homogeneous worldwide, Cape Breton was and remains more culturally independent and nuanced from every other place I've ever lived. It would be great to have it documented before it's gone.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Young, enterprising historians aside I think that everyone has a story to tell, young and old, and is capable of presenting it. It's more about moderating how it all fits together. That is where the challenge lies. There are many historians, storytellers and interested people out there writing books, collecting information and showing us glimpses of Cape Breton life. Why not collaborate and contribute to something greater seeing we now have the means in this day and age to do so? Oral history has been collected many different ways and presented through different means. The best is when the information is compiled in a way that creates a greater narrative.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Hi Peter. Thanks for commenting. As you point out I think that it would have to be an enterprising venture of some sort to be sustainable, although there are a lot of people interested in sharing stories. I'm not an expert on the economics of media and it would be good to look into it more.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Chris, you'll probably really like this group. It's run by a friend of mine, one of our most talented local aspiring filmmakers. https://www.facebook.com/PeopleofCapeBreton/?fref=ts The Cape Breton Magazine archives are amazing. Digitizing them is such a gift to the island! Thanks for sharing.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Thanks Joe. I wasn't part of that group. There are a few connections I think that could be made to help facilitate more stories being told. I'm going to touch base with Mr. Caplan to see what he thinks about bringing the magazine back, as I think there are a number of existing opportunities like the one you pointed out. Perhaps the Beaton would be interested as well. I'll start with him and see how it goes. A day into posting this it is clear there is a lot of interest from people all over the island.
Shaun MacLean Follow Me
There are a lot of best practices out there so you wouldn't be reinventing the wheel. I've recently moved back home after spending some wonderful years in Labrador. Their archival magazine has been wildly successful and their model would be helpful to learn *steal ideas* from. http://www.themdays.com/?page_id=697
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Wow this is great Shaun. It is very similar to the magazine but functions well online.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Thanks everyone for the many shares and comments. Clearly there is overwhelming admiration and support for the magazine. I personally feel it is an important institution in Cape Breton that deserves our attention. Hopefully something can be done to help facilitate culture through a shared format once again!
Great idea; and I particularly like the idea of meshing a new magazine with social media as seen the Them Days example from Labrador. There is a wealth of interest in the visual/photographic past on a variety of facebook pages and a lot of reminiscence as part of that. As well the CB Heritage Collective is a grouping of heritage institutions from all across the Island that could help provide both content and focus. When Ron started the Magazine there were only a few smaller heritage museums on the Island. Now there are a few dozen with active programming that includes a lot of story-telling.
Mathew Georghiou Follow Me
Neat idea, but why create a magazine? Why not just encourage people (anyone) to post their stories here on goCapeBreton.com? People can post photos, audio recordings, videos, write stories ... anything and everything they want. An open platform like this combined with minimal editorial requirements makes it easy for people to participate. The result is wider participation and more content. Creating a formal magazine means raising money, worrying about cash flow, acting as gatekeepers for content, etc. These are all things that slow down the project, severely limit the number of people that can and will participate, and risks having the content not be exposed to as many people as possible. You will end up spending more time on the business logistics than the core mission. Crowdsourcing and aggregating local content is the reason goCapeBreton.com was created and we would be pleased to see our platform used for such an initiative. We already have sections for this type of content (under PEOPLE and under LIVING) and we would be pleased to even create a new and separate section exclusively for this project ... all for free and instantly available to anyone.
Chris Bellemore My Post Follow Me
Hi Matthew. A great offer. I've been a pretty active contributer here over the last little while and see the growing opportunities on this platform. I think the feel of the magazine and the way it ties together is something that I think speaks to the people of Cape Breton in a special way. I wasn't really intending to bring a magazine format back. Just the brand that people seem to feel a sense of ownership over and being able to also experience it as a collection in its entirety. It could work here, but the key would be to get some thoughts from Mr. Caplan before getting too far. There definitely is a lot of interest. Thanks!
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
Great offer . I really like the way that Labrador webpage and their "magazine " is formatted and presented . Certainly the electronic world is great for storage and great for making things available , but it is to get people to use it , when you are relying on them for content. Everyone has gravitated to FaceBook it seems and they treat that as it were their website , but the way it functions, it is no where near a website in terms of how you can search and find things. Blogs were the big thing 2-3 years ago , and now they have faded . Many people still haven't realized that they don't have photo albums anymore ,(until some one dies) so digital images are stuck in limbo in families .They don't have /or haven't found a place/website to file their family photo history .None use master albums like FlicKr. IF CB LOKOL can give them a place to do that , it would be fantastic..
Marie Aucoin Follow Me
Some time in the late-90's there was a project that employed young people to interview the elderly in the Margaree area. The transcripts of these interviews are available in the Coady-Tompkins Library in Margaree Forks. Also, Rose Grace-Aucoin of Cheticamp conducted a series of TV interviews with some of the old folks and other interesting people in Cheticamp. I believe these are held in the archives of the local TV station (CHET TV) in Cheticamp.

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