Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Centennial Cure: Commemoration, Identity, and Cultural Capital in Nova Scotia during Canada's 1867 Centennial Celebrations

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Centennial Cure: Commemoration, Identity, and Cultural Capital in Nova Scotia during Canada's 1867 Centennial Celebrations

Article excerpt

Meaghan Elizabeth Beaton, The Centennial Cure: Commemoration, Identity, and Cultural Capital in Nova Scotia during Canada's 1867 Centennial Celebrations (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017), 296 pp. Cased. $60. ISBN 978-1-4875-0151-8. Paper. $27.95. ISBN 978-1-4875-2152-3.

Most published accounts of the centennial celebrations have focused on EXPO 67 and events in Ottawa but Beaton's solidly researched and well written book is the first to show how one province - Nova Scotia - chose to commemorate the centennial. The book consists of four cases studies: the 1967 Highland Games and Folk Festival, the establishment of the Cape Breton Miners' Museum, the construction of the Halifax Centennial Swimming Pool, and the Community Improvement Program. In each case these projects were supported by grants from the Centennial Commission in Ottawa but part of the funding had also to be raised locally and Beaton provides us with a detailed study of the interaction between the Commission in Ottawa and the provincial and local organisations. There were tensions between and within local communities but they were not over whether Confederation should be celebrated, only over how, and even these tensions should not be overstressed. The most controversial project was the building of an Aquarium in Halifax. Eventually the project was abandoned because of its cost and the centennial grant was used to expand the Halifax Swimming Pool. Beaton does not make enough of this decision. She stresses that the distribution of federal money was fair since it was based upon a per capita grant to each province. But per capita grants inevitably worked to the advantage of the larger provinces, which were also able to draw upon more private sector funds. …

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