The Western Star
Back in Cape Breton: Part 2
After I checked into my room in Baddeck Friday evening, I headed back out to take in the sights and sounds of this host town.
Baddeck, N.S., is always buzzing in the summer but this was a very different vibe. Fancy cars and Winnebagos were replaced by incredibly fit pedestrians, some in running gear, others in costumes. There was a party atmosphere on the streets; I almost felt like I was intruding on a family reunion.
I ducked into a lovely bakery for a sandwich and some cookies and noticed a line-up down one side of the room. I asked what was going on. Gracious employees were busy taking breakfast orders for the runners and would have their food ready when the shop opened at 5 a.m.
I had a chat with a young man who was waiting his turn; I asked him about his leg of the race. When he finished describing it, I said, “That sounds gruelling.” He replied, “I’ve been waiting for this all year – it’s like Christmas!”
The race got underway at 7 a.m. at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, under a windless clear blue sky. As soon as I could, I hopped in my vehicle and off I went. As I was driving from one leg of the relay to the other, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that this 276-km relay was taking place along an open roadway. The many communities along the Cabot Trail graciously welcomed 70 teams (close to 1,000 runners) their families, supporters, not to mention countless volunteers, into their lives for the weekend. I’m not sure that would happen anywhere else.
Before heading home, I checked my emails and came across this lovely letter:
Welcome to Cape Breton!
Just wanted to acknowledge the important work you do. I belong to a family of paramedics who are out there 24/7/365 in all types of weather and rely on forecasts for every aspect of our daily lives, from taking the appropriate uniform to the safe transport of our patients.
As luck would have it, I will be out on the Cabot Trail overnight Saturday/Sunday as part of the EHS medical support crew for the Relay. Always enjoy this event and more so when the Weather Gods (and you!) grant us not so tumultuous weather.
Brian J MacDonald Bsc ACP
Cape Breton Operations
What a beautiful letter. Brian referred to his team as a “family of paramedics.” Very fitting. The 70 teams that spend more than 24 hours on Cape Breton’s storied Cabot Trail were in good hands.
There is no need to thank me Brian, but you and your team deserve recognition for the amazing work you do -- on race weekend and every day of the year.
I think Brian’s letter is an example of how the kind, generous people of Cape Breton Island shine like the waters of St. Ann’s Bay in May.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.