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Sundial unveiled at Lighthouse Point in Gabarus to mark N.S. Polish Heritage Month

While we live in the era of the smartphone, there may not be much practical use for a sundial these days.

That didn't stop Saturday's unveiling of a brand new sundial at Lighthouse Point in Gabarus, N.S. from being something dozens came out to see on what was a sunny afternoon.

"'Copernicus 550' is the theme for this year's Nova Scotia Polish Heritage Month,” explained Tom Urbaniak, committee chair for the province’s Polish Heritage Month celebrations.

September marks 550 years since the birth of the famed Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus, whose work - among other things - included proving that the Earth is not the immobile center of the universe.

With 20 known sites in Canada that honour Copernicus, the Polish community in Cape Breton wanted this one to be in a location that would connect it with the others.

"We were looking for a site on the ocean, on the Atlantic, so that the Copernic network could go from sea-to-sea, and can you imagine a better location on the ocean than Lighthouse Point in Gabarus?” Urbaniak said.

For the small community of just 78 full-time residents, the gift from the Polish community means one more attraction for those who come to see the lighthouse in its picturesque spot.

"I think it's a wonderful privilege for us to have it,” said Janet McGillen, president of the Gabarus Lightkeepers Society. "People come here pretty well every day of the year, middle of the winter we have visitors, this is one more attraction for them to come and see."

Saturday's event was just one of many that have been held to mark Nova Scotia Polish Heritage Month, which was first proclaimed only recently, back in 2020.

Earlier in September, St. Mary’s Polish Church in Whitney Pier, N.S. marked its 110th anniversary, a history that includes being rebuilt after a devastating fire in November 2014.

A twin-city pocket park was also unveiled in Whitney Pier to mark the connection with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s Polish sister-city of Walbrzych.

"This has been very grassroots, like every aspect of Nova Scotia Polish Heritage Month,” Urbaniak said. “And we're just so blessed, I feel blessed, that there's all this positive energy, that people work well together, and look what can happen with limited resources."

Nova Scotia Polish Heritage Month activities continue until Friday, one day early to allow for the marking of National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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