I had often wondered where the name of the town of Truro came from.
Eventually, I was fortunate enough to find out. There was a town of Truro in England. I learned about this town when I was there during the war.
It was early in 1945 and I had just returned from Italy. At that time, I was stationed in Aldershot, England. When I heard there was a Truro on England’s south shore close to the town of Plymouth, I was elated. I was very excited. Imagine! This was the original town that our town in Nova Scotia had been named after.
I couldn’t wait to see my hometown’s namesake. So I boarded a train headed down to England’s southwest coast. Four hours later, I was in the neat little town of Truro.
Truro bordered on the sparkling waters of the English Channel. It was heaven for me to sit in a restaurant in the town of Truro and dream of a similar named town 4,000 kilometres away. This was one of the most precious times in my life.
I often wondered how our town of Truro, Nova Scotia got started. What drew people to this locality? As people started to settle into the town that is now called Truro, there was already a gift here for them. The gift, you ask? It was nature’s way of saying, ‘Welcome’ to the people starting a new town. It was the beautiful, natural haven we now call Victoria Park.
The beauty of this natural area must have inspired people to settle here. The park itself was natural and beckoning to all newcomers. The waterfall poured bubbly fresh water into a gentle stream. This stream was later called Leper’s Brook.
The birds fluttered around and were continually singing. The squirrels scampered up and down the inviting trees. Occasionally, a gentle deer would glide slowly by. What better location could a person choose for a new home when it was bordered by a beautiful park like this?
However, through the years, Truro has endured many trying times. Truro suffered through the World War I. Then it was the terrible Depression in the 1920s and 1930s. Next was the worst conflict the world has ever seen – World War II. Many of our youth lost their lives in the conflicts. We can only imagine how their families suffered.
Yes, Truro has endured many hard times – many heart-breaking obstacles. However, the most amazing thing is – we’re still here. Why are we still here? Well, I think we’re here because of the love and respect we have for our town.
Who can ever forget Truro’s pillar of strength –Stanfield’s.
Stanfield’s has been a great deal of support for our town for more than 100 years. Thousands of employees have walked through their welcoming doors. One time, especially, they were like an angel of mercy to our town. In the hard times of the Depression, many business organizations laid their employees off. Not Stanfield’s. Their employees didn’t get full time hours but they were given part time hours. This meant they would always have money coming in. And so, through the thoughtfulness of Stanfield’s, many survived a very difficult time. Bless Stanfield’s for all they’ve done for Truro.
We are so lucky to have a person so dedicated and so future-planning as Mayor Bill Mills. Our hardworking town councillors are also a blessing. I think of two of these people who have helped me a lot – Cathy Hinton and former councillor Greg MacArthur. I also thank my friend, MLA Lenore Zann, for all the work she has done.
Our townspeople have worked hard and showed a great deal of vision for the future of our town. I’d like to mention a few wonderful additions the people of Truro have been gifted with in the last few years.
I’ll start with our new Colchester East Hants Health Centre. What a wonderful facility. It is so organized, so clean and everyone is so helpful to people just arriving there. The nurses and doctors are so pleasant and so willing to take care of you. Yes, we needed a new hospital and we really got the best.
Another great gift Truro offers us is an ultra-modern sportsplex – the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. It offers all types of exercise in its arena, aquatic and fitness centre. It offers weightlifting and body building, walking, running, swimming, climbing, skating and hockey and much, much more for all ages and ability.
I use the Stanfield’s Walking Track a great deal. You see young mothers pushing their babies there. You see elderly people – not as fast but getting the job done. We have people in Truro who just won’t give up.
One of the next enormous projects our ambitious town took on was a new library – and what a library it has become. They tore down the old library and replaced it. They may have thought about erecting a new building but no, they already had a beautiful building they could use right there, in the heart of downtown Truro. It was a beautiful heritage teacher’s college building we used to call the Normal College.
What they did was amazing. They enlarged it and modernized everything while keeping its original exterior beauty. Now learning can be up to date and much more enjoyable.
And now, in front of the Colchester East Hants Public Library, in the centre of Truro, a new and wonderful development. Our new civic square encompasses the revered and beautiful memorial to our fallen heroes which is the Cenotaph. And beside it, they are building the oval – an outdoor skating rink for the winter. The rink itself will be 140 feet by 100 feet. There will be six benches for relaxation and watching the skaters glide by. This oval has also taken a lot of planning and foresight. It is another beautiful addition to our fair town.
Now I must tell you how much Truro has done for me. It has built a new park on Alice Street. The park is beautiful and is built on the old Alice Street School grounds. I can see the children run and play and shout as I stand outside my front door. There is also a garden and a gazebo and benches for grown-ups to relax and watch the children at play.
Why is this beautiful park so precious to me? Well, on both entrances these words are engraved: “Herb Peppard Park.”
I say, ‘Thank you citizens of Truro for honouring me in such a special way.’
Now the town is doing another special thing. They resurfaced Alice Street itself. They have replaced all the water mains. They put in new sidewalks on both sides of the street; they tore up the old road and replaced it with new asphalt. The workers were wonderful. They were polite and caring about how their work was interfering with the daily life of the people of Alice Street.
They were always accommodating and friendly. We couldn’t have wished for better town employees. We are very proud of them.
This is a story of our town. We have surpassed many obstacles and we will surpass many more. Some of us have moved away but many have returned. Why? Well, you can’t leave a town like this and forget it. Your mind always returns to the place you love the most; to the people you love the most. Your mind always returns to one place – Truro.
Answering the question of where Truro’s name originated