The Creamery Square Heritage Centre features a large exhibit depicting the history of the butter making process, which operated in Tatamagouche until 1992. The creamery was first opened in 1925, with two different operators prior to 1968 when Scotsburn Co-Operative Services Limited purchasing the business. Raissa Tetanish photo

There’s a lot in store at the Margaret Fawcett Norrie Heritage Centre this summer.

Maralyn Driver, the treasurer for the Creamery Square Heritage Society, which operates the centre, said there are a number of events planned to go along with the current exhibits and displays.

To help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the centre will have a number of children’s activities happening in the area in front of The Senator’s Stage. The centre is also a sponsor of the annual TataFest, which will feature a number of activities between Aug. 19 and 27.

“We have been gathering pictures relating back over the decades, and they will be on display over the summer,” said Driver. “We’re also collecting calendars on loan from the area, going as far back as the 1930s.”

The centre has four different exhibits on display, and also houses the North Shore Archives on the upper level. It’s not just about bringing the tourists in, but locals as well, many of whom don’t know the centre exists.

There are 290-million-year-old fossils to be examined of trackways found east of Tatamagouche. The main floor also features all the equipment used to make Tatamagouche Butter.

“On the upper level, we have artifacts representing life in the community from the late 1800s to the early 1900s,” said Driver.

“We have two two-headed calves. You wouldn’t believe how many come in just for those. They saw them as children and they will now bring their grandchildren in to see them.”

There’s also the Anna Swan exhibit, and visitors can often find Swan’s great-grandnephew, Dale Swan, on site.

“He is always available to talk about Anna, and the other volunteers are quite knowledgeable of the other exhibits as well,” Driver noted.

Throughout the exhibits, there will be a number of children’s activities set up to keep young ones busy.

Information panels are in both official languages – English and French – with Beth Carruthers, the society’s vice-president, speaking French fluently.

“And we will have students here (who can speak) other languages as well.”

For the months of July and August, the centre will depend on its students to help with operations, and the society will also be busy with fundraisers to keep the centre going on a regular basis.

Visitors to the centre can be taken on tours of the centre and its exhibits, but are also welcome to take things in on their own.

“A lot of people are interested in our old fire cooker,” said Driver, adding it looks like an old commode. “It was the original slow cooker. In the summer when it’s very hot, the stoves and ovens were on only in the morning.”
She said people would begin cooking their supper with the stove or oven, however hotter temperatures wouldn’t allow them to do so later in the day. Instead, they would heat up a metal disc before putting it into the fire cooker.

“Then they would take the food that was partway cooked and put it into the fire cooker, and would have a hot meal at suppertime,” she said.

Along with the exhibits, the gift shop is always a popular spot, with the society trying to put an emphasis on local crafts.

“If it’s not local, it is at least provincial,” said Driver. “And we sell a lot of books. They’re our biggest sellers.”

The heritage centre is on limited hours until the end of May. Beginning in June, the centre will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Those visiting between 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturdays will be admitted free.

For more information on the centre, including becoming a volunteer, visit tatamagoucheheritagecentre.ca or call 902-657-3449.

 

HISTORY OF THE HERITAGE CENTRE

  • 1924 – The original creamery building was constructed
  • 1925 – Alex Ross opened the Tatamagouche Creamery
  • 1930 – J.J. Creighton purchased the creamery
  • 1967 – J.J. Creighton passed away
  • 1968 – Scotsburn Co-Operative Services Limited purchased the creamery
  • 1992 – Butter production at the creamery ended and the building was given to the village, however Scotsburn Dairy Group continued producing butter under the Tatamagouche brand
  • 2009 The Creamery Square Heritage Society took over the operation of the building
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Raissa Tetanish
Raissa Tetanish is the new editor and marketing advisor for the Tatamagouche Light. She has more than 11 years experience as a reporter, with a background in both photography and photojournalism. She can be reached at 902-305-6177, or raissatetanish@tatamagouchelight.com.