Park ‘n Sea
Park ‘n Sea by Wayne Garden
“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide…” ( Sea-Fever) by John Masefield
One of the best places to soothe the urge to visit the sea in East Hants is, without a doubt, Anthony Park, in Lower Selma.
The park consists of a sturdy l-shaped wharf and an 18.5 acre (7.488 hectares) day-use picnic park on land that had been in the Anthony family’s name “ … ever since it was cleared from virgin forest,” according to a cherished letter written by Frank Anthony, a descendant of the original landowner, Andrew Edwin Anthony.
An Anthony owned shipbuilding company was once located at the site overlooking the Cobequid Bay. There is also evidence that the area was important to the Indigenous people before that.
The wharf serves as the perfect spot from where tourists can view the tidal bore or the mud flats along the Shubenacadie River. The water is warm enough for swimming in the summer, and the gravel beach allows for walks along the shoreline.
The land that eventually became the park was referred to as the Ellis Anthony property. The provincial government approached members of the Anthony family in 1966 about purchasing the land. Government records indicate the land was designated as a provincial park on December 19, 1974. Part of the negotiated agreement included a caveat that the park name would include the name: Anthony.
Today, Helen (Miller) Brightman, recalls growing up in the storey and a half house next to the park. One of ten children, Helen recalls that her father, Phil Miller, was the caretaker of the park when it opened. As one of the eight surviving members of her family of ten, Helen remembers the community bazaars that were held in the field that is now part of the park. Picnic tables were arranged around a wood stove in the field so that the open field became a ‘community hall’ where her mother, Ruth (Anthony) Miller and other women from the community would serve hot meals during summer community picnics. End of school celebrations were held each June in the field as well.
As a result of the foresight of both the provincial government at the time and the Anthony family, residents and tourists alike can witness the running of the tides, and enjoy the beauty that generations of the Anthonys have enjoyed.
Park Info can be found https://parks.novascotia.ca/park/anthony
Photo Credit: NS Prov. Parks