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Dec 2014

Nollaig Mhath Dhuibh!

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Merry Christmas to you!

Beannachdan nam Féilltean Dhuibh bho Colaisde na Gàidhlig, gu’m biodh am Bliadhn’ Ùr agaibh làn ciùil agus aoibhneis.
Blessings of the season to you from the Gaelic College, may your new year be filled with music and joy.

Bhon luchd-obrach aig Colaisde na Gàidhlig
From the folks at Colaisde na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College


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Dec 2014

Comhairle na Gàidhlig teams up with Colaisde na Gàidhlig to support youth language mentorship program

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Photo: Students take part in recent Na Gaisgich Òga weekend in newly-designated ‘Taigh na Gàidhlig’ or ‘Gaelic House’ at Colaisde na Gàidhlig, St. Ann’s.
L-R, Back: Joe MacMaster (Troy), Mairead Matheson (Antigonish), Sarah MacInnis (Mabou), Abigail MacDonald (St. Andrew’s), Tonya Fry (Comhairle na Gàidhlig), Colin MacDonald (Colaisde na Gàidhlig), Emily MacDonald (Instructor), Archie MacDonald (Emily’s son, Ainslie Glen), Goiridh Dòmhnullach (Gaelic Affairs) Front: Grace Campbell (Sydney), Eilidh Campbell (Mabou), Paige Campbell (Whycocomagh), Mairinn Campbell (Mabou), Mark MacDonald (St. Andrew’s)

After a successful inaugural year for Na Gaisgich Òga | The Young Heroes, a youth mentorship program for Gaelic language and culture, the initiative is back again, this time with support from Comhairle na Gàidhlig | the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia. With the intention to cover all entry fees for participants, the Council has donated $5,000 to the program.

Comhairle na Gàidhlig is a non-profit organization first established in 1990. With a mission to “lead in creating an environment that makes Nova Scotia a place where Gaelic language, culture, and communities thrive,” the group works to strengthen the community through their means of support. In year 2 of a 5 year restructuring plan, the council is moving in a direction of bringing together leaders with a unified vision, more provincial lobbying and advocacy, while focusing attention on youth.

“Our community is seeing more of the younger generations coming to fluency with the language,” says Tonya Fry, Vice President of the Gaelic Council. “Comhairle na Gàidhlig is interested in assisting in the facilitation of language learning for all young Gaels. The development of language skills will strengthen the connection to the history and culture for these young people. It is an investment in the future of Gaelic Nova Scotia. We are proud to support Colaisde na Gàidhlig in this initiative. Partnerships, such as this, between Gaelic organizations will also strengthen our community and build a stronger future for all Gaels.”

Developed by Colaisde na Gàidhlig | The Gaelic College, with partnered support from Nova Scotia Gaelic Affairs, the Na Gaisgich Òga program is an immersive Gaelic language and culture learning opportunity for Nova Scotian youth ages 10 to 15. After an application-based entry process, 10 youth are paired with a personal language mentor from their respective communities. Throughout the duration of the seven-month program, students work closely with designated mentors and participate in monthly immersion sessions led by Colaisde na Gàidhlig Gaelic Director Colin MacDonald, instructor Emily MacDonald, and GA Gaelic Field Officer, Goiridh Dòmhnullach.

“We’re thrilled that Na Gaisgich Òga participants are now able to take part in the program free of charge, thanks to the support from Comhairle na Gàidhlig,” says Gaelic College CEO Rodney MacDonald. “This is really a unique opportunity for young Gaelic learners, and having support from such organizations is of huge benefit to students.”

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Nov 2014

The Award-Winning, Gail Montgomery!

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Halifax, N.S. (November 26, 2014) – On November 25th the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) hosted the 2014 Crystal Tourism Awards as the grand finale to the 37th Annual Tourism Summit – Tourism Works for Nova Scotia. Nine Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence were presented to organizations and individuals who have excelled in their particular category. The winners this year are:

– Mr. Donald Wallace – Alastair and Frances Campbell Tourism Achievement Award
– NovaScotian Crystal – Tourism Business of the Year Award
– Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon – Ambassador Award
– Wolfville Magic Winery Bus Tour – Tourism Innovator Award
– Ms. Wendy Swedlove – Human Resource Leadership Award
– Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design – Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award
– Ms. Gail Montgomery – Golden Hospitality Award
– Mr. Eldon George – Tourism Champion
– Organizing Committee, Sherbrooke Village Old Fashioned Christmas – Community Service Award

Also presented were the 2014 Pineapple Awards – a celebration of our Pride in Service and of the individuals who go above and beyond to enrich visitor experiences. Throughout the year, visitors to Nova Scotia complete Pineapple Awards ballots located in hundreds of establishments throughout the province. The winners this year are:

– Mr. Glen Morrison – Hampton Inn by Hilton, Membertou
– Ms. Liz Ingram-Chambers – Le Bistro By Liz, Halifax
– Ms. Tish Moses – Yarmouth Visitor Information Centre, Yarmouth

Working with partner associations and stakeholders, TIANS is committed to representing the best interests of the Industry; enhancing and supporting the development of a competitive business environment; advocating on issues critical to the Industry’s success; and most importantly, leading Nova Scotia’s most promising economic sector.


Our Award Nomination

Growing up in Tarbot, and now living just a wee hike up the road from the Gaelic College on the North Shore, Gail intimately knows the area, its offerings, and its people. She grew up in a family gifted with a natural ability for creativity, talented with their hands and minds. At a young age, she found herself to be creative and skilled, taking a liking to sewing in particular. It was in 1980 Gail first began at the Gaelic College, where she worked and studied as a kiltmaker. This would lead to fulltime employment and, with time, passing the lessons, skills, and attention to detail she developed on to her own understudy. She had a keen sense of organization, making her ideal for Craft Shop management. Her trustworthy presence and loyalty to the institution made for only more opportunity, with Gail taking on the title of Director of Hospitality, the position she still holds today.

To say Gail is dedicated is an understatement, with the College becoming a huge part of her life as she works tirelessly to ensure each guest has a positive experience, and the College maintains a reputation in good standing.  Since taking on the role of hostess with the most, hospitality rentals on our campus have gone through the roof. With a College like no other, and little to no advertising of hospitality offerings, Gail has made quite the name for herself and the impeccable service she provides. Her work has provided a source of income for all seasons, and kept this non-profit, independent institution running strong.

It is the usual case for Gail to do complete preparations for every event; decorating, looking after any special requirements, welcoming guests, serving food, bartending, volunteering her husband John, and then cleaning and preparing for the next day, all well into the wee hours. Early mornings, weekends, holidays, and the other countless hours she puts in have made Gail a most trusted member of staff, and a true source of inspiration. The College has been standing for 76 years, with Gail a huge part of its history, now for over 34 years.

Gail epitomizes Nova Scotian hospitality, welcoming all guests to campus as if it were her own kitchen. Her down-to-earth manner, coupled with her energy, enthusiasm, and attention to detail ensure each visitor is made to feel special. We can think of no better recipient for your Golden Hospitality award than Mrs. Gail Montgomery.

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Nov 2014

From Our Sewing Room

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You have to admit, ‘kiltmaker’ is a pretty neat occupation to have, and one that the sewing room ladies hold with great pride and respect to history. However, it’s also provided a few good laughs over the years, as the curious-minded visitor have often asked many questions in such regard. Therefore, we asked the Ann and Jenni just that — what are the most frequently asked questions you hear regarding kilts?


6) What do I need to wear with my kilt?

A) When you wear your kilt, you must wear a sporran, kilt hose, and flashes. Everything else is optional — including underwear!


5) Do you make a 6, 7, or 8 yard kilt?

A) A kilt at the Gaelic College is made according to the size of a man’s hip. For example, with a hip measurement of 44” or less, we use ‘the whole nine yards.’ More yardage is required for a hip size greater than 46”.
*Fun fact: It’s from the making of a kilt that the common saying ‘the whole nine yards’ comes from!


4) What is the proper length of a kilt?

A) The kilt should stop at the top of the knee cap and there should be 4” – 5” between where the kilt stops and the top of the sock begins.


3) Who can wear a kilt?

A) Traditionally, the kilt is a man’s garment, but a woman in a pipe band can wear a kilt, and all highland dancers can wear a kilt.


2) Is there such a thing as a utility kilt, a dress kilt, or a casual kilt?

A) No — it is the shoes and top you wear with your kilt that determines whether a kilt is for work, for a casual occasion, or a formal occasion.


1) What is worn under the kilt?

A) Nothing is worn — everything is in perfect working order. 😉

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Oct 2014

Message from our CEO, Rodney MacDonald

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A’ chàirdean choir  |  Dear friends,

2014 has been a very busy and fulfilling year for the Gaelic College; a year which saw us welcome more students at our school, introduce a new island-wide festival, and saw more visitors coming through our doors.

Our new festival, KitchenFest! | Féis a’ Chidsin! brought together hundreds of visitors and locals alike, included well over one hundred local musicians, and promoted our authentic Cape Breton style music and Gaelic language. We already look forward to next years’ festivities, taking place from June 27-July 4, 2015, which will be even bigger and better!

Excellence in education continues to be our goal as an institution. This is the case whether it involves our usual summer programming, welcoming students nationally and internationally, or our other programming opportunities at a local level. Initiatives such as Na Gaisgich Òga/The Young Heroes are important as we continue to work with our partners to ensure more Gaelic speakers with a deeply rooted knowledge of their language and culture. Both Nova Scotia Gaelic Affairs and Comhairle na Gàidhlig – The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia are important supporters in this regard.

Other partnerships continue to play a critical role in Colaisde na Gàidhlig’s ‘day to day’ activities. Our MOU with Cape Breton University moves us forward by offering onsite, credited courses including one for Gaelic language in the spring of 2015. Celtic Colours International Festival bring thousands through our doors and our daily offerings of cultural demonstrations and ceilidhs make our site an even busier place to be. As a result, the College is growing more quickly than ever before. We have greater interest, greater participation, and a renewed focus on improving our capital infrastructure. Improving our campus is integral as we plan for the years ahead. We are thinking, planning, and acting for the long term benefit of our people.

As we move forward towards 2015, I wish to acknowledge the work of our staff, Board of Governors, volunteers, and alumni in their continued support of Colaisde na Gàidhlig/ The Gaelic College!

Suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig! Up with the Gaelic!

Honourable Rodney J. MacDonald

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Jul 2014

“Play it again, St. Ann’s”

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Encore performances are planned after a successful run of three local plays that launched during Kitchenfest at the Cape Breton Gaelic College in St. Anns, Victoria County.

St. Ann’s Bay Players artistic director Bev Brett adapted Alistair MacLeod’s dark comedy Vision for the stage and wrote two short plays, Don’t Let the Cat Out and The New Shoes, based on two humorous local Gaelic tales.

Audiences at Kitchenfest loved the plays, said Brett, so the 34-year-old local theatre company decided to stage six more offerings Thursdays and Fridays at the college.

The plays ran for three nights during the inaugural Kitchenfest event and the last night was a sold-out show. Encore performances run July 10, 11, 17, 18 and 31, and Aug. 1. Tickets are available from the Gaelic college.

The short plays are slapstick farce, said Brett, and while MacLeod’s Vision contains a lot of humour, the play remains true to MacLeod’s powerful words and is not aimed at young audiences.

“Comedy is great, but this is a little dark humour,” said Brett. “It’s a PG rating with some sexual stuff in it.”

All three plays contain some Gaelic language and song, but the stories and the humour are accessible for everyone, including tourists, she said.

Cape Bretoners will get an extra kick out of recognizing the stories and accents of the actors, though.

“People come from all over the island to see our shows,” Brett said. “We’re still aiming for our local audience, but it would be great to get some tourists, as well.”


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