I dropped my travelling companion at the Halifax airport at 5:30 a.m. on September 30 and excitedly started out on my own for the Cabot Trail. We had explored the trail a couple of weeks earlier but I hadn’t seen enough. I was especially keen on partaking in the Celtic Colours Festival and witnessing the explosion of colour that I knew would soon arrive with the changing of the season. There was, however, one place that I needed to visit before heading back to Cape Breton.
I rolled into Tatamagouche at about 7:00 a.m. I’m not sure what it is about Tatamagouche that attracted me. I think just the name—Tatamagouche. It was a bit off the beaten track but getting off the beaten track is why I made the trip in the first place. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was looking forward to sitting down to a traditional morning meal—bacon and eggs with rye toast and one or two, okay three cups of black coffee. My growling stomach was hastily disappointed as I rolled into the sleepy village—barely a soul in sight and the only eatery I saw with an open sign flashing was a Subway. Not the breakfast fare I envisioned. I hadn’t planned on staying long but it seemed my visit to Tatamagouche would be even shorter now. I wasn’t going to hang around waiting for the place to come alive so I recharged my two travel mugs with Subway coffee and decided to make the obligatory tour of the village before hitting the highway. As happened many times on this trip, that impulsive decision paid off.
As I made my way up Station Road towards Main Street I noticed a sandwich board sign out of the corner of my eye—Caper Café & Gift Shop, BREAKFAST SERVED—OPEN. It was a B&B and the only game in town. And that’s where I met Mary Macaulay.
Mary is the owner/operator of the establishment. She was quick with a friendly greeting and a welcoming smile and straight away led me to the small dining room where a young couple from Halifax had already been seated. And of course the menu included bacon and eggs. I hit the jackpot. I hadn’t thought much more about who Mary might have been other than a great host and an awesome cook. It wasn’t until we started to chat that I realised there was much more to her than observably met the eye.
While Mary served me breakfast we exchanged casual bits of information about ourselves. I told her about my Maritime adventure and that I was working on a website to document my Canadian travels. As I always do, I asked her about her story and if I could take a photo for the eventual narrative that I would write. Mary was obliging.
Mary told me that she earned her engineering degree in Toronto and is in-fact a chemical engineer with specialties in environmental, food processing and biotechnology. Her special interest is human impact on the environment and she holds a degree in anthropology with specialties in archaeology and linguistics. Didn’t expect that! Throughout her career, Mary became aware of and then concerned about the declining insect populations world-wide. So, in 2013 she established the Insect Recovery Project (IRP).
The following excerpt is from her website: www.insectrecovery.org
The Insect Recovery Project was established in January 2013 in response to the concern about the sudden disappearance of common insects. The Project uses social media to educate the Public about the ecological importance of insects and about their recent precipitous global decline. The Project advocates for a reversal of anthropogenic practices which have caused this decline. It also works to raise public goodwill for insects by sharing information to increase their positive profile.
I have long been aware that bee populations are in trouble and I’m concerned of the consequences of that but had never considered how all insects play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance. So, my coincidental meeting with Mary educated me on the plight of those critters that most consider to be nothing more than annoying pests. Mary is so committed to protecting insects that the property on which the café stands is purposely developed to encourage insect activity.
The Caper Café & Gift Shop and B&B is just one of the amenities offered through her business, Remember Adventures established in 2015 so that she could focus her time on the Insect Recovery Project. Site facilities include a demonstration pollinator meadow project; pedal buggy, bicycle, kayak, hiking poles, snow shoe & coaster rentals. Additionally, Remember Adventures offers accommodation at a rental chalet on an eight acre dragonfly nature reserve at near-by Angevine Lake.
Now it isn’t just the name Tatamagouche that will take me back to that place when I next visit to the Maritimes. The Caper Café & Gift Shop will definitely be home while I explore that area of this beautiful province.
Check out these websites for more info on Remember Adventures, the Insect Recovery Project and for general information on the plight of insects world-wide.