Meet Our New Community Navigator

As a stakeholder in the The Yarmouth Region Medical Professional Recruitment Partnership, the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Nancy Ellis as our new Community Navigator for Physician Recruitment and Retention. Nancy brings a wealth of experience and community connections to the role and is eager to share her passion for Southwest Nova Scotia with the medical professionals currently practicing in our community and those who are interested in calling the Yarmouth Region home. The Community Navigator program was established more than 4 years ago as a response to the loss of physicians being experienced across the province. As our Community Navigator, Nancy will serve as an important resource to help medical professionals feel welcomed and supported so that they can enjoy a long and happy career in the Tri-Counties.

Nancy Ellis, Community Navigator for Physician Recruitment & Retention

Nancy was born and raised in Nova Scotia, but moved to Yarmouth a decade ago. She explains that receiving a warm welcome in her chosen community helped her feel at home. “Having moved to Yarmouth nearly 10 years ago, I was also once a newcomer myself. I experienced first-hand the difference it can make having someone you can trust to have your best interests at heart help you make connections, meet new friends, sharing the best places to go for services, and introducing you to local activities and sights. I am excited to be a trusted resource for medical learners, physicians, and other medical professionals who are looking to call Southwestern Nova Scotia home. It is easy to see, through our community’s attractions and people, that this beautiful coastal area is an excellent place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Nancy is familiar with the healthcare struggles that rural communities face and sees her new role as an exciting opportunity to make an impact. “My past involvement with community groups, events, the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce coupled with my own family’s medical struggles have given me the perspective and awareness of how important it is to do whatever we can collectively and as individuals to help increase the number of medical professionals in our community and to support the efforts of this medical recruitment partnership.”

We are very pleased to welcome Nancy Ellis to the Medical Recruitment Partnership. Her experience in marketing and her wonderful working relationship with the community at large will hep to build on the successes of the past 5 years in our Physician Recruitment journey. – Kerry Muise, Chair of the Community Navigator Oversight Committee

Nancy hosted a seafood dinner celebrating local cuisine for physicians, medical learners and their families at Beaux Vendredis.

Supporting a strong healthcare system is an on-going effort that takes teamwork and Nancy is up to the task. “It is also clear to me that the Community Navigator role is not just held by one person, but is a support network of the community as a whole. Since the inception of this program, seeing people rally together, moving towards one common goal, and the achievements so far, has been inspiring and would not be possible without each and every person in our community doing their part to help! As the saying goes “it takes a village”, and I am honored to be a part of this “village” we call Yarmouth and the team that is working to serve the Tri-Counties in Southwestern Nova Scotia.”

Nancy at Le Village Historique Acadien where our physicians learned more about the Acadien culture that makes our community so unique!

Welcome to the team Nancy!

The magic of Maud Lewis brought to life in Yarmouth with projection show during March Fest

The side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of NS has been the screen for the Maud Lewis show. On March 28, the show switches over to a celebration of spring.
Tina Comeau · Multi-media journalist | Posted: March 22, 2023, 6:33 p.m. | Updated: March 22, 2023, 6:31 p.m. | 8 Min

A Maud Lewis show has been projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in downtown Yarmouth as part of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce March Fest. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

YARMOUTH, NS – Kaylyn Melanson never met her great-great-grandmother, who was long, long passed away before she was born.

But throughout Melanson’s life, there have been countless opportunities for her to get to know her great-great-grandmother Maud Lewis, including a special one that’s been underway in Yarmouth.

As part of March Fest activities organized by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, a three-week projection show featuring the art of Maud Lewis has been adding a magical element to the downtown.

Projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth, the whimsical show has been creating a buzz in the town.

Melanson, 25, says it is so wonderful to see Maud’s work, and Maud herself, continuing to be celebrated.

“Her popularity has never diminished. It seems to keep growing and growing,” she says.

The oxen that Maud Lewis famously painted at projected onto the side of art gallery in Yarmouth as part of a projection show that’s been creating a buzz in the town. TINA COMEAU

Rick Allwright, executive director of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, says it’s been really exciting for the chamber to see how excited people are about the projection show as Maud Lewis’s art is brought to life in this new and vibrant way.

Allwright remembers first seeing the projection show in Halifax and wanting to do something similar in Yarmouth. It was decided by the Chamber that it would be a wonderful addition to its March Fest, which has included a month-long list of activities and events aimed at drawing people to businesses during what is traditionally a slow time of year.

People who have watched the Maud Lewis show say there’s a definite magical feel to it, which is meaningful feedback since a lot went into pulling it off.

The first logistic to overcome was what building to use as ‘the screen.’

Allwright says they needed a large flat building with minimal windows, or at least windows that could catch some color. The south side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia became the logical choice.

A Maud Lewis art show has been projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as part of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce’s March Fest. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

People can gather in Jim MacLeod Square (formerly Alma Square) to watch the show, which runs Tuesdays through to Sundays, starting at dusk each night. The show is on a loop and keeps replaying for two to three hours each night.

Allwright says the support from the art gallery and the adjacent Pharmasave has been great. The projector for the show is housed on the roof of the Pharmasave building, and the business has allowed for its power and internet to be used.

Allwright says the show’s creator, Nick Iwasko – of the company Wasko AV – was a huge help, along with the tech crews and contractors that set things up.

About Iwasko, Allwright says, “He’s the guy who coordinated all the production. He’s the artist that really put it together. So hats off to him. We knew it would come out great and it’s better than we thought.”

The show’s location is also symbolic in that over the years the art gallery has showcased the artwork of Maud Lewis, who was born in South Ohio, Yarmouth County in March 1903.

She later lived in her now-famous, tiny, art-inspired house in Marshalltown, Digby County with her husband Everett, from where she sold many of her modest paintings. She was born with birth defects and developed rheumatoid arthritis. This greatly reduced her mobility, particularly in her hands, yet she could still grasp and move her paintbrushes as she painted her cheerful art that mostly depicted animals, landscapes and flowers. Her art creations also covered the interior, and parts of the exterior, of her home.

She died in July 1970.

A steel structure in the dimensions and shape of Maud’s home is located off Route 1 in Marshalltown. On Digby Neck, retired Seabrook fisherman Murray Ross built a replica of her house that people can also visit.

There are many reasons, meanwhile, to take in the Yarmouth projection show more than once.

Maud Lewis is being celebrated through the show for the first three weeks. That began on March 7. A show celebrating St. Patrick’s Day was also added as part of the show for a few days. On March 28, a show celebrating spring begins its three-week run, which will go to April 18. There will also be an Easter component added to that show for part of the timeframe.

The art gallery building has proven to be a great screen for the project shows. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Asked if there’s been any thought to doing shows in the summer when tourists will also be in the area, Allwright says it would be nice to do. He notes the show is costly to execute and it requires partners coming together to make it happen.

“But if we can find the funding to do another show, we certainly will,” he says.

For now, people have been loving and enjoying the Maud Lewis shows, adding to the never-ending affection people have for the folk artist.

Kaylyn Melanson says in 2018, it was a special time when four generations of her family visited Maud Lewis’s Marshalltown house, which is on permanent display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Included in that visit were Melanson’s then two-year-old son, her father Paul Benoit (Maud’s great-grandson) and Melanson’s grandmother Marsha Benoit (who was Maud’s granddaughter). Marsha’s mother, Catherine Muise, was the daughter of Maud Lewis.

Kaylyn Melanson with her child stands in front of a photo her great-great-grandmother Maud Lewis during a visit years ago to Maud’s former Marshalltown home, which is on display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. CONTRIBUTED

Paul Benoit (Maud Lewis’s great-grandson) and Marsha Benoit (who was Maud’s granddaughter) during a 2018 visit to the Maud Lewis house at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. CONTRIBUTED

Born out of wedlock, Maud’s daughter Catherine had been put up for adoption. Maud, however, had been told her baby had died.

The family says Catherine and Maud never developed a relationship.

Still, the family is proud of its connection to Maud.

Melanson says her nanny Marsha died years ago. She says her nanny would have loved the projection show now happening in Yarmouth, much like Melanson loved visiting her great-great-grandmother’s house.

“I love the little house in the art gallery. It’s just amazing how many layers of paint she painted on that door,” she says. “It was so nice that we all got to do that together.”

Physician appreciation awards presented at ceremony in Yarmouth

Awards were nominated by colleagues and the community
SaltWire Network | Posted: March 23, 2023, 2:40 p.m. | Updated: March 23, 2023, 6:39 p.m. | 5 Min Read

Dr. Michelle Cain received the Family Medicine Physician of the Year, which was presented to her by Dr. Shelagh Leahey.

YARMOUTH, NS – A recent physician appreciation reception was held in Yarmouth to celebrate excellence in local physician services.

The event was sponsored by the Yarmouth Regional Medical Professional Recruitment Partnership and the Office of Health Professional Recruitment.

The event was attended by local doctors from Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby counties, their family members, and other stakeholders.

Twelve awards were handed out, which included 11 awards nominated by colleagues and one award nominated by the communities at large.

Dr. Tyler Green received the Making a Daily Difference Award, which was presented to him by Dr. Joe Gillis.

Dr. Brian Moses received the Life-Long Learner Award, which was presented to him by Dr. Peter Loveridge

“Despite the obvious challenges to health care at the moment, we have excellent care given locally by our physicians and it is important that we recognize that,” said Rebecca Cassidy, Community Navigator of Medical Professional Attraction, Recruitment, Retention.

“Our excellent collegial spirit here was obvious with great participation from physicians nominating their co-workers,” she said.

“It was also an opportunity to acknowledge the physicians who have retired since 2019 and those who have passed away.”

Dr. Joe Gillis received the Healthy Communities Leader Award, which was presented to him by Councillor Patti Durkee, Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, and Chair of the Municipal Doctor Recruitment and Retention Committee, who are members of the partnership. – Contributed

Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates received the Rising Star Award, which was presented by Dr. Michelle Dow.

The award recipients were:

• Outstanding Resident: Dr. Emma Crawley

• Rising Star: Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates

• Mentor Champion: Dr. Abir Hussein

• Dedicated Mental Health & Continuing Care Physician Award: Dr. Julie Chandler

• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate: Dr. Tessa Boudreau

• Making a Daily Difference: Dr. Tyler Green

• Distinguished Recruitment Partner: Dr. Michelle Dow

• Life-Long Learner: Dr. Brian Moses

• Family Medicine Physician of the Year: Dr. Michelle Cain

• Specialist of the Year: Dr. Elissa Cohen

• Healthy Communities Leader: Dr. Joe Gillis

• Healthcare Hero: Dr. Ashley McCormick. This was the award nominated by community members.

Dr. Emma Crawley received the Outstanding Resident Award, presented by Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates.

Dr. Courtney Mazeroll accepted the Healthcare Hero Award on behalf of Dr. Ashley McCormick. The award was presented by Mayor Pam Mood. – Contributed

A month of events on tap as March Fest makes its premiere in Yarmouth

The initiative is one that’s been pulled together by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce
Kathy Johnson | Posted: March 3, 2023, 10:29 a.m. | Updated: March 9, 2023, 8:32 p.m. | 11 Min Read

A celebration of the works of Maud Lewis is being celebrated as part of an Animated Projection Show being projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Jim MacLeod Square in Yarmouth as part of March Fest, a month-long festival of events and activities that’s been organized by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. The show runs Tuesdays to Sundays starting at dusk. The first three weeks are a celebration of Maud Lewis. The second three weeks will be a celebration of spring. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

YARMOUTH, NS – The Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating this month’s arrival of spring and Yarmouth’s vibrant downtown with March Fest – a month-long festival filled with fun activities for all ages to enjoy.

This is the first time the chamber has hosted March Fest.

“We’re building off the success of The Evergreen Festival extension held this winter,” says Jen MacMillan, project assistant with the chamber.

“Our goal with these events is to support our local businesses and encourage a sense of community,” she says. “We want to highlight the great things that our town has to offer. We’re trying to involve lots of organizations, whether it’s directly as a participant in something like the hot chocolate competition, or through helping to promote events that they’ve already got on the go.”

The feature attraction will be an animated light projection show that will transform the side of the western branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia from Tuesdays through to Sundays at dusk. The show begins March 7 and runs for six weeks, says MacMillan.

A celebration of the works of Maud Lewis is being celebrated as part of an Animated Projection Show being projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Jim MacLeod Square in Yarmouth as part of March Fest, which has been organized by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

“The first three weeks will showcase the beautiful works of Maud Lewis and the second three weeks will celebrate spring and some of the features that make Yarmouth unique.”

“We’ll also have week-long intermission shows for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, so be sure to visit more than once.”
March Fest kicks off on March 3 with a Hot Chocolate Competition, that runs to March 8. (Originally it was to end of March 5 but it was extended.)

“Ten amazing local businesses have created their own specialty hot chocolates. Customers can try the various entries and vote for their favourite creation. As a thank you for voting, they’ll be entered to win one of five $100 gift cards,” says MacMillan.

A map to help guide people through the March Fest hot chocolate competition. FACEBOOK

Participating businesses include Blueberry Fields Bakery Café; Futura; Gale’s Eatery (in the Rodd Grand Hotel); Heritage Brewing Co; Iceworks Dairy & Espresso Bar; Pair-A-Dice Bistro (in the Yarmouth Mall); Sip Cafe; Sister Sundays Cafe (in the Canadian Tire parking lot); Studio Yarmouth Cafe & Gallery; and The Style Merchant.

With activities ranging from shows, markets, workshops, and live music every Friday night at Heritage Brewing Co. March Fest offers something for everyone, says MacMillan.

“Mariners on Main is also running a variety of activities for March Break for all ages. Another exciting event will be the town-wide Scavenger Hunt running March 24 to 26. Teams will compete to complete missions throughout Yarmouth, including riddles, GPS check-ins, photo challenges, and more! Winning teams will receive prizes – and of course bragging rights as well! Team Leaders can register their teams for free at or by calling 902-742-3074.”

The side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the perfect screen for a projection show that is running for six weeks as part of March Fest. TINA COMEAU PHOTO


(Note: You can find additional information about March Fest on the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and on the chamber’s website, along with schedule information and updates.)

• March 1-18: The Secret Codes – African Nova Scotian Quilts Exhibit at the Yarmouth County Museum. This exhibit features some of the meticulously handcrafted quilts made by Nova Scotia’s Black communities from the past century. These amazing quilts are records of community and family history, as well as a celebration of Black women and Black culture.

• March 2-4 and 9-11: Murder on the Orient Express at Th’YARC at 7:30 p.m.

• March 3-8: Hot Chocolate Competition. Visit participating businesses and try their featured beverages. Each purchase = 1 ballot to vote for your favourite entry. When you vote, you’ll also be entered for your chance to win one of five $100 gift cards. Participants: Blueberry Fields Bakery Café; Futura; Gale’s Eatery (in the Rodd Grand Hotel); Heritage Brewing Co; Iceworks Dairy & Espresso Bar; Pair-A-Dice Bistro (in the Yarmouth Mall); Sip Café; Sister Sundays Cafe (in the Canadian Tire parking lot); Studio Yarmouth Cafe & Gallery; The Style Merchant. Be sure to check individual participant’s hours of operation.

• March 3-5: Live music at Heritage Brewing Co at 8 p.m. by Marc Durkee & Danielle Mahood.

• March 5: Yarmouth Makers Market at the Yarmouth Lions Club from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free admission. Gift basket raffle in support of SHYFT House

• March 7: A six-week Animated Projection Show begins on the side of the Art Gallery building in Jim MacLeod Square. Runs Tuesdays to Sundays starting at dusk. Runs for six weeks. New show starts on March 28.

A celebration of the works of Maud Lewis is being celebrated as part of an Animated Projection Show being projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Jim MacLeod Square in Yarmouth as part of March Fest, which has been organized by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

• March 8: Barter Based Learning – Beginner’s Crochet with the Tri-County Folk School. Learn a new skill in exchange for bartered items (e.g. handmade crafts, eggs, baked goods, etc.) Seats are limited. Check their events on Facebook to register.

• March 8: Evening in Mexico Pop-Up Dinner by The Rural Foodie at 6 p.m. at Jacob’s Loft. Five-course dinner with a glass of wine. $60/person, to register text 902-307-6402, message on Facebook, or email

• March 10: Mario Day at Pair-A-Dice Bistro (Yarmouth Mall); Live Music at Heritage Brewing Co at 8 p.m. by Matt Muise & Cory LeBlanc.

• March 11: Hello Spring Market at the Yarmouth Mariners Centre by The Mom Market South Shore starting at 10 a.m. Free admission. Featuring local vendors, live music, a princess meet and greet, kids craft area and more.

• March 12: Barter Based Learning – Intro to Soap Making with the Tri-County Folk School at 1 p.m. Learn a new skill in exchange for bartered items (e.g. art or crafty items, baked or home-preserved goods, candles, seeds, plants, etc.) Seats are limited, register in advance.

Live music is a big part of the events at Heritage Brewery and that will be the case on dates during March Fest as well. CONTRIBUTED

• March 13-18: March Break Activities at Mariners on Main, which includes: March 13-17 March Break Day Camp at 8 a.m. to 4 or 5:30 p.m. Kids will have arts and craft time, some physical activity and games and lots of swimming. March 13-14 baking camp for kids. March 15-17 Learn to play racquetball. March 18 Teen Takeover starting at 7 p.m. This is a free event for teens ages 12 to 17 or those who are 18 and can show a valid high school Student ID. During this event, Mariners on Main will be closed to the general public, so teens can enjoy the use of the swimming pool, basketball court and games room including our Nintendo switch. Call 902-742-2155 to register for events and for more information.

• March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Kitchen Party at Heritage Brewing Co. Live Music by Matt Muise, Cory LeBlanc, Shannon Malone and Curt LeBlanc.

• March 20: Pottery Night at Futura at 6:30 p.m. Learn how to work with pottery and clay with Phillip Clairmont. Register by contacting Futura

• March 21: Pendulums at Futura (329 Main St.) at 6:30 p.m. Learn about pendulum work. A pendulum is more than just a weight at the end of a string. This is a powerful tool that has been used in divination for thousands of years. Register by contacting Futura. (Note: You can find them on Facebook: Futura New Age & Metaphysical)

• March 22: Tea Meditation at Futura at 6:30 p.m. Grace Amirault will be guiding the meditation. Register by contacting Futura.

• March 23: Sacred Pouch Making at Futura at 6:30 p.m. with Sandra LeBlanc. Register by contacting Futura.

March Fest in Yarmouth is a new initiative by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. FACEBOOK

• March 24: Live Music at Heritage Brewing Co at 8 p.m. by Matt Muise & Cory Leblanc.

• March 24 to 26: Town-wide scavenger hunt. Complete as many missions as you can to win great prizes. Register your team in advance for free at or by calling 902-742-3074.

• March 25: Southwest Nova Pride Association Board Game Night at 6 p.m. at Pair-A-Dice Bistro in the Yarmouth Mall.

• March 26: Tri-County Folk School Makers Swap. Time TBA. Bring a few small items that you’ve grown, made, baked, brewed, or foraged. Everyone brings what they feel comfortable with giving to the community. All the items will go onto a big table of goodies. Each person will draw a number and when their number is called, they choose an item that another community member has brought to share. You can also find them on Facebook: Tri-County Folk School.

• March 31: Live Music at Heritage Brewing Co. at 8 p.m. by Riptide.

COVID-19 Vulnerability Report

Released today, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s (APEC) latest report, commissioned by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC), reveals how differences in industry and demographic factors may shape the recovery for the 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada.

Travel-related, customer-facing and commodity-based industries are among the most negatively affected by COVID-19. Rural areas are typically more vulnerable to these economic impacts because of their greater dependence on these industries.

The Atlantic Industry Vulnerability Index used in this report measures the share of the labour force in industries that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19. There are large differences between counties ranging from 18% to 53%. Yarmouth came in at 41.3% which is high and due to a larger share of the labour force in at-risk industries. The greatest relative risk is its dependence upon the primary (fishing), manufacturing (seafood) and retail industries.


The report also contains dashboards and comparative tables for all counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada, identifying key variables that measure their vulnerability to COVID-19 including health, labour force and long-term structural indicators. When it comes to Yarmouth County the report identifies a number of concerns. 

Labour force vulnerability of the county is rated ‘yellow’, there is a large Indigenous population and median income is low. Both Indigenous and low-income workers are at greater risk from the employment impacts of COVID-19. Health vulnerability is rated ‘yellow’ because the county has a high share of seniors that have a greater health risk from COVID-19. Overall physical and mental health was relatively good pre-pandemic. Long-term economic vulnerability has been rated ‘red’ as a result that  income and education levels are relatively low, and population growth is slow which might impede future growth prospects.

This report is intended to help communities and governments as they develop informed strategies to support their recovery. Further, governments should consider the distinctive aspects of urban and rural areas in their plans to support the recovery of all regions.