NEW WATERFORD, N.S. — Retired New Waterford physician Dr. Peter Littlejohn remembers how vibrant the former coal mining community was when he arrived in Cape Breton almost 50 years ago.
“It was 1974 and New Waterford was a very busy town,” said Littlejohn, who was born, raised and trained as a doctor in England.
“The town had dozens of stores on Plummer Avenue, it had its own town hall and its own police force. The Breton Education Centre had just opened. There were lots of recreational activities. But then the town changed.”
His words may be taken as a diplomatic way of saying that things got worse as the community experienced the challenges of post-industrialization, the mass out-migration of its young people and a general destabilization of the traditional family unit.