Sydney Area

When: August 27, 2012 — 2 - 4pm

Where: Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, 50 Maillard Street – Membertou

Purpose: How can Nova Scotia’s Convention Centre benefit you and your community?


Our aspiration is for the Nova Centre and the new convention centre to benefit all Nova Scotians. Join in the engagement to tell us how to make the most of this opportunity for people in your region of the province. Some questions we will be exploring:

  • How can this building reflect a compelling and powerful vision for all of Nova Scotia?
  • What can we do to showcase different regions in the heart of our capital city?
  • How can we best draw visitors to your region of the province from Halifax?
  • How can more convention delegates and events create new opportunities for businesses in your region?

The Nova Centre public engagement team invited stakeholders and members of the public from the Cape Breton region to begin provincial conversations around Nova Centre and the convention centre design. Our purpose was to:

  • Gather input on how communities across the province can benefit from Nova Centre and the new convention centre
  • Discuss how this development creates new opportunities for industries such as tourism, events and creative sectors
  • Get ideas about how we can reflect the best of Nova Scotia in this new development

Nova Centre developer, Joe Ramia welcomed guests and shared his vision for Nova Centre – to connect Nova Scotia. He introduced Tim Merry from the public engagement collaborative, who introduced the meeting agenda and spoke to the opportunity. The session offered concrete feedback on Nova Centre’s development, and fostered a culture of working together in Nova Scotia for the future of the Province.

In pairs we discussed: What has been your best experience of an urban development making a positive impact across a region?

We heard in response:

  • Centre 200
  • Halifax Oval
  • Cruise Pavilion
  • Skydome in Toronto (opening)
  • It’s like a chain reaction
  • What do Nova Scotians get for their investment?

Joe Ramia then described the components of Nova Centre and Tim recapped some of what we have heard in the previous engagement events, street creative engagements, and online. (add link to previous engagements here)

Tim then invited participants to talk at their tables about:
How can Nova Centre reflect a compelling vision for all of Nova Scotia?

The themes that we heard were:

Cultural Diversity

  • Represent our authentic languages English, French, Gaelic, Mi’kmaq
  • Include diverse iconic Nova Scotia landmarks

Point of Connection

  • Gathering place

Iconic Design

  • Contemporary
  • Glass
  • Natural light
  • Maritime theme
  • Visible from the harbour

Tells Nova Scotia’s Story

  • Showcases success
  • Video simulation for full Nova Scotia experience

Natural Materials

  • n/a

Public Art and Artist

  • n/a

We then broke out into three groups to work on ideas to help Nova Centre and the convention centre have a positive influence on the entire province.

How would we like to interact with Nova Centre and the convention centre?

Showcasing Nova Scotia

  • Need incentives to travel to Cape Breton
  • Follow up conversations with visitors after they leave the region
  • Need more visitor statistics
    • Who are they?
    • How long do they stay?
    • Why did they choose Cape Breton?


Pre and post convention travel and tourism

  • Spousal incentives

 Collaborative partnerships

  • Sharing referrals among convention centres within the province
  • Understanding partnerships and relationships
  • Understanding each other’s resources and capacities

Representation of Cape Breton within Nova Centre

  • Visitor focused
  • Experience based
  • New and innovative
  • Not tokenism

Our Culture and Heritage

  • How can the government help in connecting counties and people across the province to work together?
  • ”Go big or go home”
  • Public art and contemporary art
  • Public space with virtual experiences of Nova Scotia i.e. walking the skyline trail
  • Representing the languages of Nova Scotia
  • Public space should be an educator in culture and heritage


Support for government, arts and academic organizations to collaborate in developing materials

Funding to make it possible

  • Bringing all partners together to create vision and prioritize

Support to bring in strategic and narrative development

Mechanism to connect and talk to developer/trade centre

  • An interface
  • Communications plan

Helping Businesses Grow

  • How do Cape Bretoners and others come together to organize, strategize and collaborate?
  • Who is our audience and what is our “fit”?
  • Small town honest approach
  • Mobilizing non-government organizations (NGO’s)
  • Nova Scotia booth at every conference
  • Research and setting goals to track progress


The “destination” regions need to be brought together to knowledge/idea share

Offer music, arts, crafts and different experiences at conferences in Halifax

Local collaboration and strategizing

Needs partnerships with airlines

  • Easier transport

Marguerite, from the public engagement team visually captured the entire meeting and Craig, also from the public engagement team, live streamed the meeting. Dawn and Helen Macdonald played music as people arrived and during discussions. This gathering generated many suggestions that will inform decision makers about how Nova Centre and the convention centre will impact the whole province.