Robert Reid introduced today’s speaker, Alana Hirtle from the Truro Nova Scotia Rotary Club. After hearing the Club’s story on the news, Alana was asked to speak to the National Committee, then to the whole club. She was here to tell us about the Portapique Buildup Project. This project is to revitalize the Riverside Community Hall, in response to the shooting tragedy that occurred in Portapique almost two years ago.

Alana stressed this project is not a memorial (although that will happen), it is a forward look with hope and resilience. Shortly after the shootings, the Truro Club jumped into action, looking at various ways to help the community. Educational funds and monetary help seemed to be looked after, so after a member who lives in Portapique said he didn’t know everyone who was killed, the Club looked for something to bring the community together. Revitalizing the Community Hall and adding a playground was chosen.
The project expanded rapidly to encompass moving and expanding the hall and adding a playground. Last fall the playground was opened, and interior renovation/expanding will be starting soon. Various groups helped with fundraising with the Truro Club taking the lead. The next door property owners generously offered an acre of land at a rock bottom price to allow for proper expansion.
Alana walked us through the various aspects of the project, including hall renovations and the innovative playground, opened in October 2021.  The local Aboriginal community was involved with speeches, songs and drumming to commemorate the occasion. Elder Joe told the people assembled that the playground will be a safe place, using the word Mikjikj, for turtle, to represent the safety and security of the place.
The project has expanded to a most impressive scale, and the Rotary Club of Truro will be turning over the management of the hall to the community. They should be very proud of their efforts. After taking several questions, Alana was thanked for her presentation by Leslie Frise.
If you would like to donate to the project, go to
This video is a slightly abridged version of her talk.