Sections

Special Canada 150 focus on Mill Village satellite station at exhibition

Published on July 6, 2017

One of the photos that will be on display at the Medway River History Show is this photo of a fisherman casting his line in the Medway.

©Submitted

PORT MEDWAY, N.S - Take a trip back in time with a new exhibit opening at the Port Medway Lighthouse Park Exhibition Centre.

This Satellite Station put Mill Village on the map in the 1960’s. It was built as only one of five satellite stations in the world to make use of the first fixed satellites.

The Medway River History Show, Ice Age to Space Age: 10,000 Years of Connections, opens on July 14 at 2 p.m.
Now in its sixth year, the show, featuring hundreds of historical photos, videos, artifacts, tours and more, celebrates the area the from Port Medway with its seafaring heritage, through Dock Cove and Steam Mill Point, Mill Village, Charleston, and upriver to Bangs Falls and Greenfield.
“This year, as part of the provincial Canada 150 Forward program, we are celebrating the Mill Village (Charleston) Earth Satellite Station, which put Canada at the forefront of cutting edge communications technology,” said Bob Whitelaw, chairman of the communities association.
Earlier this year, Whitelaw received a Canada 150 Forward grant to gather research and conduct interviews that looked into the history of the satellite station.
The satellite station was one of only five in the world at the time – and one of only two in North America. It was built in 1963, just after the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite, says Whitelaw.
[Everything you watched in the 1960s and 70s came through Mill Village, Nova Scotia]

Mill Village was chosen as the site of the satellite because of its remote location – with very little radio interference – and was also close to railways and roads to bring in the large equipment necessary to build the station. It was dedicated to beaming telephone and television signals from a fixed satellite, and drew in many special events, from the famous hockey match between Canada and Russia in 1972 to Muhammad Ali's Rumble in the Jungle in 1974. During its heyday, up to 60 people were employed at the satellite.
There are plenty of other photos to see as well, Whitelaw said.
“The Canada Enters the Space Age segment is only a small part of the exhibit,” Whitelaw said. “The show contains historical photographs from the Age of Sail to steam, lighthouses, wharves, lost at sea documents, water-powered to steam sawmills, cemeteries, the Charleston pulp mill, hunting, fishing and guiding, famous people such as Howard Blackburn and Frederick G Creed, churches, the Black community, archaeology, geology, maps, and much, much more.”

This young child watches the Medway River. Hundreds of historical photos, videos and artifacts will be on display at the Medway River History Show, which runs from July 14-23.
Submitted


Because there is so much to see covering so many aspects of the area’s rich heritage, Whitelaw added, this year's show will be open from July 14 to 23. Visitors can take in the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the weekends and from 1 to 5 p.m. during the week.
“This celebration of the rich diversity of the Medway area promises to have something for everybody,” Whitelaw said.
There will also be special entertainment for two days during the exhibition. Music in the Lighthouse Park will coincide with the exhibit on July 15 and July 23 at 2 p.m.

If you go: Port Medway Lighthouse Park is located at 1687 Port Medway Rd right beside the Harbour Authority Wharf. It is an eight-minute drive from exit 17a off Highway 103.