The Sable Island Community

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A series of special moments and lasting impressions shared by people who have experienced the island first-hand or have a distant, but enduring, relationship with the island. These perspectives represent some of the many connections between people and Sable Island, and also, connections among people through Sable Island.


Posts about various individuals who lived on Sable Island.

Dalhousie grad students on Sable in the early 1970s – Jean Boulva, 2024

Jean Boulva first accompanied Ian McLaren to Sable Island in May 1968. In 1970, under Ian’s guidance, Jean began Ph.D. research on the status of the Harbour Seal in Atlantic Canada. He established his quarters at East Light, and occasionally shared the old lightkeepers house with other researchers. They all contributed to Ian’s major research project on the Ipswich Sparrow led by his Ph.D. student Wayne Stobo.

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Sid Forward and Family on Sable Island, 1961-1963

In the early 1960s my father, Sid Forward, was employed as an electrician on Sable Island. He was responsible for maintaining the lights and diesel power station. I celebrated my 4th birthday on the island. Sable was a wonderful adventure for a child. We lived in a huge sandbox with dunes to roll down and horses to ride. We were surrounded by amazing wildlife and even got to “check out” the occasional helicopter or airplane.

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David Millar, 1967-1969

In May 1967, David Millar, fresh out of training in Toronto and Ottawa, arrived at his first posting, Sable Island. Outside of work at the weather station, David took an interest in the island’s environment and spent a lot of time walking and exploring, and developed two hobbies which he still enjoys – bird watching and photography. During his two summers, David occasionally assisted Dalhousie University’s Ian McLaren and his students in their studies of the Ipswich Sparrow.

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Joyce Barkhouse, Author

The book Pit Pony, written by Joyce Barkhouse, is about a young coal miner and his companion, a Sable Island horse. Joyce won many awards for her writing, and Pit Pony is the most beloved of all her works.

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Photo Blog

Gina Little worked on Sable Island as a technologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC). She joined MSC’s Sable team in February 2007, and during her 13 years with the service she spent six to seven months annually on the island. In her PhotoBlogs, Gina shares some of the many patterns, small details, and scenes that caught her eye as she explored Sable Island.

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